Film fans are all too familiar with ‘100 Best Films Of All Time’ lists and the usual suspects that populate them. The first two Godfather films, Citizen Kane, The Shawshank Redemption, Twelve Angry Men, Casablanca – all deservedly considered timeless masterpieces by movie fans young and old. But when it comes to modern classics, the consensus is somewhat more mixed. The 21st century has undoubtedly yielded some magnificent pieces of film but in an age increasingly obsessed with sequels, reboots and remakes, it becomes difficult to single out the movies that can stand proudly next to the films listed above.
In an attempt to fashion a definitive collection of modern classics, the BBC has surveyed 177 movie critics from all across the globe. The decision to commission the list was made after publishing a ‘Greatest American Films Of All Time’ feature last year and finding that only six films from the year 2000 and onward made the cut. In a mission to prove that film-making in the new century is as healthy as it has ever been, BBC Culture spoke to reviewers, both online and print, academics and cinema curators from every continent except Antarctica (presumably residents of the South Pole are too cold to worry about whether Lost In Translation is better than Wall-E) and asked them for their greatest films of the new century.
The list’s Top Ten reads as follows:
1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai, 2000)
3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)
9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
The full 100 entries can be found at BBC Culture and features a significant Asian influence with both anime and live-action pieces, such as the original Oldboy (Park Chan-Wook, 2003), making the final list. Interestingly, the only mainstream superhero movie present is Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, with Nolan’s Inception and Memento also being selected. Western animation is somewhat better represented however, with Wall-E, Inside Out, Ratatouille and Finding Nemo all placing. Last year’s Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller) lands at an impressive number 19 but somewhat surprisingly, Quentin Tarantino’s only nod on the list is 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, with no room for the brilliant Django Unchained.
Of course, movies are an innately subjective art form, but given the scope and amount of critics involved, this list is perhaps the closest we’ll get to a definitive ‘Best Films Of The 21st Century’ list for now. Even if Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel was somehow left out.
Source: BBC Culture