10 2000s Movies That Became Instant Classics, According To Reddit

Everything Everywhere All at Once has taken the world by storm in the past few months, and given that TikTok videos are now being made about the multiversal movie, it's safe to say that it's an instant classic. The film pulled off action sequences that have never been seen before and managed to tell a unique and very personal story inside of a huge and ambitious concept.

Only a handful of movies have been labeled as classics as soon as they were released, and Redditors have their own opinions about movies branded as instant classics, too. Between an anime that found a huge American audience, a mostly-adlibbed comedy, and a kitschy film that actually started a whole zeitgeist, these films have been constantly talked about ever since their releases.


Shrek (2001)

Shrek leaving the outhouse

Redditor Stayinyerlanepls thinks Shrek instantly became a classic in 2001, positing, "It's amazing how much cultural impact an animated movie about ogres has had." As soon as Shrek hit theatres 21 years ago, everyone knew that it would stand the test of time. The film had boundary-pushing animation, even compared to Pixar, and it was the first ever movie to win Best Animated Picture at The Academy Awards.

RELATED: Shrek - 10 Hilarious Memes That Sum Up The Series

Even though movies that heavily reference pop culture don't tend to age well, Shrek somehow overcame that and is just as popular today, despite being filled with jokes about pop stars who were popular at the time. And it has surprisingly become ogre a meme and is all over TikTok, which must count for something.

The Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)

Captain Jack Sparrow standing at the mast of his ship in Pirates of the Caribbean

To say that The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was based on a theme park ride, it somehow became one of the biggest movies of 2003. Octopuswhatsup thinks the swashbuckling movie became an instant classic in 2003, noting, "An absolute masterpiece cinematic gem. All the rest were 'meh' at best, just trying to recapture the magic."

The 2003 movie is wildly entertaining, features some groundbreaking digital effects, and introduces the most iconic cinematic pirate of all time, Jack Sparrow. And as the Redditor alludes to, not even the critically scathed sequels have managed to tarnish The Black Pearl's legacy, proving just how much of an instant classic it is.

Spirited Away (2001)

Chihiro and No Face on the train in Spirited Away

Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away spoke to both adults and children when it was first released, which is a big hint that an animated movie will transcend the modest US success it was destined for. Sportswiz72 believes the 2001 anime is an instant classic because of just how unique it was at the time. The Redditor notes, "Just about every Studio Ghibli film is an instant classic, but Spirited Away was so gracefully dark, it could never be duplicated."

What mostly proves the movie is an instant classic is that it actually managed to find huge audiences in English-speaking countries. While most Studio Ghibli movies and other foreign language films are successful, they rarely have the success that Hollywood movies do, but Spirited Away made just over $355 million worldwide, massively overperforming with a modest $15 million budget (via Box Office Mojo).

Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004)

User Bigsz thinks Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy became an instant classic in 2004 because of how endlessly quotable it was. The Redditor hilariously recalls, "The day it came out, everyone seemed to have the entire transcript memorized." Between "I love lamp" and "60% of the time, it works every time." The news anchors' dialogue is ingrained in every fan's brain, and even non-fans of the movie know the quotes well.

RELATED: 7 Actors Who Were Supposed To Star In Anchorman (According To The Original Script)

But, along with the laugh-out-loud lines, the Channel 4 news team make up some of the most beloved comedy characters ever, and it started the movie careers of so many now-bankable stars. And, as there was a sequel set in the 80s, it's about time the trilogy was rounded out with a threequel set in the 90s.

Superbad (2007)

Redditor Ofsquire believes Superbad became an instant classic for its depiction of 2000s higher schoolers. The Redditor claims, "Superbad will always relate to teenage kids I believe. I love watching it to get a big nostalgia trip from when I was in high school. That movie is so well done."

While shows like Skins and Euphoria attempt to realistically portray high school life, getting rejected by crushes and getting turned down at liquor stores seemed to resonate with many audience. The 2007 movie is one of the best movies for millennials because of how relatable it is, and not even the John Hughes-directed coming-of-age 80s movies do as good of a job at accurately depicting teenagers.

