The Top 10 Films Of 2000With 2015 upon us, we figured it was a good time to look back on the movies the millennium has brought us. And so we’ve dug into the archives and are re-running our Best of the 2000s pieces, from way back in 2009 when the Playlist was a little Blogspot site held together with tape and string. Each list runs down the top 10 films of each year starting today,with 2000 (it’s also very possible that, half-a-decade on, we’d put them in a different order and even change some of the list, but we wanted to preserve the original pieces untouched as far as possible). The original piece follows below, and thanks to staffers past and present who contributed.

So here we begin, with the year 2000, the start of the 21st century, when everyone was finally over pre-millennium tension, Y2K and other-made up nonsense by the press trying to describe some sort of global anxiety or malaise. Film was not in a bad place. After years of the Academy rewarding chum like “Forrest Gump” (over “Pulp Fiction” or “The Shawshank Redemption“) or playing it safe, (“Braveheart“), the Academy was finally wising up and awarding a dark suburban drama, “American Beauty” the 2000 Best Picture Oscar winner (released in 1999). And after several coveted nominations and a few key Grand Jury prize awards, in 2000, Lars Von Trier would finally win the Palme d’Or for his harrowing musical, “Dancer In The Dark.” It seemed, at least momentarily, good cinema was finding the credit that was due. Below, our ten best of films of 2000.

null10. “Requiem for a Dream”
More horror story than after school special, Darren Aronofsky’s lightning bolt drug nightmare concerns four individuals barely clinging onto hope in 1980s Coney Island. Pitched at a heightened reality and littered with moments of crippling existential torment, this Hubert Selby Jr. adaptation still carries its visceral punch years later as a portrayal of how close ordinary people can be to the abyss. Without a single dormant moment, the volatility of the camera is countered by a set of unsettling performances we spent years divorcing the actors from, particularly Ellen Burstyn, now forever huddled behind the couch, watching for that refrigerator. Another highlight is the oppressive Clint Mansell score, which perversely became the defacto accompaniment to a series of action movie trailers.

Almost Famous9. “Almost Famous”
Director Cameron Crowe mined his real life experiences on the road with bands like Led Zeppelin as inspiration for this classic-rock coming-of-age tale. Set in 1973, an aspiring high school reporter cons his way into a gig with Rolling Stone magazine and goes on the road with an up-and-coming rock band. With an all-time great soundtrack (featuring Led Zep’s first legally sanctioned film tunes), stellar performances from the likes of a young Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Philip Seymour Hoffman (a phenomenal rendering of rock critic Lester Bangs), Frances McDormand, and more “I forgot they were in this movie too” moments (Zooey Deschanel, Anna Paquin, Jimmy Fallon, Rainn Wilson), it’s tough not to fall in love with this drug-fueled look back at the golden age of rock and roll. Plus the “Untitled‘ director’s cut (a meaty 2 hours and 42 minutes) is even better.

Amores Perros8. “Amores Perros”
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s epic triptych of the tale of lives connected by a violent Mexico City car wreck was a festival darling and Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Film, and heralded the arrival of neo-Mexican cinema, along with Alfonso Cuaron‘s “Y Tu Mama Tambien” (both starring Gael Garcia Bernal). But, while “Y Tu Mama Tambien” is a fun, sexy romp, “Amores Perros” is a searing, visceral kick straight to the solar plexus. The film veers from adrenaline-fueled car chases and dog fights to the walls of a luxury apartment where a lost terrier drives an injured model to the brink of insanity, to the street life of the vagrant hitman El Chivo — allowing the viewer to peer into the darkest depths of human love, loss and pain. Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography sets the gold standard for the hyperrealistic, gritty style that has influenced both indie auteurs and Hollywood films since. As the original title suggests, in a classic double entendre, love is, indeed, a bitch.

  • Willy

    Crazy idea: put them all in a list on the same page.

  • Matthew Cafaro

    It\’s unfortunate that the singularly most raw, honest romantic film of the decade doesn\’t even garner an honorable mention, as many people tend to forget about it.

    Before Sunset is not only the continuation of the "Before" series started with Before Sunrise, but as good as that first film was, it doesn\’t have an ounce of the maturity and regret Before Sunset does.

    Before Sunrise is, like its 20-something protagonists, a bit up it\’s own ass at times.

    Before Sunset is a brutally honest look at the lives of 30-something adults who\’ve lived lives of compromise and settling for what they have instead of trying for what they want or need. The anguish in Delpy\’s face and voice during that taxi ride towards the end of the film makes me want to cry, and Hawke\’s gradual realization that he even though his life is perfectly fine by normal standards, he wanted so much more makes you want to reevaluate your own life.

    As good as Boyhood is, I believe Before Sunset is Linklater\’s best film. Before Midnight has its own place, as its the film that shows you what happens "after" the moment in the romance film, where the leads come together at the end of the film, and it is also honest and raw.

    But Before Sunset is the best of the bunch, and if not the best film from the 2000s, then in the top-10 for sure.


    "Requiem For A Dream" was The WORST Film of 2000!!!

    "Wonder Boys" was The BEST Film of 2000!!! It was ROBBED of a Best Picture nomination and Michael Douglas was ROBBED of a Best Actor nomination in one of the all-time WORST all-around Oscar races!!!

    And…"American Beauty" was The WORST Film of 1999 and one of the WORST Best Picture winners of ALL TIME!!!

