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Most Iconic Movies of the 2000s

By Christian Roemer

The 2000s were a time of transition. The baggy jeans of yesteryear were cast aside for the skinny jeans of today. Blockbuster was all the rage, and some really great films came out in the early 2000s.

From superheroes to love stories, the 2000s were filled with movies that will definitely pass the test of time. With the major improvements in CGI, ballooning budgets, and general optimism in Hollywood, this decade saw some major hits. These are the top 10 most iconic movies of the 2000s from the perspective of a true millennial.

The Dark Knight

Arguably the best superhero movie ever made, The Dark Knight changed the way that we watch comic movies. It was dark, gritty, and Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker was spine tingling.

Mean Girls

This catty film changed pop culture for forever. It didn’t win any awards, it didn’t launch any careers, but people still quote this movie. Stop trying to make fetch happen. It’s never going to happen.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

This fantasy trilogy captured our imaginations in the early 2000s. Based off of Tolkien’s novels, these movies were emotional, imaginative, and visually stunning. Pretty much everyone wanted to visit New Zealand after this came out.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

This movie proves that the Rotten Tomatoes “tomatometer” can’t be trusted. Sitting at a poor 60%, this might be the ultimate comedy of all time. Ron Burgundy is a legend, and not just in beautiful San Diego.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

A cult classic that showed Jim Carrey’s more emotional acting chops, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a dark meditation on love. Wondering whom you might swipe from your memory is a question everyone wrestles with at the film’s conclusion. We’ll never forget Elijah Woods’ sneaky and snakey character.


Historical epics can become cheesy extremely easily. There was no cheese in Gladiator. Russell Crowe’s performance as a disgraced Roman warrior had heart, grit, and plenty of awesome special effects. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance made you hate him, which means he played the bad guy part flawlessly.

Finding Nemo

This movie taught us two things: never touch the butt, and just keep swimming. Disney movies always know how to engage people of every age, and Finding Nemo might be its best achievement. Nemo, Dory, and the seagulls will always bring a smile to any watcher’s face.

Brokeback Mountain

This film was a boundary breaker in every meaning of the term. A harrowing love story with high stakes made this film clean up in the awards circuit. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall’s performances were touching, moving, and inspiring.

Iron Man

Iron Man kicked off a whole collection of movies in the Marvel franchise. It was so successful that it launched an entire movie studio. Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect Iron Man, and he’s still one of viewers’ favorite Avengers over 15 years later.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Who would have thought that a ride at Disney World would spawn a wildly successful film franchise? Argue all you want about the sequels, but the first Pirates movie is legendary. The fast-paced story line and intoxicating performance from Johnny Depp made him a pop culture icon.

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