The year 2005 saw the release of several acclaimed and influential films across various genres, including dramas, comedies, and thrillers.
Among the standout films of the year were the politically charged drama “Munich,” the romantic drama “Brokeback Mountain,” the crime thriller “The Departed,” and the action-adventure film “Batman Begins.”
Other notable films from 2005 include the dystopian thriller “V for Vendetta,” the biographical drama “Capote,” the sci-fi action film “War of the Worlds,” and the offbeat comedy “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”
Best 2005 Movies
Overall, 2005 was a strong year for cinema and provided moviegoers with a diverse range of memorable and thought-provoking films.
1. Batman Begins (2005)
“Batman Begins” is a superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan and released in 2005. It tells the origin story of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), a billionaire playboy who becomes the masked vigilante Batman after witnessing the murder of his parents.
The film explores the psychological trauma and training that Bruce goes through to become Batman, as well as his struggles to save Gotham City from the corruption and criminal underworld that threatens to destroy it.
The cast includes Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon, and Liam Neeson as Ra’s al Ghul.
“Batman Begins” was critically acclaimed for its darker and more realistic take on the Batman character and its focus on character development and psychological depth.
It was a commercial success and spawned two sequels, “The Dark Knight” (2008) and “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012), which completed Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
2. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a 2005 stop-motion animated comedy film directed by Nick Park and Steve Box, and produced by Aardman Animations.
The movie is a feature-length adventure based on the characters of the popular British television series Wallace and Gromit, which follows the titular inventor and his loyal dog as they try to protect their town from a mysterious monster that is attacking vegetable gardens.
In the film, Wallace and Gromit run a pest control business called “Anti-Pesto” and are hired by the townspeople to catch the rabbits that are eating their vegetables.
However, their efforts are complicated by the appearance of a monstrous were-rabbit, which begins to terrorize the town and threaten the upcoming annual vegetable contest.
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was widely praised by critics for its clever humor, charming characters, and impressive animation. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2006, as well as several other awards at various film festivals.
The film was also a commercial success, grossing over $192 million worldwide against its $30 million budget.
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit has since become a beloved classic among fans of animation and family-friendly films, and has solidified Wallace and Gromit as one of the most iconic duos in British pop culture.
3. Sin City (2005)
“Sin City” is a 2005 neo-noir crime anthology film directed by Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, and Quentin Tarantino.
The film is based on the comic book series of the same name by Frank Miller and features a unique visual style that mimics the look and feel of a comic book.
The film is comprised of four interconnected stories that take place in the fictional, crime-ridden city of Basin City. Each story follows a different set of characters as they navigate the seedy underbelly of the city and confront corruption, violence, and betrayal.
The film features an ensemble cast that includes Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Benicio Del Toro, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, and Elijah Wood, among others.
The performances and visual style of the film were widely praised, and it became a critical and commercial success.
Overall, “Sin City” is a stylish and gritty crime film that expertly captures the tone and atmosphere of the source material. Its unique visual style and strong performances make it a must-see for fans of neo-noir and crime thrillers.
4. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
“The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” is a 2005 neo-Western film directed by Tommy Lee Jones.
The film follows a ranch hand named Pete Perkins (played by Jones) who seeks justice for his friend Melquiades Estrada, a Mexican immigrant who was mistakenly shot and killed by a Border Patrol officer.
Perkins kidnaps the officer and forces him to accompany him and Estrada’s body on a journey to return Estrada to his hometown in Mexico for a proper burial.
The film was praised for its strong performances, particularly from Jones and Barry Pepper, who played the Border Patrol officer.
It won the Best Actor award (for Jones) and the Best Screenplay award at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. The film was also nominated for several other awards, including two Independent Spirit Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
5. Adam’s Apples (2005)
“Adam’s Apples” is a 2005 Danish black comedy film directed by Anders Thomas Jensen. The film tells the story of Ivan, a neo-Nazi and convicted criminal who is assigned to community service at a rural church by his parole officer.
