Great Years of Cinema: 2006

The Departed was the king of 2006 film’s

List compiled by Eddie on 01/06/2018

It might’ve only been 12 years ago but 2006 was quite the year for film fans.

Continuing on a hot streak of filmmaking that started in the mid 2000’s and followed through to 2007 and 2008, 2006 saw a collection of films released that to this day remain both well-regarded and regularly-watched.

2006 featured great films from renowned directors Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Alfonso Cauron, Mel Gibson and Guillermo Del Toro, making it a treat for fans of these filmmakers.

The year was a particularly great year for comedies with a number of high-profile and more critically panned yet memorable jaunts making their way into cinemas and home video.

2006 was a great year for film-lovers and a year that should be regarded as one of the all-time great years of cinema.

Happy reading and happy watching!

Drama (best of)

United 93 was a gripping and realistic experience filled with a cast of unknown actors

United 93

Directed by: Paul Greengrass  Starring: J. J Johnson, Polly Adams

Paul Greengrass brought his intense filmmaking style that he grew into making the Bourne series to this dramatic and heart pounding re-enactment of the doomed United 93 flight that tragically crashed during the September 11 terrorist attacks. A brilliantly realised and hauntingly real experience, Greengrass’s film is one of the best films yet made about that terrible day in American history.

The Departed

Directed by: Martin Scorsese  Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson

The film that finally won master director Martin Scorsese his first Best Director Oscar, The Departed brilliantly reimagines the great foreign film Infernal Affairs for the American marketplace and with an all-star cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson, The Departed offers up a fantastic crime treat that holds up well to this day.

See also – Flags of our Fathers, Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima

Action/Thriller (best of)

Christian Bale was at his best in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige

The Prestige

Directed by: Christopher Nolan  Starring: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine

It didn’t set the box office on fire upon original release but Christopher Nolan’s magical masterpiece is one of the esteemed filmmakers finest achievements. A wonderfully realised film filled with mystery, intrigue and suspense, The Prestige is deserving of its high regard as one of the modern era’s greatest films.

Casino Royale

Directed by: Martin Campbell  Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green

James Bond like we’d never seen done before, Casino Royale flipped the long running series on its head with its casting of then relative unknown Daniel Craig and a reliance more on the gritty and realistic over invisible cars and pigeon double takes. A huge success, Casino Royale was a risky venture that paid off big-time.


Directed by: Mel Gibsob  Starring: Rudy Youngblood, Morris Birdyellowhead

A heart-pounding thriller from Mel Gibson, Apocalypto is one of the troubled director’s best films and a truly unique experience that is unlikely to be topped by any wannabe imitators.

Blood Diamond is a memorable and emotional charged thriller

Blood Diamond

Directed by: Edward Zwick  Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly

A much-loved thriller, Blood Diamond had its fair share of detractors upon its initial cinematic run, despite a string of Academy Award nominations and good box-office worldwide but in the years since its release in 2006 this Leonardo DiCaprio blockbuster has only grown in stature and remains one of director Ed Zwick’s finest achievements.

The Lives of Others

Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck  Starring: Ulrich Muhe, Martina Gedeck

A mesmerising experience that has etched itself into becoming one of the all-time cinematic classics, The Lives of Others is a white knuckle thriller centred around the cold war period and remains to this day one of greatest films made about this period in time.

See also – Mission: Impossible III, Inside Man, Crank

Sci-Fi/Horror (best of)

A film filled with beauty and horror, Pan’s Labyrinth is a genuine masterpiece

Pans Labyrinth

Directed by: Guillermo Del Toro  Starring: Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones

He may’ve been all the rage this year with his Oscar winning (and overrated) The Shape of Water but the true masterpiece of Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro’s career remains Pans Labyrinth. A haunting coming of age fairy tale filled with wondrous visuals and energetic imagination, Pans Labyrinth is a unique and unforgettable example of filmmaking craft.

Children of Men

Directed by: Alfonso Cauron  Starring: Clive Owen, Michael Caine

I can still vividly recall watching Children of Men in the cinema upon its release, an almost otherworldly experience, Alfonso Cauron’s masterful adaptation of P.D James book of the same name is cinema at its most daring and gripping. A highpoint in the careers of many involved including the never better Clive Owen.

The public pool wasn’t the nicest place to go for a swim in The Descent

The Descent

Directed by: Neil Marshall  Starring: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza

Making a mark with his low-budget British horror Dog Soldiers a few years previous, Neil Marshall struck gold with his cave diving horror The Descent. A female-centred horror that will have the hairs on the back of your neck stranding to attention, The Descent remains one of recent time’s best pure-horror experiences.

V for Vendetta

Directed by: James McTeigue  Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving

Adapted from the graphic novel, V for Vendetta is a film that for all intents and purposes remains a relatively forgotten about event but there’s a powerful tale told here and one that features awards worthy turns from its main stars Natalie Portman and the masked Hugo Weaving. One of the best dystopian Sci-Fi’s ever made; V for Vendetta is a must-watch for anyone that may’ve bypassed it previously.

See also – The Fountain, Silent Hill

Comedy (best of)

Luke Wilson and his co-stars are shocked by the box-office results for Idiocracy


Directed by: Mike Judge  Starring: Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph

The story behind King of the Hill and Bevis and Butthead creator Mike Judge’s box office bomb Idiocracy is one worthy of a movie itself. Shunned by its studio who gave it little to no chance at succeeding commercially, Idiocracy has found itself a large cult following with many realising that this comedy gem is a sharply observed satirical experience that’s very much deserving of its high-regarded in the marketplace now.

Grandma’s Boy

Directed by: Nicholaus Goossen  Starring: Allen Covert, Linda Cardellini, Jonah Hill

In what may seem like an odd choice (Grandma’s Boy at one stage held a 0% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes), this gaming themed comedy from the Happy Madison production company is a film much like Idiocracy with its initial failures leading to a more welcomed response in the years to come. Grandma’s Boy is incredibly dumb and certainly not for everyone, but should you be willing to go along for the ride, this comedy provides a laugh out loud 90 minutes that you’ll want to revisit time and time again.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Directed by: Adam McKay  Starring: Will Ferrell, John C.Reilly

The film that is responsible for both one of the all-time classic dinner table scenes and the emergence of actor John C. Reilly as a genuine comedic kingpin, Talladega Nights is dumb comedy at its most entertaining and one of the high-points of Will Ferrell’s cinematic ventures.

Shane Jacobson’s Kenny is a loveable everyday Australian


Directed by: Clayton Jacobson  Starring: Shane Jacobson

A local box-office smash, Kenny is one of Australia’s most beloved films and for good reason, this mockumentary like event is both a funny and charming affair that follows Shane Jacobson’s likeable lead. It may not sit as well with overseas viewers but for Aussie film lovers, Kenny is a winner.


Directed by: Larry Charles  Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen

Borat, the fake Kazakhstani TV personality created by British comic Sacha Baron Cohen took over the world in 2006. A rude, crude and confronting piece of comedic work that captured real-life pranks alongside a doctored narrative, Borat was a genuine world-wide smash hit and a high-point in the career of Cohen whose never really nailed it quite like this since.

See also – Little Miss Sunshine, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, Thank You for Smoking

For my other Great Years of Cinema lists see below –



What were your favourite films of 2006? Let me know in the comments below!

11 responses to “Great Years of Cinema: 2006

  1. My Top 10 Movies from 2006 that still hold up EXTREMELY well today (in no particular order):
    The Prestige
    The Departed
    The Lives of Others/Tell No One (cheating here)
    Children of Men
    Pan’s Labyrinth
    Casino Royale
    Inside Man
    Half Nelson
    Blood Diamond
    Honorable Mentions: After the Wedding, Volver, Brick, Thank You For Smoking, Little Miss Sunshine, V for Vendetta& The Last King of Scotland.

    Underrated and Really Good: Stranger Than Fiction, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Grandma’s Boy, Lucky Number Slevin (terrible movie title), Running Scared, & The Painted Veil

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