The 50 Best Movies of 2023 Ranked, from Killers of the Flower Moon to The Holdovers

A comprehensive ranking of the 50 best movies released in 2023, including Killers of the Flower Moon, The Holdovers, Barbie, and more

Killers of the Flower Moon best movie 2023
Killers of the Flower Moon

I always like to start these year end lists with a bit of housekeeping. I watched 169 new releases in 2023, certainly a personal best amid a few years of really digging deep into the history of cinema. I watched many more movies than that overall (714 entries into Letterboxd as of December 31st), but they always seemed to be revolving around what was current in the industry.

I rewatched and ranked the filmographies of Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Wes Anderson, and more in coordinance with their newest works, as well as franchise material such as The Hunger Games, Willy Wonka, and Transformers (yikes). There’s always something new to find or rewatch, and 2023 seemed to be the first time getting back to business as usual since the pandemic.

And because of all of this, 2023 was the best year for movies this decade. I consolidated these 169 movies into my 50 favorites, and this was the toughest year yet. I made some tough omissions on this list (the hardest probably being How to Blow Up a Pipeline) and I’m sure it’ll only get tougher as I cross off the rest of the movies on my watchlist from this past year.

To everyone thinking that 169 new movie viewings and 714 total may be a bit obsessive, you’re probably right. But I’m not sorry! In fact, I’m shooting for 200 next year and more total viewings than ever before. The more the merrier, and with the upcoming slate, I don’t think it will be impossible. Inject Furiosa and Dune: Part Two into my veins pls.

Like I mentioned before, I couldn’t quite see everything. I’m sure I’ll return to this list and updated at some point next year to include everything I missed. Among others, these were the films I’m ashamed I haven’t seen yet: Ferrari, Fallen Leaves, Monster, Eileen, Godzilla Minus One, The First Slam Dunk, Godland, The Teachers’ Lounge, One Fine Morning, Enys Men, Dreamin’ Wild and Rotting in the Sun.

And now, the 50 best movies of 2023 (!):

50. A Thousand and One

A Thousand and One Movie Poster and Review

Sundance 2023’s Grand Jury Prize winner A Thousand and One has a gravitational pull at the center – Teyana Taylor, giving a stunning performance that competes with some of the year’s bests. A riveting drama that puts Director A.V. Rockwell on the map for years to come. A Thousand and One review

49. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Dungeons and Dragons Movie Poster and Movie review

Chris Pine leads a team of ragtag thieves on a journey throughout an expansive world. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a movie that contains a mighty cast and includes many moving parts – all of which excel in harmony. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves review

48. Scream 6

Scream 6 movie poster and review from A Cinephile's Corner.

Despite a nearly complete turnover of legacy characters, the Scream franchise keeps on rolling – and it may be as good as any since the original hit theaters in 1996. Scream 6 gets bolder and better, and the movie builds on the best aspects of Radio Silence’s last installment of the franchise. Scream 6 review

47. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

TMNT Mutant Mayhem movie poster

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem does enough to get by, relying on innocent jokes and beautiful art style to win viewers over. While maybe not the overwhelming achievement like the Spider-Verse movies or The Mitchells vs. The Machines (two Sony properties that feel like huge inspirations for this picture), Mutant Mayhem finds its own space by delivering to fans longing for a reimagining of this universe. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem review

46. Sanctuary

Sanctuary review Margaret Qualley Christopher Abbott movie from Neon Films

Sanctuary and its single location premise may feel light for a feature length film, but stellar performances by Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott, as well as tight direction by Zachary Wigon, helps the movie stay fresh and alive. Sanctuary review

45. Fingernails

Fingernails movie poster

Fingernails, directed by Christos Nikou, stands as another strong addition to Apple TV+’s repertoire, blending elements of romance, drama, and comedy against the backdrop of a futuristic society grappling with the complexities of love. Starring Jessie Buckley, Riz Ahmed, and Jeremy Allen White, the movie explores the fragility of relationships in a world where a single fingernail can determine the strength of a couple’s love. Fingernails review

44. Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo movie poster and review

Despite a few nitpicks in terms of pacing and cinematography, Gran Turismo passes with flying colors. In the wrong hands, this could’ve gone horribly wrong. With the intense and precise work of Neill Blomkamp and the rest of the cast and crew, Gran Turismo feels incredibly alive and off the ground from the jump. Gran Turismo review

43. Creed III

Creed III movie poster

Creed III is a two-hander that sits with some of the best in this expansive universe. Stallone and Carl Weathers may still be the best because they were offered multiple films to build upon one another, but there’s something to the charisma of both Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors to elevates this movie whenever the two of them are on screen. Creed III review