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Marie Antoinette And Her Ladies

User Srubbingbubbles simply comments, "Marie Antoinette," as an instant classic, and given how different it is from its peers, the Redditor isn't wrong. Period dramas about royal families usually follow the same structure, but writer-director Sofia Coppola has such a unique approach to the subject. Using the technique that she established with Lost in Translation, the filmmaker takes a minimal approach to the life of the former Queen of France.

The film is light on dialogue and the actions tell the story. Coppola also doubles down on her post-modern approach, as the 1700s-based movie is full of contemporary indie music, and Antoinette has a closet full of Converse All-Star sneakers. However, there's just as much of an argument to be made that the movie is a classic, but it wasn't instant, as the 2006 film was booed at the Cannes Film Festival,

Idiocracy (2006)

Mike Judge's Idiocracy follows Joe, a man with an average IQ who is frozen and then thawed out 500 years later. He awakens to find that civilization is completely ruined and that he's the smartest man in America. Cameoloveus thinks the movie is an instant classic but notes, "Unfortunately that turned out to be less 'movie' and more 'prophecy.'

RELATED: 10 Movies That Had Amazing Concepts But Were Executed Terribly, According To Reddit

The Redditor is exaggerating a little, as farmers and watering do not crop with Gatorade, and the President of the United States has yet to wear the Star-Spangled Banger as a cape. But with social media allowing people to see so much more of what's going on in the world, it's easy to see why the user would think such a thing.

Taken (2008)

Bryan Mills shows Marko a picture in Taken

Reddit user 5s-are-cool thinks Taken was an instant classic, and between its immediate influence on the action genre and shock value that's still talked about today, the Redditor makes a great choice. Though Liam Neeson had starred in action movies before, such as Darkman and Batman Begins, it was Taken that made audiences look at the actor as an action hero. The 2008 movie is another release that overperformed at the box office, as it made $227 million off of a budget of just $25 million (via Box Office Mojo). And that success turned it into a franchise with two sequels.

While movies like John Wick are praised for the meticulous gun-fu action sequences and violence, Taken did it first. The film was shockingly violent and one of the most intense and thrilling revenge movies ever, and it has Neeson's best fight scenes. The film had such an impact on the movie industry, as it influenced so many other action movies in the following years, including most Neeson-starring films.

The Room (2003)

User Max_Danage points to 2003's independently made The Room as the most obvious instant classic. The Room was an instant classic, but not in a good way. The film immediately became a film that was passed around by friends, and they were in sheer disbelief that a movie like this could get made.

The film is terribly made, the acting is hilariously bad, and the editing is atrocious, but there's something about it that makes it so alluring. Johnny became a popular character meme immediately after the film's release because of the ridiculous dialogue and how it was delivered. It's such a surprising classic that a comedy was made about the making of the film, The Disaster Artist.

The Fast And The Furious (2001)

The Fast and Furious series has grown into an unstoppable force at this point, but the huge moneymaking blockbusters could hardly be called instant classics. However, the original 2001 movie that started it all is a different beast entirely. Usual_Ranger8164 thinks the film is an instant classic, and though the film was badly received by critics, it was a huge hit amongst general audiences.

But what truly cements it as an instant classic is how it started an entire zeitgeist. Following the movie, everybody was putting decals on their cars, and street racing video games were quickly thrown into development to capitalize on the trend. While the 2001 film isn't loved by everybody, few other films had such an immediate and lasting impact on the world.

NEXT: 10 Best Fast & Furious Characters Who Only Appeared Once

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About The Author Stephen Barker (1379 Articles Published)

Currently residing in Madrid, Stephen Barker has been a staff writer at Screen Rant since 2020. Since graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University with a bachelor's degree in Film, Television, and Cultural Studies in 2014, he has written for numerous movie and music websites. Stephen has been obsessed with movies since he first watched Jurassic Park on VHS, and with a deep interest in screenwriting, he loves 70s character-driven movies. But he's just as much of a defender of Batman & Robin, The Fast and the Furious, and Small Soldiers.Visit Stephen’s personal blog, Quaranste, where he writes about guilty pleasure movies, his latest musical discoveries, and how he stays creative during global pandemics, or contact him directly: Quaranstine@gmail.com.

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