Another Controversial Decade List: IMDb's Top 25 Movies

December 27, 2009
Source: SlashFilm

The Dark Knight

With the decade ending in only four more days, these "best of the decade" lists are popping up all over. A few weeks ago we featured Metacritic's Best Reviewed of the Decade (it was Pan's Labyrinth) and last week we featured FlickChart's Top 20 of the Decade (The Dark Knight was #1). Now we have IMDb's Top 25 Movies of the Decade. This wasn't officially announced by IMDb, but Peter from SlashFilm compiled the list based on the user rating for each film. This is probably going to be controversial, as always, but because it's The Dark Knight as #1 once again, I think that's a sign that it may indeed be the best film of the decade.

IMDb's Top 25 Movies of the Decade:
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
2. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
3. City of God (2002)
4. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
5. Avatar (2009)
6. Memento (2000)
7. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
8. WALL-E (2008)
9. Amélie (2001)
10. The Departed (2006)
11. The Pianist (2002)
12. Spirited Away (2001)
13. The Lives of Others (2006)
14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
15. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
16. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
17. Up (2009)
18. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
19. The Prestige (2006)
20. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
21. Downfall (2004)
22. Gran Torino (2008)
23. Sin City (2005)
24. District 9 (2009)
25. Batman Begins (2005)

I know that a few of you are probably thinking: "Avatar?! How did it get one here?" Well, it only has 69,101 ratings so far, but believe it or not it is currently ranked that high. It'll probably move down the list once it receives more ratings, but I'm sure it'll still remain in the Top 25. Also it should be noted that Christopher Nolan is the only director to have four movies on this list, which pretty much makes him the "Director of the Decade." The problem with these Best of the Decade lists is that they're all subjective, but this list in particular, that's ranked by hundreds of thousands of moviegoers, might be the most accurate. Thoughts?

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The Dark Knight #1 😀

Victor on Dec 27, 2009


Not a bad list...I wasn't a huge fan of the LOTR trilogy but I don't mind too much seeing them so high up on the list.

Geoff on Dec 27, 2009


No surprise The Dark Knight is number 1, it should be. No No Country For Old Men?? Really? That was shocking. Slumdog Millionarie should not be on there, very overrated film. It's mindboggling to see no comedies on the list(Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind doesn't really count b/c that was more of a romance/drama than a comedy). Can we give some love to Anchorman? Knocked Up? Superbad? 40 Year Old Virgin? Borat? Where are the comedies!!!! I'd rather have any of those movies on the list before Slumdog, Downfall, Spirited Away, and The Lives of Others. I'm also shocked to see The Prestige ahead of Batman Begins. Both great Chris Nolan movies, however, I liked Batman Begins much more than The Prestige. I also thought Finding Nemo was the best animated film of the decade, even though WALL-E and Up were really good too(so was Shrek and Monsters Inc.). It was mindboggling however to not find Finding Nemo on the list.

Aaron on Dec 27, 2009


I never put much weight into IMDb ratings but I feel this list is quite accurate. There are a few lower-ranked films I myself would personally swap out for others more deserving (There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men and Un Propheté for instance), but I'd definitely agree that The Dark Knight is the best film of the noughties, and that Christopher Nolan's diversity and continued success warrant's him the mantle of "Director of the Decade". And whilst I'm not a massive fan of the LOTR trilogy, I would also agree that all three films are benchmarks for their genre and deserve to be on the list.

Dan on Dec 27, 2009


Wait, I don't see Benjamin Button ... In my opinion Entre les murs (2008) tops most of them, to name an example. I recommend changing the lists and posts into "best escapism flicks" or something like that, just to do justice to the film as art.

Bo on Dec 27, 2009


I saw Avatar and it was pretty damn good film (I saw it in a regular theater, and maybe I'll see in in 3-D) so I can agree with its placing in this list, Slumdog Millionaire really does not belong there it was a great movie but overrated. as for this list, its pretty good, but in the span of ten years there are 1000's of other great movies that have been missed, we all have are list and this is a good one.

xerxex on Dec 27, 2009


Batman begins? really?

Vinnie Cipollone on Dec 27, 2009


I'm surprised Two Towers is not higher than Return of the King. I am very glad that District 9 made it onto the list. I'm surprised to see Batman Begins on the list. BB is a good movie. I could not quit thinking about the whole "vaporize water with a machine" plot. A human is about 60% water, why weren't all the humans vaporized? I have never really cared for Spirited Away and I'm not sure why people like it so much. And Up was okay. I liked the adult themes, but the story really did not hold me. And again The Departed is a remake.

