I’ve gone back to the year 2000 and attempted to highlight the Best Films of the Decade, with the decade starting in 2000. [This means, of course, that I’m one year short of 10 years of films, since 2010 has just begun.]

The criterion, for me, in listing my Best Films was whether I enjoyed them the most at the theater. Sometimes, the most heavily promoted films are not really that enjoyable. There are some “Best Picture of the Year” nominees that leave you completely cold after you have spent time watching them, so much so that you wonder, “How did THAT get nominated as Best ________________?” (Fill in the blank here). You may appreciate the achievement of a film like, for instance, “The Queen,” but did you really enjoy it that much, acting expertise aside?

Also, will this film hold up over the years? There are some films that were “hot” movies of that year, but the year was so weak that to name them as the “best” is simply to acknowledge that they were the best of a not-so-banner year.

I am not a huge fan of animated films, but some made my list. I like humor, but it should be somewhat witty, avoid formulaic situations, and not be so lowbrow that every vehicle in the parking lot is a truck with a gun rack, a rebel flag and a NASCAR sticker on view.

While acknowledging that Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy represented a huge achievement, the films were not as faithful to the books as purists would have liked, and, quite frankly, I was pretty bored throughout. (I looked down the row and my sister-in-law was asleep, although she later denied this.) The same is true of all the Harry Potter movies, for me. And, more recently, the “Twilight” films, representing, as they do, a teen phenomenon, are going to fall into the same category.

Some years were, of course, better than others, and that is why many Honorable Mention(s) follow some of the Ten Best lists. Other years have no Honorable Mentions at all. I’m not trying to suggest that your list of the Ten Best Movies of the Decade (to date) will match mine, but at least you’ll have a referent point for (maybe) picking a few from the past 9 years that you night have missed.  I should also note that the films are listed in no particular order.


Best Films of 2000:

“High Fidelity”



“Almost Famous”

“Cast Away”

“Erin Brockovich”


“Wonder Boys”


“Meet the Parents”/”Galaxy Quest”

Best Films of 2001:

“A Beautiful Mind”

“Lord of the Rings”

“Mulholland Drive”

“Black Hawk Down”


“Training Day”

“Monster’s Ball”

“In the Bedroom”


“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

Best Films of 2002:

“About A Boy”

“About Schmidt”


“Bourne Identity”

“Bowling for Columbine”

“Minority Report”

“The Pianist”


“Rabbit-proof Fence”

“Spider-Man 2”

Best Films of 2003:

“The Fog of War” (documentary)

“Mystic River”

“Cold Mountain”

“In America”


“City of God”


“House of Sand and Fog”

“Under the Tuscan Sun”

“Pieces of April”

(*Honorable mention to “Finding Nemo,” “Master & Commander,” “Thirteen,” “The Cooler,” “Bad Santa,” “Lost in Translation,” “The Last Samurai,” “Calendar Girls,” “Love, Actually.”)

Best Films of 2004:

“The Aviator”

“Hotel Rwanda”

“Million Dollar Baby”



“Fahrenheit 9/11”



“The Sea inside”


(*Honorable mention to “The Manchurian Candidate,” “The Notebook,” “Mean Girls,” “Super Size Me”)

Best Films of 2005:


“Brokeback Mountain”

“A History of Violence”



“Batman Begins”

“Cinderella Man”

“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”

“Good Night, and Good Luck”

“Walk the Line”

(*Honorable mention to “King Kong,” “Jarhead,” “Match Point,” “Transamerica,” “North Country,” “March of the Penguins” and “Munich.”)

Best Films of 2006:

“Last King of Scotland”

“The Departed”

“Little Miss Sunshine”

“Pan’s Labyrinth”

“United 93”

“Flags of Our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima”

“Casino Royale”



“Thank You for Smoking”

(*Honorable mention to “V for Vendetta,” “Blood Diamond,”  “Cars,” “Monster House,” “An Inconvenient Truth” (documentary), “The Queen,” “Babel,”
”Hollywoodland,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing” (documentary), “Who Killed the Electric Car” (documentary), “Children of Men,” “Little Children,” “A Scanner Darkly”)

Best Films of 2007:

“Michael Clayton”

“No Country for Old Men”

“Away from Her”


“In the Valley of Elah”

“Eastern Promises”

“American Gangster’

“Knocked Up”

“Charlie Wilson’s War”

“The Bourne Ultimatum”

(*Honorable Mention:  “The Savages,” “Gone Baby Gone,” “Waitress,” “Atonement,” “La Vie En Rose,” “The Diving Bell & the Butterfly,” “Elizabeth, the Golden Age.”)

Best Films of 2008:

“The Reader”

“Batman: The Dark Knight”

“Iron Man”

“Gran Torino”

“Slumdog Millionaire”


“The Wrestler”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”



(*Honorable Mention:  “Burn After Reading,” “In Bruges,” “Frozen River,” “The Visitor,” “Tropic Thunder,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “Bourne Ultimatum,” “The Bucket List.”

Best Films of 2009:

“Up in the Air”

“The Hurt Locker”

“The Informant”


“500 Days of Summer”


“Red Cliff”



“The Messenger”

(*Honorable Mention to “Star Trek,” “The Hangover,” “2012,” “Public Enemies,” “I Love You, Man,” and “Jennifer’s Body”)