The best films of the decade

“Dunkirk,” my best film of the decade, was left off the new list. (Image copyright Syncopy / Warner Bros.)

World of Reel has released its list of the 25 best films of the decade, with George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life coming out on top. The list is available here.

The results are based on a poll of industry professionals – mostly film critics – who were asked to select their top five films of the last 10 years. I wasn’t asked to participate, but that’s not surprising considering the tiny number of people who were invited: just 250 total. Further damaging the credibility of this weird list is the fact that participants were not asked to place their top five in order. So, theoretically, all those who voted for Mad Max: Fury Road might have picked it as their fifth choice, but because the film ended up on more lists than any other film, it landed on top. (Still, it ended up on just a quarter of participants’ lists, indicating the enormous variety of opinion.)

Lists such as this, of course, grow more reliable with larger numbers: more participants and more film selections. However, these lists are ultimately only as credible as the judgment and taste of the participants.

You might be surprised to hear me – who loves lists of all types more than just about anyone else – be so critical of not just this particular list but of the entire process. Perhaps that’s because, more and more, I see politics and group-think creeping into the world of film criticism. Or maybe it was there all along and just becomes more noticeable the older, more experienced or more curmudgeonly one becomes. Regardless, I would caution those of you reading this to be skeptical of all lists – mine included – and to treat them as guides for some enjoyable watching rather than gospel.

So what if I had been asked to participate? Below are my best of the 2010s (so far). Unlike participants in the World of Reel survey, I’m including 15 and also ranking them. (The four films in bold also made the World of Reel list. And some are linked to my reviews.)


  1. Dunkirk (2017) – 5 stars (on 0-5 scale)
  2. Hugo (2011) – 5 stars
  3. Anna Karenina (2012) – 5 stars
  4. Loving Vincent (2017) – 4 ¾ stars
  5. Toy Story 3 (2010) – 4 ¾ stars
  6. The Artist SlWS * (2011) – 4 ½ stars
  7. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) * (2014) – 4 ¾ stars
  8. The Act of Killing FL (2013) – 4 ¾ stars
  9. Holy Motors FL (2012) – 4 ¾ stars
  10. Life of Pi (2012) – 4 ¾ stars
  11. Darkest Hour (2017) – 4 ¾ stars
  12. Inception (2010) – 4 ¾ stars
  13. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) – 4 ½ stars
  14. Spotlight * (2015) – 4 ½ stars
  15. The Post (2017) – 4 ½ stars

See my key for a guide to colors and symbols. And for a look at the best films of each year and decade going back to the dawn of feature filmmaking more than 100 years ago, select “By Year” under the “Feature Lists” tab on this site’s menu bar.

Copyright 2019 © Cameron Meier

2 Responses to “The best films of the decade”
  1. Elizabeth says:

    Suprised that Jackie isn’t on your list here 🙂

  2. Cameron Meier says:

    It’s very close! “Jackie” would make my top 20 of the decade.