The Academy Awards are known for honoring the best films of the year, but you’ll have to turn somewhere else to find the best movies of the 21st century. The Oscars only cover movies year by year and always leave a good film or two behind, but not us. We’ve combed through our notes and talked to friends and have come up with the most conclusive list of the best movies of this century.  

  1. “The Dark Knight”. It is without a doubt the most successful superhero movie ever made as well as one of the best movies of the 21st century. Sadly, it also ranks as the last completed movie of Heath Ledger’s career. In director Christopher Nolan’s follow up to the re-booted original story of Batman (played by Christian Bale), it’s been six months since Bruce Wayne slipped on the cape and cowl and brought down most of Gotham’s criminal element. However, just as he sees the light at the end of the tunnel, along comes the Joker (Ledger), who is determined to bring chaos in Batman’s world as well as Gotham’s white knight, Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) and Police Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman).

  2. “Brokeback Mountain”. This film about two male cowboys—Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal)—who fall in love and begin a twenty-year relationship was intended to be a small art house movie, but went on to become one of the biggest films of the 21st century in part because of the storyline, which is Jack’s desire to live out openly with Ennis and Ennis’s desire to see Jack as often as possible, but hidden from view since he fears being beaten or killed if people found out they were a couple.  

  3. “Slumdog Millionaire”. A fine example of what a little word of mouth will do. Hot off his success of movies like “Sunshine” and “28 Days Later”, director Danny Boyle thought he’d take on a smaller project with a romantic drama in the Bollywood style. Nope. It wound up being one of the best movies of the 21st century and one of the most beloved. The movie is about the unbelieveable tale of a young boy named Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) and his brother Salim (Madhur Mittal) who start a 13-year journey following the violent death of their mother that results in him landing a spot on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” and on the verge of winning the grand prize. The audience learns throough flashbacks, how Jamal got there.

  4. “Fahrenheit 9/11”. Director Michael Moore is a living lightning rod of controversy. Virtually every documentary he makes inevitably produces a strong response, but few were as strong as the reaction he got after the re;ease of this film when he went after then-President George W. Bush, accusing him of taking advantage of the tragedy of 9/11 in order to engage the country into war. Moore combs through the evidence, talks to politicians of all stripes, as well as those directly affected by the tragedy and paints a picture of an administration determined to go to war in the Middle East, even if they had to doctor evidence to get the support on the American people.

  5. “Hotel Rwanda”. In something of a departure from his usual writing and directing fair, Terry Jones wrote and directed a true story about the 1994 genocide that took place in the small African country of Rwanda. The background of the story is that a Hutu militia has taken over the country and began a pogrom against the Tutsi who lived in the country, slaughtering them in mass. Specifically, the film focuses on hotel owne Paul Rusesabagina (played by Don Chedle), who is Hutu and his efforts to prevent his wife (who is Tutsi), his family, and his countrymen as the slaughter gets worse and worse, forcing Rusesabagina to resort to increasingly desperate measure to protect everyone in the hotel and keep up appearances.