Josef on Dec 27, 2009


A little surprised by the Batman Begins hate. I was blown away by it...I was already a huge Nolan fan and wasn't surprised at all at how he completely reinvented that dead franchise. In some ways I think BB is better than TDK and in other ways it's not. I almost consider them equals. Glad to see Nolan on the list 4 times. After I saw Momentum I thought he had a chance at being the next big thing...looks like he is. Him and Fincher are my favorite directors of the last 15 years. Cameron would be my favorite of the last 25 years.

Geoff on Dec 27, 2009


Batman begins is a good movie. Its not really a massive shock being at #25 on the list. Now if it was in the top 10..

medley on Dec 27, 2009


Geoff - I too was initially blown away by BB, but the more I watch it, the less I like it. For me, the same thing happened with Gladiator. I think BB is a great Saturday afternoon movie, but not top 25 of the decade. Bo - Benjamin Button really? I thought that was pretty much a boring Forest Gump. This BB I truely hate.

Josef on Dec 27, 2009


why people hating on Batman Begins its a great movie Slumdog Millionaire should not really be so high on the list.

tazz on Dec 27, 2009


I may be wrong about this, but isn't 2010 supposed to be the end of the decade, and not 2009? Once the year 2011 starts, then we will be in the new decade. When I count, I start with 1, not 0. But besides that, I like the list. I agree with Aaron that it'd be nice to have more comedies on the list. I personally would have made a couple substitutions: -Million Dollar Baby - for - Downfall -No Country for Old Men - for - The Prestige Still, making a small list of 25 out of the hundreds of fantastic movies that came out in this decade is quite the feat! I'll never say my list is better than another person's list, as it mostly boils down to personal preference in what makes a great movie.

Dork on Dec 27, 2009


dark knight was good but overrated....for damn sure it wouldnt have been so hyped if it werent for this guys death...

ray on Dec 27, 2009


I've seen all but 4 on that list and I think its actually a pretty decent list.

Ender on Dec 27, 2009


City of God would be my number one and I wouldn't put Avatar anywhere near this list. Other than that, this is not a bad list. Honestly, imdb user averages make for a pretty decent way to rank movies.

FancyMonocle on Dec 27, 2009


#7 how are you confuse with Batman Begins vaporized water machine it only vaporized actually water not water in our body. i like Batman Begins more than District 9. yes District 9 is good but it gets boring sometimes i feel it should be #25.

k-dog on Dec 27, 2009


#14 Avatar will have a greater impact on cinema as we know it than any other movie on that list. Besides that it was a visually stunning and mesmerizing movie that was entertaining as heck and probably had the best "hero story" since A New Hope. I've already seen it more times than any other movie on that list and I can't remember a movie experience that has lingered with me as long as this one has.

Geoff on Dec 27, 2009


#14 Just want to clarify my last post...I'mnot saying you should like Avatar but you shouldn't be surprised as to why it's on this list. It's a game changer and has been resonating with audiences and critics unlike any other sci-fi movie in a long time. This reminds me of Star Wars and yes I was alive back then.

Geoff on Dec 27, 2009


I respect this list as ive respected all the others that you've showcased on this site Alex, but it should be noted that you only feature "fan-boyish" sites who craft these lists. So as to say Dark Knight is the film of the decade is kind of expected. Im not saying Dark Knight doesn't deserve its place as a decade best, but to say its the champ after sampling several websites that are notorious riddled with fan boy users, kind of a mistake. Anyway, the list at hand, id say I mostly agree with the names on it (not necessarily the placement). Personal horrays for Inglourious Basterds, Gran Torino, Walle, The Departed, and Up.

Al on Dec 27, 2009


transformers should be # 2 and transformers rotf should be #1

maxi on Dec 27, 2009


#20 - You're right in that I do usually feature more fanboyish stuff. So I'm wondering, can you suggest any best of the decade lists that aren't fanboyish? I know the Metacritic list I ran had a lot of good non-fanboy films. What other lists are out there that I should feature?

Alex Billington on Dec 27, 2009


Why is everyone so obsessed with The Two Towers? I personally think that movie shouldn't even be in this list! I had the worst taste in my mouth after seeing it in the theatre, talk about ruining a good book. Sure they missed a lot and changed quite a bit in FotR and RotK, but in TTT.. what the fuck happened? Sure it might be the "slower" one of the books but it is equally great. Not to mention the Helm's Deep battle from the book. Pure bliss..