The church’s priest, Adam, takes Ivan under his wing and challenges him to confront his beliefs and his troubled past.
The film explores themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the nature of evil through its darkly humorous and sometimes shocking plot.
The performances of the lead actors, Mads Mikkelsen as Ivan and Ulrich Thomsen as Adam, were widely praised for their depth and complexity.
“Adam’s Apples” was a critical success and won several awards at international film festivals.
It has been described as a provocative and thought-provoking film that challenges viewers to consider the complexities of morality and the possibility of redemption.
6. Caché (Hidden) (2005)
Caché, also known as Hidden, is a 2005 French psychological thriller film directed by Michael Haneke. The film follows a Parisian couple, Georges and Anne, who begin to receive mysterious videotapes that show footage of their home and family.
As the tapes continue and become more invasive, Georges becomes increasingly paranoid and begins to unravel secrets from his past.
The film is known for its slow-burning tension and its exploration of themes such as guilt, shame, and the consequences of colonialism.
The standout performances from the leads, Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche, were highly praised, as was Haneke’s direction and the film’s cinematography.
Caché was a critical success and won several awards, including the Best Director prize at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
It is considered one of the greatest films of the 2000s and a masterful example of Haneke’s unique approach to filmmaking.
7. The Child (2005)
“The Child” (original title: “L’Enfant”) is a Belgian-French drama film directed by the Dardenne brothers and released in 2005.
The film tells the story of Bruno, a young and irresponsible petty criminal who lives with his girlfriend Sonia in a run-down apartment in the industrial city of Seraing, Belgium.
When Sonia gives birth to their son Jimmy, Bruno sells the child on the black market without her knowledge, using the money to pay off his debts.
The film explores themes of poverty, desperation, and moral ambiguity, and features strong performances by Jérémie Renier as Bruno and Déborah François as Sonia.
“The Child” won the Palme d’Or, the highest prize at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, and received critical acclaim for its raw and gritty portrayal of a difficult subject matter.
8. Munich (2005)
“Munich” is a historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 2005.
The film is based on the true events surrounding the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, in which Palestinian terrorists kidnapped and killed eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team.
The film follows the aftermath of the attack, as the Israeli government forms a secret group called “Operation Wrath of God” to track down and kill those responsible for the attack.
The film explores themes of revenge, justice, and morality, as the members of the operation struggle with the moral implications of their actions and the toll it takes on their personal lives.
The cast includes Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, and Ciarán Hinds. “Munich” was well-received by critics and earned five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Spielberg, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
9. The Proposition (2005)
The Proposition is a 2005 Australian Western film directed by John Hillcoat and written by musician Nick Cave.
The movie stars Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, and Danny Huston and follows the story of a outlaw named Charlie Burns who is given a proposition by a British lawman to hunt down and kill his older brother in exchange for the pardon of his younger brother, who is awaiting execution for a brutal crime.
Set in the harsh Australian outback of the late 19th century, the film explores themes of violence, justice, and morality, as well as the complex relationships between colonizers and indigenous peoples.
The Proposition received critical acclaim for its gritty and atmospheric direction, strong performances, and powerful themes. The movie was also a success at the box office, grossing over $12 million worldwide against its $2 million budget.
Despite its acclaim, The Proposition was not without controversy, as some criticized the film for its graphic violence and depiction of Indigenous Australians.
Nevertheless, the movie has since been regarded as a modern classic of the Western genre and a landmark film in Australian cinema.
10. Corpse Bride (2005)
“Corpse Bride” is a 2005 stop-motion animated musical fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and Mike Johnson.
The film is set in the 19th century and tells the story of a young man named Victor Van Dort, who is set to marry Victoria Everglot in an arranged marriage.
However, after a rehearsal for the wedding, Victor accidentally finds himself married to a deceased bride named Emily, also known as the Corpse Bride.
The film features an ensemble voice cast that includes Johnny Depp as Victor, Helena Bonham Carter as Emily, Emily Watson as Victoria, and Christopher Lee as Pastor Galswells.
