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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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35 SAVING MR. BANKS

Director: John Hancock
Cast: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Bradley Whitford, Ruth Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Paul Giamatti
Best for... showing that a spoonful of sugar makes even the worst medicine go down.

The trailers made it look like a battle of wills between Mary Poppins author PL Travers (Emma Thompson) and Tom Hanks' Walt Disney – but of course we already know the outcome of that battle. Instead, this functions best when its focus is on Travers herself, with Thompson on exceptional form under a fright perm as the stiff, schoolmarmish but somehow still likeable author. Her horror at American culture is both hilarious and – dare we say it – entirely understandable, and the clash with Disney's style is beautifully judged. Maybe he should have taken her out to fly a kite instead.

34 STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

Director: J. J. Abrams
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Alice Eve
Best for... boldly going all over the place.

2009's Star Trek had the great advantages of low expectations and a relatively stealthy arrival. But its huge success means that its sequel began with all eyes upon it and hopes somewhere in the stratosphere. Kudos, then, to Abrams and team for keeping most of the plot under wraps and delivering some surprises involving rot in the heart of Starfleet and something closer to a '70s thriller than the series has ever attempted before. Cumberbatch's villain proved able to hold his own against the mighty pairing of Kirk and Spock, and every crew member got at least a moment of heroism. Roll on the five-year mission!

33 LES MISÉRABLES

Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Aaron Tveit
Best for... singing live on set.

Almost a year after it came out, the music of Les Misérables is still echoing in our ears. By dint of having his outrageously talented cast sing live on set, director Tom Hooper kept the emphasis on the emotion, and as a result the music – even where a note wobbled – had more of an impact than the most polished studio performance could have delivered. While Anne Hathaway took away the Oscar for her tragic turn as Fantine, the MVP for us is Jackman's compassionate, often-desperate Jean Valjean.

32 THE IMPOSSIBLE

Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast
Best for... a raw, deeply emotional depiction of a family in harm's way.

When gifted Spaniard Juan Antonio Bayona followed up The Orphanage with a different kind of horror movie there were grumblings about recasting its true-life family with Caucasian actors. In truth it was soon forgotten, sidelined by the film's self-consciously universal themes and gut-punch impact. The Thai tsunami strike, prefaced by the eeriest flocking of birds since Hitchcock went to Bodega Bay, thundered down on the Bennet clan and left each with a brutal struggle to survive amid the convincingly rendered apocalypse. Naomi Watts and newcomer Tom Holland, an Empire Award winner, were both terrific but Ewan McGregor snuck the MVP prize for a bus station scene that might have been sponsored by Kleenex.

31 ABOUT TIME

Director: Richard Curtis
Cast: Domnhall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lindsay Duncan, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie, Lydia Wilson
Best for... fathers and sons.

Sometimes a director can use his own reputation as a bluff. From the trailers and synopsis of About Time, we all thought we knew what to expect: it was another gentle romantic comedy of the Curtis school, this time with a time travel twist. But what emerged is as much a story about fathers and sons as one about lovers, and it's in the scenes between Domnhall Gleeson's Tim and Bill Nighy's Dad (it's significant that he gets no other name) that the film's heart really beats, as it becomes a story about growing up and saying goodbye.

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Your Comments

21 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

22 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

23 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

24
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

25 THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
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

26 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

27 RIDICULOUS
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

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

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

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

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

30 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

31 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

32 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

33 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

34 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

35 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

36 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

37 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

38 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

39 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

40 RE: RE:
I agree this year has been stronger than 2012 and the list as it goes is on the whole is a good one. I am although very surprised not to see The Way Way Back? Any explanations Empire? So very peased to see Mud 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! One that 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!!" So pleased that at least my local has some sense,next stop Nebraska. More

Posted by Magenta on Monday December 2, 2013, 17:03

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