World leaders listed included Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korea's leader, Kim Jong il, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, called "the developing world's new spokesman".
US President George Bush was also among the most influential, with the magazine referring to him as "a radical gambler".
Saying the Republican president will be judged by the Iraq war, columnist Andrew Sullivan wrote: "We do know that this unassuming man became a radical gambler with his fate and with humanity's."
Democratic challenger John Kerry, who also made the list, was called "a solemn unifier for the Democrats" by Joe Klein, who wrote a best-seller about the Clintons.
Both ex-President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton made the grade as "the brightest stars in the Democratic gallery".
Al-Qaida leader Usama bin Ladin and his ally, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, were also listed.
Richard Clarke, the former head of US counterterrorism, said of bin Ladin: "In death he will become a martyr and further inspiration to radical Islamists - until someone offers an effective ideological or religious counterweight."
Al-Qaida leader Usama bin Ladin
made the grade
TIME listed Clarke's ex-boss, Condoleezza Rice, saying: "She can have her pick of Cabinet posts in a second Bush term" - especially if the Secretary of State for Defence were to leave.
Neither of those top officials were listed.
The commander of US forces in Iraq, General John Abizaid, was included, along with cleric Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani.
Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general, also made the grade.
Heroes and Icons
Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her unflinching fight for democracy in Myanmar, appeared in the Heroes and Icons category along with rock star Bono.
Mel Gibson, whose The Passion of the Christ is a blockbuster, also made the Heroes and Icons ranking. Peter Jackson, director of the film epic The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and JK Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter books, were listed as Artists and Entertainers.
Anti-apartheid icon Nelson
Mandela has been listed as well
So were actor Sean Penn and actress Nicole Kidman - but not her ex-husband, Tom Cruise.
Only four of the 100 People of the Century TIME previously named made this year's list: Pope John Paul II, South Africa's former leader Nelson Mandela, TV host Oprah Winfrey and Microsoft Corp chairman Bill Gates.
The Dalai Lama, made the Heroes and Icons list. So did golfer Tiger Woods and soccer star David Beckham - along with California's new governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.