The 40 Greatest Movies of the 21st Century

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

20. The White Ribbon (2009)
> Director: Michael Haneke
> Cast: Christian Friedel, Ernst Jacobi, Leonie Benesch
> RT Tomatometer: 86%
> IMDb rating: 7.8 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $2 million

“The White Ribbon” is a chilling German drama about a small village where strange and unexplained events that affect the wealthy residents happen for months. The mysterious incidents exacerbate the odd social code the people in the village live by.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

19. The Lives of Others (2006)
> Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
> Cast: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch
> RT Tomatometer: 92%
> IMDb rating: 8.4 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $11 million

The lives of others was precisely what the notoriously paranoid Stasi, the East German secret police during the Cold War, were concerned with. A Stasi officer is told to spy on a prominent communist playwright — not for political reasons, it turns out, but because the officer’s superior covets the playwright’s girlfriend. The officer ends up protecting the playwright instead.

Source: Courtesy of Picturehouse

18. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
> Director: Guillermo del Toro
> Cast: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López
> RT Tomatometer: 95%
> IMDb rating: 8.2 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $38 million

This fantasy, set in a rural village in Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, is the story of a young girl who discovers an underground stone labyrinth, where she meets a faun — half-man, half-goat — who tells her that she might really be a princess of the underground realm. While her real-life stepfather, a sadistic army officer, pursues rebels in the countryside, the girl tries to prove her regal identity through a series of three increasingly difficult tasks. She succeeds, but is shot and killed by her stepfather before reappearing in the underground realm as its beloved ruler.

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

17. City of God (2002)
> Director: Fernando Meirelles
> Cast: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Matheus Nachtergaele
> RT Tomatometer: 91%
> IMDb rating: 8.6 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $8 million

The gritty Brazilian film “City of God” tells the true story of two children who grow up in Rio de Janieiro’s favelas during the 1970s. One becomes an accomplished photographer, the other a powerful drug lord. The movie has near universal audience approval on Rotten Tomatoes, with 91% of critics and 97% of fans giving the film a positive review.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

16. The Social Network (2010)
> Director: David Fincher
> Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
> RT Tomatometer: 96%
> IMDb rating: 7.7 out of 10
> Domestic gross box office: $97 million

“The Social Network” tells the story of the Harvard University students who created the social media phenomenon Facebook. Three Oscars went to the film, including Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay to Aaron Sorkin. The movie has a 96% rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, whose Critics Consensus calls the film a “riveting, ambitious example of modern filmmaking at its finest.”