I’ll be looking at the top 10 in more depth below but you can download the entire list of movies by opening this PDF. So, read on to find out which movies you believe most defined the decade.
Let us know your thoughts on the top 10 in the comments below. One question I have: If Avatar has come out earlier in the decade, would it have made your top 10 films of the past 10 years? Personally it would make it into my top 10 of 2009. Possibly even be number one.
- Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
- Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis / Mary Elizabeth Barrett / Paul Dano / Dillon Freasier / Christine Olejniczak
- Estimated budget: $25m
- Estimated worldwide gross revenue: $76m
Synopsis: An epic tale of family, faith, power and oil set on the incendiary frontier of California’s turn-of-the-century petroleum boom. The story chronicles the life and times of one Daniel Plainview, who transforms himself from a down-and-out silver miner raising a son on his own into a self-made oil tycoon. When Plainview gets a mysterious tip-off that there’s a little town out West where an ocean of oil is oozing out of the ground, he heads with his son, H.W., to take their chances in dust-worn Little Boston. In this hardscrabble town, where the main excitement centers around the holy roller church of charismatic preacher Eli Sunday, Plainview and H.W. make their lucky strike. But even as the well raises all of their fortunes, nothing will remain the same as conflicts escalate and every human value–love, hope, community, belief, ambition and even the bond between father and son–is imperiled by corruption, deception and the flow of oil.
- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Cast: Uma Thurman / Lucy Liu / Daryl Hannah / David Carradine / Vivica A. Fox / Michael Madsen / Julie Dreyfus / Chiaki Kuriyama / Sonny Chiba
- Estimated combined budget:$60m
- Estimated worldwide combined gross revenue: $332m
Vol 1. Synopsis: An entire wedding party is slaughtered during a dress rehearsal in a rural chapel: the pregnant woman in the blood-splattered wedding dress is Black Mamba, better known as The Bride. The assassin, Bill, and his circle known as The Vipers left The Bride for dead, but unluckily for them she was merely comatose. Four years later, The Bride suddenly awakens from her coma and realizes what has been done to her. She sets off on a ferociously focused mission, setting out to seek revenge on her former master and his deadly squad of assassins. One by one, she kills the various members of the assassin group. She saves Bill for last.
Vol 2. Synopsis: Continuing the story-line which unfolded in “Kill Bill Vol. I,” this is a revenge tale of an expert assassin, called The Bride, who sets out on a quest to wreak vengeance upon her former employer, Bill, and other members of their assassin circle, for shooting her on the day of her wedding–along with all The Bride’s guests in attendance–and leaving her for dead. When this chapter in the story begins, The Bride will have already encountered some of her targets, having battled her way up the chain of command. So, after dispensing with former colleagues O-Ren Ishii and Vernita, she resumes her quest for justice. With those two down, the Bride has two remaining foes on her ‘Death List’ to pursue–Budd and Elle Driver–before moving on to her ultimate goal: to KILL BILL.
- Director: Richard Kelly
- Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal / Katharine Ross / Drew Barrymore / Patrick Swayze / Noah Wyle
- Estimated budget: $4.5m
- Estimated worldwide gross revenue: $4.1m
Synopsis: Some may think that Donnie Darko is a typical maladjusted teenager. Actually, Donnie is borderline delusional, beset by visions of a monstrous rabbit which is trying to keep him under its sinister influence. Prompted by this apparition, Donnie commits anti-social acts while he is undergoing psychotherapy, surviving the vagaries of high-school life and romance, and fortuitously escaping a bizarre death from a falling jet engine. Donnie battles his demons, literally and figuratively, in a series of intertwining story lines that play with time travel, fundamentalist gurus, fate, predestination and the machinations of the universe.
- Director: Andrew Stanton
- Cast: Fred Willard / John Ratzenberger / Kathy Najimy / Sigourney Weaver / Jeff Garlin
- Estimated budget: $4.5m
- Estimated worldwide gross revenue: $4.1m
Synopsis: After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, Wall-E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) discovers a new purpose in life (besides collecting knick-knacks) when he meets a sleek search robot named Eve. Eve comes to realize that Wall-E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to the planet’s future, and races back to space to report her findings to the humans (who have been eagerly awaiting word that it is safe to return home). Meanwhile, Wall-E chases Eve across the galaxy.
- Director: Michel Gondry
- Cast: Jim Carrey / Kate Winslet / Kirsten Dunst / Elijah Wood / Mark Ruffalo
- Estimated budget: $20m
- Estimated worldwide gross revenue: $73m
Synopsis: Joel is stunned to discover that his girlfriend Clementine has had the memories of their tumultuous relationship erased. Out of desperation, he contacts the inventor of the process, Dr. Howard Mierzwiak, to have Clementine removed from his own memory. But as Joel’s memories progressively begin to disappear, he begins to discover their earlier passion. From deep within the recesses of his brain, Joel attempts to escape the procedure. As Dr. Mierzwiak and his crew chase him through the maze of his memories, it’s clear that Joel can’t get Clementine out of his head.
5. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
- Director: Guillermo del Toro
- Cast: Maribel Verdu / Sergi Lopez / Ariadna Gil / Alex Angulo / Doug Jones
- Estimated budget: $19m
- Estimated worldwide gross revenue: $83m
Synopsis: Set in 1940s Spain against the postwar repression of Franco’s Spain, a fairy tale that centers on Ofelia, a lonely and dreamy child living with her mother and adoptive father, who is a military officer tasked with ‘ridding the area’ of rebels. In her loneliness, Ofelia creates a world filled with fantastical creatures and secret destinies. With Fascism at its height, Ofelia must come to terms with her world through a fable of her own creation.
4. Amelie (2001)
- Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
- Cast: Audrey Tautou / Mathieu Kassovitz / Yolande Moreau / Artus DePenguern / Urbain Cancelier
- Estimated budget: $11.5m
- Estimated worldwide gross revenue: $174m
Synopsis: Bursting with imagination and having seen her share of tragedy and fantasy, Amelie is not like the other girls. When she grows up she becomes a waitress in a Montmartre bar run by a former dancer. Amelie enjoys simple pleasures until she discovers that her goal in life is to help others. To that end, she invents all sorts of tricks that allow her to intervene incognito into other people’s lives, including an imbibing concierge and her hypochondriac neighbor. But Amelie’s most difficult case turns out to be Nino Quicampoix, a lonely sex shop employee who collects photos abandoned at coin-operated photobooths.
3. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
- Director: Edgar Wright
- Cast: Simon Pegg / Kate Ashfield / Nick Frost / Dylan Moran / Lucy Davis
- Estimated budget: $4m
- Estimated worldwide gross revenue: $30mSynopsis: On Friday, Shaun is in a rut. At 29, he’s coasted through life–and still hasn’t gotten very far, usually winding up at the local pub, the Winchester. His roommate Ed looks up to him–when he can take his eyes off the TV, that is. Liz is re-evaluating their relationship, particularly after Shaun fails to do something special for their anniversary on Saturday. That day, there are train delays, people fainting in the streets, TV news reporters on unexplained calamities. No, it can’t be–but it is–the dead have risen. Saturday’s isolated incidents mushroom into a full-on zombie assault and, once daylight breaks, it’s Sunday bloody Sunday. As manners and flesh take a beating, it’s time to seperate men from meat, humans from zombies, and living from undead. Shaun and Ed grab whatever is at hand to repel the attacking zombies, summoning reserves of strength they didn’t know they possessed and straining muscles they forgot they had. Rounding up friends and family, they press on towards the sanctuary of The Winchester. All that stands in their way are hordes of the flesh-eating undead.
2. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- Director: Peter Jackson
- Cast: Elijah Wood / Ian McKellen / Viggo Mortensen / Sean Astin / Sean Bean / Orlando Bloom / Billy Boyd / Dominic Monaghan / John Rhys-Davies / Cate Blanchett / Liv Tyler/ Christopher Lee / Hugo Weaving / Ian Holm
- Estimated budget: $94m
- Estimated worldwide gross revenue: $871mSynopsis: In mythic pre-historic times, a young hobbit named Frodo Baggins inherits a magic ring from his elderly cousin Bilbo. Wise to the powers that the magic ring holds, the dark Lord Sauron wants it, knowing it will enable him to enslave the people of Middle Earth. In his effort to thwart Sauron, Frodo recruits the fellowship of a wizard, an elf, a dwarf and others, on a mission to destroy the ring by casting it into the volcanic fires of Mount Doom, where it was made. However, the ring unleashes its own powers as a result of the struggle…
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Cast: Christian Bale / Maggie Gyllenhaal / Aaron Eckhart / Heath Ledger / Michael Caine
- Estimated budget: $185m
- Estimated worldwide gross revenue: $1bn+
Synopsis: With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham for good. The triumvirate proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a rising criminal mastermind known as the Joker, who thrusts Gotham into anarchy and forces the Dark Knight ever closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante.