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The 50 Best Films Of 2013
Have you seen the best movies released this year?

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45 THE CONJURING

Director: James Wan
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingstone, Lili Taylor, Hayley McFarland, Joey King
Best for... things that went bump in the night – and often the day too.

A monster box office hit, The Conjuring came from nowhere to scare $316m out of moviegoers around the world. It rolled the true-life Amityville murders – for pity’s sake, don’t ever move somewhere that has ‘Amity’ in the name – into a scarefest that blew icy breath down our necks and went “BOO!” all at the same time. The rich period detail, creepy doll prelude and Lili Taylor going all Linda Blair were highlights, but James ‘Saw’ Wan offered an Edgar Allen Poe-y sense of the macabre and the story rattled along at a whip. Unsurprisingly, there’s a sequel coming. The unlikely sounding The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist (what next? The Tottenham Hale Terrors?) is also based on a true story and will be with us in the next year or two.

44 KILL YOUR DARLINGS

Director: John Krokidas
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall
Best for... showing the Beat poets before they got the Beat going.

The act of violence that drives this drama about the early lives of some of the most influential writers of the 20th century – Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg – is revealed in the opening moments, but the film keeps its real surprises close to the chest. It's only gradually that it becomes clear that this is a lot messier and more complicated than the usual coming-of-age 'Becoming Allen Ginsberg' sort of story, even before we get into questions of murder. Newcomer director Krokidas shows a gift for subtlety and nuance here that marks him as one to watch, and Daniel Radcliffe shows once again that he's more than just The Boy Who Lived.

43 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg
Best for... saying hey nonny nonny to The Avengers.

Just after shooting The Avengers, Joss Whedon took two weeks out of the edit suite and made this monochrome take on Shakespeare's comedy of manipulated love. With a team of friends and regulars and a shoot in his back garden, he produced a breezy, easy-going version of the play with none of the self-consciousness that can plague some adaptations. For those under the impression that Shakespeare is only for snoots and stuffed shirts, this brings the Bard home to the pit audience he always kept engaged.

42 ROBOT & FRANK

Director: Jake Schreier
Cast: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, James Marsden, Liv Tyler
Best for... rekindling lost mojos with the help of a robot.

It's been a good year for older stars, with great roles for the likes of Bruce Dern and Judi Dench. Likely to be overlooked – wrongly – is this performance by Frank Langella, as a retired cat burglar stirred back to life by a robot carer who proves amenable to engaging in some light larceny to keep his elderly charge active. The film's too pacy, funny and science fiction tinged to get the awards praise it might otherwise deserve, but Langella's rarely been better and the whole is a beautifully judged look at ageing and last hurrahs.

41 WORLD WAR Z

Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, Peter Capaldi
Best for... making Brad Pitt-lemonade from troubled-shoot lemons.

The advance word was poisonous. The trailers betrayed virtually no connection to the source material (something the film bore out). And then… it turned out to be a cracking adventure film, with Brad Pitt trekking all over the world, staying just ahead of the oncoming zombie horde, to find a way to save humanity from this latest apocalypse. Great effects and a constant sense of both tension and surprise served to keep knuckles gnawed and bums barely on seats throughout a relatively lean running time (proportionate to the scale of the story, at least). While we'd like to see more of the book in the sequel, this one definitely gets chalked up as a success grabbed from the zombie-jaws of box-office disaster.

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Your Comments

1 what the tactical fuck
why the fuck would you put the top 50 movies of 2013 over 14 pages what a pain. Like fuck me you could have put ten a page and made it five pages of even better had it all on one page you guys make me sick. More

Posted by chachacha on Saturday November 29, 2014, 02:03

2 see
ies of 2013 More

Posted by mccdean on Sunday July 13, 2014, 00:52

3 oh dear
Some good films on that list but this is the main reason I don't buy the magazine. Hunger games is one of the worst abominations and should not be on any list but a"worst of all time" list More

Posted by Gram Woods on Sunday March 9, 2014, 19:37

4
Whoever did this has NO cinematographic knowledge. More

Posted by VVV on Monday February 3, 2014, 01:35

5
Whoever did this has NO cinematographic knowledge. More

Posted by VVV on Monday February 3, 2014, 00:58

6 RE: Some Missing Pictures
I know it's a UK magazine, I'm from the UK. However they placed films like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Hobbit before UK release, therefore I was just making some suggestions that could have equally have been 'Late Entries' More

