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Rotten Tomatoes reveal top 25 films of the past 25 years

Paul Thomas Anderson, David Fincher and the Coen brothers feature heavily

By Joe Goggins

Stock image of red cinema seats
(Photo: Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels)

Rotten Tomatoes have revealed the top 25 films of the past 25 years, according to a survey of their approved critics.

The review aggregator commissioned the poll to celebrate their 25th anniversary, asking their certified critics to choose their five favourite films of the past quarter-century, before tabulating the results into a rundown of the highest-rated 25. The overall winner was George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, with Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite second and David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. third. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire rounded out the top five, making the latter the highest entry directed by a woman.

Elsewhere, the top ten was completed by Wong Kar-wai’s ravishing romance In the Mood for Love, Hayao Miyazaki’s career high watermark Spirited Away, Guillermo de Toro’s modern fable Pan’s Labyrinth, the Wachowskis’ action game-changer The Matrix and David Fincher’s re-telling of Facebook’s founding, The Social Network. It is one of two entries in the top 25 for Fincher, who’s Zodiac is at 20.

The Coen brothers also have multiple entries, with No Country for Old Men at 11 and Inside Llewyn Davis at 18, while Paul Thomas Anderson also features twice, for There Will Be Blood, at number 12, and Magnolia, at number 16. You can see the full top 25 below. At the same time, Rotten Tomatoes released a list of the top 25 TV shows of the last 25 years; the top five, in order, is comprised of Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men and Succession.

Fury Road, released in 2015, was the long-awaited sequel to Miller’s first three Mad Max films, which became cult favourites between 1979 and 1985. A spin-off, Furiosa, will focus on the origin story of Charlize Theron’s Fury Road character and stars Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role. It is due out on May 24, 2024. A sequel to Fury Road, with a working title of Mad Max: The Wasteland, has been tentatively mooted, with Tom Hardy attached to reprise his role.

Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 25 Films of the Past 25 Years:

1. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)

2. Parasite (Bong Joon-ho, 2019)

3. Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)

4. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)

5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma, 2019)

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

7. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

8. Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

9. The Matrix (Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, 1999)

10. The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)

11. No Country for Old Men (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 2007)

12. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

13. Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

14. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)

15. Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, 2022)

16. Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999)

17. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014)

18. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 2013)

19. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Peter Jackson, 2001)

20. Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)

21. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)

22. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)

23. Paddington 2 (Paul King, 2017)

24. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018)

25. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)