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The Best Movies of 2012

Updated April 26, 2021 12.1k votes 1.5k voters 43.6k views136 items

List RulesOnly movies released in theaters in 2012.

This is a list of the best movies of 2012, as ranked by experts and fans alike. The best movies of 2012 include gut-wrenching dramas, mind-bending sci-fi movies and wonderful, romantic comedies that remind movie-goers why they fell in love with movies in the first place. This is a list of some of the best films of the year. Obviously any 'best of' list is going to be subjective, so not everyone will agree. That's the great thing about lists on Ranker: You can change the order with your votes and, in this case, by creating your very own list of the top movies of 2012.

Think "Looper" is the best movie of 2012, hands down? Vote it up, and rank it high on your own list! Did 'Ted' leave you in stitches, laughing days after? Certainly it's one of the best comedy movies to come along in quite a while, but does it deserve to rank #1 on this list? It's up to you to make these sorts of decisions. Whether it's a first-rate foreign film like 'Holy Motors' or a stunning action-adventure flick like 'Skyfall,' or a solid, lighthearted animated family movie like 'Wreck-It-Ralph,' rank away! I can't wait to see which movies come out on top (and which movies get slammed, in the form of down votes, because really, not everyone liked 'Cloud Atlas,' and I'm still hearing people argue about it).

Each and every one of us who've spent a ton of cash to be entertained for a few hours in a darkened theater deserve to be heard. While 2012 certainly brought with it some stinkers (hello, 'That's My Boy'!), there were some real gems, too. And yes, as new 2012 movies come out, add them to your 'best of' list. Several films believed to be Oscar contenders will hit theaters before year's end ('Lincoln' 'The Hobbit,' and 'Anna Karenina' among them).

What are the best movies of 2012? Take a look here and see for yourself.

Please rank your favorite films of 2012. And if you don't see the movie or movies you've been raving about, feel free to add them to this list so everyone can vote for them! For an updated list, check out Ranker's list of the best movies of 2013.
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    The Master

    Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix
    The Master is a 2012 American drama film written, directed, and co-produced by Paul Thomas...  more
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    Red Tails

    Daniela Ruah, Bryan Cranston
    Red Tails is a 2012 American film directed by Anthony Hemingway in his feature film...  more

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  • 28
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    Mud

    Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey
    Mud is a 2012 American drama film directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Matthew McConaughey,...  more
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    66
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    Hotel Transylvania

    Selena Gomez, Adam Sandler
    Hotel Transylvania is a 2012 American 3D computer animated fantasy comedy film produced by...  more

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    Men in Black 3

    Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber
    Men in Black 3 is a 2012 American 3D comic science fiction-action film directed by Barry...  more

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    #87 of 186 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made#78 of 178 The Greatest Comic Book Movies Of All Time

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    John Carter

    Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins
    John Carter is a 2012 American science fiction fantasy film directed by Andrew Stanton, based...  more

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    Lawless

    Jessica Chastain, Tom Hardy
    Lawless is a 2012 American drama film directed by John Hillcoat. The screenplay by Nick Cave...  more

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    Snow White and the Huntsman

    Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart
    Snow White and the Huntsman is a 2012 American dark fantasy action film based on the German...  more

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    Dredd

    Lena Headey, Karl Urban
    Dredd is a 2012 science fiction action film directed by Pete Travis and written and produced...  more

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    Sinister

    Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio
    Sinister is a 2012 supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson and written by...  more

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    Safe House

    Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds
    Safe House is a 2012 American action thriller film directed by Daniel Espinosa, starring...  more

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    84
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    Frankenweenie

    Winona Ryder, Elle Fanning
    Frankenweenie is a 2012 American 3D stop-motion-animated fantasy film directed by Tim Burton....  more

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    Jack Reacher

    Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike
    Jack Reacher is a 2012 American thriller film. It is an adaptation of Lee Child's 2005 novel...  more
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    Cloud Atlas

    Halle Berry, Tom Hanks
    Cloud Atlas is a 2012 science fiction film written and directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer...  more

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    The Place Beyond the Pines

    Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper
    The Place Beyond the Pines is a 2012 drama film directed by Derek Cianfrance. In 1997, Luke...  more
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    Dark Shadows

    Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer
    Dark Shadows is a 2012 American horror comedy film loosely based on the gothic television soap...  more

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    Beasts of the Southern Wild

    Quvenzhané Wallis, Jay Oliver
    Beasts of the Southern Wild is a 2012 American fantasy drama film directed by Benh Zeitlin and...  more
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    ParaNorman

    Anna Kendrick, John Goodman
    ParaNorman is a 2012 American 3D stop-motion animated horror comedy film produced by Laika,...  more

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    #354 of 534 The Best Animated Films Ever#13 of 117 The Best Zombie Comedies

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    The Lorax

    Taylor Swift, Zac Efron
    Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is a 2012 American computer-animated 3D musical fantasy comedy film...  more

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    Man on a Ledge

    Elizabeth Banks, Ed Harris
    Man on a Ledge is a 2012 American thriller action directed by Asger Leth, starring Sam...  more

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    The Dictator

    Megan Fox, Anna Faris
    The Dictator is a 2012 American comedy film co-written by and starring Sacha Baron Cohen as...  more

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    #700 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#32 of 62 The Funniest Movies About Politics

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    Rise of the Guardians

    Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin
    Rise of the Guardians is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated fantasy film based on William...  more

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    #67 of 127 The Best Christmas Movies of All Time#37 of 112 Movies That Need Sequels

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    Safety Not Guaranteed

    Kristen Bell, Aubrey Plaza
    Safety Not Guaranteed is a 2012 American comedy film directed by Colin Trevorrow and inspired...  more
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    Trouble with the Curve

    Amy Adams, Clint Eastwood
    Trouble with the Curve is a 2012 sports-drama film directed by Robert Lorenz and starring...  more

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    #15 of 112 The All-Time Best Baseball Films#70 of 204 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

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    The Campaign

    Will Ferrell, John Goodman
    The Campaign is a 2012 American political satire comedy film directed by Jay Roach. An...  more