We know that compiling a Top 25 Movie Moments of the Decade list is a fool's errand. Every time we thought the list was finished, there was always one more "But what about...." lurking in the room that we couldn't ignore.

This list could easily be 2,500 moments and we still wouldn't be able to include everything we wanted, so we know that a lot of your favorites probably aren't on here. But we think most of you will nod your head in agreement at at least a few of these. So consider this less a definitive list then a starting point to a greater discussion.


25.Neil Patrick Harris tripping in 'Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle' (2004)

Before his role as a serial womanizer in 'How I Met Your Mother' attracted him to a new audience, Harris made one of the most memorable cameos of the decade as an Ecstasy-fueled version of himself in this surprise hit.

24.Uma Thurman fights off the Crazy 88 in 'Kill Bill, Vol. 1' (2003)

This doesn't even need description. 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' notwithstanding, best fight scene this decade.

23. The parkour scene from 'Casino Royale' (2006)

Sure, parkour is de rigueur in action movies now, but when 'Casino Royale' came out, this mesmerizing scene immediately earned its way into Bond lore.

22. Jim Carrey's memory mind trip in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' (2004)

In Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry's mental mindf**k, Jim Carrey hires a team to erase all memories from a failed relationship with Kate Winslet, only to change his mind. (Get it?)

21. The Bamboo Forest fight scene in 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' (2000)

The rare foreign movie to crossover to American audiences, the combination of visual beauty and unprecedented special effects earned the film Best Picture and Best Director nominations at the 2001 Academy Awards.

20. Abigail Breslin's dance in 'Little Miss Sunshine' (2006)

The Little Indie That Could surprised everyone by becoming one of 2006's most popular films, thanks in part to this ridiculously inappropriate, yet ridiculously funny, quasi-striptease by Breslin.

19. The 'Tiny Dancer' sing-along on the bus in 'Almost Famous' (2000)

"I have to go home." "You are home." Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical tale of youthful indiscretions and badass '70s rock stars resonated across myriad generations.

18. Russell Crowe's heartfelt concern for the audience in 'Gladiator' (2000)

And with one sentence, Russell Crowe sparks a barrage of parodies and imitations.

17. Ennis and Jack reunite in 'Brokeback Mountain' (2005)

Spider-Man and Mary Jane's kiss was more iconic, but the reunion of two gay cowboys sparked both celebration and outrage depending on who you asked.

16. "I drink your milkshake!" rant in 'There Will Be Blood' (2007)

When 'Saturday Night Live' devotes an entire segment to one sentence, you have created a memorable scene.

15. Bill Murray whispers in Scarlet Johansson's ear at the end of 'Lost in Translation' (2003)

What Murray actually says while saying goodbye for good has been the source of speculation since the film's 2003 release. We'd like to think it was, "'Quick Change' will be a cult classic one day."

14. Wall-E and Eve's first date in 'Wall-E' (2008)

While every political and philosophical group claimed Pixar's darkest tale (until 'Up') as their own, no one can appropriate the whimsy and playfuless of their first date.

13. Will Ferrell streaking in 'Old School' (2003)

Bud Fox only hinted at it. With Frank "The Tank" Ricard, aging frat boys--nay, frat men--finally have an on-screen idol that they could completely relate to. God bless nostalgia.

12. Introduction of Jack Sparrow in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl'

Sure, it wasn't the most exciting pirate entrance in the world, but with the introduction of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, one of the decade's most iconic characters was born.
(Sparrow's first appearance is 8:30 into the clip)

11. The song-and-dance performance to 'Jai Ho' at the end of 'Slumdog Millionaire' (2008)

The film that swept the 2009 Academy Awards ended with this tribute to countless past Bollywood films.

10. The waxing scene in 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' (2005)

Yes, the waxing was real and the jokes (like most of the movie) were improvised. Steve Carell dies for his art, or at least kills off the Sasquatch growing on his chest.

9. Tom Cruise's cameo in 'Tropic Thunder' (2008)

As the fat, balding, loud and obnoxious studio executive Les Grossman, Cruise finally gets to strike back at his bosses. While the hip-hop dancing was a bit clichéd, it was still his most memorable role this decade that didn't involve a couch or an E-meter reading.

8. Mike Tyson's love of Phil Collins in 'The Hangover' (2008)

We loved Doogie and Cruise, but Tyson gets Cameo of the Decade for his absurdist, yet strangely sweet, rendition of Phil Collins' 'In The Air Tonight.'

7. The upside-down kiss in 'Spider-Man' (2002)

And so, the term 'Spider-Man kiss' is born. Despite having still not seen his face, the moment when Mary Jane falls for our webbed friend is arguably the most famous kiss of the decade.

6. Javier Bardem's fateful coin toss in 'No Country for Old Men' (2007)

It was a toss-up between this scene and the abrupt car accident at the end, but either way, Bardem's portrayal of murderer/70s haircut wearer Anton Chigurh was a perfect mix of the deliberate, studied and eerie.

5. Gollum falls into the lava in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' (2003)

Oh Gollum. You couldn't just give up the ring, could you? Even falling into lava, you needed to hold on with your last ounce of strength.

4. Edward saves Bella from a car accident in 'Twilight' (2008)

The movie that propelled a phenomenon, this scene had pre-pubescent girls and middle-aged women equally putting their hands over their eyes.

3. Harry Potter is introduced in 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' (2001)

You can't have a list like this without including the most successful franchise in history. If we had to choose, we'd pick Harry discovering Platform 9 ¾ as our top moment, but you'd need wizardry to find clips online. So we found this compilation of the best clips known as a "trailer" that highlights them all.

2. The naked wrestling scene in 'Borat' (2006)

The "car accident" scene of the decade, as in, you don't want to look but you just can't turn away. You probably already shamefully clicked "Play" before reading this sentence.

1. Heath Ledger's performance in 'The Dark Knight' (2008)

In the best performance of his brief career, Ledger's psychotic take on the iconic character trumped Nicholson's original and scared the hell out of everyone.

So, what did we miss?
categories Features