The 20 Best Movies of 2019, Ranked

A comprehensive list of the best movies of 2019 ranked, including Uncut Gems, Parasite, Avengers: Endgame, and more

adam driver and scarlett johansson in marriage story
Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in Marriage Story (2019)

If it weren’t for the coronavirus pandemic that essentially wiped the slate of movies clean to start the 2020s, I believe the film industry was heading for a real resurgence starting in the late 2010s and heading into the new decade. This was evident in 2017 and 2018, with a combination of new school directors and certified legendary ones all delivering some of their best movies. There was this new influx of talent into the industry that had me really stoked to follow for the foreseeable future.

And that culminated in 2019, where many of the great filmmakers of our time released many of their best movies. Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino are the influencers of the new generation, while Ari Aster, Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig, the Safdie brothers, and many more are the beneficiaries of the filmmaking techniques and stylistic patterns passed down to them. There was an interesting passing of the torch in 2019 that felt significant at that time.

Now that may be a bit hyperbolic years later. It’s as if we were frozen in time since then, and the impact of 2019 is still inconclusive. Parasite won Best Picture in 2019, and if anything, that feels like the most influential moment for the industry in recent memories. Since then, international pictures like Drive My Car, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Anatomy of a Fall have competed in many of the headlining Oscars categories.

At the time, I certainly thought 2019 was the best year of the decade for movies. Now a few years removed from it and with a chance to reminisce, I would still say its among the best, but the gap has closed among the last few years of the 2010s. The two years before 2019 both had some remarkable debuts, and a couple movies at the top that are among the decade’s finest.

There were many wonderful movies that came out in 2019, and there are still many I haven’t seen. I hope to watch all of the following movies at some point, and probably even write about a few of them: Low Tide, Glass, The Kill Team, Share, Native Son, Doctor Sleep, Vivarium, Pain and Glory, The Two Popes, Dark Waters, Dolemite Is My Name, A Hidden Life, Triple Frontier, The Assistant, The King, and I’m sure many more.

But for now, here’s how I’d rank the 20 best movies of 2019:

20. Last Christmas

last christmas movie 2019

19. Little Women

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18. The Laundromat

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17. Missing Link

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16. Midsommar

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Midsommar is one of the more daring movies of the last 20 years. Ari Aster’s sophomore film is a follow up to his audacious breakout horror hit Hereditary, which features similar, gory visual motifs to Midsommar. Florence Pugh stars in a movie that’s equal parts sadistic and hectic, upsetting and unnerving. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it grows in my estimation upon each rewatch (for which there have been many). Midsommar review

15. Knives Out

knives out movie 2019

14. Waves

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13. Toy Story 4

toy story 4 movie 2019

I hadn’t seen Toy Story 4 since its original theatrical run in 2019, and I was worried that it wasn’t going to live up to what I remembered seeing all those years ago (which feels like ages when you have a worldwide pandemic squeezed in there). Instead, Toy Story 4 is every bit as mature, relatable, funny, and earned as I remembered. I can’t wait to return to it again in the future. Toy Story 4 review

12. Good Boys

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11. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

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10. The Art of Self-Defense

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9. The Lighthouse

the lighthouse movie 2019

8. Avengers: Endgame

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7. Ad Astra

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6. Marriage Story

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5. Us

us movie 2019

4. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

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3. Parasite

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2. Uncut Gems

uncut gems movie 2019

Uncut Gems compounds tension about as well as any movie made in the 2010s. Benny and Josh Safdie announce themselves as filmmakers to keep an eye on moving forward with this grisly thriller set in the world of high stakes sports gambling. Adam Sandler and Kevin Garnett co-star, along with a supporting cast for the ages. Uncut Gems review

1. The Irishman

the irishman movie 2019

READ MORE: Best Movies of 2020, Best Movies of 2021, Best Movies of 2022