The 100 best movies of the decade

(Image credit: Future)

Movies have changed drastically over the last decade. When 2010 began, only comic-book geeks knew who the Avengers were. In 2019, the superhero team are the namesake of the highest-grossing movie of all time. With the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come the rise of franchises in general. Star Wars returned, as did Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters, Men in Black, Planet of the Apes, Terminator, and Mad Max. Universal tried to launch their own Monsters Universe, and Warner Bros likewise failed to bring their planned King Arthur series to fruition.

What hasn't changed over the last 10 years is the quality of movies. Never before has there been such an array of diverse stories being told on screen, with LGBTQ+ cinema blossoming and horror filmmakers scoring huge box office hits. To celebrate, the Total Film team gathered together to create this list of the best 100 movies of the decade. Released over four issues of the magazine this past year, the list is now available here on GamesRadar+ for all to enjoy. So, without further ado, here are the best movies of the decade, as chosen by the Total Film team.

And don't forget to check out our picks for the decade's best TV and games too:

100. Once Upon A time… In Hollywood

(Image credit: Sony)

Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood
2019 | Director: Quentin Tarantino 

Quentin Tarantino taking on the Manson Murders? Many felt this 1969-set tale was in poor taste... before they saw it. It instead emerged as a heartfelt love letter to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie, luminous) and Golden Age Hollywood as it entwined the fictional fate of fading TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) with the tragic destiny of the rising starlet. Tarantino's most emotional since Jackie Brown; his best since Kill Bill: Vol. 1. Jamie Graham 

(Image credit: Vice Films)

99. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
2014 | Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

This decade saw a rise in female-directed horror movies – standouts include The Babadook, Honeymoon and Raw – but it was this Iranian vampire western that most mesmerised. With its throbbing monochrome images and tremulous guitar soundtrack, it's scary and sexy, as a vampire cloaked in a chador (Sheila Vand) lures men to their deaths. Debut director Amirpour poured new blood from old bottles, melding Lynch, Jarmusch, spaghetti westerns, '50s teen movies and more. Jamie Graham

(Image credit: Fox Searchlight)

98. The Shape of Water
2017 | Director: Guillermo Del Toro

Musical. Thriller. Melodrama. Love story. Creature feature. Only Guillermo Del Toro could have so effectively gelled such a seemingly unwieldy mash-up of tones and genres in his Oscar-winning passion project. Much magic was generated through the relationship between Sally Hawkins' mute cleaner and an amphibious humanoid creature (Doug Jones), but every character was treated with empathy and the film overruns with feeling. A masterclass in turning the unique into the universal. Matt Maytum

(Image credit: Anapurna)

97. Booksmart
2019 | Director: Olivia Wilde

It might have shared its potty mouth and penchant for gross-out, but Olivia Wilde's barnstorming directorial debut was much more than a feminist Superbad. Following two likeable nerds as they belatedly decide it's time they became too cool for school, Booksmart found the perfect pair in Beanie Feldstein's gobby Molly and Kaitlyn Dever's introverted Amy. Smartly reconfiguring teen- movie tropes (the bad-trip Barbies are a hoot), it set a new standard for the modern high-school movie. Chris Schilling

(Image credit: Disney)

96. Senna
2010 |Director: Asif Kapadia 

You didn't need to be a petrolhead to enjoy this fascinating portrait of Brazilian Formula One star Ayrton Senna, thrillingly brought back to life 16 years on from his death with the help of vast reams of previously unseen footage and touching testimonies from those who loved him. Amy and Diego Maradona saw Kapadia repeat the same trick, with arguably more finesse. For pulse-racing, adrenal chutzpah, though, Senna takes pole. Neil Smith

95. Attack The Block

(Image credit: Film4)

Year: 2011 | Director: Joe Cornish

British sci-fi tends to revolve around Doctor Who, so when Joe Cornish's teenagers versus aliens tale arrived, roaring out the block(s), it felt box-fresh. Setting it on a south London housing estate added a dose of kitchen sink realism, while the black spiky creatures were genuinely scary. Factor in future Star Wars star John Boyega and a pre-Tardis Jodie Whittaker and this urban comedy- horror was way ahead of the curve. James Mottram