42. Magic Mike’s Last Dance

Magic Mike's Last Dance Movie Review Steven Soderbergh Channing Tatum Salma Hayek

Channing Tatum suits up and strips down (possibly) one last time as struggling stripper Mike Lane in Magic Mike’s Last Dance. Combined with excellent camerawork by Steven Soderbergh and an impeccably volatile Salma Hayek, the crew says goodbye in a fitting fashion. Magic Mike’s Last Dance review

41. Saw X

Saw X movie poster

Saw X emerges from the twisted mind of director Kevin Greutert, delivering a surprisingly refreshing take on the notorious Saw franchise. In this tenth installment, the filmmakers, as well as writers Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger, shift the focus to a more sympathetic exploration of the series’ iconic character, John Kramer, played wonderfully by Tobin Bell. Saw X review

40. Evil Dead Rise

Evil Dead Rise movie poster and review for the sequel to Sam Raimi's Evil Dead.

Evil Dead Rise is the horror movie we’ve been waiting for so far in 2023. It’s daring, gory, mean, and funny in a way only the Evil Dead movies can be. Sam Raimi has to be pleased with how Lee Cronin pays homage to a handful of the classics while still carving his own path. Evil Dead Rise review

39. Tori and Lokita

38. Beau is Afraid

Beau is Afraid movie review and poster

Ari Aster puts his career and positive public perception on the line to create his most singular and divisive piece of filmmaking yet. Although easily his least accessible and structured movie, Beau is Afraid still manages to work due to Aster’s distinct eye for jaw-dropping images and scenes. Beau is Afraid review

37. Barbie

Barbie movie poster with Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie deliver on one of the year’s most colorful and sincere trips to the movies. Barbie is a movie that transcends style and set design, offering a visual feast with enough laughs along the way. Barbie review

36. Napoleon

Napoleon movie poster Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott’s Napoleon is an overtly ambitious cinematic endeavor, a sprawling historical drama that delves into the life and conquests of the iconic French military leader. Clocking in at well over two hours, the movie impresses with its visual grandeur, meticulous attention to detail, and breathtaking battle sequences reminiscent of many of Scott’s previous epics – most notably Gladiator or The Last Duel. The veteran director, now 86 years old, continues to demonstrate his mastery of the genre, particularly in capturing the ferocity and brilliance of Napoleon’s military campaigns. Napoleon review

35. The Covenant

The Covenant movie poster

The Covenant effectively sandwiches two rescue missions back-to-back in a tightly controlled narrative. It’s a two hander, sneakily becoming an anthology of several strong stories and ideas working within one another. Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim headline the movie, and each get half of the film to take the lead. The Covenant review

34. Fair Play

Fair Play movie poster

Fair Play is a commendable directorial debut from Chloe Domont, a film that sizzles with tension and passion right from its Sundance origins early in 2023. With stellar performances, especially from Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich, the movie navigates the intricacies of love and power with finesse. Fair Play review

33. Sick

Sick Movie Review Poster Peacock Film

Although the framing device of COVID-19 may leave some viewers cold, Sick is aptly titled due to its clever camera movements, brutal action sequences, and polished design. A win for director John Hyams. Sick review

32. This Place Rules

This Place Rules Movie Review Andrew Callaghan Documentary HBO Max

Andrew Callaghan’s breakthrough documentary This Place Rules goes to shattering lengths to show the worst impulses of the American people. Gaining access that few ever achieve, Andrew Callaghan explores how a country can get split down the middle so rapidly. This Place Rules review

31. Showing Up

Showing Up Movie Review with Michelle Williams and Kelly Reichardt

Showing Up is the latest movie from director and writer Kelly Reichardt, who has operated in the independent scene for the better part of thirty years now capitalizing on lo-fi cinematography and slower pacing that can sometimes feel like a tough barrier to break down when watching her movies. If you can get past these stylistic choices, there are common themes of personal ambition and treatment of the lower class socially and economically. Showing Up review

30. Pacifiction

Pacifiction movie poster

29. No Hard Feelings

No Hard Feelings movie review for a studio comedy starring Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman

No Hard Feelings feels like a shot in the arm for studio comedies – a subgenre in desperate need of *something* to revive it. Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman both star, and carry with them completely different perspectives of maturing emotionally. No Hard Feelings review

28. The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

the caine mutiny court martial movie poster

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial serves as the final movies for legendary director William Friedkin and seasoned character actor Lance Reddick. Both work in harmony in this lean, procedural courtroom drama. A precise sendoff for these two industry staples. The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial review