  • MishuPishu

    Love this exercise! So many good films to remember or check out if we haven\’t seen them. Before Night Falls is an absolute delight. And both Ratcather and Jesus\’ Son are a feast for the eyes. No dialogue necessary. Simply beautiful films.

  • Naes

    So many good movies from 2000, My films – Top ten 2000 2001 2002
    1. Almost Famous 2. Requiem for a Dream
    3. Battle Royale
    4. Memento 5. Gladiator
    6. Yi Yi 7. The Filth and the Fury
    8. Chopper
    9. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
    10. O Brother Where Art Thou. Also loved In the Mood for Love, Dark Days, the circle, Amores Perros and American Psycho

  • PhotographicAmnesia

    The reality is whatever year you consider it\’s release date I would put it in the top 10

  • PhotographicAmnesia

    CIRKUSFOLK-Memento was released in European theaters starting in October 2000. Yes it was released in the U.S on Jan 20 2001. So I stick with my argument that it belongs on the top 10 of 2000. But I see your point as well 🙂

  • Nathan Duke

    Not to be that guy, but I think \’In the Mood for Love\’ was actually released in the U.S. in 2001. It\’d make me list either year. My picks for 2000: Almost Famous, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Traffic, You Can Count On Me, Requiem for a Dream, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Beau Travail, Dancer in the Dark, American Psycho, Nurse Betty. Also very good: Wonder Boys, Yi Yi.

  • Rob

    Billy Elliot in the top 5 for me

  • Steve Mesa

    1) Requiem for a Dream 2) Traffic 3) Gladiator 4) Snatch 5) Almost Famous 6) Dancer in the Dark 7) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 8) O Brother, Where Art Thou? 9) Beyond the Mat 10) Before Night Falls

  • Jimbo

    Wonder Boys is definitely worth a rematch. It has a beautiful, wistful, almost elegiac tone, and superb performances from Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr and Katie Holmes. Exquisitely formed. I like it more and more every time I see it.

  • Dan


  • Steven

    Wait a minute, "Ratcatcher" came out in 1999. Not 2000.

  • buddy

    Michael, this is the best films of the year 2000, not the 2000s.

  • cirkusfolk

    To the people who keep mentioning Memento…it\’s technically a 2001 film, so stop.

  • Eric


  • Michael

    There Will Be Blood definitely deserves a spot on this list. Also The Tree of Life.

    Maybe also Pans Labyrinth?

  • Maximus

    No love for Gladiator, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or Memento?

  • Jorge Clooneigh

    IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE is, as you say, a masterpiece. It\’s hard to believe one of the best films ever made could still be so young.

    This list is actually pretty good, although I do agree that Andrew Dominik\’s CHOPPER is worth a relook.

  • wtf

    This list is a joke. Almost famous over something like Mulholland Dr. I have no respect for the movie taste of the people who made this.

  • Jonathan

    In the Mood for Love
    O Brother, Where Are Thou?
    Cast Away
    Almost Famous
    You Can Count on Me
    Erin Brockovich
    High Fidelity

  • PhotographicAmnesia

    I was floored by Amores Perros when I saw it. Would be in my top 5 for sure. Glad to be reminded to see Before Night Falls. Completely forgot about this one. Javier Bardem will be one of the hall of fame legends among cinema titans when his days in front of the camera have ended. If he\’s not already. And of course Johnny Depp when he still did movies like Fear and Loathing or Ed Wood instead of all the fools gold of the Hollywood machine he takes to the bank. (Then again I thought Private Resort was hilarious too so maybe Im not the best judge-INSERT face in hands and ashamed here) BUT HOW THE HECK MOMENTO DOESN\’T BEAT OUT ALMOST FAMOUS IS BEYOND ME.

  • B

    Happy to see BEAU TRAVAIL on there. I would add Varda\’s THE GLEANERS AND I, no question.

  • `In the Mood for Love` definately tops my list. It was an instant classic!


  • cranly

    An alternate list for those looking to be challenged: \’Werckmeister Harmonies\’ – Bela Tarr; \’The Gleaners and I\’ – Agnes Varda; \’La Commune (Paris, 1871)\’ – Peter Watkins; \’The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him\’ – Stan Brakhage; \’Platform\’ – Jia Zhangke; \’La Captive\’ – Chantal Akerman; \’As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty\’ – Jonas Mekas; \’Mysterious Object at Noon\’ – Apichatpong Weerasethakul; \’The Circle\’ – Jafar Panahi; \’One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich\’ – Chris Marker

  • Wes

    1. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai)

    2. Werkmeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr)

    3. Yi Yi (Edward Yang)

    4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee)

    5. O Brother Where Art Thou? (Coen Bros)

    6. Memento (Christopher Nolan)

    7. Songs from the Second Floor (Roy Andersson)

    8. George Washington (David Gordon Green)

    9. Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe)

    10. Together (Lukas Moodysson)

    But I still haven\’t seen:
    Amores Perros (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)

    Chopper (Andrew Dominik)

  • cirkusfolk

    My list in no order, with most you didn\’t even mention: Snatch, Wonder Boys, Tigerland, You Can Count On Me, The Beach, American Psycho, Almost Famous, High Fidelity, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Family Man

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  • Sergei

    No love for American Psycho? Huh. I’d figure this site would be all about championing the work of a subversive work by a woman director on a notoriously controversial work from a male author.