(Image credit: Memento Films)

94. BPM
2017 | Director: Robin Campillo

Inspired by Robin Campillo's time as a member of '90s activist group Act Up Paris, this hard-hitting, chest-swelling drama was propelled by lived-in performances by Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and Arnaud Valois as protestors fighting state apathy regarding the Aids crisis. Searing in its condemnation of authoritarian negligence, 120 BPM hit where it hurt during its emotional high points while uncovering the joyful camaraderie of its tight-knit LGBTQ+ community. Josh Winning

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93. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
2010 | Director: Edgar Wright

Whatever the MCU has achieved, nothing has come closer to a true "comic-book movie" than Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Blurring the lines between the panel and the screen, Edgar Wright went to Hollywood and took his amphetamine arcade style with him – levelling up the indie comedy genre with a barrage of roundhouse teenage kicks. It bombed at the box office, of course, but that's all part of the charm now. Paul Bradshaw

(Image credit: DNA Films)

92. Dredd
2012 | Director: Pete Travis

Long after Stallone's diet-Dredd violated helmet laws, Travis and writer Alex Garland gave 2000AD's neo-fascist Judge, jury and executioner the tight, hard and stylishly brutal treatment he deserved. As every opportunity for morally shady, drug-enhanced violence is extravagantly indulged, the tower-block lock-down set-up brooks no plot flab. Karl Urban clearly got the memo with his ego-free title-turn, while Lena Headey banked a sado-villain for the ages in Ma-Ma. Sequel, please? Kevin Harley

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

91. Mother
2017 | Director: Darren Aronofsky

Following Biblical epic Noah, Aronofsky returned to questions of faith with this divisive fever dream as J-Law's house was invaded by outsiders worshipping her poet husband Javier Bardem. Containing possibly the single most upsetting sound effect of the decade (clue: snap), the escalating panic, religious symbolism and sexualised violence prompted walkouts from some, but for those tuning into the Possession-like madness, it was an exhilarating discourse on the dark heart of man. Tim Coleman

90. Youth

(Image credit: Film4)

Year: 2015 | Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Grand themes of age, beauty, love and mortality came into play in Sorrentino's second English-language film which centred on two old pals, a retired composer and an active filmmaker (played by Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, respectively), on holiday at a Swiss spa. Composed of beautiful shots, tender performances and a heart-wrenching score, Youth is more melancholy opus than movie. Hanna Flint

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89. The Wailing
2016 | Director: Na Hong-Jin

With its slow-creeping dread, echoes of The Exorcist, and disarmingly goofy sense of humour, this South Korean genre- blender (but let's call it horror) took your standard ghost-zombie-infection storyline and turned it into a genuinely epic fable unlike anything else made this decade. Kwak Do-won endeared as the bumbling cop attempting to save his daughter, while director Na Hong-jin charted his descent into hell with visual flare. Magnificent. Josh Winning

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88. Sicario
2015 | Director: Denis Villeneuve

It would have been a great thriller in anyone's hands, but Denis Villeneuve turned Sicario into something much more than the sum of its perfectly assembled parts. Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro have never been better, Roger Deakins' cinematography is Biblically bleak and the sound design still rings in the ears, but it's Villeneuve's assault on our nerves that hit hardest – with dread turning to tension like little else before or since. Paul Bradshaw

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87. Brooklyn
2015 | Director: John Crowley

Saoirse Ronan's elevation from prodigiously talented child star to fully fledged leading lady was triumphantly confirmed by this affecting drama about a young immigrant torn between her new life in America and the ties that bind her to small- town Ireland. Domhnall Gleeson and Emory Cohen impressed as her transatlantic beaus, while Julie Walters was a landlady to treasure. Yet only Ronan could have made such a quiet story resound so powerfully. Neil Smith

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86. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
2018 | Director: Christopher McQuarrie