The film’s music and songs were composed by Danny Elfman, and the stop-motion animation was created by the studio Laika.
“Corpse Bride” received positive reviews for its visual style, music, and voice acting. The film’s themes of love and death, as well as its darkly humorous tone, have made it a cult classic among fans of Tim Burton’s work and stop-motion animation in general.
11. Capote (2005)
“Capote” is a 2005 biographical drama film directed by Bennett Miller. The film is based on the true story of Truman Capote (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his research into the 1959 murder of a Kansas family.
The film follows Capote as he travels to Kansas to conduct interviews with the killers, and becomes deeply involved in the case.
The film was highly acclaimed, and Hoffman’s performance as Capote earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor.
The film was also nominated for several other awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
It was praised for its nuanced portrayal of Capote’s complex personality and its exploration of the ethical implications of his writing about the killers.
12. Manderlay (2005)
“Manderlay” is a 2005 drama film written and directed by Lars von Trier. The film is the second installment in von Trier’s “USA – Land of Opportunities” trilogy, following “Dogville” (2003).
It tells the story of a young woman named Grace, who discovers a plantation in Alabama still practicing slavery 70 years after its abolition.
She decides to stay and help the slaves achieve their freedom, but soon finds that the situation is more complicated than she thought.
The film explores themes of power, race, and morality through its stark and minimalist style, with the action taking place on a soundstage with minimal sets and props.
The performances of the lead actors, including Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace and Willem Dafoe as the plantation owner, were widely praised for their intensity and emotional depth.
“Manderlay” was met with mixed reviews, with some critics praising von Trier’s bold approach to the subject matter and others criticizing the film’s heavy-handed symbolism and lack of subtlety.
Despite its polarizing reception, the film is considered an important work in von Trier’s oeuvre and a thought-provoking exploration of America’s history of slavery and racism.
13. Tsotsi (2005)
Tsotsi is a 2005 South African crime drama film directed by Gavin Hood. The film tells the story of Tsotsi, a young gangster in Johannesburg who leads a life of crime and violence.
After a botched robbery, Tsotsi discovers a baby in the back seat of a car he has stolen and takes the child with him as he tries to evade the police and confronts his own past.
The film explores themes such as redemption, empathy, and the effects of apartheid on South African society.
The performances of the cast, particularly that of Presley Chweneyagae as Tsotsi, were highly praised, as was Hood’s direction and the film’s cinematography.
Tsotsi won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006, as well as numerous other awards at film festivals around the world. It is regarded as one of the best films to come out of South Africa and a powerful and moving story of personal transformation.
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14. The Aura (2005)
“The Aura” (original title: “El Aura”) is an Argentine neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Fabián Bielinsky and released in 2005.
The film tells the story of Esteban Espinosa, a taxidermist with an eidetic memory who dreams of committing the perfect crime.
While on a hunting trip in Patagonia, Esteban finds himself in the midst of an armed robbery, and becomes drawn into a dangerous world of criminal activity.
Starring Ricardo Darín as Esteban, “The Aura” features stunning cinematography and a gripping plot that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.
The film received critical acclaim for its expertly crafted suspense and nuanced exploration of themes such as fate, morality, and the human psyche.
Unfortunately, Bielinsky passed away shortly after the film’s release, leaving behind a legacy as one of Argentina’s most talented and promising filmmakers.
15. Election (2005)
“Election” is a dark comedy film directed by Alexander Payne and released in 2005. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta and stars Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick.
The plot follows Tracy Flick (Witherspoon), a high school student who is running unopposed for student council president.
However, her history teacher, Jim McAllister (Broderick), who has a personal vendetta against her, persuades one of his students to run against her.
As the election unfolds, the candidates engage in increasingly dirty tactics to try to win, and Jim’s personal and professional life begins to unravel.
The film explores themes of ambition, power, and morality, and the dark side of small-town politics. “Election” was well-received by critics, who praised its sharp writing, performances, and satirical tone. It has since become a cult classic and is considered one of the best films of the 2000s.
