The 50 best movies of 2022 in the US

The No 1 film is a stunning directorial debut, one of the finest cinematic moments of any year – see which other movies you may have missed

This list is compiled by the Guardian film team, with all films released in the US during 2022 in contention. Check in every weekday to see our next picks, and please share your own favourite films of 2022 in the comments below.



Billy Eichner’s ribald romcom, produced by Judd Apatow, saw two gay men struggling with commitment and heteronormative expectations and was heralded as being a groundbreaking queer first within the straight and strait-laced studio system. But, stake-claiming aside, it is also genuinely funny and insightful. Read the full review


Rich and emotionally persuasive … Broker.
Rich and emotionally persuasive … Broker. Photograph: Zip/CJ ENM


Hirokazu Kore-eda enlisted Parasite’s Song Kang-ho for a rich and emotionally persuasive drama about two friends stealing babies from outside a church and selling them on the adoption parallel market. Read the full review


Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise returns almost four decades on for another bout of speed and need: this time he is the mentor to a new generation of navy fighter pilots, led by Miles Teller, playing the son of Maverick’s late wingman, Goose. Read the full review


Paris, 13th District

The latest film from Rust and Bone director Jacques Audiard, here putting together a short story collection of sexual encounters and relationships in Paris’ 13th arrondissement, shot in tough black-and-white. Read the full review


Grisly … Holy Spider.
Grisly … Holy Spider Photograph: PR IMAGE

Holy Spider

Border director Ali Abbasi returned to the Cannes film festival this year with a shocking act of provocation. A grisly thriller loosely based on the true story of a serial killer targeting women in Mashhad, it caused controversy in Iran but won Zar Amir Ebrahimi the lead actress prize at the festival. Read the full review



Golden Lion-winning abortion drama, more relevant than ever, from director Audrey Diwan; a study of a woman (played by Anamaria Vartolomei) who becomes pregnant in early 60s, pre-legalisation France. Read the full review


Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Entertaining second dose of Rian Johnson’s labyrinthine crime mystery, with Daniel Craig on good form as Hercule Poirot-esque detective Benoit Blanc, here investigating a murder-themed party that turns deadly. Read the full review



Descent into dementia … Gasper Noé’s Vortex.
Descent into dementia … Gasper Noé’s Vortex Photograph: PR

Split-screen dementia drama from Argentine provocateur Gaspar Noé, starring Dario Argento and Françoise Lebrun as an elderly couple whose lives are dogged by the latter’s cognitive decline. Read the full review


The Woman King

Stirring period epic, starring Viola Davis as the leader of the Agojie, a brigade of female warriors in west Africa, who are attempting to see off threats from the Oyo empire as well as from slave-buying colonialists. Read the full review


Brian and Charles

David Earl and Chris Hayward’s story of an inventor’s relationship with his creation blends Caractacus Potts with Victor Frankenstein to heartwarming effect. Read the full review


We (Nous)

Loose and freewheeling … We (Nous).
Loose and freewheeling … We (Nous). Photograph: © Sarah Blum

French-Senegalese film-maker Alice Diop offers a sensitive portrayal of the disparate communities that live along one of Paris’s commuter rail lines – predating her acclaimed fiction feature debut Saint Omer. Read the full review


The Eternal Daughter

Joanna Hogg reunites with Tilda Swinton for an unusual ghost story which sees the actor playing dual roles in a moving and thought-provoking drama that exists within the same universe as her acclaimed autobiographical Souvenir films. Read the full review


Everything Went Fine

André Dussollier and Sophie Marceau are outstanding as a father and daughter whose tricky relationship is upended when he asks for her help to die, in François Ozon’s wonderfully observed story. Read the full review



Terence Davies’ account of the life of Siegfried Sassoon (played by Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi in younger/older versions), tracing his career from lionised war poet to unhappy later life. Read the full review

On the way to war … Benediction.
Melancholy study … Sassoon biopic Benediction. Photograph: Photo Credit: Laurence Cendrowicz/Courtesy of Vertigo Releasing


