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Top 25 indie films of the 2000s

I’m aware this is a little late in the news world, but here's a critical list of the top 25 independent films from this past decade. Apart from looking at feature films, the need to address independent documentaries and independent foreign films are just as important to address. With that being said, it is unfortunate to “cut” potential feature films from the list in order to make room for the specialty films. 

Now, what is defined as an “independent film” at this point in time is a little ambiguous. Typically an independent film is a small movie produced by a studio not affiliated with a major studio. Over time the popularity of independent films has grown significantly and in many cases major film studios step-in to help market such projects and/or to the point of them buying the small studio. Therefore, there is a fine line between a film produced by small studio owned by a major studio and a true independent film. To make matters more complicated, these “independent films” from a big studio are on a low-budget and have a limited release just like an independent feature. 

With that being said I have researched what films were released this past decade that have been defined as an independent film; whether it is truly independent or in all aspects seen as an independent film with the exception of being a product of a major studio in one way or another. These works were chosen based on their impact in the film industry in terms of culture, storytelling, performance, and/or creativity.

1. Requiem For a Dream (2000)
2. Memento (2000)
3. A Serious Man (2009)
4. Donnie Darko (2000)
5. The Return (Vozvrashchenie) (2003)
6. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
7. Best in Show (2000)
8. Saved! (2004)
9. Lost in Translation (2003)
10. An Education (2009)
11. Gosford Park (2001)
12. Thirteen (2003)
13. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
14. Hard Candy (2005)
15. Oldboy (2003)
16. He Was a Quiet Man (2007)
17. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
18. Irréversible (2002)
19. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
20. Once (2006)
21. Shattered Glass (2003)
22. Jesus Camp (2006)
23. Primer (2004)
24. Tarnation (2003)
25. Juno (2007)


  • Noel 5 years ago

    Interesting choices. I'm really happy to see Primer on there though. A terrific piece of work.

  • Teresa 5 years ago

    Thanks! My boyfriend introduced "Primer" to me last year. Even though I wasn't completely sold by it, I really liked that so much complexity could fit into a 77-minute movie. It's definitely a brain teaser. :-)

  • Atlanta Movies Examiner 5 years ago

    Great list, and "Requiem" is a worthy #1.

    Off the top of my head, I'd include "Roger Dodger" and "Made" as well.

  • Teresa 5 years ago

    Thank you, I agree "Requiem" was brilliant. The book is just as good and highly recommend that as well. I remember hearing about "Roger Dodger" and "Made," but I have yet to see them. There are so many out there I haven't seen yet, but *have that feeling* they're good. If only time allowed... :-)

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