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The 50 best movies of 2011

31. Moneyball

The Movie: Aaron Sorkin does for baseball what The Social Network did for social media, i.e. it's not really about sport, but how to get ahead in business in the 21st century.

Impact: A new lease of life for Jonah Hill that could arguably bring his first Oscar nomination even as Brad Pitt faces the risk of a split vote between this and The Tree Of Life.

30. Attack The Block

The Movie: Blud vs blood, as an Amblin-style creature feature is transformed via the prism of British yoof cinema. Joe Cornish proves Toytanic was no fluke.

Impact: Forget the aliens. With a rave review from Spike Lee and imagery that pre-empted the summer riots, this had more to say about inner city life than any film this year.

29. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

The Movie: Brit Rupert Wyatt turns the prequel nobody wanted to see into a stunning blend of old-school storytelling and state-of-the-art mo-cap effects courtesy of ape expert Andy Serkis.

Impact: The surprise hit of the summer and one that, alongside Tintin, has reignited calls for Serkis' pioneering performance capture to be recognised by the Academy.

28. Melancholia

The Movie: The end of the world, according to Lars Von Trier: a wedding, a depressed Kirsten Dunst, and the most beautiful apocalypse in cinema.

Impact: Overshadowed by Lars being a very silly boy in his Cannes press conference, but top nod at the European Film Awards appears to have put the focus back on the film itself.

27. 127 Hours

The Movie: Danny Boyle proves he can't keep his camera still even when filming the story of a guy (James Franco as Aaron Ralston) whose hand is pinned to a rock.

Impact: Torture porn went all prestigious amidst a million bad puns about hands and arms. And James Franco became everybody's favourite dude until he presented the Oscars.

26. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

The Movie: Part 8 of the 7-part saga but far from outstaying its welcome, the Potter finale proved an exhilarating send-off. Wizard.

Impact: The year's biggest hit, and the first Potter to break the billion-dollar barrier. No wonder Warner Brothers has invested in the studio tour to keep its most lucrative franchise going a bit longer.

25. Snowtown

The Movie: Animal Kingdom, redux. The year's second Aussie classic based on real-life crimes upped the ante by being bleaker and unbearably violent.

Impact: Toe-curling. The cinema's worst advert for bathrooms since Psycho.

24. Submarine

The Movie: Richard Ayoade's debut came on like a blend of Wes Anderson's whimsy, Francois Truffaut's freewheeling heart and even a touch of The Graduate in Alex Turner's acoustic songs. Which makes it easily the coolest film to come out of Wales.

Impact: Alongside Attack The Block and Tyrannosaur, Ayoade's debut proved that just because you're already famous doesnt mean you can't direct well. Plus, it briefly made dufflecoats cool again.

23. Hugo

The Movie: Martin Scorsese making a kids' film? When you consider that the story is also a love letter to the early days of cinema, it stop being surprising and becomes one of the great director's most uplifting movies.

Impact: Near-universal acclaim gives this a shot at being the first live-action kids' film in years to be up for Best Picture. Also, Scorsese's successful use of 3D means that rumours of the eye-straining tech's demise may be greatly exaggerated.

22. The Artist

The Movie: Another ode to silent cinema, except this one actually is silent. A pitch-perfect pastiche of slapstick and intertitles, but star Jean Dujardin's charismatic performance gives it real heart, too.

Impact: Harvey Weinstein is throwing his considerable weight behind The Artist. There's serious talk of this being the first non-talkie to take Best Picture for over 80 years.