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Where you can stream the 50 best films of the 21st century

  • Where can you stream the 50 best films of the 21st century

    Although some hardened cinephiles may argue that the true film masterpieces exist primarily in the movies of the 20th century, the past two decades have brought with them enduring cinema staples that arguably earned their place among the very best in the genre. With directors of the prestigious “New Hollywood” filmmaking movement of the ’60s and ’70s still alive and creating as good of work as ever, alongside modern and older auteurs and up-and-comers around the world carving their own distinct paths in the film industry, there is enough groundwork laid out between 2000 and 2020 to distinguish this century’s own classic canon.

    The best films of the 21st century span genre and style, from art films like Béla Tarr’s “Werckmeister Harmonies” and Cristian Mungiu’s “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” to the animated superhero film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” to the epic fantasy trilogy of “The Lord of the Rings,” to the modern musical “La La Land.” While many of these films went on to be Academy Award-nominated (and winning), others—such as Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunset” or Don Hertzfeldt’s “It’s Such a Beautiful Day”—maintain enduring critical and audience acclaim regardless of accolades.

    For this list, Flixed compiled data on the top 21st-century films to come up with a Flixed score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores as of Dec. 28, 2020. To qualify, the film had to have a Metascore and at least 10,000 IMDb user votes. Ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by IMDb user rating and vote count. Movies are ranked from 50 down, with the best in the #1 slot. Five of these films are only available to rent online, and two are not available to rent or stream anywhere.

    Keep reading to see where you can stream the best films of the 21st century.

  • #50. Her (2013)

    - Where to stream: Netflix
    - Director: Spike Jonze
    - Flixed score: 92.9
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Runtime: 126 minutes

    In a not-so-distant future, lonely and divorced Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) finds companionship in his life-like new operating system, which creates the manufactured persona of a playful woman named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). But the more time he spends with his artificial intelligence, the more he finds himself falling for it as if it was real. From acclaimed director Spike Jonze, the film is also available for rent on various sites such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and YouTube.

  • #49. The Incredibles (2004)

    - Where to stream: Disney+
    - Director: Brad Bird
    - Flixed score: 92.9
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Runtime: 115 minutes

    Forced into hiding after superpowers are banned by the government, the Parrs assume the identities of mundane, average civilians, but patriarch Bob—alias “Mr. Incredible”—longs to return to the life of a superhero. However, when he’s called on mysterious circumstances to battle a dangerous threat, his whole family must save him. This Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature is streaming on Disney+, but is also available to rent on other streaming platforms.

  • #48. The Hurt Locker (2008)

    - Where to stream: Prime Video, Hulu, DIRECTV, EPIX, Watch TCM
    - Director: Kathryn Bigelow
    - Flixed score: 92.9
    - Metascore: 95
    - IMDb user rating: 7.5
    - Runtime: 131 minutes

    Winner of Best Picture (and five other Oscars) at the 82nd Academy Awards, this war thriller centers on an Iraq War Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team and the harmful psychological effects combat has on the soldiers involved. To this day, the film remains the only winner of the Best Picture Oscar to have been directed by a woman.

  • #47. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

    - Where to stream: Only available for rent
    - Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
    - Flixed score: 93.4
    - Metascore: 87
    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Runtime: 117 minutes

    This animated Marvel film follows teenager Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) as he transforms into New York City’s titular web-slinging superhero. But Miles soon learns there are numerous other Spider-People (and pigs) from other dimensions, who must band together to stop the villainous Kingpin (Liev Schreiber).

  • #46. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

    - Where to stream: MUBI Amazon Channel
    - Director: Anurag Kashyap
    - Flixed score: 93.4
    - Metascore: 89
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 321 minutes

    This two-part Indian crime film chronicles an epic, years-long feud between a gangster and the ruthless kingpin who killed his father. The movie was divided into two films for the Indian market due to its length, but screened as one film at its premiere at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival in the Directors’ Fortnight section.

  • #45. Before Sunset (2004)

    - Where to stream: HBO Max, DIRECTV
    - Director: Richard Linklater
    - Flixed score: 93.4
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 80 minutes

    In 1995’s “Before Sunrise,” Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) meet by chance on a train to Vienna and share one intimate night with the promise to meet again in six months. "Before Sunset" picks things up nine years later as Jesse reunites with Celine in Paris during a stop along his book tour. Through a long, meandering walk through the city, they share the separate paths their lives have taken and their enduring desire for one another.

  • #44. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

    - Where to stream: DIRECTV, TNT, TBS, Spectrum
    - Director: George Miller
    - Flixed score: 93.4
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 120 minutes

    Set in a post-apocalyptic future, water is scarce and cruel despot Immortan Joe has taken control over a desert civilization with the remaining survivors. But a rogue warrior (Charlize Theron) on the run with the tyrant’s wives forms an alliance with escaped captive Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), together pursued by Joe’s henchman on an epic chase across the barren wasteland in search of a better world. Director George Miller’s reimagining of his original film garnered him a Best Director nomination at the 88th Academy Awards, along with a slew of other nominations.

  • #43. Finding Nemo (2003)

    - Where to stream: Disney+
    - Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
    - Flixed score: 93.4
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 100 minutes

    After being separated from his son, cautious Clownfish father Marlin must embark on a quest to find Nemo, encountering an array of colorful (and occasionally dangerous) characters who help him on his way. The celebrated Disney Pixar film features the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen Degeneres, and Willem Dafoe.

  • #42. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

    - Where to stream: Netflix
    - Director: Michel Gondry
    - Flixed score: 94
    - Metascore: 89
    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Runtime: 108 minutes

    In the aftermath of their painful breakup, Clementine (Kate Winslet) decides to undergo a procedure to erase all memories of her time spent with Joel (Jim Carrey). But when Joel discovers what Clementine is doing, he wants the procedure for himself as well—until his subconscious changes its mind. Written by acclaimed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, the film won the award for Best Original Screenplay at the 77th Academy Awards.

  • #41. No Country for Old Men (2007)

    - Where to stream: Starz, DIRECTV
    - Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
    - Flixed score: 94
    - Metascore: 91
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 122 minutes

    This neo-Western thriller from the Coen brothers centers on Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), an opportunistic antelope hunter who steals a briefcase of cash he finds abandoned after a drug deal goes sideways. Hunter becomes hunted as Moss is pursued by a ruthless hitman (Javier Bardem) who won’t stop until Moss is dead. The film also features Tommy Lee Jones as an aging sheriff reckoning with a rapidly changing world.

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