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50 Best PG-13 Movies Of All Time Ranked

The PG-13 rating dominates the modern movie landscape: 12 of the 15 movies that topped the domestic box office each year from 2010 to 2024 were rated PG-13. However, it's a relatively new invention in the domain of cinema, only dating back to August 1984 with the release of "Red Dawn." The existence of this rating, spurred on by PG-rated titles like "Gremlins" that went too far for many parents, has certainly been a dominant force in Hollywood in the 21st century. Its prominence has been reflected by how several pre-1984 titles have been given the PG-13 rating when they've been resubmitted to the Motion Picture Association. Straddling a line between being strictly for kids but also not being so grotesque as to become disturbing, PG-13 movies can be a perfect zone for many moviegoers.

From big-budget summer blockbusters to independent gems, the top 50 best-reviewed PG-13 movies of all time weave a rich tapestry of narratives that offer unique perspectives and stories for viewers from all walks of life. Evaluated using ratings from review platforms like IMDb and Metacritic, each film on this list has earned universal acclaim or widespread favor from both critics and audiences. The PG-13 rating hasn't been around forever, but it's still managed to become associated with some truly incredible pieces of cinema. 

50. The Sixth Sense

When creating a list of the greatest PG-13 films of all time, it'd be a disservice not to feature the film celebrated for having one of the most famous plot twists in cinematic history. M. Night Shyamalan's psychological thriller "The Sixth Sense" popularized the use of twist endings in mainstream cinema, inspiring countless imitators and establishing a new standard for genre filmmaking. Thanks to "The Sixth Sense," filmmakers and audiences alike began to expect the unexpected, leading to a resurgence of interest in psychological thrillers and supernatural mysteries.

The film's success propelled Shyamalan into the spotlight and set the stage for his subsequent films, each of which was eagerly anticipated by audiences hungry for another dose of his signature storytelling style. His name became synonymous with unexpected narrative turns and psychological depth, drawing comparisons to legendary filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock. Still a little-known director at the time, Shyamalan managed to expand the possibilities of what horror cinema could achieve and shaped the direction of the genre for years to come.

49. Edward Scissorhands

A timeless tale of love, acceptance, and the struggle to find one's place in the world, Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands" follows the titular character, portrayed with heartfelt vulnerability by Johnny Depp, on his journey from isolation to acceptance against the backdrop of a colorful suburban landscape. One of the film's greatest charms is Burton's distinctive visual style, which infuses every frame with a sense of whimsy, melancholy, and gothic beauty. From the eerie yet enchanting mansion where Edward resides to the meticulously manicured lawns of the neighborhood, Burton's visual storytelling transports viewers to a world that is both fantastical and familiar, inviting them to explore themes of identity, difference, and the human condition.

"Edward Scissorhands" propelled Burton's reputation as a visionary filmmaker and marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between Burton and Depp. Their partnership — deemed one of the most dynamic duos in Hollywood history — would go on to produce some of cinema's most iconic and beloved films. Burton's ability to blend elements of fantasy, horror, and romance into a cohesive narrative, as showcased in "Edward Scissorhands," has inspired countless filmmakers and shaped the aesthetic of modern cinema.

48. The Fugitive

A surprising number of the best-reviewed PG-13 movies of all time are challenging documentaries or obscure gems from various overseas countries. But make no mistake, a vast amount of them are also crowd-pleasing blockbusters that manage to hit the sweet spot of both big box office and critical acclaim. A prime example of this is "The Fugitive," a mainstream Harrison Ford action thriller based on a hit TV show from the 1960s. 

Sometimes all you need to make a movie work is just some great chase scenes and a good suspenseful plot that keeps you guessing. Having Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones on hand to provide the kinds of performances that they deliver best is just further icing on a cinematic cake delectable enough to warrant a place on this list. "The Fugitive" is suspenseful, action-packed, and intelligent — the kind of film that critics and moviegoers can all agree on.

47. Nobody Knows

While the 2018 Palme d'Or-winning feature "Shoplifters" rocketed filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda to new levels of notoriety, this director has been helming feature-length projects since the early 1990s. Many of these films have garnered significant critical acclaim, including the 2004 feature "Nobody Knows." 

The extremely positive reception to this drama was primarily based on how well it explored the individual psyches of a trio of adolescents abandoned by their mom and forced to make it on their own. The way this brutal story resonated with audiences around the world was reflected in its groundbreaking award wins, including Yuya Yagira making history as the first Japanese performer to win Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival.

46. Brooklyn

Saoirse Ronan has a knack for showing up in incredible movies. Case in point: "Brooklyn," a 2015 movie that she headlined as an Irish woman who moves to Brooklyn in the hopes of securing steady employment. Financial conditions force her to come to New York City, but an eventual romance with a kindly plumber (Emory Cohen) may just make her stay. 

The charming performances and amiable aesthetic of the entire production, all overseen by director John Crowley, make this the kind of low-key treat that's, much like most other movies Ronan's appeared in, impossible to resist. A modest box office hit (especially for an indie) and an outright critical and audience favorite, "Brooklyn" was nominated for three Academy Awards, including best picture.

45. Titanic

Best known for directing the first two "Terminator" films and the "Alien" sequel "Aliens" at the time, James Cameron took advantage of the highest film budget up to that point — $200 million — to create a timeless love story on an epic scale. A captivating mix of romance, drama, and historical tragedy, "Titanic" weaves together the fictional love story between Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) with the real-life events surrounding the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

Cameron's immersive visuals, achieved using groundbreaking special effects, transport viewers back in time to the opulence of the Titanic and the heart-wrenching chaos of its final hours. The sheer grandness of the film, combined with its tragic tale, pushed the boundaries of storytelling and visual effects, paving the way for future blockbusters. From a financial standpoint, "Titanic" remains one of the highest-grossing films of all time. It earned more than $2 billion at the global box office, a remarkable feat that solidified Cameron as one of the greats. The film also garnered numerous accolades, including 11 Academy Awards, tying it with "Ben-Hur" for the most Oscars won by a single film.

44. Black Panther

Many Marvel Cinematic Universe titles have scored positive marks from critics. But "Black Panther" was in another ballpark altogether in terms of the acclaim it received. Part of this came down to the screenplay and direction from Ryan Coogler, which wrung such compelling humanity out of both the hero and villain. Then there was the film's resplendent visuals, particularly those unforgettable costumes by Ruth E. Carter. 

It's through these qualities and so many others that "Black Panther" emerged not as just another well-liked Marvel Cinematic Universe entry, but as a profound pop culture event that more than earned its status as a milestone. The first superhero movie to star an almost all-Black cast and to present a vision of Afro-futurism never before seen on the big screen, it earned $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office and turned the late Chadwick Boseman into a superstar as well as a role model for millions.

43. The Father

Countless mainstream horror movies could take a cue from "The Father" in terms of how to chill audiences to the bone. This Florian Zeller directorial effort, a film adaptation of his play of the same name, chronicles an elderly man (Anthony Hopkins) who is struggling with dementia. Zeller ingeniously places the viewer into the mindset of this character through slight changes in the production design or pieces of disorienting editing that can make a man's home seem suddenly unfamiliar and his family members strangers. 

Consistently eerie and uncertain, "The Father" is also laced with deep empathy for its protagonist, a trait punctuated by a towering, heartbreaking performance from Hopkins. At the age of 83 he became the oldest thespian to win the best actor Oscar, his second overall and first since winning for "The Silence of the Lambs" in 1992.

42. School of Rock

"School of Rock" has been revered for its infectious energy, heartfelt storytelling, and stellar performances, particularly from Jack Black, whose career soared to new heights with his standout leading role as the irreverent and passionate Dewey Finn. As a feel-good movie for the whole family, its powerful messaging of championing creativity, self-expression, and the pursuit of passion leaves viewers of all ages with a sense of joy and optimism after every viewing.

With its modest budget of $35 million, "School of Rock" performed admirably at the box office, grossing over $131 million worldwide. Its commercial success was matched by glowing critical acclaim, with reviewers from IMDb and Metacritic praising its infectious charm, sharp humor, and memorable performances. While "Pitch Perfect 2" eventually surpassed it as the highest-grossing music-themed comedy of all time, no film has been able to capture the infectious rock 'n' roll spirit of "School of Rock" since its release.

41. Away from Her

The feature directorial debut of actor Sarah Polley, "Away from Her" follows the emotionally brutal story of an elderly husband and wife who have their entire relationship upended when the latter gets stricken with Alzheimer's. From there, the two characters begin to navigate an uncertain future and an unbearable present while clinging onto a past that brought them together. 

Polley's work was praised across the board, with critics commenting that the performances and screenplay were especially strong while warning viewers that this was a difficult movie to watch. Sometimes, though, the best films are the ones — like "Away from Her" — that can be too much to bear.

40. Dick Johnson is Dead

How do you confront something as heavy and inevitable as death? If you're director Kirsten Johnson, and you're grappling with the demise of your father (the titular Dick Johnson), you try to get used to the idea. This entails various staged deaths of Dick Johnson as the result of everything from tumbling down the stairs to getting hit by large falling objects.

These fictitious scenes are what may lure viewers into "Dick Johnson is Dead," but what will keep this movie lodged into their minds is the way it grapples with mortality and the prospect of saying goodbye to your loved ones. Kirsten Johnson's camera captures so much vulnerability and authentic humanity that a movie about death manages to still feel so alive.

39. The Artist

The winner of the Best Picture Oscar at the 84th Academy Awards, "The Artist" seems like the definition of a gimmick movie. Filmed entirely in black and white with no sound, "The Artist" is dedicated to emulating classic silent cinema to a tee. 

The result is an old-fashioned project that manages to demonstrate why you don't need sound effects or conventional dialogue to make an engaging story. Vividly-detailed performances by Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo that are full of life, combined with intricately detailed direction from Michel Hazanavicius, make "The Artist" an utter joy to watch even if you're unfamiliar with the vintage era of film it's paying homage to.

