The 25 most beloved movies of the 2000s

Warner Bros.Heath Ledger in ‘The Dark Knight.’
  • A number of hit films were released between 2000 and 2009.
  • INSIDER pulled data from IMDB to find the top 25 that were released based on fan ratings.
  • “The Dark Knight” tops the list.

2000 ushered in a new century.

And in the first decade, movie fans were treated to a number of hit films and franchises. Between the years of 2000 and 2009, fans got to see Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy and the “Lord of the Rings” movies.

INSIDER analysed movies released between 2000 and 2009 with a score of 8.0 or higher on IMDB with over 3,000 votes. From those 159, we picked the top 25.

Here are the top movies from the aughts.


2008’s “The Dark Knight” is the second instalment of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy.

Warner Bros. PicturesChristian Bale and Heath Ledger in ‘The Dark Knight.’

Critics rating: 94%

Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” often lands on “best of all time” lists (ex. The Hollywood Reporter and BBC) and is hailed as one of the best superhero movies of all time. Heath Ledger’s Joker is riveting to watch, and the tension between his character and Christian Bale’s Batman makes for an unforgettable movie. The film earned eight Oscar nominations and won two, including one for Ledger’s supporting role.


2001’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” launched the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

New Line ProductionsIan McKellen and Elijah Wood in ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.’

Critics rating: 91%

Based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel of the same name, the epic “Fellowship of the Ring” followed Frodo and his eight companions on a journey through Middle-earth. The film won four out of the 13 Academy Awards it was nominated for and continues to be revered as one of the best films of all time.


“Gladiator” was a box-office smash when it was released in 2000.

UniversalRussell Crowe in ‘Gladiator.’

Critics rating: 76%

Russell Crowe plays Maximus Decimus Meridius, a Roman military leader later sold to a gladiator trainer, who vows vengeance on those who murdered his family. The film won five Oscars, including best picture, and ignited even more interest in stories set in ancient Greece.


Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” (2009) is an unforgettable film.

Universal PicturesEli Roth and Brad Pitt in ‘Inglorious Basterds.’

Critics rating: 88%

Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” is an alternate history of WWII in which two separate plans to assassinate Nazi leadership and thus end the war are put in motion. The film is full of dark humour and extreme violence, as Tarantino films are. It was nominated for eight Oscars, including best picture. Actor Christoph Waltz won for his supporting role.


The final instalment in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Return of the King,” was released in 2003.

New Line CinemaViggo Mortensen in ‘The Return of the King.’

Critics rating: 93%

“The Return of the King” is a thrilling end to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and features Sam and Frodo as they journey to Mount Doom, as well as the immense Battle of the Pelennor Fields. When Aragorn arrives with the Dead Men of Dunharrow, it’s still riveting to watch. The movie currently holds the record for biggest sweeps at the Oscars, winning all 11 awards it was nominated for, including best picture.


Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed” (2006) is a gangster movie set in Boston.

Warner Bros via YouTubeMatt Damon and Leonard DiCaprio in ‘The Departed.’

Critics rating: 91%

With a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicolson, Mark Wahlberg, and Vera Farmiga, “The Departed” centres on mobsters and the police. As the mob plants a mole in the police department, the police department plants a mole in the mob and trouble ensues as both groups learn that someone is infiltrating their ranks. “The Departed” won four Oscars, including best picture.


Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige” (2006) follows two rival magicians.

Warner Bros./Touchstone PicturesMichael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and Hugh Jackman in ‘The Prestige.’

Critics rating: 76%

The psychological thriller is full of mind-bending illusions, some that viewers are aware of and others that aren’t. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play the magicians obsessed with beating each other. They go to deadly ends to reach their goals.


8. Christopher Nolan started his Batman trilogy with 2005’s “Batman Begins.”

Warner Bros.Liam Neeson and Christian Bale in ‘Batman Begins.’

Critics rating: 84%

Nolan’s version of Batman’s origin story begins during Bruce Wayne’s childhood and the witnessing of his parent’s murder. Bruce grows up and eventually trains under Ra’s al Ghul, but when he learns Ra’s wants to destroy Gotham, Bruce swears to protect it. Nolan was unafraid to explore the darker side of Batman, something that hadn’t been done onscreen before.


Guy Ritchie’s comedy “Snatch” (2000) has become a cult classic.

Columbia PicturesBrad Pitt stars in ‘Snatch.’

Critics rating: 73%

“Snatch’s” large ensemble cast includes Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Alan Ford, Stephen Graham, and Benicio del Toro. The film centres on two stories involving criminals in London, one involving a stolen diamond and the other about a violent and sadistic gangster.


“Requiem for a Dream” (2000) is a dark and graphic film about drug addiction.

Artisan Entertainment/’Requiem for a Dream’Jared Leto in ‘Requiem For a Dream.’

Critics rating: 79%

Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream” follows four addicts trapped in their delusions. Based on the novel of the same name, the film depicts the characters as they try to use the drugs to realise their dreams but spiral out of control. The film was named one of the best movies released since 2000 in a BBC poll.


“There Will Be Blood” (2007) is consistently ranked as one of the best films in recent history.

Paramount VantageDaniel Day-Lewis in ‘There Will Be Blood.’

Critics rating: 91%

Centered during California’s oil boom in the early 20th century, the film follows a miner as he begins a quest to become a wealthy oilman at a cost to his personal well-being. The film earned eight Oscar nominations. In 2017, the New York Times named the movie one of the top 25 films of the 21st century.


2007’s “No Country for Old Men” took home the Oscar for best picture.

MiramaxJavier Bardem in ‘No Country for Old Men.’