McQuarrie became the first person to direct two Mission: Impossible movies, and outdid himself in the process. Defying gravity (and the laws of diminishing returns), he and Tom Cruise reunited for the sixth (and yes, best) M:I movie so far. Bringing back characters from Ethan Hunt's past to boost the emotional impact, and throwing in a superb antagonist in Henry Cavill's moustachioed Walker, Fallout delivered standout set-piece after standout set-piece. The only problem is, how will McQ & Cruise top it in the next two instalments? Matt Maytum

85. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

(Image credit: disney/LucasFilm)

Year: 2017 | Director: Rian Johnson

After Star Wars: The Force Awakens eased us cosily back into the Skywalker saga, Rian Johnson boldly yanked the comfort blanket away, with Luke himself re-emerging not as a twinkly Obi-Wan type, more Uncle Owen 2.0, scratchy and anti-Jedi. Some fans (and bots) took umbrage, yet Johnson set out not to kill Star Wars' past, but to question and explore it in rigorously thoughtful fashion. "Beautifully made," was George Lucas' verdict, and who are we to argue? Matthew Leyland

(Image credit: StudioCanal)

84. Paddington 2
2017 | Director: Paul King

In a decade of national turmoil, one bear was a beacon of Britishness. Paul King's follow-up to his 2014 crowdpleaser doubled down on the charm as Paddington's quest to get Aunt Lucy a birthday present landed him in the slammer. With grade-A script work from Simon Farnaby and a stellar cast including Hugh Grant's delicious baddie and Brendan Gleeson's cuddly crim, the result was a disarming delight of heart-rending kindness. Tim Coleman

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83. Leave No trace
2018| Director: Debra Granik

Perhaps the Academy's most scandalous snub in recent times, Debra Granik's low-key drama about a father and daughter living off the grid may have dropped off Oscar's radar, but stole plenty of hearts besides. Making the urban feel alien, Granik brilliantly brought us onside with these outsiders. Between Ben Foster's tamped-down trauma and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie's innocent inquisitiveness, her film delivered a heartfelt portrait of two people seeking different kinds of escape. Chris Schilling

(Image credit: Pinehouse Films)

82. Burning
2018 | Director: Lee Chang-Dong

Haruki Murakami's work hasn't always translated well from page to screen, but that all changed with Lee Chang-dong's wonderfully languid – slow-Burning, if you will – neo-noir. Smouldering quietly before catching fire in its final act, Lee's film offered a captivating, enigmatic study in obsession, male desire and class envy, with a trio of terrific central performances – particularly Steven Yeun's against-type turn as a smirking sociopath. Chris Schilling

(Image credit: RatPack/Dune Entertainment)

81. Inherent Vice
2014 | Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson's masterful adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 'unfilmable' stoner-noir novel left many befuddled and bemused, as it should. Repeat viewings clear the fug that's deliberately engendered by the wacky (baccy) tale of a shambolic PI, Larry 'Doc' Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), who investigates the disappearance of his former girlfriend Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston) only to find his country is lost and broken-hearted, too. A work of great mirth and greater melancholy. Jamie Graham

80. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia

(Image credit: Turkish Radio and Television Corporation)

Year: 2011 | Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Police procedurals don't ever come like this. Turkish auteur Ceylan's ensemble about men searching for a buried body in the Anatolian steppes reeks of atmos. Set across one long night, as the camera probes the equally craggy faces and landscapes, the result is a profound look at truth, beauty, ugliness and pain. Inspired by Leone and Chekhov, the terrain has never seemed so bleak. James Mottram

(Image credit: Cirko Film)

79. The Turin Horse
2011 | Director: Béla Tarr

An old man (János Derzsi) and his daughter (Erika Bók) go about their day-to-day tasks over a week-long period as the wind howls outside their desolate shack, and their horse refuses to eat. That was about it for Tarr's mesmerising ninth feature, a black- and-white parable set in the 19th Century and consisting of just 30 shots in 155 minutes. "An experience of exaltation," enthused the New York Times. Jamie Graham

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78. A Quiet Place
2018 | Director: John Krasinski

Krasinski proved he was more than 'Jim from The Office' when he directed and starred in this powerfully affecting sci-fi horror. Teamed with real-life wife Emily Blunt, the multi-hyphenate (he also co-wrote) made lethally effective work of a potentially hokey premise – a family must stay silent to survive the sound-seeking aliens wiping out humanity – and proved as confident with the pin-drop set-pieces as the emotionally charged moments. Great monsters, too. Matt Maytum

(Image credit: New Line)

77. Before Midnight
2013 | Director: Richard Linklater

Nine years after Jesse and Celine were reunited in Paris (nine years after they met in Vienna), we caught up with them again in Greece, parents to twin girls. The future hadn't quite turned out as they might have imagined in their lovestruck youth. Stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy vitalised the film with their achingly believable chemistry, and shared an Oscar nom with Linklater as co-writers. Matt Maytum

(Image credit: Paramount)

76. The Wolf of Wall Street
2013 | Director: Martin Scorsese

Wall Street player Jordan Belfort's outrageous memoir of money, drugs, girls and, well, more money, got the big-budget Scorsese treatment in this exhilarating study of capitalism at its most out of control. Leonardo DiCaprio shone as Belfort and Jonah Hill brought the funnies, while then-newcomer Margot Robbie stole every scene she was in as Belfort's better half. Undoubtedly the most fun Scorsese's had in the cinema in years, it's deliriously entertaining. James Mottram

75. Monsters

(Image credit: Universal)

Year: 2010 | Director: Gareth Edwards

Nuneaton lad Edwards grew up on a diet of Spielberg and Lucas, and his $500,000 debut, a road movie/love story set six years after an alien invasion, throbs with the kind of wonder that those movie brats made their stock in trade. Monsters is most of all a human story (leads Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able are ace), but the tentacular creatures inspire awe. Not bad considering Edwards birthed them on his laptop. Jamie Graham

(Image credit: Opus Films)

74. Ida
2013 | Director: Pawel Pawlikowski 

Carved out of the traditions of Polish cinema, this artful tale of a novice nun digging into her past manages so much in its 82-minute running time. Stark black-and-white cinematography and spot-on production design spirits audiences back to 1962, while Agata Trzebuchowska and Agata Kulesza are tremendous as the nun and her aunt, on the quirkiest of road trips as Pawlikowski boldly explores Catholicism and anti-Semitism in his native country. James Mottram

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73. The Great Beauty
2013 | Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Sorrentino echoed Fellini without suffering by comparison with his symphony of high-life ennui. A dapper Toni Servillo nailed its slick, soulful measure as 65-year-old Jep, a likeable libertine and lapsed novelist who glides from profane parties to sacred spots in grief-haunted existential freefall. DoP Luca Bigazzi's intoxicating images swooned in sympathy, braiding eye candy with sun-soaked melancholy. Raving against the dying of the light rarely looked so lush, or cut so deep. Kevin Harley

(Image credit: Journeyman Pictures)

72. Beasts of the Southern Wild
2012 | Director: Benh Zeitlin

Social realism presented as dystopian fantasy, Zeitlin's debut feature, a response to Hurricane Katrina, packed a serious emotional punch. Quvenzhané Wallis rightly earned an Oscar nom playing Hushpuppy, a six year old on a journey to find her mother while dealing with the decline of her tough-love father's health. The use of non-actor Louisiana natives brought a brilliant authenticity to this divisive yet tender Americana tale of family, resilience and survival. Hanna Flint

71. Cold War

(Image credit: BFI/Film4)

Year: 2018 | Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

A pianist and a singer fall in love on both sides of the Iron Curtain in a haunting romance that earned its director an unanticipated yet richly deserved Oscar nomination. Spanning 15 years and filmed in luminous black and white, the result not only turned Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot into arthouse stars but also introduced the world to the majesty of Poland's mesmerising musical heritage. A Polish film with extra polish. Neil Smith

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.