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16. Lady Vengeance (2005)
Lady Vengeance is a 2005 South Korean revenge thriller film directed by Park Chan-wook. The movie stars Lee Young-ae as a woman named Lee Geum-ja who is released from prison after serving 13 years for a crime she did not commit.
Determined to seek revenge against the man who framed her, Geum-ja sets out on a mission to clear her name and punish those responsible for her wrongful imprisonment.
The film explores themes of justice, forgiveness, and the corrupt nature of the criminal justice system, as Geum-ja navigates a complex web of relationships and confronts her own inner demons along the way.
Lady Vengeance received critical acclaim for its stylish and inventive direction, as well as its powerful performances and thought-provoking themes. The movie was also a commercial success, grossing over $12 million worldwide against its $4 million budget.
The film was the third and final installment in Park Chan-wook’s “Vengeance Trilogy,” which also included the films Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Oldboy (2003).
Despite its dark subject matter and graphic violence, Lady Vengeance has since been regarded as a masterpiece of the revenge thriller genre and a highlight of South Korean cinema.
17. The Bow (2005)
“The Bow” (2005) is a South Korean film directed by Kim Ki-duk. The film is set on a fishing boat that doubles as a small floating house, and follows the relationship between a 60-year-old man who owns the boat, and a 16-year-old girl whom he has raised since she was a young child.
The man has trained the girl to become an expert archer, and she uses her skills to entertain and attract male customers to the boat.
As the film progresses, the relationship between the man and the girl becomes increasingly complex, as they both grapple with their feelings for each other and the outside world threatens to disrupt their isolated existence. The film explores themes of love, jealousy, and the dangers of obsession.
“The Bow” received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising its visuals and themes, while others criticized the film for its depiction of the relationship between the man and the young girl.
Despite its mixed reception, the film has gained a cult following and has been praised for its unique storytelling and striking visuals.
18. Everything Is Illuminated (2005)
“Everything Is Illuminated” is a 2005 film directed by Liev Schreiber and based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer.
The film follows a young Jewish-American man named Jonathan (played by Elijah Wood) who travels to Ukraine in search of his grandfather’s past.
Jonathan is accompanied by a local man named Alex (played by Eugene Hutz) and his grandfather (played by Boris Leskin), who act as his guides and interpreters.
As they journey through the Ukrainian countryside, they encounter a series of surreal and humorous situations that ultimately lead them to discover the truth about Jonathan’s family history.
The film was praised for its offbeat humor, its exploration of the themes of identity and memory, and its inventive visual style. It was also noted for its strong performances, particularly by Hutz and Leskin.
19. Frozen Land (2005)
“Frozen Land” is a 2005 Finnish drama film directed by Aku Louhimies. The film depicts the lives of several characters living in the suburbs of Helsinki, Finland, and explores themes of loneliness, desperation, and violence.
The story follows several interconnecting storylines, including a school teacher struggling to cope with his job, a depressed salesman, a young man trying to provide for his family, and a teenage girl struggling with her sexuality.
The film received critical acclaim and won several awards, including eight Jussi Awards (the Finnish equivalent of the Oscars) and the Nordic Council Film Prize.
20. Tideland (2005)
Tideland is a 2005 British-Canadian fantasy drama film directed by Terry Gilliam. The film tells the story of Jeliza-Rose, a young girl who escapes into a vivid fantasy world to cope with the harsh reality of her dysfunctional family.
After her drug-addicted parents die, Jeliza-Rose is taken to live with her eccentric and mentally unstable grandmother in a remote, dilapidated farmhouse in rural Texas.
There, she creates her own fantasy world and befriends a mentally challenged man named Dickens and his sister Dell.
Tideland received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising Gilliam’s direction and the performances of the cast, particularly that of young actress Jodelle Ferland as Jeliza-Rose, while others found the film disturbing and unsettling.
The film’s themes of childhood innocence, imagination, and trauma have been the subject of much analysis and discussion.
