The TONY top 50 movies of the decade

We count down the movies that mattered.

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  • Movies of the decade: Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003)

  • Movies of the decade: Dancer in the Dark (2000)

  • Movies of the decade: Caché (2005)

  • Movies of the decade: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

  • Movies of the decade: Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

  • Movies of the decade: Miami Vice (2006)

  • Movies of the decade: Lilya 4-Ever (2002)

  • Movies of the decade: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

  • Movies of the decade: Eureka (2000)

  • Movies of the decade: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

Movies of the decade: Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003)

40
FIVE DEDICATED TO OZU (2003)

Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003)

The best of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami's shot-on-video features strings together five hypnotic long takes of the seashore. Whether gazing at a waddling group of ducks or listening to the harmonizing sounds of frogs by moonlight, the director uncovers the profound poetry underlying the natural world.—Keith Uhlich

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39
DANCER IN THE DARK (2000)

Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Björk's screen debut and probable swan song (Oscar-dress pun intended) perfectly encapsulates director Lars von Trier's genius—and his faults. A multiple-camera experiment that obscures as much as it reveals, this often atonal musical about a innocent woman railroaded onto death row remains, in spite of (or maybe because of) its contradictions, deeply affecting.—Karina Longworth

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38
CACH (2005)

Caché (2005)

Someone is terrorizing Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil by delivering videotapes on which they are the secretly filmed subjects—but who's the culprit? A squirmy, jigsaw-puzzle allegory about guilt and revenge, Michael Haneke's icy masterpiece points his camera and finger at the audience, forcing us to question our own unresolved bloodlusts.—Aaron Hillis

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37
THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (2001)

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Encapsulating both Wes Anderson's idiosyncratically mannered style and his unjustly underrated humanism, this Salingeresque storybook of familial genius and dysfunction stands as his most majestic film. Led by Gene Hackman's regally flawed patriarch and electrified by bountiful pop songs, it's a dreamy tapestry of misery, regret and joy.—Nick Schager

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36
PAN'S LABYRINTH (2006)

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Monsters are everywhere in Guillermo del Toro's dark fairy tale, set in post--Civil War Spain. Dreamy 11-year-old Ofelia retreats into an imaginary world of feral fauns and fairies rather than face the Fascist in her mother's bed. But her fantasy world proves as brutal as the real one; the uses of enchantment have never seemed so bleakly powerful.—Maitland McDonagh

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35
MIAMI VICE (2006)

Miami Vice (2006)

Writer-director Michael Mann brilliantly rethinks the seminal 1980s TV series on which he made his name. The hi-def videography gives a tactile, scorching sense of the characters' surroundings, and Colin Farrell and Gong Li's doomed love affair bears the full tragic brunt of Mann's mesmerizing on-the-fly narrative.—Keith Uhlich

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34
LILYA 4-EVER (2002)

Lilya 4-Ever (2002)

She wanders the post-Soviet slums, dreaming of America. But after a brutal parental abandonment, this teen falls deeply into a trap. Young Oksana Akinshina gives the performance of a lifetime, worthy of Mouchette; her director, Sweden's Lukas Moodysson, was, at this moment, the world's most compassionate filmmaker.—Joshua Rothkopf

33
4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS (2007)

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

Young Gabita needs an abortion in 1980s Romania, where such things are illegal, and her roommate helps her scrap together cash to pay a man with questionable credentials. When things go terribly wrong in a hotel room, these women find a means to grit their teeth and survive. Cristian Mungiu's pressure cooker of a drama, widely praised upon its release, is an unflinching journey into the waking nightmare of an oppressed people.—S. James Snyder

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32
EUREKA (2000)

Eureka (2000)

With its four-hour running time, Shinji Aoyama's sepia-toned road movie (indebted to the work of John Ford) lacked mass appeal—that's fair. But as an exploration of the post-traumatic effects of a violent bus hijacking, it was a powerful and eerily prescient metaphor for the fear culture that plagued the decade.—Andrew Grant

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31
AI ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

Steven Spielberg inherited Stanley Kubrick's project about a robot boy's quest to become human, furthering his own descent into dark, challenging entertainment. Met with exasperation upon its release, it's the rare superbudgeted spectacle that's ambitiously provocative, using jaw-dropping special effects to probe the nature and future of humankind.—Kevin B. Lee

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Users say

3 comments
anonymous
anonymous

Bruno Dumont's "29 Palms" in which a candy-apple red Hummer, an aimless and violently copulating couple, and the barren desert of Palm Springs, California acts as the searing, nightmarish allegory of George Bush's utterly mind, body and soul-dead America, circa 2004. My choice over MD and TWBB.

Shobhit Bhatnagar
Shobhit Bhatnagar

the movies which must be in list city of god, The Dark Knight, Lords of the ring , Departed, No Country for an old man the movie which must not be in list is AI Artificial Intelligence i love Steven Spielberg but it (AI) Is a weired and boring kind of Science fiction movie how ever in the beginning movie is good but after that movie is getting bore and pleasure less