25 Best College Movies of All Time: From ‘Animal House’ to ‘Whiplash’

College movies have long been a staple in Hollywood and beyond, providing audiences with a glimpse into the excitement, drama, and comedy that accompany the college experience. From classic comedies to heartwarming dramas, these movies offer a unique perspective on the journey of university life, complete with all its highs and lows.

Stacker took a look at user ratings on IMDB of the best college movies ever and they used the data to rank the most beloved movies. We have checked the data and have found the 25 most cherished and celebrated college-set movies that audiences loved when they premiered and continue to return to, sharing the experience with the next generation!

Discover the Best College Movies of All Time Below:

Liberal Arts (2012)

Best College Movies

Liberal Arts is a heartwarming and thought-provoking college movie that explores the complexities of relationships, personal growth, and nostalgia. The story follows Jesse, a 35-year-old admissions officer, who returns to his alma mater in Ohio for a retirement dinner and unexpectedly finds himself falling for Zibby, a 19-year-old undergraduate student. They bond over their shared love of literature and music, but the age difference and societal norms create obstacles for their relationship.

Along the way, Jesse also reconnects with former professors and rediscovers his passion for learning. The movie provides a poignant commentary on the role of education in our lives and the challenges of navigating adulthood. With stellar performances by Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, and Richard Jenkins, Liberal Arts is a must-watch for anyone who loves indie films and character-driven stories.

Adventureland (2009)

Best College Movies

Adventureland is a coming-of-age college movie that delves into the challenges and joys of growing up in the 1980s. The story follows James, a recent college graduate who plans to travel to Europe for the summer, but due to financial problems, he is forced to take a job at a local amusement park called Adventureland. Initially disappointed with his menial job, James finds solace in working with the quirky and entertaining staff, particularly Em, a fellow misfit whom he begins to fall for. Their relationship takes center stage as they navigate issues related to their social backgrounds, family struggles, and personal aspirations.

In addition to a great script by Greg Mottola, the movie is anchored by remarkable performances from Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. Adventureland is a charming and relatable story that transcends generational boundaries and will leave you with a sense of nostalgia.

21 (2008)

Best College Movies

21 is a thrilling college movie that takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride of high stakes gambling and deception. The movie is based on the true story of a group of MIT students who developed a sophisticated card-counting system to win millions of dollars at blackjack in Las Vegas. The story follows Ben Campbell, a brilliant but financially struggling student who joins the group to earn enough money to pay for his Harvard tuition.

As the group executes their elaborate plan, they must navigate the risks of getting caught by casino security and the potential fallout to their personal relationships. 21 is a fast-paced and intelligent movie that cleverly blends elements of suspense and drama. With an exceptional cast led by Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth, 21 is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys thrillers and smart heist movies.

Carnal Knowledge (1971)

Best College Movies

Carnal Knowledge is a raw and provocative college movie that explores the complexities of male-female relationships and sexuality. The story follows two college roommates, Jonathan and Sandy, as they navigate their way through various sexual encounters and relationships with women over the course of several decades.

The movie delves into themes of intimacy, jealousy, power dynamics, and societal expectations, while also examining the ways in which these issues shape our identities and sense of self. With brilliant performances by Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel, Carnal Knowledge is a powerful commentary on gender relations and the human condition. Directed by Mike Nichols and written by Jules Feiffer, the movie is a timeless classic that deftly captures the zeitgeist of the 1970s.

Real Genius (1985)

Best College Movies

Real Genius is a hilarious and entertaining college movie that combines elements of science fiction and comedy all while telling a coming-of-age story. The movie follows Chris Knight, a brilliant but rebellious college student who is recruited by a professor to work on a top-secret project involving a high-powered laser.

Chris befriends Mitch, a naive freshman who idolizes him, and they must navigate the eccentricities of their fellow students and the machinations of their superiors. With witty writing and fantastic performances by Val Kilmer and Gabe Jarret, Real Genius is a fun college movie that celebrates the power of intellect and imagination. Directed by Martha Coolidge, the movie is a cult favorite that has resonated with audiences for over three decades.

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

Best College Movies

Everybody Wants Some!! is a nostalgic college movie that celebrates the joys and challenges of college life in the 1980s. The story follows a group of college baseball players over the course of a weekend before the start of the school year. They engage in various shenanigans, from parties and pranks to romantic pursuits and philosophical discussions.

The movie captures the essence of the era through its music, fashion, and humor, while also providing a genuine exploration of the anxieties and hopes of young adulthood. With a talented ensemble cast led by Blake Jenner and Glen Powell, Everybody Wants Some!! is a charming and relatable movie that will leave you with a smile on your face. Directed and written by Richard Linklater, the movie is a spiritual successor to his iconic film Dazed and Confused.

The Sure Thing (1985)

Best College Movies

The Sure Thing is a delightful romantic comedy that tells the story of two college students who embark on a journey and find love along the way. The college movie follows Walter, a straight-laced student who travels to California over winter break to meet a girl named Alison with whom he has been corresponding. On the way, he meets a free-spirited girl named Gib, and they soon become travel companions.

During their adventure, they face various challenges and obstacles, but as they get to know each other better, they begin to fall in love. With engaging performances by John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga, The Sure Thing is a classic ’80s college movie that captures the essence of youthful romance and the excitement of new experiences. Directed by Rob Reiner and written by Steven L. Bloom and Jonathan Roberts, the movie is a crowd-pleasing and heartwarming story that will leave you smiling.

Old School (2003)

Best College Movies

Old School is a riotous and irreverent comedy that celebrates the joys and unruliness of reliving one’s glory days. The movie follows three middle-aged friends, Mitch, Frank, and Beanie, who start a fraternity in their old alma mater after Mitch’s girlfriend cheats on him and he loses his job. As they embark on various misadventures and parties with their younger college peers, they must also navigate the challenges of adulthood and relationships.

With rip-roaring performances by Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell, Old School is an iconic college movie that has become a cult classic. Directed by Todd Phillips, the college movie is a raunchy and endearing ode to the power of nostalgia and friendship. Whether you’re a fan of frat-boy humor or not, Old School is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys a good laugh.

22 Jump Street (2014)

Best College Movies

22 Jump Street is a hilarious sequel that continues the comedic journey of undercover cops Schmidt and Jenko as they take on a new case in college. The movie follows the duo as they investigate a drug ring on campus, which leads them down a wild and absurd path of parties, fraternities, and many unexpected twists. Despite their differences, Schmidt and Jenko must work together to solve the case and navigate the challenges of their personal lives. Can they do it?

With brilliant performances by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, 22 Jump Street is a laugh-out-loud college movie that pokes fun at the cliches of its genre and delivers clever and unexpected humor. The movie is a smart and self-aware sequel that builds on the success of its predecessor while also standing on its own.

Pitch Perfect (2012)

Best College Movies

Pitch Perfect is a hilarious and heartwarming college movie that celebrates the power of music and friendship. The story follows Beca, a college freshman who reluctantly joins an all-female a cappella group called the Bellas, and her journey as she discovers her voice and place in the world. Along the way, she befriends her fellow Bellas, including the bubbly Fat Amy and the uptight Aubrey, and they work together to compete in the national championship against their rival team, the Treblemakers.

With catchy musical numbers and witty humor, Pitch Perfect is a crowd-pleasing movie that has become a cultural phenomenon. Directed by Jason Moore and written by Kay Cannon, the college movie is a charming and relatable story that appeals to audiences of all ages and backgrounds (you don’t even have to like musicals to like this one).

The Paper Chase (1973)

Best College Movies

The Paper Chase is a compelling drama that explores the world of law school and the challenges of academic and personal success. The movie follows James Hart, a first-year student at Harvard Law School, as he struggles to navigate the rigorous curriculum and the pressures of his professors and peers. He develops a complicated relationship with his intense and intimidating contracts professor, Charles Kingsfield, and falls in love with a fellow student named Susan.

With nuanced performances by Timothy Bottoms and John Houseman, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Kingsfield, The Paper Chase is a thought-provoking college movie that delves into the complexities of higher education and the pursuit of excellence. Directed by James Bridges and based on the novel by John Jay Osborn Jr., the movie is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences and inspire discussions about academia and ambition.

Love & Basketball (2000)

Best College Movies

Love & Basketball, released in 2000, is a romantic sports drama film that follows the intertwined lives of two basketball players, Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) and Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan), from their childhood to adulthood. Both dream of becoming professionals, but they struggle with personal conflicts, family expectations, and the ups and downs of their relationship as they navigate through life and basketball.