27. The Boy and the Heron

The Boy and the Heron movie poster

Hayao Miyazaki creates worlds where grief dances with wonder, where loss paves the way for discovery, and imagination reigns supreme. His latest movie The Boy and the Heron continues those trends to great lengths; it’s a symphony of animation, storytelling, and profound emotions that transports you to a realm of breathtaking beauty and exploration. The Boy and the Heron review

26. Poor Things

Poor Things movie poster

Yorgos Lanthimos, known for his unconventional singular storytelling and subject matter, reunites with Emma Stone in Poor Things, a film that boldly blends romance, science fiction, and comedy. The result is an outrageously funny and audacious cinematic experience that stands as one of the most memorable films I’ve seen in 2023. Poor Things review

25. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

are you there god it's me margaret movie review starring Rachel McAdams and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. doesn’t take long to show you its worth – an easily digestible, refreshing throwback film certainly worth the price of admission. Abby Ryder Fortson and Rachel McAdams star, with the latter hopefully participating in next year’s awards season race. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. review

24. R.M.N.

R.M.N. movie review and poster from Romanian film at Cannes Film Festival

R.M.N. doesn’t hold back in displaying the dangers of groupthink within a small community. Written and directed effortlessly by Cristian Mungiu, the movie is a doomed and icy warning about depicting foreigners as monsters. A remarkable international film that stands among the best movies of 2023. R.M.N. review

23. Bottoms

bottoms movie poster

22. Anatomy of a Fall

anatomy of a fall movie poster

21. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 review and movie poster for Marvel and James Gunn film

Remember feeling overwhelmed and fulfilled leaving a Marvel movie? Neither did I, until I saw James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – an emotional gut punch and a perfect swan song to this set of weirdos. The first must-see Marvel film in a while. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 review

20. Afire

Afire movie poster

In German cinema, Christian Petzold has long held the torch as a master storyteller, and his newest movie, Afire, only solidifies his position as a filmmaker of profound emotional depth and singular vision. Known for his melodramatic genre touch reminiscent of Hitchcock and Fincher, Petzold brings us a searing drama that dissects not only the creative process but also the complexities of human connections. Afire review

19. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

mission impossible dead reckoning part one movie review tom cruise christopher mcquarrie simon pegg ving rhames

Dead Reckoning Part One surpasses many recent action movies, using Tom Cruise’s death-defying stunts as a reason to see them by themselves. Despite a few nitpicks, nothing compares to the practicality that the new Mission: Impossible movie offers. Dead Reckoning Part One review

18. You Hurt My Feelings

You Hurt My Feelings movie poster

You Hurt My Feelings is a movie tearing apart the artistic complex. A film that questions whether professionals can have their lives figured out in the twenties or thirties. It’s honest and personal, as if Nicole Holofcener is using Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a stand in for directors and creatives everywhere. You Hurt My Feelings review

17. Asteroid City

Asteroid City review for new Wes Anderson movie, starring Scarlett Johansson and Tom Hanks

Asteroid City works like a charm, each detail feeling firmly in place despite the layers and layers of artifice Wes Anderson plants around every corner. His detractors may despise it, but if you’ve ever been even a smidge interested in his work up to this point, it’s certainly worth seeing – because you won’t believe its contents otherwise. Asteroid City review

16. Wonka

Wonka movie poster

In a surprising turn of events, Wonka emerges as one of the standout success stories of the year, defying initial skepticism surrounding its release. Helmed by director Paul King and starring Timothée Chalamet, this imaginative take on the world of Willy Wonka offers a refreshing and delightful experience that captivates audiences from the opening title sequence to the end. Wonka review

15. The Zone of Interest

the zone of interest movie 2023

The Zone of Interest is one of the most beguiling, upsetting, and finely constructed movies I saw in all of 2023. I’ve admired Jonathan Glazer’s work in the past, but I didn’t know that he had this in him. It’s much more reserved and quiet than even Under the Skin – a movie that had to sink into you and get “under your skin” in its own right. This is almost structureless and purposefully unengaging. The violence and despair never shows onscreen in a way you’d expect for a movie about The Holocaust and focused on those in charge of inflicting such atrocities. The Zone of Interest review

14. Priscilla

Priscilla movie poster

Priscilla is a journey that, while not shattering the boundaries of Sofia Coppola’s established repertoire, undoubtedly captivates with its remarkable performances and intimate storytelling. Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi shine as the tumultuous Priscilla and Elvis Presley. Priscilla review

