Over 115,000 film fans worldwide have been adding all the movies they’ve seen from the year onto their Flickcharts and pitting them head-to-head against the best movies of all time. The following list is the product of those rankings – generating a combined list of the best movies of 2011 that are ranked the highest by each and every Flickchart user.
Don’t forget too that once you’re there, you can further filter the list to get the best of 2011 combined with any of your favorite actors, directors, genres, and franchises. If they seem in need of rearrangement, you can also rank any of these combinations and make sure the 2011 films you’ve seen are in just the right order on your list. Remember, if you watched and ranked these movies on your Flickchart, you helped to create this list! The higher your favorites of 2011 are on your list, the more you’ll be influencing their positions. If you haven’t yet, be sure to rank your favorites of 2011 to make changes to this list for the future!
You can expect some major new features to arrive early in 2012, so keep your eyes peeled for some amazing things yet to come for Flickchart!
Without further adieu – out of 807 total movies released this year – here is your Top 20 of 2011:
Coming a mere two years after a highly-regarded Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s runaway hit novel, the English-language version could easily have fallen prey to redundancy and irrelevance. But with David Fincher at the helm, we unsurprisingly get a much slicker, tighter, and yet more inclusive version of the book. It includes plot elements that the Swedish version excised, and puts the story’s wide-ranging mystery and thematic elements into a perhaps even more visceral and emotionally resonant version than the original, thanks in no small part to a career-making central performance from Rooney Mara. It may be easy stuff for Fincher (this material seems practically written with him in mind), but moviegoers are definitely reaping the benefits with one of the more satisfying hard-R thrillers of recent years. (Jandy Stone)
Crazy, Stupid, Love. is so much more than just a romantic comedy, thank goodness. Rare is the movie that is both so funny and so moving at the same time. Steve Carell is pitch-perfect in this sweet fable whose message is clear: Love is never a waste of time, and if you want something bad enough… fight for it. (Nigel Druitt)
Martin Scorsese’s Hugo may seem like the most uncharacteristic film for the prolific filmmaker, but it inadvertently becomes the most deeply personal he’s ever done. Hugo tells the story of a young orphan who tries to piece together an automaton left behind by his father that may hold a final message from him. On the way he meets a vibrant cast of characters like George, an old toy maker beaten down by the world and his granddaughter Isabelle. Hugo is a Scorsese’s love letter to the early days of filmmaking, shows the importance of film’s origins and gives a much deserved look at one of cinema’s most important, yet overlooked filmmakers, Georges Méliès. (Ross Bonaime)
A loving and quirky tribute to the spaghetti western, with wonderfully grotesque character design and a solid directing turn from Gore Verbinski. There’s a wit and heart here that puts it a head above the rest and easily makes it the best animated film of the year. Doesn’t hurt that Johnny Depp does some mean voice-work. (Jonathan Hardesty)
This film takes the action genre and gives it an art house sensibility. Every scene is exciting to watch and the cast is exceptional. Cate Blanchett has never been quite so menacing as she is here and she gives everyone else a run for their money. The Chemical Brothers showcase their talents here with a pulse-pounding sountrack that never fails to thrill and excite. (Jonathan Hardesty)
Judd Apatow has often been criticized for the portrayal of women in the films he produces, but with the help of one of the funniest women in the world, Kristen Wiig, Apatow once again produced one of the funniest films of the year. In one of the best comedy ensembles that included Ellie Kemper, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Melissa McCarthy, Wiig along with co-writer Annie Mumolo created a hilarious comedy with great plot and character based comedy that didn’t rely on gags and stunts to make their audience laugh. (Ross Bonaime)
It’s hard to figure out why Bennett Miller’s Moneyball is so good. It’s a sports movie that’s mostly behind the scenes, and it doesn’t have a traditional narrative arc for a sports movie, considering that it’s about a team that barely even accomplished enough to be memorialized. So it could just be that a cast of actors, engaging in their own ways – from Brad Pitt as a charismatic former jock to Jonah Hill as a brilliant dweeb to Philip Seymour Hoffman as a taciturn manager to a room full of real-life scouts – make a story about the fabric of the business of professional sports an endless source of fascination. (And Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue doesn’t hurt.) (Derek Armstrong)
What if E.T. landed in inner-city London instead of the United States? And also, what if instead of a friendly visitor with a glowing finger, he was a pissed-off monster made of shadows and teeth? And there were a bunch of them? Ask yourself those questions and you might start to have an idea of what’s going on in Joe Cornish’s thrilling, funny directorial debut. An unlikely tale of hoods-turned-heroes, Attack The Block is quite unlike anything else on Earth. (Keith Watt)
It had been over a decade since The Muppets’ last big screen adventure, but when Jason Segel decided to take on The Muppets as a dream project, he brought back all the great elements that made The Muppets such a draw for decades. With the help of director James Bobin and Bret McKenzie, both from Flight of the Conchords, which shows in The Muppets, Segel made The Muppets feel new again. The Muppets brings Jim Henson’s characters to a whole new generation by creating a family-friendly and heartwarming adventure filled with fun songs, inspired cameos and self-referencing that wasn’t just one of the best family films of the year, but one of the best comedies of 2011. (Ross Bonaime)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen take a comedic look at cancer with the dramedy 50/50. Inspired by a true story, a 27 year old guy (Levitt) must face the emotional roller coaster of being diagnosed with a rare spinal cancer. He seeks help from his stoner friend (Rogen), his estranged mother (Anjelica Huston), and his callow therapist (Anna Kendrick) to help prepare him for the fact that he may soon be dead. 50/50 achieves a perfect blend of comedy and drama to make the once taboo subject of cancer enjoyable to watch. (Al Topich)
