The 40 Greatest Movies of the 21st Century

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Hollywood nowadays seems to favor superhero flicks and franchises. While many of these movies certainly receive good reviews, their strength lies more in their ability to draw people to theaters. Meanwhile, critically acclaimed movies are still being made — in Hollywood, as well as abroad. And you don’t have to look hard to find them.

To determine the 40 best movies of the 21st century, 24/7 Tempo developed an index based on several measures, including the movies’ IMDb ratings, Rotten Tomatoes audience scores, and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer scores. All ratings were weighted equally.

Though we are only one-fifth of the way through the 21st century, thousands of movies have already been released. Criminals, oil tycoons, schoolkids, lovers, dreamers, and athletes — they’re all here on our list of cinema’s best movies since 2000.

Some of these movies will be familiar to almost anyone, while others are more obscure but well worth discovering. For those seeking even lesser-known movies, here are the 40 best movies you’ve probably never seen.

To determine the best movies of the 21st century, 24/7 Tempo developed an index based on several measures from the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes. The index is a composite of the movies’ IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes audience score, and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score. All ratings were weighted equally. 

Only films with at least 25,000 reviews on IMDb, 5,000 audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and 10 Tomatometer critics reviews were considered. Data was collected mid-March 2021. 

Supplemental data on domestic box office and production budgets by movie came from industry data site the Numbers.