Despite its mixed reception, Tideland has since gained a cult following and is regarded by some as one of Gilliam’s most underrated and misunderstood films.
21. Last Days (2005)
“Last Days” is a 2005 American drama film directed, written, and produced by Gus Van Sant. The film is a fictionalized retelling of the final days of musician Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the band Nirvana.
It stars Michael Pitt as Blake, a character based on Cobain, and follows him through a series of increasingly surreal and disconnected events in the days leading up to his death.
The film received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising its experimental and contemplative approach to its subject matter, while others found it slow and tedious.
However, many praised the film’s hauntingly beautiful cinematography and the authenticity of Pitt’s performance as Blake.
“Last Days” is one of a trilogy of films by Van Sant that also includes “Gerry” (2002) and “Elephant” (2003), all of which use a similar meditative and impressionistic style to explore themes of isolation, mortality, and the human condition.
22. C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)
“C.R.A.Z.Y.” is a French-Canadian film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and released in 2005. The film follows the coming-of-age of Zachary Beaulieu, the second of five sons in a Catholic family from Quebec, from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Zachary struggles to come to terms with his homosexuality and his conservative family’s expectations of him. He also has a strained relationship with his father, who sees him as a disappointment and rejects his unconventional interests.
The film explores themes of identity, family, religion, and sexuality, and features a soundtrack of classic rock hits from the 1960s and 1970s. “C.R.A.Z.Y.” was critically acclaimed upon its release and won numerous awards, including Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival.
It has since become a beloved classic of Canadian cinema.
23. Thank You for Smoking (2005)
Thank You for Smoking is a 2005 satirical comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman and starring Aaron Eckhart, based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Buckley.
The movie follows Nick Naylor (Eckhart), a charismatic lobbyist for the tobacco industry, as he navigates the challenges of promoting a product that is widely known to cause cancer and other health problems.
Despite facing criticism and backlash from the media, government, and public health advocates, Naylor uses his persuasive skills and wit to defend the industry and promote smoking as a personal choice and a matter of individual freedom.
The film explores themes of ethics, corporate responsibility, and the influence of media and public opinion on politics and society. It also features a talented ensemble cast including J.K. Simmons, Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, and William H. Macy.
Thank You for Smoking received positive reviews from critics for its clever writing, sharp wit, and strong performances, particularly from Eckhart in the lead role.
The movie was also a modest commercial success, grossing over $39 million worldwide against its $6.5 million budget.
The film has since become a cult classic and has been praised for its relevance and insight into the tobacco industry and the broader issues of lobbying and political influence in modern society.
24. The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005)
“The Beat That My Heart Skipped” (2005) is a French film directed by Jacques Audiard.
The film is a remake of the 1978 American film “Fingers,” and tells the story of Tom, a 28-year-old man who is torn between his obligations as a ruthless debt collector for his father’s real estate business and his secret dream of becoming a concert pianist like his mother.
As Tom begins to explore his love of music, he becomes involved with a young piano instructor named Miao and becomes more conflicted about his future. He also struggles to reconcile his violent job with his artistic passions.
The film was well-received by critics, who praised the performances of its cast, particularly Romain Duris in the lead role of Tom.
The film won several awards, including the César Award for Best Director and Best Film Editing. It has been noted for its stylish direction, powerful performances, and exploration of the intersection between violence and creativity.
25. The Secret Life of Words (2005)
“The Secret Life of Words” is a 2005 drama film written and directed by Spanish filmmaker Isabel Coixet. The film stars Sarah Polley as a young woman who is hired to care for a man who has been severely burned and isolated on an oil rig.
As she cares for him, they both reveal their emotional scars and form a deep connection. The film also stars Tim Robbins and Javier Cámara.
“The Secret Life of Words” was well-received by critics and won several awards, including Best Actress for Sarah Polley at the Goya Awards.
Best 2005 Movies – Wrap Up
These films were critically acclaimed and were either box office successes or became cult classics over time. Each film offers a unique perspective on the world and tells a powerful story that resonates with audiences.