Small Body

Mysterious fable from Italian director Laura Samani, about a woman desperate to revive her stillborn baby who heads off on a quest to find the church that may be able to accomplish it. Read the full review


Great Freedom

Intriguing German drama about a former concentration camp inmate imprisoned after the second world war for gay sex acts, and who develops a complex relationship with his straight cellmate. Read the full review


All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front.
‘Never fails to do justice to its subject’ … All Quiet on the Western Front. Photograph: Netflix undefined

Anti-war nightmare of bloodshed and chaos where teenage boys quickly find themselves caught up in the ordeal of trench warfare, in a German-language adaptation of the first world war novel. Read the full review


Lingui, the Sacred Bonds

Chadian auteur Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s quiet fable, about a woman torn between social proprieties and respecting her daughter’s decision to get an abortion. Read the full review


All That Breathes

Two Indian brothers dedicate themselves to rescuing birds that are being poisoned by pollution in this complex and quietly beautiful film. Read the full review



Vicky Krieps puts in a star turn as lonely, patronised Elisabeth of Austria in Marie Kreutzer’s austere drama that functions as a cry of anger from the pedestal-prison of an empress. Read the full review


Crimes of the Future

As he did with 90s hit Crash, David Cronenberg’s horror sensation creates a bizarre new society of sicko sybarites where pain is the ultimate pleasure and “surgery is the new sex”. Read the full review



Unflinching … Cow Photograph: Publicity image

American Honey director Andrea Arnold delivers a meaty slice of bovine socio-realism, detailing the life of dairy cows with unflinching and empathic precision. Read the full review


No Bears

Complex metafiction of fear in which jailed director Jafar Panahi plays a version of himself, forced to shoot his new film in a town near the border with Turkey. Read the full review


White Noise

Don DeLillo’s novel of campus larks and eco dread gets an elegant, droll film treatment from Noah Baumbach, starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig. Read the full review


Fire of Love

Katia and Maurice Krafft in Fire of Love.
Dream lava … Katia and Maurice Krafft in Fire of Love. Photograph: Image’Est

Romantic portrait of passionate, doomed volcanologists embraces the mythology around Maurice and Katia Krafft, the scientists who died in the 1991 Mount Unzen disaster. Read the full review



Powerful documentary on the legacy of slavery showing how an illegal slave ship led to the creation of an Alabama community of inherited trauma but also defiance. Read the full review



Deeply disturbing drama about mass killer Martin Bryant that shies away from depicting the Port Arthur massacre itself – but outstanding performances mean it’s still a highly unsettling story. Read the full review


The Innocents

Creepy-kid horror from Norwegian director Eskil Vogt (co-writer of The Worst Person in the World), about two young sisters who make friends with other children who apparently possess supernatural powers. Read the full review


The Northman

Alexander Skarsgard and Anya Taylor-Joy in The Northman.
Norse stars … Alexander Skarsgard and Anya Taylor-Joy in The Northman. Photograph: Focus Features/Aidan Monaghan/Allstar

Brutal Viking saga based on the same legend as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with Alexander Skarsgård as the chieftain’s son out for vengeance on the man who murdered his father and took his throne. Read the full review


Official Competition

Penélope Cruz is on fire in a delicious movie-industry satire in which she plays an eccentric director using unorthodox techniques to manage lead actors – and polar opposites – Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez. Read the full review


Empire of Light

After the extravagant exhaustion of 1917, Sam Mendes slows down, opting for a smaller scale yet bigger emotions in an 80s-set drama about two lonely cinema workers who find solace in each other. Olivia Colman and Top Boy’s Michael Ward give generous and affecting performances. Read the full review


Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On.
A little doing a lot … Marcel the Shell With Shoes On. Photograph: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

In an underwhelming year for animated features, our saviour arrived this summer in the unlikely form of an energetic and optimistic talking one-inch shell called Marcel. In a charming and inventive stop-motion adventure, director Dean Fleischer-Camp shows his splashier peers how to make a little do a lot.



