The 40 Greatest Movies of the 21st Century

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

40. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
> Director: Peter Jackson
> Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
> RT Tomatometer: 95%
> IMDb rating: 8.7 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $343 million

Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” is the second film in the hugely successful Lord of the Rings franchise based on the fantasy book trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien. The Oscar-winning movie’s balance of groundbreaking visuals and epic storytelling won over critics and audiences alike.

Source: Courtesy of The Cinema Guild

39. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)
> Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
> Cast: Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel
> RT Tomatometer: 92%
> IMDb rating: 7.9 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $140,000

“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” is set in rural Turkey. The movie tells the story of local officials and civilians who are searching at night for a buried body. The film “is a meditative procedural that maintains feverish intensity throughout its unhurried runtime,” according to Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

38. The Pianist (2002)
> Director: Roman Polanski
> Cast: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay
> RT Tomatometer: 95%
> IMDb rating: 8.5 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $33 million

Based on the life of Polish-Jewish pianist and Holocaust survivor Władysław  Szpilman, this saga follows the Szpilman’s experiences during the Nazi occupation. The film won three Oscars, including Best Actor for Adrien Brody and Best Director for Roman Polanski, himself a Holocaust survivor. Polanski did not attend the ceremony as he fled the U.S. in 1978 after pleading guilty to statutory rape.

Source: Courtesy of Lions Gate Films

37. Amores Perros (2000)
> Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
> Cast: Emilio Echevarría, Gael Garcí­a Bernal, Goya Toledo
> RT Tomatometer: 92%
> IMDb rating: 8.1 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $5 million

“Amores Perros” is a brutal crime drama in which three stories intersect around a car accident. The film explores the lives of the characters involved, one of which is a champion fighting dog. The movie was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign movie.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

36. Children of Men (2006)
> Director: Alfonso Cuarón
> Cast: Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor
> RT Tomatometer: 92%
> IMDb rating: 7.9 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $36 million

Oscar-nominated sci-fi “Children of Men” takes place in 2027, when women have become infertile. The movie follows a man who helps get a pregnant woman to safety. The film “works on every level: as a violent chase thriller, a fantastical cautionary tale, and a sophisticated human drama about societies struggling to live,” according to Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus.