What makes a movie “the best” is subjective. It could be due to box office profits, fan favorite votes or the reviews of critics. It could also be due to the number of awards won but then awards don’t necessarily mean the biggest profits.

When you’ve found movies who have made the list in all of these areas – rave reviews, big profits and awards, then you know you’ve found the best movies of the decade.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force AwakensStar Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Released 2015

The first in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, this film was directed, co-produced and co-written by J. J. Abrams. Appearing in the film were several original Star Wars cast members including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. Disney backed the film with an incredible amount of publicity.

The film was met with praise from both fans and critics and it broke box office records. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is the highest grossing film in the franchise having grossed over $2 billion.

American SniperAmerican Sniper
Released 2014

Directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall, American Sniper is a film based on the chronicle American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.

The film debuted at the American Film Institute Festival in November 2014. It was a success and ultimately grossed $547 million worldwide. It is Clint Eastwood’s highest grossing film to date.

The Hunger Games: Catching FireThe Hunger Games: Catching FireReleased 2013

This is the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy. The Hunger Games are based on novelist Suzanne Collin’s science fiction books. It was directed by Francis Lawrence and distributed by Lionsgate Films.

Originally released in Brazil, it made its U.S. appearance in IMAX on November 22, 2013. It set movie records and surpassed the first films box office profits having grossed $865 million worldwide. It won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie.

Marvel’s The AvengersMarvel’s The AvengersReleased 2012

Based on Marvel comics, The Avengers starred such big names as Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Hemsworth. Released in May 2012, the film was met with much praise from both fans and critics.

This is also a record-setting movie and it’s grossed over $1.5 billion. Accolades for this film include an award for visual effects, Favorite Movie Actor (Robert Downey, Jr.), Movie of the Year from Empire Awards and Best Science Fiction Film from Saturn Awards.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2Released 2011

J.K. Rowling’s brilliant works come to life on the big screen. This film was the eighth and last installment of the Harry Potter series.

The film starred Daniel Radcliffe as Harry and Emma Watson as Hermoine. It was one of the best reviewed films of 2011 and it achieved great financial success grossing over $483 million.

It is currently the eighth highest grossing film of all-time as well as being the highest grossing film in the Harry Potter series. Daniel Radcliffe won an award for his portrayal of Harry from Scream Films for Best Fantasy Actor.

Toy Story 3Toy Story 3Released 2010

Produced by Pixar Studios, this 3D animated film is the third installment in the Toy Story series. It received raving reviews much like the first two Toy Story films.

It won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. It was the highest grossing film of 2010 having brought in $1 billion both worldwide and in North America. It is also the third highest grossing animated film in history.

AvatarAvatarReleased 2009

Written, produced and co-edited by James Cameron, Avatar was praised upon its release for the mesmerizing special effects. When Cameron begin writing the screenplay in 1994, he felt that current technology wasn’t capable of bringing to life the special effects he envisioned. It’s good that he waited as this record-breaking film grossed over $2 billion and it was the best-selling film in 2010.

The movie won Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction. It also won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director.

The Dark KnightThe Dark KnightReleased 2008

Christopher Nolan directed, produced and co-wrote this film based on the DC Comics character Batman. It is the second in Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Many critics hailed this the best superhero film of all time.

The film brought in over $1 billion in profits worldwide and it is ranked the 26th highest grossing film in history. Heath Ledger, who played The Joker and who passed away only a few months after filming, was posthumously awarded an Academy Award Best Supporting Actor.

Spider-Man 3Spider-Man 3Released 2007

Produced by Marvel Studios, Spider-Man 3 was the last of the Spider-Man trilogy written and directed by Sam Raimi. It was the most financially successful of the three films grossing over $890 million worldwide.

It is a record-breaking film having set a single-day record with $104 million in box office revenue. Oddly enough, despite its financial success and praise from fans and critics, it failed to win any major awards but did win Best Summer Blockbuster from Golden Trailer Awards.

The DepartedThe DepartedReleased 2006

Martin Scorsese directed this crime drama blockbuster. The phenomenal cast included Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Martin Sheen. It was a major success winning four Oscars and an Academy Award.

At the Boston Film Critics’ Awards, the film won Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Film with Mark Wahlberg winning an award for Best Supporting Actor. This was the most lucrative film of Scorsese’s career grossing over $289 million and it was his third film to debut at number one.

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