Exquisitely sad drama starring Bill Nighy in a Kazuo Ishiguro-scripted remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru about a man dealing with a terminal diagnosis. Read the full review


You Won’t Be Alone

Sara Klimoska in You Won’t Be Alone.
Sara Klimoska in You Won’t Be Alone. Photograph: Branko Starcevic/AP

Spellbinding horror movie from director Goran Stolevski, a witch story that follows a shapeshifter in a 19th-century village. Read the full review


Bones and All

Teen cannibal romance with Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell, who dazzle in Luca Guadagnino’s blood-soaked parable of poverty and rebellion. Read the full review



Maya Vanderbeque is brilliant in this short, intense Belgian schoolyard drama as a seven-year-old girl called Nora who tries to confront classroom bullies. Read the full review


The Banshees of Inisherin

Guinness-black comedy of male pain in which Martin McDonagh reunites Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in remotest Ireland for an oddball study of isolation and hurt. Read the full review


Moonage Daydream

Glorious, shapeshifting eulogy to David Bowie from director Brett Morgen, whose intimate montage of the uniquely influential artist celebrates his career, creativity and unfailing charm. Read the full review


Funny Pages

Funny Pages
Graphic humour … Daniel Zolghadri in Funny Pages Photograph: Publicity image

Deliciously dark coming-of-age comedy from Owen Kline, that fuses teen innocence with adult sexuality in a bad-taste debut film that recalls American Splendor and Crumb. Read the full review


All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Oscar-winning Citizenfour documentary-maker Laura Poitras shifted her focus to artist and activist Nan Goldin and her efforts to topple the Sackler family for their involvement in the opioid epidemic. It’s full of pain but, as the title suggests, also beauty. It became only the second documentary to be awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival.


Saint Omer

French-Senegalese director Alice Diop gives us a no-frills courtroom drama in which a writer attends the French trial of a Senegalese woman accused of murdering her 15-month-old child. Read more


Decision to Leave

Park Hae-il, left, and Tang Wei in Decision to Leave.
Park Hae-il, left, and Tang Wei in Decision to Leave. Photograph: AP

South Korean director Park Chan-wook ’s sensational black-widow noir romance, starring Tang Wei , keeps the viewer off-balance at every turn. Read more



Tilda Swinton joins forces with Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul for an English-language, Colombia-set fable about a woman who can hear sounds that others don’t appear to. Read more


The Wonder

Haunting adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s story of divine possession, with Florence Pugh as a nurse who is sent to a rural Irish village to investigate a young girl who appears to be perfectly healthy despite not having eaten for months. Read more


The Fabelmans

The Fabelmans.
Love letter to the movies … The Fabelmans. Photograph: Merie Weismiller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Steven Spielberg has never been more personal than in this quasi-autobiographical film about a young Jewish kid called Sammy Fabelman, exploring his own childhood and young adulthood. Read more



Multilingual, pan-Indian, historical-action-romance blockbuster set in the 1920s, following a pair of real-life revolutionaries as they take on the might of the British Raj. Read more


Hit the Road

Beautifully composed debut feature from Panah Panahi, the son of jailed Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi, this tense family drama is drenched in a subtle but urgent political meaning. Read more


The Quiet Girl

Catherine Clinch in The Quiet Girl.
Eternally vigilant … Catherine Clinch in The Quiet Girl. Photograph: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

Deeply moving tale of rural Ireland in which a silent child is sent away to live with foster parents on a farm, in a gem of a film from first-time feature director Colm Bairéad. Read more



Demanding, passionate, mercurial, brilliant: Cate Blanchett stars as the fictional principal conductor of a major German orchestra in a sensational and hypnotic film that tracks her increasingly intense state of mind as she heads for a creative breakthrough or a crackup. Read the full review



Father-daughter bonding drama starring Paul Mescal and nine-year-old Francesca Corio, attempting to navigate post-divorce family life in a Turkish beach resort. A brilliant debut feature from Charlotte Wells. Read the full review

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