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The 100 best movies of the decade

70. Thor: Ragnarok

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Year: 2017 | Director: Taika Waititi

The God of Thunder finally found his tone in his third solo outing – somewhere between the earnest mythology of the first two and the sci-fi goofiness of Guardians Of The Galaxy. Thor was always at his best when he was allowed to play it for laughs, and Taika Waititi's neon-washed ode to serial sci-fi gave him the perfect stand-up stage... in an alien space arena, right in front of a giant hologram of Jeff Goldblum. Paul Bradshaw

(Image credit: Netflix)

69. Roma
2018 | Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Set in Mexico City in the early 1970s, Cuarón's autobiographical tale gave us a year in the life of a middle-class family, focusing on maid Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio). Shot in glorious monochrome and boasting next-level sound design, this Netflix title demanded to be seen in cinemas, by all. "These were wounds I shared with many people in Mexico," said Cuarón. "They are wounds shared by humanity." Jamie Graham

(Image credit: Pixar/Disney)

68. Coco
2017 |Director: Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina

In a decade where it relied rather too heavily on cash-cow sequels, Pixar showed it could still knock us for six with this visually ravishing postcard from the afterlife. Inspired by Mexico's Day of the Dead festivities, this tale of a young boy (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) obsessed with a fabled guitarrista packed heart, humour and heroism into every macabre frame – and it managed to beat The Greatest Showman to the Best Song Oscar. Neil Smith

(Image credit: Film 4)

67. 12 Years A Slave
2013 | Director: Steve McQueen

Based on the real-life horrors that befell Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped from Washington DC in 1841 and sold into slavery, McQueen's devastating biopic saw the artist-turned-director break through from indie acclaim (Hunger, Shame) to Oscar success. Unblinkingly brutal in its portrayal of plantation life, Chiwetel Ejiofor's shattering performance offered an insider's view of one of the cruellest chapters in modern American history. Tim Coleman

(Image credit: Kick the Machine)

66. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
2010 | Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

After the trippy wonders of Tropical Malady and Syndromes And A Century, Thai free-thinker Apichatpong Weerasethakul's fever-dream of animism, reincarnation and lewd catfish spun wondrous twists on his whacked-out mystique. A man close to death revisits his past lives in the country; loved ones and 'monkey ghosts' join him. Odd though it sounds, the result emerged as a mesmerising, moving and slyly amusing play on slow-burn cinema, alchemised for sublime returns. Kevin Harley

65. Guardians of the Galaxy

(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Year: 2014 | Director: James Gunn

They said it wouldn't work, but boy did director James Gunn (also on co-writing duty) prove them wrong with this deliriously Technicolor deep-space excursion for Marvel, complete with talking raccoon and sentient tree. Setting up much of the MCU's Phase 3 arc, it also boasted a hero-making turn from Chris Pratt as intergalactic Indiana Jones Peter Quill ("It's Star-Lord, man"), Zoe Saldana vs Karen Gillan, and an effortlessly cool mix-tape OST (Bowie, Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye). All together now, "Ooga-chaka ooga-ooga ooga-chaka..." Josh Winning

(Image credit: Film4)

64. The Favourite
2018 | Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

The decade delivered a slew of female-led, regal dramas but none quite so deliciously impressive as Lanthimos' deadpan comedy about 18th Century monarch Queen Anne and the two ladies she favoured most. As Anne, Olivia Colman was on heartbreaking, hilarious and Oscar-winning form, while Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone's ruthless machinations as Sarah and Abigail, respectively, were a delight to watch. Not since Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006) has a period movie felt so modern. Hanna Flint

(Image credit: New Line)

63. Birdman
2014 | Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Iñárritu's exhilarating Oscar- winner was a wonder of execution, boasting meticulously planned tracking shots filmed (partly) around New York's St. James Theatre by DoP maestro Emmanuel Lubezki. But it also wowed as a showbiz satire, led by a soul-baring Michael Keaton as fading star Riggan Thomson, still tormented by the titular superhero he once played. A visceral, vital exploration of mental illness, with Emma Stone and Edward Norton among the sizzling support. James Mottram

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

62. The Artist
2011 | Director: Michel Hazanavicius

Charming audiences and critics alike, Hazanavicius' love letter to silent cinema hoovered up all the awards and delivered one of the decade's top dog performances to boot. Meticulously replicating the tropes of silent melodrama (original Academy ratio 1.33:1; intertitles), the tale is equally timeless, as ailing movie star Valentin (Jean Dujardin) falls for up-and-comer Peppy (Bérénice Bejo), his career waning with the advent of talkies even as hers is taking off. Tim Coleman

(Image credit: StudioCanal)

61. Inside Llewyn Davis
2013 | Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Looking like a Bob Dylan cover come to freewheelin' life, Inside Llewyn Davis saw the Coens step away from whimsy and take a more melancholic look at the myth of Greenwich Village, in a rare film about starving artists that actually makes them seem hungry. A period piece with an uncanny sense of modern mood, a comedy that feels tragic, and a real-life musical full of made-up songs, it stands as one of the most deftly told fables in the Coens' catalogue. Paul Bradshaw

