Imagine choosing the top movies from 100 years worth of cinematic feats and flops. It’s a paralysing thought, so the BBC decided to skip the next 84 years and name the best films of the 21st century now.
It’s the kind of list that raises hackles (and not just because it comes only 16 years into the century). How can you put a number on a work of art? How can you pit personal taste against personal taste? What constitutes ‘a classic’? What makes a movie successful – a booming box office or critical acclaim? Does anyone even like these lists, anyway?
Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re guaranteed to spark debate and discussion. Already cinephiles around the Web have rallied to defend or denounce the number one film, moan about omissions, and celebrate the most outstanding achievements in modern moviemaking.
BBC Culture asked 177 critics from 36 countries to identify the best films of recent memory. Matthew Anderson, editor of BBC Culture, said most polls are focused on a longer stretch of cinematic history, but the BBC was specifically interested in a shorter timespan.
“These are the films that most people feel strongly about,” he said. “We hope that this list will spark discussion and debate, not just among critics and film aficionados, but among everyone who enjoys movies and has an opinion about what makes a good one.”
And therein lies the joy of a list like this. It offers endless opportunity for the internet to do what it does best: argue.
So have at it, film fans. Check out the top 10 above and the full list here, then share your cheers and jeers in the comments.