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The Best Movies of 2001, Ranked

Updated November 18, 2020 14.5k votes 1.0k voters 33.8k views140 items

List RulesOnly movies released in theaters in 2001.

A list of the best movies of 2001, from comedies like Zoolander to cult classics like Donnie Darko. The '00s were a decade where Hollywood thrived. In were new stars and big blockbusters and 2001 was no exception. Some the best movies of this year are some of the best teen, coming of age, adventure, comedies and dramas in history. The films on here are very memorable and had audiences on the edges of their seats, and still pack a punch so many years after they were first released. You shouldn't be too surprised by the movies listed on here.

As stated before, some of the best movies of the decade were released in 2001. Who could forget I Am Sam with Sean Penn, Legally Blonde with Reese Witherspoon, and of course, Ocean's Eleven. And let's not forget about Blow with Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. The best movies of 2001 featured some of the biggest stars in the movie business. Whether it was the aforementioned stars continuing their success or the breakout performances featured in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, or established stars like Will Smith starring in Ali and Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in Vanilla Sky.

Some of the best movies of all time were released in 2001. This is the ultimate list of the best movies of 2001, which shouldn't feature the best movies of 2000. Vote and re-rank this list according to how you think the best movies of that year should be reflected. If you notice that there's a movie from this year that should be on this list but is missing, feel free to add it.

  • 1
    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 epic fantasy film directed by...  more

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  • 2

    Monsters, Inc.

    Billy Crystal, John Goodman
    Monsters, Inc. is a 2001 American computer-animated comedy film directed by Pete Docter,...  more

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  • 3


    Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy
    Shrek is a 2001 American computer-animated fantasy-comedy film produced by PDI/DreamWorks,...  more

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  • 4

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

    Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (released in the United States, India and Pakistan as...  more

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    #70 of 196 The Best Adventure Movies#13 of 14 Movies From Your Childhood That Taught You Bad Lessons

  • 5

    Black Hawk Down

    Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy
    Black Hawk Down is a 2001 American-British war film directed by Ridley Scott. It is an...  more

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    #5 of 301 The Best Movies Based On True Stories#18 of 99 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time

  • 6

    The Others

    Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston
    The Others is a 2001 horror-thriller film written, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar....  more

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  • 7

    Mulholland Drive

    Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus
    Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch...  more

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    #82 of 230 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#41 of 247 The Best Whodunit Movies

  • 8

    Spirited Away

    Miyu Irino, Bunta Sugawara
    Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki...  more

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  • 9

    A Beautiful Mind

    Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe
    A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a...  more

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  • 10

    Enemy at the Gates

    Rachel Weisz, Jude Law
    Enemy at the Gates is a 2001 film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The film's title is taken...  more

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  • 11

    Donnie Darko

    Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale
    Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly...  more

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  • 12

    Ocean's Eleven

    Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts
    Ocean's Eleven is a 2001 American comedy heist film and the remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film...  more

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  • 13

    The Royal Tenenbaums

    Gwyneth Paltrow, Alec Baldwin
    The Royal Tenenbaums is a 2001 American comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson and...  more

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    #51 of 60 The Best Movies to Curl Up And Watch When You're Sick#53 of 63 Movies You Wish You Could Still Watch for the First Time

  • 14

    Training Day

    Eva Mendes, Snoop Dogg
    Training Day is a 2001 American thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by David...  more

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    #28 of 665 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked#340 of 456 The Most Quotable Movies Of All Time

  • 15

    Legally Blonde

    Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson
    Legally Blonde is a 2001 American comedy film directed by Robert Luketic, based on the novel...  more

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  • 16

    The Fast and the Furious

    Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez
    The Fast and the Furious is a 2001 American street racing action film directed by Rob Cohen...  more

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  • 17


    Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton
    Frailty is a 2002 psychological thriller film, directed by and starring Bill Paxton, and...  more

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  • 18

    A Knight's Tale

    Heath Ledger, Paul Bettany
    A Knight's Tale is a 2001 medieval adventure comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed...  more

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  • 19

    Moulin Rouge!

    Nicole Kidman, Ozzy Osbourne
    Moulin Rouge! is a 2001 Australian–American pastiche-jukebox musical film directed, produced,...  more

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    #51 of 195 The Best Movies About Music#187 of 356 The Best Musical Movies Of All Time

  • 20


    Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman
    Hannibal is a 2001 American thriller film directed by Ridley Scott, adapted from the novel of...  more

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  • 21

    Jeepers Creepers

    Justin Long, Eileen Brennan
    Jeepers Creepers is a 2001 American horror film written and directed by Victor Salva. The film...  more

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    #19 of 85 The Best Teen Slasher Movies#14 of 35 Rainy Day Horror Movies You Can Watch Again And Again

  • 22

    The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

    Charlize Theron, Woody Allen
    The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is a 2001 comedy film written by, directed by, and starring...  more

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  • 23


    Audrey Tautou, Spencer Tracy
    Amélie is a 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with...  more

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    #199 of 781 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#60 of 126 The Greatest Date Movies Of All Time

  • 24

    Joy Ride

    Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski
    Joy Ride, also known as Roadkill, is a 2001 American thriller road film. The film was written...  more

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    #158 of 713 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#79 of 114 The Best Horror Movie Franchises

  • 25

    A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    Meryl Streep, Robin Williams
    A.I. Artificial Intelligence, also known as A.I., is a 2001 American science fiction film...  more

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