The expansive college movie explores themes of love, friendship, loyalty, ambition, and gender roles, and it features an iconic soundtrack that adds to the emotional intensity of the story. Love & Basketball is a classic movie that resonates with people who love sports, romance, or both.

Glory Road (2006)

Best College Movies

Glory Road is a 2006 sports drama directed by James Gartner and based on the true story of the Texas Western College (now known as the University of Texas at El Paso) basketball team. The movie follows the journey of the team’s coach, Don Haskins, as he recruits and trains the first all-black starting lineup in college basketball history.

The team faces many challenges and obstacles, including racism and discrimination, but ultimately they achieve success and make history. Glory Road is a powerful and inspiring college movie that celebrates the triumphs of these courageous athletes and the important role they played in breaking down racial barriers in sports.

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Wonder Boys (2000)

Best College Movies

Wonder Boys is a 2000 comedy-drama film directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, and Frances McDormand. The movie follows a creative writing professor named Grady Tripp who is struggling to finish his second novel while dealing with various personal problems. Things become more complicated when one of his students, James Leer, shows him an unpublished manuscript that could potentially save his career.

The college movie explores themes of creativity, identity, and the struggles of academia with a mix of humor and drama. With stellar performances from the cast and a witty script, Wonder Boys is a must-watch for fans of character-driven dramas.

A Coffee in Berlin (2012)

Best College Movies

A Coffee in Berlin is a German tragicomedy film released in 2012. The movie revolves around the life of a young man named Niko Fischer who seems to be lost and without direction in life. This black and white film portrays the daily struggles of Niko as he tries to figure out his place in the world. Director Jan Ole Gerster has beautifully captured the essence of Berlin’s vibrant yet melancholic culture, making it a character in the film itself.

The college movie has been critically acclaimed for its portrayal of youthful angst and the existential crisis faced by many. It also features an excellent soundtrack that complements the mood and tone of the movie perfectly. Overall, A Coffee in Berlin is a must-watch for anyone interested in independent cinema and a unique take on modern-day life.

L’auberge Espagnole (2002)

Best College Movies

L’auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) is a 2002 French-Spanish film directed by Cédric Klapisch. The film follows Xavier, a young French student who decides to spend a year abroad in Barcelona as part of the Erasmus exchange program. The college movie depicts the experiences and relationships of Xavier with other international students living in the same apartment.

The dynamics between characters from different cultures and backgrounds are explored in a light-hearted yet meaningful way, highlighting the challenges and opportunities of cross-cultural communication. L’auberge Espagnole offers a fresh perspective on the coming-of-age genre and is a must-see for anyone interested in exploring the complexities of modern life.

Monsters University (2013)

Best College Movies

Monsters University is a 2013 animated movie produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It is a prequel to the 2001 hit movie Monsters, Inc. The college movie follows the journey of Mike Wazowski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan as they attend the titular university to become professional scarers.

The story explores the characters’ growth and development, their friendship, and the obstacles they overcome during their college years. The movie’s animation is impressive, with vibrant colors and texture that bring the monsters’ world to life. The storyline is engaging, funny, and heartwarming, making it a great movie for both kids and adults.

American Graffiti (1973)

Best College Movies

American Graffiti is a classic coming-of-age movie directed by George Lucas and released in 1973. Set in the early 1960s, the film follows a group of teenagers as they cruise the streets of Modesto, California on their last night before heading off to college or starting work.

The college movie captures the nostalgia and innocence of the era, with its iconic soundtrack of rock and roll hits, vintage cars, and drive-in diners. The storylines of the various characters intertwine throughout the night, as they navigate their relationships, ambitions, and fears about the future. American Graffiti has become a beloved classic, capturing a generation and inspiring many other coming-of-age movies that followed.

Animal House (1978)

Best College Movies

Animal House is a raunchy comedy released in 1978 that follows the misadventures of a group of fraternity members at fictional Faber College. The film was directed by John Landis and features an ensemble cast, including John Belushi, Tim Matheson, and Karen Allen.

Animal House is known for its dirty humor, wild parties, and iconic characters, such as Belushi’s Bluto Blutarsky. Despite mixed initial reviews, the film became a box office success and is now considered a quintessential college movie. It has also had a lasting impact on popular culture, with many of its catchphrases and scenes still being referenced today.