Critics rating: 93%

The Coen brothers’ Western crime thriller “No Country for Old Men” centres on a Vietnam vet and a hit man whose interactions set off a series of deadly events. The film won four Oscars and was named the best film of the year by the American Film Institute.


“The Two Towers,” the second instalment in the “The Lord of the Rings” series, was released to acclaim in 2002.

New LineIan McKellen in ‘The Two Towers.’

Critics rating: 95%

“The Two Towers” featured three separate story lines but never managed to feel lost. One major portion of the film is spent on the Battle of Helm’s Deep, which was a massive undertaking and an incredible feat to portray onscreen. Not only was it a box-office smash, but the movie also earned six Oscar nominations.


“Into the Wild” (2007) is a biographical film about the life and death of Christopher McCandless.

Paramount VantageEmile Hirsch in ‘Into the Wild.’

Critics rating: 82%

McCandless hitchhiked to Alaska in 1992 with a plan to live off the land, but his decomposing body was found months later. Sean Penn told his story in “Into the Wild,” which earned two Oscar nominations and was named one of the American Film Institute’s top 10 movies of the year.


Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” (2003) stars Uma Thurman as a woman on a revenge mission.

The Weinstein CompanyUma Thurman in ‘Kill Bill.’

Critics rating: 84%

Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” was originally so long that the movie was split into two and released a year apart. The first half was a critical and commercial success, proving Tarantino’s ability to entertain and thrill audiences with his dark stories and affinity for violence.


Despite its poor performance at the box office, “Donnie Darko” (2001) is held in high esteem.

Pandora CinemaJake Gyllenhaal and Jena Malone in ‘Donnie Darko.’

Critics rating: 87%

The movie centres on a high school boy named Donnie Darko who has mysterious visions of a creepy rabbit who warns him that the world will end in 28 days. Jake Gyllenhaal is fantastic in his portrayal as the troubled teen, and the eerie story is electrifying to witness.


“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004) is a unique love story whose critical success has grown into cult status.

Focus FeaturesJim Carrey and Kate Winslet in ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.’

Critics rating: 93%

Jumping through time, the film follows a couple who have erased themselves from each other’s memories but who are drawn together despite forgetting each other. The movie examines love and connection with a psychological bend.


Daniel Craig made his debut as James Bond in 2006’s “Casino Royale.”

20th Century FoxDaniel Craig in ‘Casino Royale.’

Critics rating: 94%

“Casino Royale” rebooted the Bond franchise and centered on Bond early in his career as 007. Craig’s performance has been lauded for his humanization of the agent. Bond is a troubled and vulnerable man, not just a ruthless spy. Mads Mikkelson’s portrayal of villain Le Chiffre was also memorable.


Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” opened in theatres in 2003.

Buena Vista Pictures DistributionKeira Knightley in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.’

Critics rating: 79%

Based on the Disney amusement park ride, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” wasn’t expected to become a blockbuster, but it was a huge box-office success. The film centres on the pirate Jack Sparrow and a blacksmith named Will Turner as they take on a ship of pirates who become undead skeletons in the evening to rescue the kidnapped Elizabeth Swann. The film earned five Oscar nominations and spawned four sequels.


2009s “Star Trek” was a successful reboot of the franchise centered in an alternate universe with the familiar “Star Trek” characters.

ParamountZachary Quinto and Chris Pine in ‘Star Trek.’

Critics rating: 94%

The film starts with an introduction to familiar characters, including James Kirk and Spock, as they meet for the first time at the Starfleet Academy and learn to work together. Blending action and humour, “Star Trek” entertained old fans of the franchise and welcomed new people into the fandom.


“Pan’s Labyrinth” captivated audiences in 2006.

Estudios PicassoIvana Baquero in ‘Pan’s Labyrinth.’

Critics rating: 95%

Guillermo del Toro’s twisted fantasy film centres on a young girl that meets mystical creatures and finds a hidden labyrinth after moving to a new home with her mother and sadistic stepfather. The creepy creatures and brutal violence may shock some viewers, but the film is still considered one of the best films of the 21st century. It was nominated for six Oscars and won three.


2005’s “Sin City” was a visually striking film that drew viewers in.

MiramaxJessica Alba and Bruce Willis in ‘Sin City.’

Critics rating: 77%

Based on the graphic novels of the same name, the noir anthology film features multiple ruthlessly violent stories centered on different characters. Filmed mostly in black-and-white, certain objects in the movie are coloured, drawing the viewers’ attention.


2004’s “The Incredibles” was a big hit for Disney and Pixar.

IMDb/Buena Vista PicturesA shot from ‘The Incredibles.’

Critics rating: 97%

The animated film follows the Parrs, a family of superheroes who must hide their powers after the government makes heroes illegal. But when a superfan becomes a supervillain, the family must use their powers to save the day. The cute cartoon won two Oscars, including best animated movie, and was followed by a sequel 14 years later.


Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” (2001) is a stunning animated film.

Studio GhibliA scene from ‘Spirited Away.’

Critics rating: 97%

The animated fantasy follows a 10-year-old girl who finds herself in a world of Kami, spirits worshipped in the Shinto religion. She works to save her parents, who have been turned into pigs, and find a way back to the human world. The movie won the Oscar for best animated feature and was named the second best movie of the 21st century by the New York Times.


2002s’ “Catch Me If You Can” is based on a true story.

Dreamworks via YouTubeLeonardo DiCaprio in ‘Catch Me If You Can.’

Critics rating: 95%

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale, a former con man who was known for forging checks and posed as everything from a Pan American pilot to a doctor. The movie follows him from his early life to being caught by the FBI and eventually hired by them to help catch more con artists and check forgers. Funny and fascinating, Steven Spielberg did a good job bringing Abagnale’s story to the big screen.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.