Best movies of 2023

Dexerto
Stills from Barbie, Oppenheimer, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-VerseWarner Bros./Universal Pictures/Sony Pictures

Cinema’s imaginings have horrified, delighted, and enthralled us all throughout 2023 – these are our picks for the top 10 best movies of the year.

James Cameron and Tom Cruise may have recalibrated mainstream moviegoers’ brain chemistry with Avatar: The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick, two high-caliber, craft-minded blockbusters that reminded people that slop wasn’t the same as spectacle.

Look at the box office returns of 2022: critically mixed franchise outings like Jurassic World: Dominion and Doctor Strange 2 floated around $1 billion, while Black Adam – an ineffectual launchpad for a DC anti-hero – still grossed nearly $400 million. Fast-forward to this year, Disney has seen surefire hits collide with pocket-flint destiny; Ant-Man 3, Indiana Jones 5, and The Marvels all flopped, while unexpected, original movies raked in wads of cash across the world.

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In fact, 2023 may stand the test of time as one of the most important big-screen years of the decade; the times are a-changing, audiences’ tastes are evolving (or regressing – and that’s a good thing), and the films have been extraordinary. Without further ado, these are Dexerto’s top 10 movies of 2023.

10. Scream VI

The final still of Scream VIParamount Pictures

Adapting a franchise to fit new lead characters and a new setting isn’t an easy task, and many movie series have failed in the past at this. However, Scream VI has managed to be an outlier. Featuring old faces, new Ghost-faces, and some seriously brutal kills, this horror flick is a seriously good time. The central storyline of the Carpenter sisters moving to New York and being pursued by the darkness of Woodsboro also gives the movie some much-needed pathos, allowing Scream VI to both have heart and scares, culminating in an iconic entry in the overall franchise.

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Author: Lucy-Jo Finnighan

9. Killers of the Flower Moon

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower MoonParamount Pictures

It’s a Scorsese historical epic that brings Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro together for the first time – of course it’s going to be in our top 10 of 2023. In Killers of the Flower Moon, which grimly traces the insidious, spiraling plot behind the Osage murders in the early 20th century, Martin Scorsese proves that both sensitive cultural topics can be deftly handled by an outside eye and three-hour runtimes are worth their weight. Lily Gladstone for the Academy Awards? We think so. 

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Author: Jasmine Valentine

8. Saltburn

Barry Keoghan in the bath in SaltburnMGM

Emerald Fennell’s follow-up to her Oscar-winning debut Promising Young Woman was just as dark and twisted, the writer-director turning her attention to Britain’s class system in darkly comic fashion. Barry Keoghan plays Oliver Quick, a poor Oxford student who is befriended by the rich set, and invited to spend his summer at a sprawling country estate called Saltburn. Oliver initially struggles to fit in, but once he finds his feet, proceedings take a twisted turn – one that’s filled with sex and violence, as well as moments that will have you laughing out loud as you cover your eyes.  

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Author: Chris Tilly

7. Past Lives

Greta Lee and Teo Yoo in Past LivesA24

For a debut feature film, Past Lives continues to leave its audience aghast. Exceptionally crafted by Celine Song, Greta Lee and Teo Yoo play a young duo who were inseparable as children, and more than a decade later after their worlds pulled them apart, they reunite online and struggle to untangle themselves again. Their relationship is molded by circumstance and timing, plotting a global will-they-won’t-they scenario many can sadly resonate with. You might cry, you might sit in stunned silence while the end credits roll – but what you won’t ever do is forget this heartbreaking story.

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Author: Jasmine Valentine

6. Talk to Me

A still from Talk to MeA24

A directing debut about an embalmed hand that allows spirits to use your body like a hand-puppet, by a pair of YouTuber brothers who go by ‘RackaRacka’ – on paper, Talk to Me doesn’t sound like a hit. But perhaps the apprehension worked in its favor. Not only did Danny and Michael Philippou prove the naysayers wrong, but they managed to create the best horror movie of the year, tapping into the zeitgeist and serving up a truly unique spin on an overstuffed genre. From the opening sequence right up to the final scene, Talk to Me doesn’t loosen its death grip for a second, leaving us undeniably blood-thirsty for the anticipated sequel. 

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Author: Daisy Phillipson

5. The Holdovers

The cast of The HoldoversFocus Features

The Holdovers is a coming-of-age story set in a stuffy boarding school, where both a troubled student (Dominic Sessa) and equally troubled teacher (Paul Giamatti) stranded together for Christmas come of age over the course of its lengthy runtime. It’s a touching, festive tale that might just be a new holiday classic, and director Alexander Payne’s best film since Sideways.

Author: Chris Tilly

4. John Wick: Chapter 4

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4Lionsgate

John Wick 4 is a relentless and exhilarating continuation of the iconic action franchise. Keanu Reeves once again impresses as the stoic assassin, navigating a world of betrayal and vengeance with unparalleled skill. The film’s standout feature is its expertly choreographed and visually stunning action sequences, seamlessly blending gun-fu and hand-to-hand combat. John Wick 4 delivers exactly what fans love – a gripping, stylish, and unapologetically violent symphony that solidifies the franchise’s enduring appeal.

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Author: Gabriela Silva

3. Barbie

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in BarbieWarner Bros.

Barbie was truly the most hyped movie of the year, with Greta Gerwig telling audiences early on that this film would be nothing like they’d seen before – and she was absolutely right. Following Margot Robbie’s titular real-life toy as she ventures into the real world, the movie is a celebration of womanhood while also exploring what it means to be a human with your own single identity. Through its almost two-hour runtime, Barbie managed to make us laugh, cry, and cheer as we tried to figure out what we were made for and how we can continue to strive past expectations given to us.

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Author: Kayla Harrington

2. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-VerseSony Pictures

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a rare case of more is more, following Miles Morales on a voyage to the heart of the web-slinging multiverse with hundreds of other Spideys, all while contending with the emergence of a catastrophic, yet amusing new threat: The Spot. A bigger, bolder follow-up to 2018’s sublime Into the Spider-Verse, the animation is prettier, the Marvel deep cuts deeper, and the soundtrack slappier. Yet what ultimately makes ATSV swing higher than its predecessor – not to mention almost every other 2023 release – is its heartfelt story. Forget the multiverse-hopping antics: Miles Morales’ arc is a personal tale of self-belief and belonging that resonates. Bring on the sequel!

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Author: Leon Miller

1. Oppenheimer

Cillian Murphy in OppenheimerUniversal Pictures

Oppenheimer isn’t just the best movie Christopher Nolan has ever made: it’s the culmination of his directing oeuvre; a sense-rattling, embarrassingly slick behemoth of a film that shakes your bones and leaves you in a state of awe and disquiet. A three-hour, part-black-and-white epic chronicling the creation of mankind’s mightiest, most shameful weapon had near-zero chances of becoming a sensation – but the world heard the music.

Author: Cameron Frew

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