The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films list serves as a companion to the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? 1,000 Greatest Films of all time list which, - by its nature - tends to have very few films from the 21st century in it. The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films list attempts to highlight and honour this century's most critically revered films and act as a sort of 'resting bay' for many great films that are likely to be included in the 1,000 Greatest Films list sooner or later.
Since 1984, the Criterion Collection, has been dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements for a wider and wider audience. The foundation of the collection is the work of such masters of cinema as Kurosawa, Fellini, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock, and Kubrick. Each film is presented uncut, in its original aspect ratio, as its maker intended it to be seen. To date, more than 150 filmmakers have made it into the collection.
Using IMDb advanced search, filtering only by English language.
Notable entries missing include:
What Maisie Knew (2012)
The Babadook (2014)
Song of the Sea (2014)
Sleeping with Other People (2015)
Palo Alto (2013)
The Hunt (2012)
Tamara Drewe (2010)
Machine Gun Preacher (2011)
Bilal: A New Breed of Hero (2015)
Last Updated: 26/06/2019
Can you remember a time without Rotten Tomatoes? Those sightless days of people reaching out and bumping into movies at random, like wandering through a Blockbuster with all the lights off. Those were dark and undirected times. Since the launch of RT in August of 1998, though – the site went live on August 18 of that year – movie fans have had immediate access to the largest accumulation of film reviews ever, distilled for one purpose: to get you watching the best kind of movies you want to see. (Or if you only want to watch bad movies, the site can help you find those more quickly, too.)
As we mark our 20th birthday, we’re looking back on the past two decades with this guide to the 200 best-reviewed movies released since that fateful day in August of 1998. To keep the competition tight, we only included movies that had at least 80 reviews, the number at which wide-release movies qualify for Certified Fresh status; applying that rule, and limiting the total list to 200 titles, the lowest Tomatometer score you’ll find is 95%. The criteria also meant that no films from 1998 made the cut (Shakespeare in Love did come awfully close).
The list, which we’ve ordered chronologically, runs the gamut of movies, ranging from popular blockbusters (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part II, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers) to indies (The Wrestler, Nightcrawler) and the still underseen (Step, Gloria). Some 14 movies come from this very year made the list, among them Mission: Impossible – Fallout and BlacKkKlansman. There are seven Best Picture Oscar winners and 24 animated movies in there – 10 of which are Pixar products, and three of which come from the UK’s Aardman Animations. Documentaries make up a whopping quarter of the movies listed, and include landmark films like Bowling For Columbine and Man On Wire, while 53 of the movies listed are foreign-language, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and the first film on the list, Pedro Almodóvar‘s All About My Mother.
A number of directors show up twice on the list – Ava DuVernay, Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler, and Sean Baker among them – and a handful show up even more than that: Lee Unkrich, Pete Docter, Brad Bird, and Richard Linklater. Meanwhile, series like the Paddington, Before, and Toy Story films appear more than once, along with both films in The Act of Killing/The Look of Silence documentary pairing feature.
So: 200 movies, 20 years. How many have you seen after all this time? And how many are you adding to your watchlist?
Below is our updated running tally of the films most frequently mentioned by individual critics on the year-end Top Ten lists. Note that if a critic ranks more than the standard 10 films, we will not include films ranked 11th or worse. In case of a tie for first or second, each film will receive the full points for that position.