60. The Lobster

(Image credit: Film4)

Year: 2015| Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

A dystopian romance that injected its allegorical tale about the brutality of dating with the blackest of humour. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz were on deadpan form as the singletons under threat of being transformed into animals if they couldn't find a partner. They were the heart of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos' English-language debut. Absurd, but with real tenderness. Ann Lee

(Image credit: Plan B Entertainment)

59. The Lost City of Z
Year: 2016| Director: James Gray

From Good Time to High Life to Maps To The Stars, Robert Pattinson's post-Twilight career choices have been thrillingly unpredictable. Witness his boozy, beardy performance as explorer Henry Costin in this recreation of Percy Fawcett's attempt to find El Dorado, an epic adventure conveyed with affecting humanity in James Gray's classy period piece. Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller and Tom Holland padded out its Brit-heavy ensemble. Neil Smith

(Image credit: Marvel)

58. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2014 | Director: Anthony and Joe Russo

How do you solve a problem like Captain Earnest? By plunging his resolute patriotism into the genre world of a '70s-style political-paranoia movie, complete with corridors of corruption and Robert Redford. Using drone warfare nods to modernise the retro-murk, the Russos also refuelled the MCU's post-Dark World momentum. Chris Evans/Scarlett Johansson's banter anchored the conspiracies in character chemistry. Kevin Harley

(Image credit: BFI/Film4)

57. You Were Never Really Here
2017 | Director: Lynne Ramsay

Jonathan Ames' brutally spare same-titled novella was faithfully adapted with bonus pockets of poetry by Scottish director Lynne Ramsay. It gave Joaquin Phoenix one of his best roles yet, as traumatised veteran Joe, who tracks down missing girls for a living - usually while wielding a hammer. Taxi Driver comparisons were there for the taking, but this soiled, soulful drama featured staccato rhythms, and occupied a damaged headspace all of its own. Jamie Graham

(Image credit: Annapurna Pictures)

56. The Master
2012 | Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Another heavyweight turn from Joaquin Phoenix, playing another damaged veteran - his Freddie Quell arrives home from World War 2 feeling discombobulated and disturbed, then gravitates towards Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the leader of The Cause. Director Paul Thomas Anderson naturally denied it, but The Master surely riffed on Scientology to embark on an emotional and psychological journey sure to, well, discombobulate and disturb. Jamie Graham

55. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

(Image credit: Sony)

Year: 2018 | Directors: Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti, Rodney Rothman

We thought we didn't need another Spidey. Turns out we needed several. With support from producers Lord and Miller (The Lego Movie), Ramsey, Persichetti and Rothman were emboldened to take risks. The result: a glorious hymn to creative possibility. The story's multiverse-smashing 'whatiffery' was matched by graphical boldness and deft juggling between action and comedy. Simon Kinnear

(Image credit: Film4)

54. Shame
2011 | Director: Steve McQueen

Reuniting after IRA drama Hunger, McQueen and Michael Fassbender delivered a searing portrait of sexual addiction. The Fass' Big Apple bachelor Brandon is pure damaged goods, but McQueen finds poetry and poignancy in his internal agonies – notably when Carey Mulligan's torch singer sister turns up for a slow-burn rendition of 'New York, New York'. As McQueen noted, it got right under Fass' skin. "I think he went a bit doolally!" James Mottram

(Image credit: Disney/Pixar)

53. Toy Story 3
2010 | Director: Lee Unkrich

The first two Toy Story films are nigh on perfect, so expectations – and anxieties - were high when Pixar's threequel came out to play. Joy of joys, then, that this trilogy closer (as it was then) more than delivered, both as riotous prison-break movie and Citizen Kane-like meditation on childhood's end, with Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and gang escaping daycare lockdown to return to Andy before he leaves for college, and adulthood. Sob. Tim Coleman

(Image credit: Film4)

52. Four Lions
2010 | Director: Chris Morris

Morris utilised his brand of satirical black humour to tell the story of Islamic radicalism through the inept actions of three British-Pakistani jihadis from Sheffield. In a breakthrough turn, Riz Ahmed commanded respect and empathy, despite his straight-man character Omar's terrorist plot, while Kayvan Novak, Nigel Lindsay and Adeel Akhtar demanded your laughter at every idiotic turn. An explosive comedy that humanises the realities of extremism better than most dramas. Hanna Flint

(Image credit: A24)

51. Moonlight
2016 | Director: Barry Jenkins

Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes worked understated magic charting the youth, adolescence and adulthood of Chiron, a Miami native neglected by his drug-addict mother (Naomie Harris) and part-raised by a kindly drug dealer (Mahershala Ali, exceptional). Adapting Tarell Alvin McCraney's play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, director Barry Jenkins peeled back the many layers of black masculinity to emotional effect, sensitively handling Chiron's homosexuality to deliver a drama full of hurt and tentative hope. Josh Winning

50. Room

(Image credit: Film4)

