Arts & Life

Bob Mondello's Top Films of 2003

It's a Rare Year: Critics' Picks Correspond with Box Office Hits

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Pierre Vinet, New Line Productions hide caption

toggle caption Pierre Vinet, New Line Productions

After a record-setting Christmas, Hollywood wraps up the year with more than $9 billion in the till — the second-biggest box office total in its history. Film reviewer Bob Mondello says a large part of that money was well-earned: some of 2003's most popular movies were also among the year's best. He offers a list of the year's top films, in no particular order:

Top 10 Films of 2003

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, directed by Peter Jackson

Finding Nemo, directed by Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich

The Barbarian Invasions, directed by Denys Arcand

Capturing the Friedmans, directed by Andrew Jarecki

City of God, directed by Kátia Lund and Fernando Meirelles

House of Sand and Fog, directed by Vadim Perelman

Lost in Translation, directed by Sofia Coppola

21 Grams, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

American Splendor, directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini

Angels in America, directed by Mike Nichols (HBO)

Other Notable Films

In America, directed by Jim Sheridan

Girl with a Pearl Earring, directed by Peter Webber

Monster, directed by Patty Jenkins

Shattered Glass, directed by Billy Ray

Spellbound, directed by Jeffrey Blitz

My Architect: A Son's Journey, directed by Nathaniel Kahn

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, directed by Errol Morris

Spider, directed by David Cronenberg

Holes, directed by Andrew Davis



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from