The Great Debaters (2007)

Best College Movies

The Great Debaters is a 2007 American biographical college movie directed by and starring Denzel Washington. The movie tells the story of an African American debate team from Wiley College in Texas, who defied the odds and rose to national prominence in the 1930s.

While the team faces institutional racism and Jim Crow laws, they continue their quest for justice through intellectual discourse and persuasive arguments. The film is a tribute to the power of education, civil rights, and the fearless spirit of those who fought for social equality. The Great Debaters received critical acclaim for its emotional performances, powerful storytelling, and historical significance.

Rudy (1993)

Best College Movies

Rudy is a 1993 biographical sports drama directed by David Anspaugh. The movie tells the story of Rudy Ruettiger, who dreams of playing football for Notre Dame despite being undersized and lacking in natural talent. While facing numerous setbacks and obstacles, Rudy’s determination and persistence eventually earn him a spot on the team.

The college movie offers a powerful message about the importance of hard work, perseverance, and never giving up on one’s dreams. Rudy has become a beloved classic and has inspired countless individuals to pursue their dreams with passion and tenacity.

The Social Network (2010)

Best College Movies

The Social Network is a 2010 biographical drama directed by David Fincher. The movie follows the story of Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, and the creation of the social media giant. The film portrays Zuckerberg’s rise to fame, as well as the legal battles that arose from the creation of Facebook.

With a gripping script and outstanding performances by Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake, The Social Network provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of tech startups and the people behind them. The college movie received widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for several awards, including eight Oscars, winning three. It is widely regarded as one of the best films of the decade and one of the best college movies of all time.

The Graduate (1967)

Best College Movies

The Graduate is a classic coming-of-age film released in 1967 and directed by Mike Nichols. The film tells the story of Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, a recent college graduate who is struggling to find meaning in his life. He becomes involved with Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father’s business partner, and later falls in love with her daughter, Elaine.

The film explores themes of alienation, disillusionment, and the generation gap in a humorous and poignant way. It also features a memorable soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel, which has become an iconic part of American pop culture. The film’s critical and commercial success helped establish it as a cultural touchstone of the 1960s. It’s also one of the best college movies ever to be made.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Best College Movies

Good Will Hunting is a critically acclaimed drama that was released in 1997. The film, directed by Gus Van Sant, stars Matt Damon as Will Hunting, a genius-level MIT janitor who has a troubled past and a penchant for getting into trouble. Robin Williams co-stars as Sean Maguire, a therapist who helps Will confront his demons and come to terms with his past.

The college movie explores themes of education, talent, mental health, and personal growth, and features strong performances from its lead actors. Good Will Hunting was a box office success and received numerous awards, including two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Williams) and Best Original Screenplay (Damon and Ben Affleck).

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Whiplash (2014)

Best College Movies

With an 8.5/10 user rating on IMDB, Whiplash is the best-rated college movie on the movie database. It is an intense drama that was released in 2014. The film, directed by Damien Chazelle, stars Miles Teller as Andrew Neiman, a young jazz drummer who dreams of becoming one of the greats. J.K. Simmons co-stars as Terence Fletcher, a ruthless and abusive music teacher who pushes Andrew to his limits both physically and mentally.

The film explores themes of ambition, obsession, and the pursuit of excellence, and features stunning performances from its lead actors. Whiplash received critical acclaim and numerous awards, including three Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Simmons), Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing. The film’s intense music sequences and gripping storyline make it a must-watch for fans of drama and music alike.

College movies are a great way to relive the highs and lows of the university experience. From classic comedies like Animal House to heartfelt dramas like Good Will Hunting, there’s something for everyone on this list. These films capture the excitement, anxiety, and sense of possibility that comes with being a college student.

Whether you’re in school now or looking back on your college years, these movies are sure to bring a smile to your face and remind you of why those years were so special. So grab some popcorn, gather your friends, and settle in for a movie marathon that celebrates all things college.

For even more great movies, keep reading. We’ve got the best movies of the 2000s to share with you!

Make Movie Night Extra Special with the Best Movies of the 2000s!

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Road movies often feel like a slog but 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine was a breath of fresh air that captured some of the best performances from Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette along with breakout star Abigail Breslin. The family embarks on a trip in a VW bus to California to support their youngest member Olive (Breslin) to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine competition. Remarkably funny and heartfelt, it’s one of the most endearing and best movies of the 2000s.

The Pianist (2002)

20 best movies of the 2000s

As beautiful and poetic as it is horrifying, The Pianist tells the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman a concert pianist who tries to survive life in a Jewish ghetto in Warsaw. It’s one of the best movies of the 2000s based on a true story. Actor Adrien Brody has never been better in this riveting WWII drama.

Donnie Darko (2001)

20 of the Best Movies of the 2000s

A mysterious and arty movie that plays like a horror film in most regards, Donnie Darko follows the title character, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who narrowly escapes death only to be haunted by visions of a man in a creepy rabbit suit. The visions of the man grow increasingly captivating for the teen and they drive him to commit a series of crimes. It’s one of the most enigmatic and best movies of the 2000s that truly holds up.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Erin Brokovich tells the real-life story of a woman who is down on her luck and pleads with her attorney to employ her at his law firm. He does. While looking through real estate files, she discovers a medical file in the mix and realizes that something is not right. She uncovers a cover-up of contaminated water that is causing illness in the community. Julia Roberts really fires on all cylinders in one of the best movies of the 2000s.

Mulholland Drive (2001)

20 of the Best Movies of the 2000s

Mulholland Drive is one of the movies to watch if you want to understand how dream logic can inform the structure of a narrative film. To try and describe the plot of this film would be a disservice as no two people will see it the same way. Beautiful, disarming, puzzling, and chilling, Mulholland Drive is a movie that defies convention while playing into it. 

Billy Elliot (2000)

20 of the Best Movies of the 2000s

We’re not certain how this coming-of-age dance drama manages to lodge itself so deeply in your heart but it has stuck with audiences for decades. The film follows a young boy from a working-class family in Northern England who discovers a passion for dance. As he grows up and gets serious about the art, he is torn between pursuing dance or appealing to his disintegrating family. It’s one of the best movies of the 2000s to watch that reminds you to always follow your dreams.

Oceans Eleven (2001)

Director Steven Soderbergh dominated in the early 2000s, directing some 16 films that premiered over those ten years. Not one but two of his movies make our list of the best movies of the 2000s! Oceans Eleven was a huge commercial and critical success. The film tells the story of 11 criminals who plot an ambitious heist that includes robbing three Las Vegas Casinos. There are so many A-list stars in the movie that it iridescently glows. Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, and many more all star in this caper!

Barbershop (2002)

One of the most endlessly quotable and best movies of the 2000s was delivered in 2002 with Barbershop. The day-in-the-life movie finds lovable characters like Calvin (Ice Cube), Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), and Terri (Eve) in a barbershop on the South Side of Chicago. While the movie is ridiculously fun it is also told with plenty of heart and soul. If you’ve never had the pleasure, give this winner a try.

Oldboy (2003)

One of the best-known directors hailing from South Korea, Park Chan-Wook served audiences some masterful revenge films throughout his career. One of the most beloved, Oldboy, premiered in 2003 to warm reviews in the US. The movie follows a man who is kidnapped and held captive for 15 years. After his release, he has five days to find his captor and exact his revenge. It’s a gory, tense, and genuinely funny movie that takes audiences on one wild ride.

Happy Feet (2006)

Happy Feet is an animated feature that was met with universal acclaim when it premiered in 2006. It’s one of the few movies to win Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards that was not made by Disney! Singing and dancing penguins, lovable characters, and catchy tunes make it one of the best movies of the 2000s that you can share with your kids today!

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The Ring (2002)

20 of the Best Movies of the 2000s

There have been several American remakes of Japanese horror movies but none have been as popular or as successful as The Ring. The opening sequence of this film is so terrifying that you might need to sleep with the lights on for a few nights after! The film tells the story of a journalist who investigates a mysterious VHS tape (with some very freaky visuals). Seven days after the tape is watched, the viewer(s) die. It’s one of the few horror movies to rank among the best movies of the 2000s.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Another one of the best movies of the 2000s to watch for tons of fun is My Big Fat Greek Wedding which was a sleeper hit following its premiere and it became the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time! It’s full of laughs and plenty of heart. Nia Vardalos is absolutely on fire in the movie, which she also wrote. It’s one that will never let you down!

