The 100 Best Movies Of The Decade [Part Four]

(Welcome to /Film's countdown of The 100 Best Movies of the Decade, examining the absolute best movies that were released between 2010 and 2019. This is part four of a five-part series and part of our Best of the Decade series.)

Last week, the /Film team sat down for an extended two-part podcast to narrow down the 100 best films of the past decade. When the dust settled, we were left with a family of movies that could not be more different: action films and intimate dramas and horror flicks and animated movies and everything in-between. What connected them was simple – they represented the collective taste of the entire staff and everything we love about the past ten years of cinema.

What follows is 40-21 of that list, a collection of films we love from the bottom of our hearts.

under the skin top 10

40. Under the Skin

I can honestly say without hyperbole that you will never see anything like Under the Skin. Jonathan Glazer's eerie, haunting, altogether strange movie follows an alien (Scarlett Johansson) who preys on unsuspecting men. In the process, she struggles to understand just what the deal is with us humans, and honestly, can you blame her? Under the Skin unfolds like a hazy nightmare, leaving the viewer disturbed and entranced, all while Mica Levi's brilliant soundtrack blankets it all. [Chris Evangelista]

Midsommar Dani May Queen

39. Midsommar

Ari Aster burst onto the scene with the horrifying Hereditary, and then followed it up a year later with something even better. Aster's Midsommar is like a rom-com break-up movie that just happens to also be a horror film. That sounds like an impossible balance to pull-off, but Aster does it, and then some. Florence Pugh is remarkable as Dani, a young woman constantly gaslit by her jerk boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor). Dani accompanies Christian and his rude buddies on a trip to Sweden to take part in a midsummer celebration. It sounds like an excuse to relax, get stoned, and have fun. But things start to go wrong almost immediately, and the fact that Dani is still grieving from a sudden, violent loss doesn't help matters. This is dark subject matter, but Aster finds a way to make it surprisingly funny – while also maintaining the horror. It's a remarkable achievement. [Chris Evangelista]

38. Before Midnight

Before Sunrise brought together Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) as young singles who meet on a train and spend an entire day together in Vienna. Before Sunset caught up with them nine years later, each having changed quite a bit, but their feelings still lingered. Before Midnight flashes forwards another nine years, and director Richard Linklater shows us how even the most romantic of meetings turns into a relationship that constantly requires effort to make it work. The first two movies show how easy it is for people to all in love (twice) in a truncated window when they don't think they'll see each other again. But this movie shows how difficult it is to maintain that love and also how rewarding it is to work through the hardships, just so you can remember what it was like when you first fell in love. This movie is one of the most authentic portrayals of marriage, and it's truly a roller coaster of emotions. [Ethan Anderton]Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

37. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Brad Bird's fourth installment of the Mission: Impossible series might not be the best film in the franchise, but for my money, it has the most impressive and most intense sequence. Tom Cruise hanging off Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, might be one of the most insane action scenes in all of cinema history. And there is nothing like seeing it projected in 70mm IMAX on the biggest screen possible. [Peter Sciretta]

steve jobs movie

36. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is the other tech genius film Aaron Sorkin wrote this decade, along with The Social Network. And sadly, it's not nearly as beloved. To be clear: Social Network is better because it benefits from the direction of David Fincher, whereas Steve Jobs suffers from some rather flat filmmaking from Danny Boyle. But Sorkin's script is so snappy, and the performances are so brilliant, that Steve Jobs succeeds. The film never tries to sugarcoat Jobs' image, and instead portrays him as kind of a sociopath (he threatens to have his ex-girlfriend murdered at one point). At the same time, the film treats him like a complex character, and attempts to figure out what made him tick. Sorkin sets things up in a three-act structure, focusing on three specific product launches from Jobs' career, where, like Ghosts of Christmas Past, all his acquaintances tend to show up and remind him of things he'd rather forget. Michael Fassbender does remarkable work as Jobs, and Kate Winslet is wonderful as Jobs' right-hand-woman Joanna Hoffman. But it's Seth Rogen who is the biggest surprise, delivering a mostly dramatic and surprisingly tender performance as Jobs' Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who keeps begging Jobs to do the right thing even though he knows he won't. [Chris Evangelista]

35. Moana

Moana is of the best Disney animated films of the modern age and a refreshing take on the Disney princess story. Despite being older white men, Ron Clements and John Musker were somehow able to capture the beauty of Polynesian culture with this fun adventure. Catchy toe-tapping musical numbers, some of the most gorgeous water ever rendered for a computer-animated film, and a heartwarming story that wins over hearts of all ages make this a classic. [Peter Sciretta]

