40. "House of Flying Daggers" (2007)
The mid-'00s saw several incredibly lush martial-arts sagas, but Zhang Yimou's triangle of warrior lovers makes the list for its singularly unrestrained passion.
39. "3-Iron" (2005)
In the unusual relationship between a young man who squats in empty homes and the abused wife who catches him in the act, Kim Ki-duk conjures something quietly delightful, like a fairy tale for the alienated.
38. "Shaun of the Dead" (2004)
Zombie movies were also big this decade, and no one did better or more lovingly by the genre than Edgar Wright and his cricket bat-wielding cohort, Simon Pegg.
37. "Irreversible" (2003)
Notorious for its horrifying real-time rape scene, Gaspar Noe's backward-told revenge drama is a full-on sensory assault, a fascinating exploration of extremes in the relationship between filmmaker and viewer.
36. "Bad Education" (2005)
An exquisitely penned love letter to cinema from Pedro Almodovar, plus a source of confusion for the many (me included) who found Gael Garcia Bernal irresistible in a Jean-Paul Gaultier gown.
35. "Requiem for a Dream" (2000)
Darren Aronofsky's heart-wrenching adaptation of a Hubert Selby novel is the raw, open wound created when harsh reality rips away noble ambition. You can't help but feel the pain.
34. "The Host" (2007)
A brainier "Godzilla" meets "Little Miss Sunshine" in Bong Joon-ho's highly accomplished and entertaining monster movie.
33. "Before Sunset" (2004)
This "Before Sunrise" follow-up from Richard Linklater is a testament to the power of lasting connections, actorly chemistry and unobtrusive craftsmanship.
32. "The Incredibles" (2004)
Not just another great Pixar movie, but the film that finally paid homage in character form to the genius of legendary Hollywood wardrobe artist Edith Head.
31. "City of God" (2003)
If you've never seen Fernando Meirelles' breakout film, imagine a Guy Ritchie movie rolling around in the dirt on a major coke binge that should offer a sense of its wild, gritty energy.