The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century So Far by The New York Times

"We are now approximately one-sixth of the way through the 21st century, and thousands of movies have already been released. Which means that it’s high time for the sorting – and the fighting – to start. As the chief film critics of The Times, we decided to rank, with some help from cinema savants on Facebook, the top 25 movies that are destined to be the classics of the future. While we’re sure almost everyone will agree with our choices, we’re equally sure that those of you who don’t will let us know."

- Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott

Weight: 40


  1. Limited to ~25 years or less (-60)

Films (25)

1. There Will Be Blood

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson | Rated R | 158 min | 2007

A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

2. Spirited Away

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki | Rated PG | 125 min | 2001

During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

3. Million Dollar Baby

Directed by Clint Eastwood | Rated PG-13 | 132 min | 2004

A determined woman works with a hardened boxing trainer to become a professional.

4. A Touch of Sin

Directed by Zhangke Jia | Rated N/A | 133 min | 2013

Four independent stories set in modern China about random acts of violence.

5. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

Directed by Cristi Puiu | Rated R | 153 min | 2005

Mr. Lazarescu, a 63 year old lonely man feels sick and calls the ambulance. When it arrives, the paramedic decides he should take him to the hospital but once there they decide to send him ...

6. Yi Yi

Directed by Edward Yang | 173 min | 2000

Each member of a middle class Taipei family seeks to reconcile past and present relationships within their daily lives.

7. Inside Out

Directed by Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen | Rated PG | 95 min | 2015

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.

8. Boyhood

Directed by Richard Linklater | Rated R | 165 min | 2014

The life of Mason, from early childhood to his arrival at college.

9. Summer Hours

Directed by Olivier Assayas | 103 min | 2008

Two brothers and a sister witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish the family belongings to ensure their deceased mother's succession.

10. The Hurt Locker

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow | Rated R | 131 min | 2008

During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.

11. Inside Llewyn Davis

Directed by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Rated R | 104 min | 2013

A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

12. Timbuktu

Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako | Rated PG-13 | 97 min | 2014

A cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives -- which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith -- abruptly disturbed.

13. In Jackson Heights

Directed by Frederick Wiseman | Rated TV-MA | 190 min | 2015

Jackson Heights, Queens is one of the most culturally diverse communities in the US where 167 languages are spoken. IN JACKSON HEIGHTS explores the conflict between maintaining ties to old traditions and adapting to American values.

14. L'enfant

Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne | Rated R | 95 min | 2005

Bruno and Sonia, a young couple living off her benefit and the thefts committed by his gang, have a new source of money: their newborn son.

15. White Material

Directed by Claire Denis | 106 min | 2009

Amidst turmoil and racial conflict in Africa, a French woman fights for her coffee crop, her family and ultimately for her life.

16. Munich

Directed by Steven Spielberg | Rated R | 164 min | 2005

Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day.

17. Three Times

Directed by Hsiao-Hsien Hou | Rated N/A | 120 min | 2005

Three stories set in three times, 1911, 1966 and 2005. Two actors play the two main characters in each story.

18. The Gleaners & I

Directed by Agnès Varda | Rated N/A | 82 min | 2000

An intimate, picaresque inquiry into French life as lived by the country's poor and its provident, as well as by the film's own director, Agnes Varda. The aesthetic, political and moral ...

19. Mad Max: Fury Road

Directed by George Miller | Rated R | 120 min | 2015

A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in postapocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max.

20. Moonlight

Directed by Barry Jenkins | Rated R | 111 min | 2016

A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.

21. Wendy and Lucy

Directed by Kelly Reichardt | Rated R | 80 min | 2008

Over the summer, a series of unfortunate happening triggers a financial crisis for a young woman and she soon finds her life falling apart.

22. I'm Not There.

Directed by Todd Haynes | Rated R | 135 min | 2007

Ruminations on the life of Bob Dylan, where six characters embody a different aspect of the musician's life and work.

23. Silent Light

Directed by Carlos Reygadas | Rated N/A | 136 min | 2007

In a Mennonite community in Mexico, a father's faith is tested when he falls in love with a new woman.

24. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Directed by Michel Gondry | Rated R | 108 min | 2004

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

25. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Directed by Judd Apatow | Rated R | 116 min | 2005

Goaded by his buddies, a nerdy guy who's never "done the deed" only finds the pressure mounting when he meets a single mother.