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

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40 NEBRASKA

Director: Alexander Payne
Cast: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach
Best for... road trips for the more mature traveller.

Alexander Payne's follow-up to The Descendants returns him to the middle America of About Schmidt and Election, but often this feels more like the Sullivan's Travels version of O Brother, Where Art Thou?. There are brilliant comedy moments, certainly, but there's also a Depression-era sensibility that's only emphasised by the black-and-white cinematography. As Will Forte drives his addled father Woody (Dern) across the vast state and they revisit the sparsely populated town where Woody grew up, there's an air of loss and emptiness that sets off the rare warmer moments of family bonding and sympathy. And in a Hollywood often obsessed with winning and riches, it's good to see such a triumph about a losing ticket.

39 THE BLING RING

Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Georgia Rock, Leslie Mann
Best for... like, totally showing us, y'know, the kids of today at their worst. Or whatever.

In some ways, Sofia Coppola's film is the horror movie of the year, offering up a bleak, almost nihilistic view of the empty lives of over privileged teens in Los Angeles, youngsters who value all the wrong things and are willing to do anything to get them with very little thought to the consequences. In other ways, this is a natural progression for Coppola, who has always focused on people dissatisfied with their own lives and shifting about in an attempt to fill the empty spaces they find therein. But this one's her funniest yet – even if the best lines, like "I want to lead a country one day, for all I know" come straight from real life.

38 WARM BODIES

Director: Jonathan Levine
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Rob Corddry, Analeigh Tipton, Dave Franco
Best for... proving that there's love life after death.

Perhaps surprisingly, the most romantic version of Romeo & Juliet this year wasn't the sumptuous, Italian-set medieval one, but the grimy, post-apocalyptic one about zombies. Jonathan Levine and his cast pulled off the nearly impossible trick of making us root for the undead in this tale of girl meets zombie, zombie falls for girl after eating her boyfriend's brain, zombie tries to convince girl that he's alright really. It helps that Nicholas Hoult is strangely adorable even when he's half-rotted, but props to the quietly effective Teresa Palmer for selling the other half of the romance.

37 WRECK-IT RALPH

Director: Rich Moore
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Mindy Kaling, Joe Lo Truglio
Best for... letting the bad guy win.

Empire has argued in the past that it's entirely possible to make a great video-game movie, as long as you don't bother making the game first (see also: Crank, Scott Pilgrim) and here is further proof. Wreck-It Ralph takes the side of the underdog, positing that sometimes even the bad guy needs a win, and its hapless (anti)hero's attempts to overcome his own nature make him more interesting than almost any Disney Animation lead we've seen before. With glorious game-hopping adventures (if anything, the film needed more) and a welter of big-name cameos, this has enough heart that you don't have to be a gamer to love it. One caveat, however: the Sugar Rush segments may be leave you with a well-nigh unquenchable craving for sweets.

36 THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

Director: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Dane DeHaan
Best for... combining Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in a sexy chemical reaction that might easily have exploded the planet.

If audiences came for two of People magazine's Sexiest Men, they stayed for a layered parable of crime, families and the responsibilities of fatherhood. Presumably to protect our eyes, Baby Goose and B-Coops share only a few brief scenes in the film that lurches unexpectedly from crime thriller to something more, well, profound at its midway point. If that makes it sound like 2013's answer to Heat, the comparison isn't too far off the mark. Cooper and DeHaan, calculating politico and vengeful youngster respectively, show how bad decisions can reverberate through the years. We knew Blue Valentine's Derek Cianfrance could nail the intimate moments, but this ambitious tale with overtones of Greek tragedy proved that a bigger canvas held no fears for him either.

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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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