1 The Social Network, 2010

David Fincher’s biographical drama functions as an origins tale for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, the social media behemoth he created while a student at Harvard. Aaron “West Wing” Sorkin wrote the fast-talking screenplay, with Jesse Eisenberg convincing as the tech entrepreneur, while Fincher supplied some much needed gloss to what might otherwise have been a long trudge into geekdom and lawsuits. Won Oscars for music, editing, and screenplay. Zuckerberg criticised the picture for inaccuracies, including the fact that he was not single at the time. “There were pretty glaring things that were just made up about the movie that made it pretty hard to take seriously.”

2 Bridesmaids, 2011

Great comedies were thin on the ground this decade, but there were a few stand outs, including The Other Guys, The Nice Guys, and this all-women affair. Directed by Paul Feig with a screenplay by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids showed that anything male gross out comedy could do, female-led mayhem could do better. Besides making stars of Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and others, Bridesmaids bid cheerio and good riddance to the old sexist cliche that women could not be funny, and women-led comedies would never do well at the box office. Read those six figure global earnings and weep, knuckle-draggers.

3 The Act of Killing, 2012

This documentary about the genocidal death squads that operated in Indonesia from 1965-66 broke the mould in many ways. Directors Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, and one other who had to remain anonymous, tracked down the individuals who led the mass killings. Instead of conducting formal interviews, the filmmakers encouraged one of the leaders to play actor-director and recreate his deeds as if making a movie. It was a gamble, one that could have gone horribly wrong if it had somehow lionised those responsible for a million deaths. Instead, it proved a way in to the truth, ruthlessly exposing what they had done. Surreal, disturbing, unforgettable.

4 Frozen, 2013

Yes, it sent out the song Let it Go to be a brain worm among countless millions, but this Disney picture was one for the cinematic history books in other ways. It was a Disney princess movie, co-directed by a woman, about two warring sisters; the male character did not save the day with true love’s kiss; and the movie crossed the gender divide, being popular with boys as well as girls. Brave, the story of a strong, determined, Scottish heroine, had blazed a similar trail the year before, but it was the earnings for Frozen - $1.2 billion to date, according to Box Office Mojo - and the critical acclaim it attracted that raised the bar for every other Disney princess film made since. What do you know, feminism sold, and sold big.

5 12 Years a Slave, 2013

Despite the shame of slavery being central to America’s past and present, Hollywood had been reluctant to tackle its horrors head on. It took two Londoners to change that: Steve McQueen, who directed this drama, and Chiwetel Ejiofor who played Solomon Northup, on whose memoirs the film was based. It won three Oscars, including best picture, which put McQueen in the history books. It had “only” taken till 2014 for a black director to win best picture, just as it had “only” taken till 2010 for a woman to triumph, when Kathryn Bigelow triumphed with The Hurt Locker. Lupita Nyong’o, currently starring in the new Star Wars movie, won the best supporting actress Oscar.

6 Ida, 2013

Polish writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski’s drama begins at the start of the 1960s but the roots of the story go back to decades before. Anna, brought up by nuns, is about to take her vows. Before doing so she is encouraged to visit her only surviving relative to learn a little of her family background. The two women could scarcely be more different, but there is a bond between them that cannot be denied. Ida is exquisitely shot in black and white, but this is a film that has substance to match its style. The snowy landscapes creep into the bones, with the story following just as stealthily. There are not many plot twists that can shock a seasoned critic, but Ida has several such moments. Won the best foreign film Oscar.

7 Inside Out, 2015

Since its feature film debut Toy Story some 20 years previously, Pixar had towered above other animation studios, breaking moulds and shattering preconceptions about what “cartoons” or “kids’ movies” could do. It had tackled old age and death in Up, and environmental catastrophe in WALL.E, but the workings of the brain, love, loss, all that jazz? Easy, make each emotion - Anger, Joy, Fear, Disgust, Sadness - a character, add a story about a little girl moving to a new city and leaving all her friends and certainties behind, and some typically brilliant animation, and there you have it: the kind of original groundbreaker Pixar had always promised to champion.

BBC1, 3pm, December 28

8 Dunkirk, 2017

Any new film from British writer-director Christopher Nolan is an event. From Memento and The Dark Knight to Inception and Interstellar he is an outstanding original force. The story of Dunkirk, with peril, tragedy, and heroism played out on the grandest of scales, was always going to be a difficult tale to do justice, but Nolan managed it and then some. From the little ships to the big set-piece aerial battles, he is everywhere, bringing the fight for survival up close. A superb cast, including Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, and Mark Rylance, act their hearts out against a backdrop of music from the peerless Hans Zimmer. The film brought older audiences into the cinema, and was a hit with younger ones besides.

9 A Quiet Place, 2018

Between Get Out, The Babadook, Hereditary, and John Krasinski’s chiller, this has been the decade that has seen horror reinvented. Creaky doors, dimly lit basements, and things that go bump in the night are no longer enough to scare audiences. Your average fan wants something smarter, with an edge. A Quiet Place, about a family (led by Krasinski and his real life wife Emily Blunt) trying to survive in a post apocalyptic country ruled by monsters who operate on sound, is in some ways a back to basics affair. But it is done with such conviction, originality and flare it has you jumping out of your seat in no time, and the thrills just keep on coming for 90 minutes.

10 The Irishman, 2019

This tale of a Mafia hitman, likely to be on most people’s must watch list this festive season, is remarkable in so many ways. It reunites the old Goodfellas team of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, it also stars Al Pacino, the director is Martin Scorsese and the writer is Steven Zaillian (Moneyball). Oh, and did I mention it was three and a half hours long? What it will chiefly be remembered for in the long term is where it was shown, on Netflix after a brief cinema release to make it eligible for awards, and for the “de-aging” techniques used to wipe years off its stars. Scorsese showed what could be done without looking weird, opening the door to further progress. Audiences have always known it but now it is official: stars really can live forever.