The Ten Hands-Down Best Movies of 2013

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Based on the central character's real-life story, this Wall Street-themed crime drama is a big screen adaptation of a memoir of the same name directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, the former Long Island penny stockbroker who penned his experiences based on what he encountered during a massive securities fraud case of the 1990s. Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey star alongside DiCaprio in the 2013 biography film.
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
December 23rd, 2013

The Ten Hands-Down Best Movies of 2013

The box office saw a fair share of movies from every genre in 2013, but not all were created equal. Some films were better than others, and the cream of the crop included some real winners that may go down as classics that movie lovers will watch again and again. The best of the best are listed below.

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"Saving Mr. Banks"

You don't have to be a big Disney fan to appreciate the fun of "Saving Mr. Banks." This movie takes a look at Walt Disney's efforts to get "Mary Poppins" adapted for the big screen. It is at times funny, sad, and triumphant, and critics have hailed it as storytelling at its best. It stars Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, the author of "Mary Poppins."

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"Blackfish"

If ever a story was waiting to be told, this documentary about Shamu and Sea World is it. This documentary raised quite a stir and caused a lot of controversy, landing it easily on any list of the most talked-about films of the year. "Blackfish" has been called the movie that Sea World doesn't want the public to see, and it succeeds at its goals to reveal, compel, and shock.

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"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

Following on the success of the first movie in the series, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" takes up where the story left off. This time, the stakes are higher and the action is more intense. Jennifer Lawrence puts every ounce of her talent into bringing Katniss to life for another round of death-defying antics while at the same time leaving fans anxious for the third installment, which is due for release in November of 2014.

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"12 Years a Slave"

If one film from the crop of 2013 flicks is bound to move viewers and elicit a few tears, it's "12 Years a Slave," the true story of a free man who was kidnapped and forced to live as a slave for a dozen long years. This taut thriller will leave you shocked by the indignation and brutality of life as a slave and is bound to become a revered classic.

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"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"

No list of the year's best films is complete without a Ben Stiller flick. This year, it's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," a feel-good movie that will garner more than a few chuckles. It follows the misadventures of Walter Mitty (played by Stiller) and a coworker (played by the always-funny Kristen Wig) as they attempt to save their jobs.

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"Captain Phillips"

This unexpected thriller depicts the true story of the Somali pirate hijacking of a U.S. vessel in 2009. Tom Hanks does an excellent job of bringing the steely ship's captain to life on the silver screen, making the film a must-watch drama and one of the year's best films. This movie is helmed by "The Bourne Supremacy" director Paul Greengrass, and it satisfies on all levels as an action-packed flick.

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"The Conjuring"

Although the exorcism theme has been overdone by Hollywood in recent years, this film starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga really hits home with horror fans and was hailed as a breath of fresh air by many critics. This edge-of-your-seat thriller left audience members with the need to sleep with the lights on, at least for a few nights, as visions of haunted dolls and levitating homeowners twirled in the backs of their minds. "The Conjuring" was arguably the scariest movie of the year.

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"The Wolf of Wall Street"

What do you get when you combine the acting genius of Leonardo DiCaprio and the directing talents of Martin Scorsese? The moviegoing public has seen the collaboration of this pair four times in the past ("Gangs of New York," "The Aviator," "The Departed," and "Shutter Island"). The fifth pairing of this power duo, which brings the memoir of a Wall Street behemoth to life, is nothing short of phenomenal and gripping.

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"World War Z"

Zombies have been making a cinematic comeback in recent years, so it only seems right that a zombie thriller would appear on the list of 2013's best movies—and "World War Z" is it. This movie has the makings of a classic, thanks in part to the performance of its main star, Brad Pitt, who plays a man racing against the clock to put a stop to a flesh-devouring-zombie pandemic. Humanity teeters in the balance in this hair-raising thrill-a-minute box-office ride.

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"Iron Man 3"

Fans of the "Iron Man" series will appreciate the inclusion of "Iron Man 3" on the list of 2013's best movies. This hit movie brings us the newest adventures of the always-charming Tony Stark. This time, he's going up against the Mandarin, a terrorist who is wreaking havoc on the planet. Robert Downey, Jr., returns for this third "Iron Man" installment alongside Gwyneth Paltrow.