Andreas on Dec 27, 2009


#23 Those lists came out in November or early December. Shouldn't they have at least waited til everyone movie had come out? Avatar would clearly find a home in one of those lists considering they listed the top 100 of the decade. Some of the movies in those lists were HORRIBLE so it seems a bit premature to exlude movies released at the end of December.

Geoff on Dec 27, 2009


I like the list, it's super Fanboy which I think is interesting but some real head scratchers, Prestige?? My omissions: Gladiator, Ocean's 11, Catch Me if u Can, Anchorman, Little Miss Sunshine, Bourne Identity, No Country for Old Men, Blackhawk Down, Iron Man.

Adam on Dec 27, 2009


Ummmm prestige perfectly deserves to be on there, But I am surprised theres no no country for old men. But like Ive said with all the other lists ITS ALL OPINION. Every freaking person is gonna have at least 5 films they think should be on there.

Cody on Dec 27, 2009


The Dark Night may be the most overrated film of the decade...but certainly not the best.

Daas on Dec 27, 2009


Better of the other lists I've seen around.

Nick on Dec 27, 2009


Not too bad of a list.

Sabes on Dec 27, 2009


I really like the Dark Knight but #1 of the decade?

TediusTed on Dec 27, 2009


^ IF you're so opposed to TDK being #1 then tell us what you think is the #1 movie of the decade? And can you actually justify your opinion?

johnny rico on Dec 27, 2009


Alex, Peter most likely used IMDb's "Top Rated '2000s' Titles" ( ) as the basis for compiliing his list. The members and ranking in this list is rather volatile. As of today, these are the sixty four f2000 to 2009 films in The IMDb Top 250 ( ) in rank order. IMDb Top 250 (2000-2009) as of 12/27/2009 [009] The Dark Knight (2008) [011] The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) [016] Cidade de Deus (2002) [020] The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) [025] Avatar (2009) [027] Memento (2000) [030] The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) [043] WALL·E (2008) [044] Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001) [050] The Departed (2006) [053] The Pianist (2002) [055] Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001) [056] Das Leben der Anderen (2006) [059] Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) [062] Requiem for a Dream (2000) [068] Inglourious Basterds (2009) [069] Up (2009) [070] El laberinto del fauno (2006) [074] The Prestige (2006) [077] Slumdog Millionaire (2008) [081] Der Untergang (2004) [083] Gran Torino (2008) [092] Sin City (2005) [097] District 9 (2009) [103] Batman Begins (2005) [105] Gladiator (2000) [109] Hotel Rwanda (2004) [110] No Country for Old Men (2007) [116] Oldboy (2003) [124] Donnie Darko (2001) [126] The Wrestler (2008) [128] There Will Be Blood (2007) [134] Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) [139] Snatch. (2000) [140] Into the Wild (2007) [141] Million Dollar Baby (2004) [144] Star Trek (2009) [147] The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) [151] Finding Nemo (2003) [159] Ratatouille (2007) [163] Amores perros (2000) [168] V for Vendetta (2005) [176] The Incredibles (2004) [180] Children of Men (2006) [185] In Bruges (2008) [195] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) [196] Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) [200] Big Fish (2003) [202] Låt den rätte komma in (2008) [205] Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) [206] Crash (2004/I) [213] Mystic River (2003) [215] Le scaphandre et le papillon (2007) [219] Little Miss Sunshine (2006) [220] Wo hu cang long (2000) [221] Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) [223] (500) Days of Summer (2009) [226] Changeling (2008) [230] Shaun of the Dead (2004) [236] Mulholland Dr. (2001) [239] Monsters, Inc. (2001) [243] Casino Royale (2006) [247] Mou gaan dou (2002) [248] Blood Diamond (2006)

Dan Dassow on Dec 27, 2009


Where is Kill Bill.. and Watchmen.. and Donnie Darko, also lot of Pixar gems are out..

FlaWiio on Dec 27, 2009


No Darko? How could Donnie Darko not be on every list?! Apart from that it is a good list.

Ben on Dec 27, 2009


Donnie Darko was the definition of a cult hit. Ive talked to lots of people who thought it didnt make sense or thought it just sucked. I on the other hand think it should be on the top 10 of the decade and Im sure many would agree and disagree. Theres been SO MANY FUCKING great movies this decade guys and theres only room for 25. I think there are about 50 movies that are all even with each other and I couldnt rank them. Also I ditto #32s comment, if you dont think TDK is the movie of the decade...then what is? All of you bitching about it being the most overrated movie ever never stated anything that would contend with it because you cant think of an ALL AROUND better film? If you search hard I think youll find TDK deserves that spot perfectly.