Though it occasionally falls into the trap of CGI overload, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor is not without its pleasures. The scenes with an exiled Thor trapped on Earth, oblivious to the ways and customs of mortal men, are fun, and Chris Hemsworth is deserving of his rising star, as his charisma helps to make us care for a character who might otherwise be unlikeable. However, the true star of the picture is Tom Hiddleston as the villainous Loki; his will be a welcome return in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers next year. (Nigel Druitt)
This just may be Marvel’s best origin movie for a comic book superhero after Iron Man. Director Joe Johnston is at his best when working with a period action-adventure film, and the cast is wonderful – particularly a scene-stealing Tommy Lee Jones. (Nigel Druitt)
Woody Allen’s biggest financial success of his long career came with Midnight in Paris. A funny, smart, and original screenplay mixed with solid acting delivers many fun and dynamic characters (only Rachel McAdams felt too one-dimensional). His usual pessimism is present, but toned down and paired with an eventual optimistic closure for the main character that reminded me of the feelings I had watching the final monologue from Manhattan. (Ryan Stuckey)
One of the best prequels ever made, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of the rare summer blockbusters that masterfully combined both action and emotion. Andy Serkis will run you through the emotional spectrum with his performance-captured portrayal of Caesar. It does stumble a bit with a few moments where the CG looks less than believable, and the script wastes a character or two, but overall it’s a gratifying movie that embraces the source material and runs with it. (Ryan Stuckey)
Duncan Jones’ follow-up picture to his critically acclaimed directorial debut Moon, is yet another original take on the sci-fi genre that is exciting and action-packed from beginning to end. Jones makes the most of his inflated budget here with wonderful special effects and action sequences that are state-of-the-art. More impressive than its visual spectacle though, is the surprising emotional toll it leaves on you by the time the credits roll. ‘Source Code’ is an incredibly refreshing entry in the sci-fi genre, and shows that its still possible to make a popcorn flick with real depth. (John Amburgy)
Maddening for some viewers but infinitely rewarding for others, The Tree of Life is that elusive thing – an intimate epic, as comfortable showing the sparks of divinity that embue the mundanity of a Texas family’s personal tribulations and the moments of humanity that accompany the very creation and destruction of the universe. Was it worth the lengthy wait that Terrence Malick films usually require? Yes, yes it was. (Jandy Stone)
By going back to the origins of Marvel’s mutants, while mostly disregarding minor details of continuity in the name of good storytelling, Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men film pulls the franchise out of the tailspin created by the team’s mediocre third outing and Wolverine’s disastrous solo origin story. X-Men: First Class creates compelling drama by setting its action in the midst of the hottest years of the Cold War while focusing on Professor X and Magneto, the opposing forces at the heart of the X-Men saga. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender breathe new life and intensity into these roles, as does Jennifer Lawrence in the part of Mystique. X-Men: First Class may not be the flashiest, most polished, or most ambitious superhero movie, but it does an excellent job of reviving the X-Men’s cinematic life while bringing a new spin to the genre. (Keith Watt)
Many have said that JJ Abrams’s homage to Steven Spielberg, Super 8, basically has Abrams copying his role model. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Abrams goes beyond a fan’s love to create a film that would feel right at home in the Spielberg-ruled 80s. The film is as much about families and friendships splintering and new relationships beginning as it is about aliens being held by secret government agencies. Abrams knows how to blend sci-fi with great, emotional stories and does so here in one of the most welcome surprises of 2011. (Ross Bonaime)
Even (or perhaps especially) for those who didn’t read the books and tend to forget what happened most recently in the chronology, the final Harry Potter was a masterpiece for how it delivered the goods in grandiose, epic fashion. It should be redundant to call a Harry Potter film epic, but many of the previous movies really weren’t, seeming to tread water in getting to the final showdown between good and evil. That final showdown didn’t disappoint, on any level. Every set piece is exciting and consequential, every character arc has a satisfying payoff. The journey to get here sometimes felt rote, but the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is anything but. (Derek Armstrong)
An action thriller so tightly wound that the brief moments of release can’t be anything but explosive. Danish-born director Nicolas Winding Refn paints a vivid cityscape in which a stone-faced driver (Ryan Gosling) finds himself pulled into a world of crime and debts he might be able to navigate physically if not emotionally. Here there is room for both scenes of hopeful love and ones of stomach-turning violence. (Emil Ekelund)
Of course, this list is only accurate up to the minute this post was published – so if you’re coming in late and want to see how things have shaken up, you can always check the daily statistics at http://www.flickchart.com/charts/2011.
Want to see where the rest of the year’s best films ended up? You can also check out: