Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Read This: Are these the best films of the 21st century?

Laura Elena Harring and Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive (Image: Universal Pictures)
Laura Elena Harring and Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive (Image: Universal Pictures)

If there’s one thing that pop culture obsessives love doing, it’s making lists. If there’s another thing they love doing, it’s dissecting and arguing about a list made by another pop culture obsessive. What was included? What was overlooked? What ranked way too high and what should’ve ranked higher? These are the questions on which the discussion is built. So today, when the BBC published a list of the top 100 films of the 21st century based on top 10 lists of 177 critics worldwide, controversy was sure to erupt. For starters, here’s the top 25 of the list:

25. ​Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)

24. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)

23. Caché (Michael Haneke, 2005)

22. Lost In Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

21. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)

20. Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)

19. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)

18. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009)

17. Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)

16. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)

15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)

14. The Act Of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012)

13. Children Of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)

12. Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)

11. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)

10. No Country For Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)

9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)

8. Yi Yi: A One And ATwo (Edward Yang, 2000)

7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)

6. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)

5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)

4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

2. In The Mood For Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)

1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

There’s more in-depth reasoning behind the top 25 spots on the BBC, where selected critics wrote about the films and why they are such culturally important milestones in cinema. For those who are curious who voted and how they voted, the BBC also has a list of the 177 critics’ top 10 movies.


Of course, it wouldn’t be a list by film fanatics for film fanatics if there wasn’t some controversy. Already there’s been some backlash online with people debating the merits of various entries and the lack of others’ works. Where is Edgar Wright and Alexander Payne? Only one documentary in the top 25? Even though the list is culled from global critics and a global pool of films, the selections remain very Western. People can see the reactions to this list by following #FilmsOfTheCentury on Twitter.

In the end, is this just a meaningless list put together by fellow movie nerds? Did they finally “get it right” with their selections? Should Spring Breakers be higher than #74? As in all things with lists of this nature, it’s about starting a conversation and trying to reach consensus but never actually finding that common footing. Let the debates commence.