34. Call Me By Your Name

Call My By Your Name is a thing of delicate beauty, as noble as the ancient statues that its characters unearth, and just as fragile. Set to the backdrop of the sun-dappled Italian countryside, where Elio (Timothée Chalamet) summers with his parents, Call Me By Your Name follows the slow-simmering romance between the introverted teenager and the handsome American college grad Oliver (Armie Hammer), who has arrived to assist Elio's father in an archaeological digs. Luca Guadagnino frames his gauzy LGBT romance against these ancient antiques, framing his two lovers like classical works of art. The entire film is an exercise in barely concealed stoicism as Elio and Oliver wrestle with their feelings for each other. But once the cracks of their masks shatter, the emotions come out in an outpour of sweet ecstasy and bitter loss. [Hoai-Tran Bui]

33. The Hateful Eight

When The Hateful Eight opened in 2015, many felt that Quentin Tarantino had gone too far with the film's ugly display of racism and misogyny. Then a year later came the turbulent 2016 election, and it was almost as if Tarantino was predicting the future by delving into the past. Make no mistake: The Hateful Eight is a nasty movie. But the nastiness is the point. Tarantino is plumbing the depths to focus on truly despicable characters. Even the ones we're meant to root for aren't that likable. The whole thing unfolds like a locked-room mystery, with Samuel L. Jackson playing the detective character trying to find a killer (or killers). Really, though, Tarantino is telling a story about America, and American history. Not the gussied-up, sanitized view of the U.S. of A., but rather, the ugly side. The boiling hatred and bloodshed that built this country, and that still (unfortunately) persists to this day.  [Chris Evangelista]

32. The Irishman

Martin Scorsese's The Irishman feels like the final word on crime dramas in general. Anyone who still foolishly thinks Scorsese's mob movies glorify that lifestyle need only watch this, a film in which a man who devotes his entire life to the mob ends up completely alone and forgotten. Spanning decades, The Irishman is the saga of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), who pals around with gangsters, and Jimmy Hoffa, and finds that he has a real knack for killing. But what does it all add up to? Nothing but a legacy of loneliness, and a reminder that in the end, we're all going to end up as worm food.  [Chris Evangelista]

31. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson has spent several decades refining his signature "dollhouse" aesthetic and The Grand Budapest Hotel represents all of his signature touches at their most powerful and practiced. But like the best Anderson films, his striking style and colorful characters don't exist to inject whimsy into the void – they are the lived-in eccentrics in a world that feels real once you peel back the candy wrapper. This is Anderson at the peak of his powers: that droll sense of humor, those quietly tragic characters, those shots that look they somehow escaped from a 1960s stop-motion TV special and are now wearing a human skin suit to pass in public. No one makes movies like this and in 2019, a film about how we're all too distracted by the nonsense of our own lives to notice the clownish fascists sliding into our world feels chilling prophetic. [Jacob Hall]

30. Coco

Coco is a perfect distillation of what Pixar does best: it gives us a protagonist who's easy to root for, takes us into an exquisitely rendered world, and delivers the high-quality storytelling for which the studio has become known. The script takes its young protagonist on a journey of familial discovery, testing him by throwing curveballs at him all along the way. This will go down as one of the best movies in Pixar's entire filmography, not only because its emotional high points are among the most effective in the studio's twenty-five year history, but because it effortlessly presents a fresh story from a new perspective and feels just as timeless as ever. [Ben Pearson]

29. Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Studios' first galactic tale featuring a team of misfits became Star Wars for a new generation. It's a movie that shouldn't work – it stars a walking tree, a talking raccoon, and a professional wrestler in his first major film role (who somehow went on to star in several other films on this list). This was more than a movie. It was a feeling, led by a kick-ass mixtape soundtrack, a bold cinematic vision from James Gunn, and more heart and humor than most of the films of this decade. [Peter Sciretta]

28. Creed

After Fruitvale Station made a splash at Sundance, writer/director Ryan Coogler approached MGM with a pitch to continue the Rocky franchise by taking it in a fresh new direction. The result was Creed, a crowd-pleasing sequel that explores ideas about legacy, identity, and the true meaning of family. Sylvester Stallone gives a subtle, measured performance that's some of the best work of his entire career, but Rocky Balboa is no longer front and center here. Instead, Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson breathe new life into the franchise, and Coogler's dynamic energy instantly vaulted Creed into the upper echelon of sports movies. [Ben Pearson]

American Lightsaber Academy - Star Wars

27. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

After the divisive prequels and an extended break for the franchise, J.J. Abrams was tasked with bringing Star Wars back to a whole new audience. The Force Awakens is a crowd-pleasing, emotional callback to George Lucas' original trilogy, with a modern design and a lot of spark. Daisy Ridley brings a unique energy to Rey never seen before in a galaxy far far away, and Abrams introduces compelling and interesting questions, which culminates in the most emotional lightsaber battle put on film. [Peter Sciretta]

26. Gravity

In Gravity, co-writer/director Alfonso Cuaron presents the audience with beautiful imagery that's also scary on a profound gut level: just thinking about that iconic shot of Sandra Bullock's character spinning out untethered into space still makes my stomach drop. But the most impressive thing about the movie is not the its astonishing visual effects, its extended continuous shots, the elaborate lighting rig that needed to be invented to make this movie, or even Bullock's frantic, harried performance. It's the way Cuaron strikes a balance between the technical elements and the emotional ones, resulting in a story that's totally immersive. We're putty in his hands. [Ben Pearson]

25. Ex Machina

Ex Machina is a portrait of four talented people about to explode. Oscar Isaac, shortly before landing a Star Wars. Alicia Vikander, shortly before winning an Oscar. Domhnall Gleason, shortly before, uh, also landing a Star Wars. But perhaps most importantly, there's writer/director Alex Garland, making his directorial debut after a long writing career. Before he topped himself with Annihilation, Garland made this chilling sci-fi tale a debauched scientist, his robotic creation, and the meek computer programmer invited to an isolated estate to conduct the most fucked-up Turing Test of all time. It would be one thing if Ex Machina was just a time capsule featuring a bunch of people right before they blew up in the public consciousness. However, this is an expertly made examination of male and female dynamics at the collision of technology and human life – in other words, a portrait of a tinder box next to gallon of gasoline. It's unforgettably good. [Jacob Hall]

24. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

After delivering a strong entry into the Mission: Impossible oeuvre with 2015's Rogue Nation, Christopher McQuarrie did something no other filmmaker in the franchise ever did: he returned for a sequel. At first, I was bummed – a big part of this series' charm was seeing what new directors would bring in each movie. But Fallout proved that McQuarrie is perfectly suited for this type of action madness, because he upped the ante in every way and delivered the best, most action-packed Mission yet. Now he just has to keep Tom Cruise alive for those back-to-back sequels they're supposed to make... [Ben Pearson]

23. Whiplash

In order for aspiring drummer Andrew Niemen (Miles Teller) to become one of the greats, he has to deal with Terence

Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), and it's not going to be easy. In a movie that is essentially Full Metal Jacket in an elite collegiate jazz band, we have an epic battle of determination as a conductor pushes his students to the brink of madness, all in the name of greatness. While Andrew tries to prove that he has what it takes, Fletcher tries to beat him down at every turn, believing that a real musician would never give up. This intense battle turns the band room into a war zone. There's blood, sweat and tears, not to mention an outstanding score powered by exuberant jazz, which goes hand-in-hand with the impeccable editing that really brings the music to life. [Ethan Anderton]

22. John Wick

Before it spawned an unlikely franchise (and two equally good sequels), John Wick was the biggest little surprise of 2014. Keanu Reeves found a role perfectly tailored to his specific set of skills as the world's best hitman, who emerges from retirement to avenge the death of his puppy – and put to rest his other personal demons. Director Chad Stahelksi stages the gunplay and fisticuffs with ingenuity rarely seen in western action films – letting the camera linger on brilliant stunt performers as they do what they do best – but he also surrounds that action with character actors cast in meaty parts and world-building that suggests a canvas so vast and deep that we need to know more. This is a stone cold modern classic. [Jacob Hall]

21. Avengers: Endgame

How do you bring an interconnected universe of multiple superhero franchises spread across 21 movies to a satisfying conclusion? The answer comes from directors Anthony & Joe Russo in the form of Avengers: Endgame. In what is essentially a blockbuster miracle, a team of defeated superheroes try to undo an unbelievable tragedy that finds half of the universe's living beings turned to dust by a zealot called Thanos. The result is a thrilling time travel heist that some how completes character arcs that orignat at the beginning of the decade, including one that began all the way back in 2008. There are heartbreaking moments that pull tears from your eyes, laugh out loud character moments, and extraordinary action sequences, including one of the most epic final battles in blockbuster history. But more than that, Avengers: Endgame is a powerful examination of what it feels like to fail, lose hope, and do everything you can in order to fight back. Even though we're not superheroes, we can all identify with what that feels like. [Ethan Anderton]