By the turn of the new century, the movie industry will have undergone a century’s worth of positive improvements in storytelling and filmmaking. With the help of modern technologies, people’s wildest fantasies may now be brought to life on the big screen with fantastic images and compelling narratives.
It’s a shame that this list can only include 10 movies because 2003 alone generated a large number of excellent pictures that became classics. Elephant, The Dreamers, 21 Grams and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring may not make the cut, however, the entries on this list will undoubtedly provide viewers a lot of happy recollections.
10 ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’
The first installment in the same-name franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl centers on Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) as they save Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) from the Black Pearl’s cursed crew, led by Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who transform into zombie skeletons at night.
In addition to moviegoers, those interested in maritime myths will find the Black Pearl‘s plot intriguing along with its vibrant CGI, savvy humor, and eye-catching action sequences. Moreover, the film defies expectations to be a movie with more depth than its appearance, anchored by the cast’s excellent performance while being advertised as a summer blockbuster.
Dogville follows Grace (Nicole Kidman), a stunning fugitive on the run from the mob in 1930s America, who shows up in a little community in the Rocky Mountains. Grace offers to work in exchange for protection, and the locals accept her. However, as they start to count on her for additional favors, Grace keeps a perilous secret from them.
Dogville stirs up difficult-to-shake emotions with its complex and compelling themes, which emphasize the finest and worst aspects of each of us. These components combine to create a film that is not only singular, creative, and extremely sublime, but also clinically sardonic.
8 ‘Big Fish’
Based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Daniel Wallace, Big Fish follows a former salesman Edward Bloom (Albert Finney), who in an effort to repair their damaged relationship, tells his estranged son, Will (Billy Crudup) wild and imaginative tales of his boyhood as he lies on his deathbed.
Big Fish still maintains Tim Burton‘s trademark but the message of the film is heartwarming with pure humor surrounding the dramatic moments that produced more sincere laughter than any comedy. Additionally, the movie has a charm that enchants the viewers and carries them along a journey that is almost as astonishing as the character who tells them.
7 ‘Kill Bill: Vol. 1’
The first installment in the same-name franchise, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 follows The Bribe (Uma Thurman) who had been in a coma for four years, is now awake and swears vengeance on the group of assassins and their leader, the titular Bill (David Carradine) who had left her for dead at the altar.
Vol. 1 is a sensationally brutal revenge tale propelled by Quentin Tarantino‘s voracious passion for the films he watched growing up and rich in cinematic skill. Additionally, the film is visually and culturally rich, unrelenting in its action, and uses a wide range of music that will please not only Tarantino’s fans but also action enthusiasts.
6 ‘Finding Nemo’
Finding Nemo is a computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film that follows the tale of an overprotective clownfish named Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), who seeks his titular missing kid Nemo (Alexander Gould), assisted by a forgetful regal blue tang named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres). Marlin gains risk-taking skills along the way, and he also adjusts to the idea that Nemo can take care of himself.
Finding Nemo is a thrilling story of adventure, triumph over hardship, and teamwork as well as the traditional Pixar/Disney messages about the value of family, trust, compassion, and respect. Moreover, with witty jokes, thrills, heartbreak, and iconic characters, the artwork succeeds in creating an animated classic that is as crisp as the writing.
5 ‘Memories of Murder’
Memories of Murder recounts the terrifying actual account of the manhunt of a sadistic serial killer and rapist who terrorized a tiny province in South Korea in the 1980s. In a fruitless attempt to solve the case, three growing desperate detectives try to figure out the vicious psyche of the murderer.
With elements of a police procedural, a political critique, and an investigation of the pervasive misogyny in Korean society, Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder is both captivating and haunting. Additionally, despite the grim subject matter, Bong manages to maintain a sharp yet dyspeptic sense of humor.
4 ‘Mystic River’
Based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, Mystic River centers on three long-distance friends who are reunited as a result of the inquiry into a young woman’s death in a small town. Each conducts his own inquiry through the neighborhood as the probe moves further, and a terrifying tale about their background is revealed.
While Clint Eastwood has always dealt with themes of violence and retaliation, in this instance he approaches his topic from a fresh, murkier perspective and does it without consideration for macho titillation. Mystic River also features superb performances from the leading actors including Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon. However, Sean Penn surpasses even the finest of his previous work thanks to his frightfully impressive performance.
3 ‘Lost in Translation’
In a hotel bar in Tokyo, Lost in Translation begins when a disillusioned movie star (Bill Murray) meets a newlywed (Scarlett Johansson) who is also lost. The two form a strong friendship over the many secrets and wonders of an ambient Tokyo and life itself, despite the language and cultural hurdles that surround them.
Lost in Translation explores fragile relationships and unspoken disappointments, with its masterfully created mood of isolation serving as the backdrop. It’s also both enjoyable and depressing due to its skillful balancing of humor and melancholy. In addition, Murray effortlessly fills the part like an extension of himself, while Johansson moves in lockstep with him.
Oldboy centers on Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) who is only able to live after being held captive by a cruel captor for 15 years because of his determination to exact revenge on the person who has made his life a living nightmare. But when he is unexpectedly freed without warning, he sets out on a mission for vengeance and ends up caught up in a Kafkaesque plot.
It’s difficult to argue that Oldboy, which has been hailed as one of the greatest ten films in Asian cinema history, shouldn’t be on this list. Park Chan-wook‘s film is a potent and astute homage to the tragedy that will simultaneously disturb, depress, and thrill you.
1 ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’
Serves as the third installment in the same-name franchise and is based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s third volume in The Lord of the Rings novel series, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King continues to follow Frodo (Elijah Wood), and Sam (Sean Astin), led by Gollum (Andy Serkis) as they embark on a perilous journey toward the fiery summit of Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring while the final battle for Middle-Earth begins.
The Return of the King is undoubtedly a magnificent and satisfying conclusion to one of the greatest movie trilogies ever. This concluding chapter’s enormous scope is once again breathtaking and necessitates the excellent use of computer graphics, prosthetics, and makeup, costumes, and sets.
NEXT: From ‘Dune’ to ‘The Lord of the Rings’: 10 Oscar-Winning Production Designs That Had the Best World-Building