Posted by CalRhys on Sunday January 5, 2014, 16:40

7 Gravity
Sorry, guys, Gravity is a good film in technical terms, otherwise nothing. Nothing new. Old wine in a “new” bottle. Old schemes are working here: alone in the wilderness ( the space ), nobody can help the man ( women), you have to get out by your own power and having a good luck. The maze is not a town, jungle or a remote part of the earth, but the frigid air(e). ( Sorry! ) The horses, the main „personae” of the western movies, which gave the model for this film, are exchanged for rockets, space stations. Coldblooded ones. Protagonists or enemies? No, there isn't one. In the new world order, no nation is treated this. In the good old days, the minorities, the aliens and, of course, preferably the Russians and Chinese were designated to this role. Not to forget the terrorists, but they do not have space weapons, do they? But now, now, the main enemies are not enemies to the lone (space ) cowboy anymore, but their technique complemented to the sMore

Posted by Mamakedvence on Wednesday January 1, 2014, 15:36

8
There's a lot of good films on the list but I feel there must be a way to include the early 2014 Oscar films even though they've not been released yet. More

Posted by billypunk on Tuesday December 31, 2013, 20:00

9 Catching Fire
Woah, 'Catching Fire' was WAY too low! That should have definitely been way above films like Les Mis! However, the top 5 is great. More

Posted by abirmohammad on Tuesday December 31, 2013, 19:05

10 Nebraska
Nebraska at number 40 and Iron Man 3 at 7? Is this a joke?! More

Posted by iamatractorboy on Friday December 27, 2013, 08:49

11 Re: No Pacific Rim?
I agree with Spirals. Empire can usually appreciate a well-made, hugely enjoyable blockbuster but seemed unable to look past the surface when it comes to this wonderful film, dismissing it as a big, brash explosion-fest a la Michael Bay when it's so much more. I also found it ridiculous that Iron Man 3 with all its plot holes and the joyless Man of Steel made it onto this list ahead of Pacific Rim. But kudos for at least adding the often overlooked Warm Bodies. More

Posted by Enzino on Tuesday December 24, 2013, 13:22

12 RE: Some Missing Pictures
Your timing is out for 2 - neither Fruitvale nor 12 Years a Slave have been out - this is a UK site/magazine was disappointed at the absence of Act of Killing in a list that can find room for the likes of Warm Bodies, and other entries in my personal bottom 50 of the year. More

Posted by elab49 on Monday December 23, 2013, 11:40

13 Some Missing Pictures
Great list, even if some of the selections are in a bit of an iffy order, however I do believe there are a few pictures missing that deserve to be placed on this list. Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station", Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Act of Killing" and of course Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave", great list though. More

Posted by CalRhys on Monday December 23, 2013, 01:35

14 wonderfully varied and all but...
did you not watch the act of killing? It's the only film I've seen that's made me feel physically unwell, I'm very surprised it's not here. More

Posted by sean mac on Monday December 23, 2013, 00:44

15 what a mess
This is a total mess of a list. Iron Man 3 at number 7 and Prisoners at 46? You put these in the wring places? More

Posted by markymark34 on Sunday December 22, 2013, 19:26

16 :+/
I understand you're a UK publication but ranking American movies of 2012 and American movies of 2013 on the same list does defeat the purpose of an annual list. I love Empire but this mismatching has always bothered me in the year-enders. Just my two cents.. More

Posted by soggy bottom sam on Saturday December 21, 2013, 20:44

17
PRISONERS WAS ONLY 46 ARE YOU SHITTING ME More

Posted by BabsyBuck on Monday December 16, 2013, 18:13

18 Hmmmmm
Ok, I enjoyed man of steel & iron man 3, but thy weren't up there in my list. Personally I loved the place beyond the pines and think it deserves to be a lot higher up, and that only god forgives shouldn't even be on the list, it sucked! Don't get me wrong i loved drive but only god forgives is on my worst 2013 list! Django unchained should also of definitely been higher up on there.. More

Posted by pagster93 on Monday December 16, 2013, 13:11

19
Rubbish list. Les Miserables should definitely be NO1. Greatest movie of all time. More

Posted by Dalekbuster523 on Saturday December 14, 2013, 20:26

20
Good list, but is Iron Man 3 the 7TH BEST FILM OF 2013???? I don't think so. More

Posted by Darren47 on Friday December 13, 2013, 22:26

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