2004 was a fantastic year for films across all genres. The ten highest-grossing films in the world that year include Shrek 2, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Spider-Man 2, The Incredibles, The Passion of the Christ, The Day After Tomorrow, Meet the Fockers, Troy, Shark Tale, and Ocean’s Twelve. Though the majority of the films selected below didn’t make the top ten world box office, we included hits that are either long-forgotten or classic gems.
The Best of 2004
In 2004, there were a lot of films in the romantic genre that have set a precedent in its category. The Notebook, 13 Going on 30, and 50 First Dates all premiered this year. The early 2000s would be nothing without apocalyptic movies about the future, with films like The Day After Tomorrow and I, Robot. Family-fun films also were in abundance in 2004, with The Polar Express, Napoleon Dynamite, National Treasure, and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
Wes Anderson, Hayao Miyazaki, Peter Segal, Sam Raimi, and Steven Soderbergh all had amazing offerings this year. Anderson released his fourth film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Hayao Miyazaki’s seventh Studio Ghibli film, Howl’s Moving Castle, remains one of our top three films of all time by the director. Segal directed the Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler romantic comedy 50 First Dates this year, with another Sandler film the year before: Anger Management. Meanwhile, Sam Raimi made his last good Spider-Man film with the sequel. Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Twelve wasn’t nearly as awesome as the first installment, but we found ourselves thoroughly entertained when the heist flick came out twenty years ago. No matter what type of movie is your go-to, 2004 has a movie out there for every walk of life that we find ourselves going back to today.
Take a look below at our top eight picks of the best movies that came out in 2004: