A century is a super long time, and culling a list of the best of that period of time is a gargantuan undertaking. Fortunately for the BBC, this century is only 16 years old, so asking critics to pick the best movies of that period of time is much simpler. And now, the results are in! 177 film critics from all over the world (I must have been 178 on their mailer; I get it) responded to the request for picks and the list is fairly shocking. While several big movies from the early years (2000-2005) certainly made the list, the bulk of everyone’s picks were from the last nine years. Fresher? Time not telling enough?
You can find the full list on BBC’s website here, but for the purposes of this, I’m gonna be talking about the top 25, which are:
25. Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)
24. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
23. Caché (Michael Haneke, 2005)
22. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
21. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
20. Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)
19. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
18. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009)
17. Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)
16. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)
14. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012)
13. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
12. Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
11. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)
10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)
7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
12 of the 20 are from 2008 or later, and 9 of those are from the past five years, showing a clear instance of the newer movies being fresher and more beloved in people’s minds. There’s a good mixture of arty-farty movies and critically acclaimed populist fare. Really happy to see stuff like Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, Guillermo del Toro‘s Pan’s Labyrinth, Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men, David Fincher’s Zodiac, and the two Coen Bros movies on that list; those would all be on my list as well.
And, hell, any top four that includes David Lynch, Wong Kar-wai, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Hayao Miyazaki is definitely going to be a win for me. Though, I’ll be this guy — I don’t think Boyhood or The Tree of Life deserve nearly the adulation they received, and I think time will tell with them as to whether they stand up when we get to 2035 or beyond. Again, that’s just me.
The rest of the list contains several others from people like P.T. Anderson and the Coens, some surprises like A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, which is getting reappraised like crazy since its 2001 ho-hum response, and some directors lesser known to North American audiences who certainly need to be known, like the fantastic Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. And, not for nothing, but I’m chuffed to see Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds made the list, since it is his masterpiece after all.
If you’re curious about the best films to see this season, why not try on this Dan Cave episode for size?[brightcove video_id=”5085428491001″ brightcove_account_id=”3653334524001″ brightcove_player_id=”2bfa565b-5412-4cfd-9211-6269880b8a5e”]
Let me know what you think of the list and what your top five for the century so far would be in the comments below!
Image: Studio Ghibli/Disney