Cody on Dec 27, 2009


#17 you typed "it only vaporized actually water not water in our body." The machine vaporizes water. I am assuming that sending out high power waves that penetrate through streets and metal pipes would be able to penetrate human skin. k-dog, would bottled water be vaporized by the machine? Explain. I am aware I should suspend my disbelief, but with such a glaring error, I can't.

Josef on Dec 27, 2009


I have no problem with this list

Duck on Dec 27, 2009


I really like this list. Unlike some people, I'm always interested in what the average movie-goer considers great. Very interesting stuff. The Dark Knight is my favorite movie of the decade so I'm happy.

SlashBeast on Dec 27, 2009


#37, I wholeheartedly agree. That huge error turns me off the movie every time I watch it. Sad too because otherwise it would be on my personal Top 10 of the Decade.

Alfredo on Dec 27, 2009


Lots of people supporting TDK being on the list and discrediting the inclusion of Slumdog Millionaire. It's a funny time we live in.

RC on Dec 27, 2009


Ohh for fuck sake, Why is it that on countless websites that The Dark Knight is always number one!?! Its a good film (a bloody good film) but it's not The Godfather of the 21st century.....for the most part I think that list is a joke.

d1rEct on Dec 27, 2009


One more thing isn't the decade ending after 2010?

d1rEct on Dec 27, 2009


To answer the questions about the decade not ending until after 2010. Apparently yes, because the new AD world started in year 1, that the decade doesn't end until 2010 (since it started in 2001). But, decade can still apply to "any consecutive 10 years." And I think most of these websites are putting together decade lists because 2009 does feel like the end of the the 00's (and we start with the 10's next year anyway). SO I think it's just everyone getting this whole decade thing out of the way anyway. They're saying that from 2000 to 2009 (which is 10 years of time) these are the best movies - not "this decade" (from 01 to 10). Plus, it's just better to use the new millennium as a starting point instead of continuing to confuse everyone with 2001 being the first year of the "new millennium." Since to me, 2000 was that first year. Capiche?

Alex Billington on Dec 27, 2009


Remember these are the people that think Shawshank Redemption is the best film ever made.

Me on Dec 27, 2009


IMDb scores work best on genre films. Brandon Lee Tenney gives Inglourious Basterds 10/10 Alex Billington gives Inglourious Basterds(Cannes Version, earlier cut?) 8.5/10 I give Inglourious Basterds 9/10 My sister gives it 5/10 Average here then is 8.125. One would think. Problem is, my sister has voted on IMDb once and her vote does not count. Alex often forgets to vote on IMDb and his vote is also discarded. But Brandon and I have this urge to expess ourselves on the internet, and we vote on IMDb each time we see a movie, so both our votes count, thus giving gives Inglourious Basterds 9.5/10. Am I wrong in saying there was a "campaign" to go on IMDb to vote for TDK? Ofc, this effects the list aswell. This is more or less how IMDb works. IMDb explains it like this: The formula for calculating the Top Rated 250 Titles gives a true Bayesian estimate: weighted rating (WR) = (v ÷ (v+m)) × R + (m ÷ (v+m)) × C where: R = average for the movie (mean) = (Rating) v = number of votes for the movie = (votes) m = minimum votes required to be listed in the Top 250 (currently 3000) C = the mean vote across the whole report (currently 6.9) for the Top 250, only votes from regular voters are considered On this list: The Dark Knight (2008) is no# 8, Avatar no# 25, but this is "all time". For other lists one can click on most votes ect. Rule of thumb on how to use IMDb for yourself: noones vote counts for you if you like film, actor, story type ect. Just use IMDb to see where on the scale a movie lands, above "5" = "not a waste of time" imo. PS, off topic: Paranormal Activity is a piece of crap and it got 6.9/10, 31,741 votes. Go figure

David Banner on Dec 28, 2009


The darkknight should not be number one cuz only heath ledger was good in that movie, slumdog millioniar sucked, and my pick for #1 should be LOTR the two towers, and blood diamond should be in the list and Rock'N'Rolla, which is one of the best british movies of all time

RF Jr on Dec 28, 2009


P.S. how come hangover isnt on the list

RF Jr on Dec 28, 2009


Hahaha...Rock'N'Rolla was piece of crap, Snatch is way better. I have no problems with this list though...