13. John Wick: Chapter 4

John Wick Chapter 4 movie review and summary

In terms of contemporary action movies, John Wick: Chapter 4 (and the entire John Wick franchise, honestly) has separated itself from the pack. Each detail, idea, and set piece is perfectly crafted to build out a world that feels so fully realized. Somehow, Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski continue to find new ways to keep the franchise fresh. John Wick: Chapter 4 review

12. Master Gardener

Master Gardener movie Paul Schrader

While Master Gardener still plays comically similar to his previous few movies, Paul Schrader finds enough new ideas to still make his newest film feel fresh. Topped by a career-best performance by Joel Edgerton, the movie is a worthwhile treat for longtime fans of the director. Master Gardener review

11. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Spiderman Across the Spiderverse movie poster and review featuring Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse did something I’m not sure I’ve seen in years – redefine multiple genres with one swing. Since its release in 2018, animated and superhero movies have been trying to live up to the Miles Morales origin story that exploded with color and original ideas not usually flowing through the corporatized moviemaking landscape. It actually reinvented the wheel rather than tweaking a few numbers in the formula and repackaging it under some neat animated sequences: Into the Spider-Verse felt wholly original and couldn’t be compared one-to-one with anything that had come before it. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse review

10. Falcon Lake

Falcon Lake movie poster and review

Very rarely does a director establish themselves the way Charlotte Le Bon does with Falcon Lake. As a cross in styles and ideas between Céline Sciamma and Richard Linklater, I can only hope that Le Bon continues to diverge and craft her own lane of filmmaking, because this is quite an incredible and fully realized vision right from the jump. Falcon Lake review

9. BlackBerry

BlackBerry movie review from Canada Matt Johnson

Zipping through the years of the rise and fall of the first texting cellphone, the aptly-titled BlackBerry serves as a fantastic tale of corporate greed and those incapable of dealing with the success and fame that comes with building new technology. Incredible acting and direction contributes to one of 2023’s best movies. BlackBerry review

8. Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon movie poster

In Martin Scorsese’s epic crime drama, Killers of the Flower Moon, we are transported back in time to the early 1920s, to the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, a land drenched in blood and oil. Adapted from David Grann’s best-selling book of the same name, Scorsese’s take on this dark chapter in American history takes us on a thrilling, if occasionally meandering, journey that showcases the director’s distinct cinematic style while exploring a unique angle on the source material. Killers of the Flower Moon review

7. Scrapper

Scrapper movie poster

6. All of Us Strangers

All of Us Strangers movie poster

Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers emerges as one of the most quietly devastating and emotionally resonant films of 2023. From its opening scene, where Adam (Andrew Scott) and Harry (Paul Mescal) meet in the empty expanse of their apartment complex, the film invites viewers into a world filled with space, vibrant colors, and thoughtful design. Andrew Haigh, known for his work on films like Weekend and 45 Years, crafts a poignant narrative that explores the complexities of love, loss, and the haunting specter of the past. What transpires certainly stands as one of his best works yet as a director. All of Us Strangers review

5. The Iron Claw

the iron claw movie 2023

Just as 2023 prepares to wrap up, Sean Durkin and A24 have thrown a gut-wrenching curveball with The Iron Claw. This isn’t just a typical sports drama; it’s a suplex of emotions and unthinkable circumstances, a portrait of a family bound by both tragedy and unwavering loyalty, grounded in the real-life saga of the Von Erich brothers. The Iron Claw review

4. The Killer

The Killer movie poster

The Killer is nothing short of a triumph for David Fincher and a treat for fans of his filmography. It may be the most Fincherian movie ever made, but far from devolving, it solidifies his mastery of the medium. A calm Michael Fassbender performance helps seal The Killer as on of the best movies of 2023. The Killer review

3. The Holdovers

The Holdovers movie poster

The Holdovers is a gem that sits among the best of 2023. The movie’s engaging narrative, stellar performances, and melancholic tone makes it a standout addition to the holiday film canon. Three central performances by Paul Giamatti, Dominic Sessa, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph pull the film together. The Holdovers review

2. Past Lives

Past Lives movie review from A24, director Celina Song. Film includes Greta Lee and Yoo Teo

Past Lives is a revelation, despite a growing skepticism that romance movies are dead in the current streaming era. Every bit of emotion and rekindling romance is only strengthened by a nuanced approach to script and perfect casting. A real highlight of 2023. Past Lives review

1. Oppenheimer

oppenheimer movie 2023

Oppenheimer is undoubtedly the best movie of 2023. Christopher Nolan puts any doubt to rest that he wouldn’t be capable of capturing a story of this magnitude. Cillian Murphy gives an iconic performance that intensifies each moment rolling along this breakneck biopic of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer review

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