Dancer In the Dark (2000)

One of the most haunting and original movie musicals you will ever see comes from Lars von Trier who wrote and directed Dancer in the Dark. The film stars Bjork who gives one of the most heartbreaking performances ever put to film.

She plays Selma, a single mother, who travels to the US from Eastern Europe for work and to support her son. She works in a factory but that opportunity begins to fade as her failing eyesight makes it impossible for her to perform her duties. What will she do to survive? It’s unlike any musical you have ever seen as it is not all happy songs and chorus numbers (although there are some to be enjoyed). It’s one of the most original and best movies of the 2000s.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

We can admit that we have not seen a ton of Romanian cinema but 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days has stuck with us for decades now. The film won the prestigious  Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for its minimalist style that feels almost like a documentary. The film follows two college roommates as they try and secure an illegal abortion in 1987. They meet a man called Mr. Bebe who performs the operations illegally only to find themselves in a messy, tense, and uncomfortable situation. The tension is so thick in this movie that you will be hard-pressed to find a horror film that can hold you as captive as this drama does.

It’s one of the best movies of the 2000s, but you don’t need to take our word for it! The BBC ranked 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days at 14 among its list of the 100 best movies of the 21st century.

Legally Blonde (2001)

20 of the Best Movies of the 2000s

Bend… and snap! We’ve shared some prestige dramas with you on this list but one of our very favorite movies of all time bowed in 2001. Legally Blonde stars Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods, a young woman who seems to have it all. After her relationship falls apart, she decides that a degree from Harvard Law School will help win back her Mr. Right. This movie is so stupid-fun that it’s now considered a classic and one of the best movies of the 2000s.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

The unexpected hit of the 2000s, The Devil Wears Prada finds Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, and Mery Streep all in the same film. The performances, especially that of Streep and Blunt (the film launched her career in America), are remarkable and made the movie a must-see when it premiered in 2006.

Hathaway plays a recent college graduate who takes a job in the fashion industry as an assistant to the domineering and cold Miranda Priestly (Streep) who she struggles to please. It’s an exhilarating character study and commentary on the world of high fashion. It’s one of the best movies of the 2000s that you can watch a thousand times and never tire of!

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

20 of the Best Movies of the 2000s

Two rugged cowboys fall in love while tending to a herd of sheep and embark on, what will become, a lifetime of wanting to return to the same mountain they fell in love on. In this challenging movie of queer love in a time of hate, Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger are at the top of their games. It felt revolutionary to see the two Hollywood leads portray gay characters in one of the best movies of the 2000s.

Amélie (2001)

20 of the Best Movies of the 2000s

Audrey Tautou dazzled audiences as the titular character in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie. The film follows a young woman with an active imagination who creates fantastical worlds and scenarios for the people around her to live out. Inventive and wholly original this movie is unlike any you have ever seen. It’s one of the best movies of the 2000s told with romance at its core.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

20 of the Best Movies of the 2000s

One of the Coen Brothers’ finest, No Country for Old Men tells the story of three different men whose paths intersect after a hunter, Llewelyn (Josh Brolin), finds over a million dollars in the desert following a drug deal gone wrong. The hunter soon becomes the hunted as a man named Chigurh (Javier Bardem) is tasked with recovering the fortune. Brutal, tense, and insightful this slick film is one of the best movies of the 2000s and will be remembered as one of the finest of the 21st century.

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There Will Be Blood (2007)

Filmed in the desert at the exact same time as No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood feels like a cosmic cousin to No Country for Old Men as both tell the stories of aging men confronting a changing world. In There Will Be Blood, Daniel Day Lewis gives a fascinating and chilling performance as Daniel Plainview, who plays a greedy oil man who will stop at nothing to suck the California land he prospects dry of oil. It’s a masterpiece of cinema that mines the darkest aspects of those persuing the “American dream.”

There you go! What did you think of our picks for the best movies of the 2000s? The decade was marked by a ton of mediocre films which makes them really special ones truly stand out. From auteur cinema like Mulholland Drive and No Country for Old Men to campy delights like Legally Blonde, there was no shortage of movies from the early aughts to suit every taste. If you somehow missed the movies on this list or want to revisit them, you absolutely should as it will be very much worthwhile!

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