Mulholland Drive leads the pack in list of 21st century's top films

BBC Culture poll of 177 film critics around the world puts David Lynch’s 2001 surrealist masterpiece in top spot

David Lynch’s surrealist masterpiece Mulholland Drive, which even its most ardent fans admit is as maddeningly baffling as it is mesmerising, has been named the greatest film of the 21st century.

A poll by BBC Culture of 177 film critics from 36 countries aimed to find the best films of recent memory.

The resulting top 100 list has Mulholland Drive (2001) at No 1, followed by Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000); There Will Be Blood (2007); Spirited Away (2001); and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood (2014).

Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away was a popular choice among film critics polled by BBC Culture.
Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away was a popular choice among film critics polled by BBC Culture. Photograph: BFI

The most popular directors in the list, all with three films each, were Wes Anderson, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Christopher Nolan, Michael Haneke, Paul Thomas Anderson and Joel and Ethan Coen.

Matthew Anderson, the editor of BBC Culture, said greatest film polls often looked right back into the past.

“But we wanted to find out about the best films in recent memory. These are the films that most people feel strongly about.

“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.

Each critic was allowed to submit 10 films which resulted in a total of 599, then sorted into the top 100.

Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, came in at 22 on the list.
Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003), starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, came in at 22 on the list. Photograph: Imagenet

Mulholland Drive, originally planned as a six-part TV show, came in at No 1. The film was described by the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw as “creepy, fascinating, dreamily self-indulgent” as well as being “very enjoyable”.

The most popular year for films was 2012, with 10 films in the top 100 including The Act of Killing (14) and Holy Motors (16). Nine films from 2013 also featured, including 12 Years a Slave and Blue is the Warmest Colour.

There is no room for some of the most popular films of the last 16 years, no Harry Potters or Hobbits or Pirates of the Caribbean; but there is a place for the more obviously commercial movies such as George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) at 19, WALL-E at 29 and Ratatouille at joint 90.

Top 100

1 Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

2 In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)

3 There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

4 Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

5 Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)

6 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)

7 The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)

8 Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)

9 A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, reached 3 on the list.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, reached 3 on the list. Photograph: PA

10 Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)

10 No Country For Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)

12 Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)

12 Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)

14 The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012)

15 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)

16 Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)

17 Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)

18 The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009)

Grand Budapest Hotel – one of three Wes Anderson films featured on the list – reached 21.
The Grand Budapest Hotel – one of three Wes Anderson films featured on the list – reached 21. Photograph: Rex Features

19 Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)

20 Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)

21 The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)

22 Caché (Michael Haneke, 2005)

22 Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

24 The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)

25 Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2001)

Contributor

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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