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Empire's Review Of The year 2013 CLICK FOR MORE REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2013 FEATURES ›
The 50 Best Films Of 2013
Have you seen the best movies released this year?

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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

21 Dear, dear, Empire.
Gravity No.1 film of 2013, hahahahaha. Looks like a script, a story , a plot and intelligent dialogue is no longer required for a good movie according to Empire. More

Posted by Azzurro06 on Wednesday December 11, 2013, 22:00

22 No Pacific Rim?
Considering some of the entries how is Pacific Rim not in this list at least in terms of sheer entertainment. More

Posted by spirals on Saturday December 7, 2013, 19:04

23 Just Wait
When 12 Years a Slave drops in England, you'll all see the second best movie of the year (Gravity rightfully takes #1) blow away these rankings. More

Posted by runkelcorey on Saturday December 7, 2013, 02:32

24 RE:
I'll echo the surprise lack of love for The Way Way Back but also add that Flight is more of a surprise omission from the list. On a positive note it's nice to see Mud so high on the list. More

Posted by Dee Jay on Friday December 6, 2013, 21:51

I can't believe 'The Way Way Back' isn't on this list. I think that is my film of the year. More

Posted by lankeymarlon on Friday December 6, 2013, 10:48

How on Earth this is only listed as high as 36 I'll never know. Top ten at least surely? It's much better than Lincoln for a start! More

Posted by d0m_l on Thursday December 5, 2013, 23:36

27 Only God Forgives
Many thanks for including Only God Forgives. Nicolas Winding Refn's misunderstood and criminally underrated visual tour-de-force. It's easily my favourite film of the year. A surreal, mesmerising cinematic masterpiece. More

Posted by Ennio Morricone on Thursday December 5, 2013, 21:47

I'm sorry but any list that has Only God Forgives in it that doesn't have 'FUCKING WORST EVER' in it's title cannot be taken seriously. Truly the worst ever experience I have ever had in a multiplex and I would strongly recommend NEVER watching this pile of tripe...boring, nonsensical shite! How this can place above any film in ANY list is fuckin beyond me...WANK! More

Posted by Fozola on Thursday December 5, 2013, 13:04

29 The Impossible @caberma
spanish people goes under hispanic, not caucasian More

Posted by JosteinAsk on Thursday December 5, 2013, 09:43

30 No Elysium ??
Seriously !? That movie was tits ! More

Posted by JosteinAsk on Thursday December 5, 2013, 09:41

31 The Impossible
What do you mean "recasting its true-life family with Caucasian actors"?! The movie is based on the story of a Spanish family, and Spanish are Caucasian, usually with darker hair, eyes or complexion, but Caucasian anyway. More

Posted by caberma on Tuesday December 3, 2013, 19:35

32 RE: World War Z??
I would have liked to have seen the way way back on there as well as side effects but it is a good list. I find it weird that Django and Zero Dark Thirty are on there as they seem like last years christmas movies. Don't know if they where released in 2013 but it feels like ages ago. More

Posted by beardyphysics on Tuesday December 3, 2013, 17:42

33 RE: Stoker?
L: chris wootton Bollocks on't hold back tell us what you really think More

Posted by rich on Monday December 2, 2013, 22:49

34 RE: The 50 Best Films Of 2013
Some great films in that list - Mud, Zero Dark Thirty, Man of Steel, Gravity, Frances Ha, Only God Forgives, A Field in England and Upstream Color are superb choices. Although it is surprising to see The Act of Killing omitted. Was it released in the UK this year or last year? Oh and I wish Leviathan had gotten a place on the list. It's still my favourite of the year so far. More

Posted by garvielloken on Monday December 2, 2013, 19:06

35 RE: The 50 Best Films Of 2013
There's plenty on your list that I'd take exception to, but it's good to see you got the number 1 right. ike others on the thread though, I'm sad to see no place for the Way Way Back. That film took me completely by surprise at how emotionally engaging and well observed it was. I also thought it would be something right up your alley, at least to break the top 50 anyway. More

Posted by Qwerty Norris on Monday December 2, 2013, 18:48

36 RE: The 50 Best Films Of 2013
For those who don't want to click and click and click: here's the full list. 50. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 50. Anchorman 2 50. The Hobbit 2 47. Now You See Me 46. Prisoners 45. The Conjuring 44. Kill Your Darlings 43. Much Ado About Nothing 42. Robot & Frank 41. World War Z 40. Nebraska 39. The Bling Ring 38. Warm Bodies 37. Wreck-it-Ralph 36. The Place Beyond The Pines 35. Saving Mr Banks 34. Star Trek Into Darkness 33. Les Misérables 32. The Impossible 31. About Time 30. Frances Ha 29. Philomena 28. Man of Steel 27. Trance 26. Hunger Games 2 25. A Field In England 24. Filth 23. Blue Is The Warmest Colour 22. All Is Lost 21. Upstream Colour 20. Cloud Atlas 19. Blackfish 18. Only God Forgives 17. Thor 2 16. Short Term 12 15. Blue Jasmine 14. Behind The Candelabra 13. Django Unchained 12. The World's End 11. Zero Dark Thirty 10. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa 9. The Great Beauty 8. Before MidnighMore

Posted by dseys on Monday December 2, 2013, 18:38

37 RE: The Way Way Back
L: LetsKissToMakeItReal L: DeadlyDave Though I fully accept that there isn't room for everything and you certainly can not please everyone, personally I feel the omission of The Way Way Back is criminal. econded! It's just unforgivable. Thirded! I think there's enough of us,shall we start a cause ? Mr Rockwell is with us.. More

Posted by Magenta on Monday December 2, 2013, 17:46

38 RE: The Way Way Back
L: DeadlyDave Though I fully accept that there isn't room for everything and you certainly can not please everyone, personally I feel the omission of The Way Way Back is criminal. econded! It's just unforgivable. More

Posted by LetsKissToMakeItReal on Monday December 2, 2013, 17:36

39 RE: RE:
Also some love for Blackfish, saw it recently and glad I did. A gripping documentary, perhaps not as obviously upsetting as Grizzly Man (although that guy was plain weird) but more subtle and thought-provoking. Free Willy indeed! I forgot to mention Trance, unexpected gem of a film and easily for me Boyle's best since Sunshine. Strong cast, interesting premise and definitely one of those films where each will come to their own conclusions. Not quite the British 'Inception' but worth watching for sure. More

Posted by MDG_78 on Monday December 2, 2013, 17:26

40 RE: RE:
L: Magenta I agree this year has been stronger than 2012 and the list as it goes is on the whole is a good one. though very surprised not to see The Way Way Back? explanations Empire? So very peased to see ]so high and perplexed to see Now You See Me,which I also think was awful,I think the trick was I sat through it! t because of the unexplainable release date is Bernie and consequently it's slipped throught two years netting,which is a shame and like a lot of really good films I scream two words " Limited Release!!" o pleased that at least my local has some sense,next stop Nebraska. ll in my top 10 More

Posted by Whistler on Monday December 2, 2013, 17:13

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