Year: 2015 | Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Based on Emma Donoghue's novel about a Josef Fritzl-esque crime, the plot of Room reads as unbearably bleak: Ma (Brie Larson, bagging an Oscar) and Jack (Jacob Tremblay) are imprisoned in a 10ft- by-10ft space, held captive by "Old Nick" (Sean Bridgers), who enslaved Ma years ago into sexual servitude. But Abrahamson's film found the grace notes as Larson sheltered her son to preserve his childhood while dreaming of a life without walls. Tim Coleman

(Image credit: Eon pictures)

49. Skyfall
2012 | Director: Sam Mendes

Four years on from Quantum Of So-Lame, Sam Mendes got the Bonds back on track with a thrilling, ambitious instalment that proved a fitting accompaniment to 007's 50th anniversary. Daringly dripping with intimations of obsolescence, decrepitude and death, the 23rd (official) Bond had Daniel Craig face both his strongest adversary to date (a shamelessly scene-stealing Javier Bardem) and the grinding horror of the London Underground. It also killed off M. Neil Smith

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

48. The Dark Knight Rises
2012 | Director: Christopher Nolan

Nolan calls Rises the "historical epic" of the Dark Knight movies. The trilogy-capper feels like a relic from a time when superhero sagas were allowed definitive endings, the finality amplifying the dramatic heft. Batman faces his most physically challenging opponent yet – Tom Hardy's loquacious Bane – and the sense of stakes and sacrifice are keenly outlined in Christian Bale's farewell to the cowl: Rises is as much about the feels as the thrills. Matt Maytum

(Image credit: FilmNation)

47. Looper
2012 | Director: Rian Johnson

The gig that got Johnson The Last Jedi, Looper blends dangerous DIY time travel, assassin subcultures and burgeoning superpowers so that it feels like three (great) films for the price of one. Johnson doesn't skimp on indelible imagery: young assassins ritualistically executing their future selves, a man falling apart in front of your eyes as he's tortured in the past, and who can forget Joseph Gordon-Levitt's dodgy prosthetic nose? Ahem. Even Bruce Willis brings his A-game – a rare sign of quality. Jordan Farley

(Image credit: Arte)

46. Nocturama
2016 | Director: Bertrand Bonello

Bertrand Bonello's nihilistic thriller followed a gang of hipster terrorists from successful Paris bombings to post-attack hideout in a luxury department store. What are they rebelling against? As Marlon Brando once replied, "What have you got?" Nocturama so confused distributors it was smuggled straight onto Netflix without a UK cinema release. But Bonello's disturbing vision of millennial malaise demands attention for its provocative lashing together of surreal satire and designer style. Simon Kinnear

45. Columbus

(Image credit: Sundance Institute)

Year: 2017 | Director: Kogonada

Video essayist Kogonada's confident feature debut gave us one of the decade's most appealing pairings. As two strangers discussing life, architecture and the picturesque Indiana town of the title, John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson delivered revelatory performances: Cho relaxing his comedic chops to emerge as a leading man of real warmth, and the effervescent Richardson sparkling in a star-making display. A masterpiece of restraint. Chris Schilling

(Image credit: BFI)

44. American Honey
2016 | Director: Andrea Arnold

How anyone could make a film this good and then be locked out the cutting room of Big Little Lies S2 is a mystery/disgrace. Brit helmer Arnold transports viewers to a long hot summer in the American Midwest, as teenager Star (Sasha Lane) joins a travelling magazine crew to work hard and party harder. A wind-in-your-hair snapshot of impoverished America: think Larry Clark and Harmony Korine by way of Wim Wenders' US road movie Paris, Texas. Jamie Graham

(Image credit: Canal+)

43. Carlos
2010 | Director: Olivier Assayas

Released as both a miniseries and a movie, Assayas' staggering five-and-a-half-hour drama about Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal is a masterful study of one man's impact on geo-politics and world history. In a career-making role, Édgar Ramírez shines as Carlos, but it's the sheer scope of the globe-trotting, decades-spanning film – made for just $18 million – that truly impresses. Forensically researched, it's unquestionably the most ambitious French film of the decade. James Mottram

(Image credit: New Line)

42. The Revenant
2015 | Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Tough to watch, even tougher to make. Every frame of Iñárritu's ferocious frontier survival epic bore the frost-bitten fingerprints of a crew that had put themselves through the wringer in the remote Canadian wilderness. The result is the kind of film that makes most others look like they're not really trying. It might have almost killed Leonardo DiCaprio, but at least he finally got an Oscar out of it (as did Iñárritu and DoP Emmanuel Lubezki). Paul Bradshaw

41. Eighth Grade

(Image credit: A24)

Year: 2018 | Director: Bo Burnham

YouTuber-turned-comedian Burnham became the first filmmaker to successfully wrestle with the mental health of the Instagram generation in Eighth Grade – an achievement that's exponentially more impressive considering it's the writer/ director's debut feature. Burnham works wonders capturing the voice of 13-year-old Kayla Day, but the film hinges on Elsie Fisher, whose empathic performance comes from a place of poignant emotional honesty. Jordan Farley

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, New Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Jack Shepherd. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.