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

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20 CLOUD ATLAS

Director: Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Tom Tykwer
Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Doona Bae
Best for... adapting an impossible book in an impossible fashion.

Sure, not all of the make-up quite works, but let that go. Cloud Atlas is an obviously impossible book to adapt, so the Wachowskis and Tykwer would deserve kudos for even the attempt. But in fact they succeed in finding a way to address the book's sprawling ideas onscreen, abandoning the Russian doll structure for an interlocking series of stories linked by the same cast playing characters across eras and races. It's an intricate and at times dizzying approach, but it's hard to imagine another half as effective.

19 BLACKFISH

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Cast: Tilikum the killer whale
Best for... making you reconsider your theme-park plans.

One of the few films to make the news as well as movie pages of our papers, Blackfish was this year's The Cove. It was also a horror movie if you happened to work in SeaWorld's PR department, because Gabriela Cowperthwaite's angry, enthralling documentary alerted the wider world to the conditions in which captive orcas are kept. An angry rejoinder by SeaWorld, convincing no-one at all that the hard-hitting film wasn't on to something, only drew further attention to the issues raised. The film's account of the death of killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau, mauled and drowned by a 12,000lb bull orca in 2010, prompted serious questions of psychological trauma and safety but, like The Cove, this was an issues film that raced like a thriller.

18 ONLY GOD FORGIVES

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm
Best for... a neon-soaked, gorgeously-shot vision of hell.

This is the only film this year to appear on Empire's best and worst lists, a division of opinion that we suspect will please its director far more than universal adoration might. In a colour-saturated Bangkok, a shady American called Julian (Gosling), is reluctantly dispatched by his appalling mother (Scott Thomas) to avenge his brother, who was himself murdered in revenge for killing a young girl. But Julian faces the Terminator-like Chang (Pansringarm), and the crime thriller that follows serves as a Grifters-like family drama, a critique of Western imperialism and an ode to the joys of karaoke.

17 THOR: THE DARK WORLD

Director: Alan Taylor
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Denning
Best for... bringing the hammer down.

The rumours were worrying. There were tales of rewrites, reshoots and every other manner of rethink. Turns out that, not only did we have nothing to fear, but the naysayers were punched into the middle of next week. The second Thor was funnier, more assured and pacier than its predecessor, giving us plenty more bromance between Thor and Loki and lots of capering about for the non-superpowered humans. Sure, the 'science' makes not a lick of sense and you can't get from Charing Cross to Greenwich in three Tube stops, but we were laughing too hard to care.

16 SHORT TERM 12

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Cast: Brie Larson, Frantz Turner, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Keith Stanfield
Best for... reminding us that American indie cinema can still tell small, perfectly-formed stories.

On paper, it's almost impossible to make Short Term 12 sound appealing to the casual viewer: after all, it's the story of a foster home full of damaged kids and the almost equally-damaged young adults who supervise them. But on screen, there is so much heart and humour that it feels a million miles from the sort of misery fest you might expect. Brie Larson was one of the breakouts of the year after her compassionate, complex turn as the home's leader Grace, who's a rock for her charges but who's crumbling inwardly herself. More of this, please.

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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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