Cortes718 on Dec 28, 2009


Requiem for a Dream? The Prestige? Really?

Nada Nuff on Dec 28, 2009


Most internet best-of lists will have The Dark Knight at #1. Get used to it...

RPD on Dec 28, 2009


These lists are allways hard to handle. If i see one like this based on the "general public" opinion I think "the general public doenst understand movies, most of the time", if i see one with the "critics" opinion i think the same thing. Thus, i think a mix of the two "opinions" would work the best. Anyways, picking the X best movies of the decade is something impossible to do and even ridiculous, imo. Dark Knight is not the best movie of the decade, at least in my books. And we have to keep in mind that both this movies, TDK and BB had a wonderfull background material, the comics and other movies. Chris Nolan doesnt have the same merit as some director who came up with a wonderful story from scratch. I'm not saying TDK is bad (BB is nothing special, c'mon), it's actually really good, but that good?! And Ledger stole the show on this one. The guy was made to play that one role. But Jack Nicholsong played a terrific Joker years ago, and we must not forget this. Not to say Bale isn't very good on his role, is he? And Batman enough fanboy power to boost it up from the get go. Avatar was indeed the best way to end the "decade" and tho show how far we have come this past ten years of cinema. It is a landmark that will be mencioned decades from now. But it's not the path I'd like movies to follow. I like CGI done right, but i sometimes miss its earlier days, when it was used as an extra and blended (the best they could at the time) with reality. Now, watching movies like 2012 and see that they have gone too far. And the story of Avatar brings nothing new to the table.

Ricardo on Dec 28, 2009


I got freaked when i saw Avatar so high and then i realized that it'll eventually drop. Good list.

Governor on Dec 28, 2009


David Banner (#46) points out one of many flaws in how films are rated and ranked on the IMDb. Those rating films are not selected at random, which means the ratings are not representative of the general population. Those rating films are predominantly male (72%) and males aged 18-29 (55%). There is no standard on what a 1 and 10 means, each person rating films according to their own non-comparable methodology. The median score in the 1 to 10 range should be 5.5, whereas the actual median score is 6.9. This indicates that people on average tend to rate films higher. There is strong indication that people rate their favorite films 10 even when they have not seen them and other films 1 to help inflate the ranking of their favorite films. There may not be much overlap in the groups rating any two films making comparison difficult at best. Regardless of these and other problems, can be a useful tool in comparing films especially when reviewed over time. Avatars highest rank was 21 and has a current rank of 25 is likely to decrease over time. Watchmen made a brief appearance in the IMDb Top 250 ranking as high as 132. Star Trek is currently ranked 144 having achieved a rank of 58. Up is currently ranked 69 having achieved a rank of 11.

Dan Dassow on Dec 28, 2009


Alex - "Apparently yes, because the new AD world started in year 1," This is true and ridiculous. Since counting started with 1, we write down the current year we are trying to complete. Right now we've been through 362 days of 2009. This is akin to counting your chickens before they're hatched. Who knows if the Earth will be around at the end of 2009? Which brings me to my second point, I hope the next decade, however it's counted, has some great movies.

Josef on Dec 28, 2009


where's tha Incredible Hulk

don muthafukin p on Dec 28, 2009


@ #34 Donnie Darko was blah i mean the story was good but the problem was that it was ssllloooowww and in the end you just see -spoilers- the image of that time traveling hole , you dont feel it you dont feel the heroic act of doni and watchmen the movie was a piece of stylish stupid crap from some racist homophobia dude called zack something i dont wanna remember

pj on Dec 28, 2009



Matt on Dec 28, 2009


Alex, Somewhat off topic: I am surprised you are not one of "The Gurus o' Gold".

Dan Dassow on Dec 28, 2009


Almost famous came out in 2000 so it has been a while. but its not on the list. C'mon people

twanzilla on Dec 28, 2009


Avatar should be number 2, the special effects are better than LOTR

George on Dec 28, 2009


"Batman begins? really?" Did you even see "Batman & Robin"?

Dan Geer on Dec 29, 2009


@ #57 Donnie Darko number 1 of the Decade. If you want speed go to Daytona

Emiliano on Dec 29, 2009


Where is No Country for Old Men? Gran Torino? Requiem for a Dream? This list makes me sick.

Steven on Dec 31, 2009


It makes me happy to see The Lives of Others in the top 10. Germany had quite a few good films this past decade, and this one was especially captivating.

Tom on Jan 1, 2010

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