The Best Movies of 2014

A most excellent year

From a 350ft Godzilla to wormholes in space and time, via robots, aliens, superheroes, apes, vampires, cannibals, Welsh miners and a weapon-wielding racoon; 2014 had it all. Looking at the high standard of this years crop, its clear that were enjoying a new golden age with a glut of distinguished titles. So here we turn our misty eyes to the past 12 months. Enjoy its one for the archives.

50. Maleficent

The TF Verdict: Sleeping Beautys wicked witch gets a big-screen fantasy update in a fairy-tale of feminist revenge. Star charisma roaring, Angelina Jolie upends Disney clichs (motherhood, morality) with sly, wry humour.

49. We Are What We Are

The TF Verdict: Composed and classy, Jim Mickles US horror remake improves on the Mexican original. WAWWA sees a family of cannibals struggle to survive in a bleak Southern backwater. Its unnerving and moving in equal measures.

48. Noah

The TF Verdict: Let there be rock monsters, sayeth Darren Aronofsky, reimagining The Bible. Russell Crowe rediscovers his mojo as the ark knight aided by Aronofsky playing God with a $125m budget.

47. Cold In July

The TF Verdict: Michael C. Halls family man turns true detective in Jim Nickles 80s-set neo-noir. Also on board are Texas locales and Don Johnson as a pig-farming PI with a brick-sized portable phone. Whats not to like?

46. Fury

The TF Verdict: Brad Pitt tanks into Second World War-fare. Pitts weathered lead and Logan Lermans green rookie ground the experience. Loud, intense, violent, relentless, Fury doesnt stop until the credits roll, thanks to David Ayers cracking direction and a committed cast.

45. Nymphomaniac

The TF Verdict: Charlotte Gainsbourg shares her sex-capades in an art-grot two-parter that requires close attention and an open mind. Mixing filth and philosophy, Lars von Trier delivers maximum provocation in his friskiest picture for years.

44. Exodus: Gods And Kings

The TF Verdict: Ridley Scott returns to the swords-and-sandals epic as Moses leads 600,000 slaves out of Egypt. Scott operates on a suitably Biblical scale (huge practical sets mixed with CG) and grounds the spectacle with a rock-solid turn from Christian Bale as Moses.

43. Godzilla

The TF Verdict: Brit director Gareth Edwards breathes new life into Japans galumphing gecko. The original Godzilla design is lovingly recreated with CGI, while Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are central to set-pieces that bring the awe.

42. Stranger By The Lake

The TF Verdict: Sun, sex, psychosis, skinny-dipping: it sounds like genre tat, but Guiraudies dark, droll study of a risky attraction upends expectations. Love and death feature in the great outdoors, as a gay hangout becomes a murder scene.

41. 22 Jump Street

The TF Verdict: Undercover idiots Schmidt and Jenko go to college in a raucous sequel that deconstructs sequels. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill once again pump up the bromance as the cops sent to investigate a drug pusher at a local college. Roll on 23!

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.