38. Moonrise Kingdom

While "The Grand Budapest Hotel" stands out as Wes Anderson's most critically and commercially successful film, its existence owes much to the unexpected triumph of his preceding PG-13 coming-of-age feature, "Moonrise Kingdom." Following the underwhelming box office performance of "Fantastic Mr Fox," "Moonrise Kingdom" was quite the turnaround for Anderson when it became a surprise favorite amidst a summer dominated by blockbuster franchises like Marvel's "The Avengers" and Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises." Against this backdrop, "Moonrise Kingdom" proved there was still a mass appeal for stylized independent cinema among audiences.

Taking place on a quaint New England island in the 1960s, the film follows the unconventional love story between two young misfits, Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward), as they embark on a daring adventure. Paired with Anderson's charming visual aesthetic comprising his signature symmetrical compositions and vibrant color palette, the film evokes a sense of whimsical nostalgia. Its tender exploration of young love, friendship, and innocence makes for a timeless, universally beloved coming-of-age tale.

37. Phoenix

What defines a person you love? Could you recognize them through any circumstances, including if they had an entirely different face? This is the question "Phoenix," a 2015 drama from director Christian Petzold, poses in depicting a woman who has to have facial reconstructive surgery after a bullet wound. 

Having already endured the horrors of being in a concentration camp, she now returns to Berlin, Germany and a husband who doesn't recognize her. What follows is an emotional rollercoaster of a movie that constantly surprises the viewer with the harrowing places it goes to. Holding it all together is an incredible lead performance from Nina Hoss, who conveys so much unspoken sorrow as Nelly, the lead character.

36. First Cow

A masterwork from director Kelly Reichardt, in a career packed with titles that could have claimed that phrase, "First Cow" is all about a cow and a friendship between two men in the settler days of the Old West. 

Reichardt's trademark quiet filmmaking style allows the friendship between the two protagonists (played by John Magaro and Orion Lee) to blossom in organic ways. Their dynamic, as well as the kindly attitude towards the cow they milk in secret, will touch your heart. Meanwhile, the inevitable bleak circumstances that doom this friendship will also torment your soul. Reichardt's visually immaculate project dares to ask if genuine friendships can ever survive in a capitalistic society dictated by money rather than empathy.

35. Two Days, One Night

"Two Days, One Night" doesn't have an expansive scope or a massive scale to its storytelling, but it manages to draw you in all the same with its central conceit of a woman (Marion Cotillard) having to spend an entire weekend coaxing her co-workers to reject their bonuses so that she can keep her job. 

It's a storyline that already sounds like a fantastic vessel to explore how economic restrictions of modern-day life turn working-class people on one another. In the hands of Belgian filmmaking duo Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, it becomes even more enriching than that, especially since Cotillard is transfixing from start to finish in the lead role. The clock is always ticking in "Two Days, One Night," and there's never enough time. By contrast, though, there's always time to watch something as critically-acclaimed as this motion picture.

34. Minari

The family at the heart of "Minari" is not extraordinary. They aren't major figures from history, nor do they have some special trait that makes them utterly idiosyncratic. But that's one of many ingenious underlying ideas in writer-director Lee Isaac Chung's "Minari." Emphasizing the everyday qualities of this clan simultaneously reinforces the inherent value of any immigrant family. 

Everyone has got a story to tell and the quietly powerful filmmaking of "Minari" conveys this truth magnificently. That's not the only place Chung's directorial vision impresses, though, as subtly detailed instances of filming things through the points-of-view of other characters — as well as the specific details of each central family member — reflect what a masterfully conceived project this is.

33. House of Flying Daggers

The works of auteur Zhang Yimou can have captivating performances and thought-provoking themes, but many of them, like "House of Flying Daggers," function at their very best as visual exercises. In Zhang's projects, the screen is alive with color and sumptuous staging. 

"House of Flying Daggers" continues this tradition with flair, with even the most trivial objects, like a minuscule bean, getting captured with glorious grandeur. A film bursting with visual imagination, "House of Flying Daggers" is akin to a crash course in the qualities that define Zhang's radiant vision as a filmmaker.

32. Jurassic Park

More than three decades after its debut, Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" remains a timeless classic adored by all ages. Adapted from Michael Crichton's best-selling novel, the film expertly balances moments of awe and wonder with heart-pounding suspense and thrilling action sequences. Its revolutionary use of CGI forever changed the way filmmakers approached visual effects by setting a new standard for realism and pushing the boundaries of what was possible on screen. Adding to his roster of summer blockbusters, Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" grossed more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time at the time of its release before it was surpassed by "Titanic" in 1997.

Beyond its technical and financial achievements, it spawned a successful franchise that includes sequels, spin-offs, theme park attractions, and merchandise. Its legacy as one of the most recognizable franchises across all generations cannot be overstated. Few films have had a comparable impact to that of "Jurassic Park" on the cultural zeitgeist, with its iconic imagery and memorable quotes that remain as relevant today as they did in 1993.

31. Hotel Rwanda

Terry George's directorial approach to "Hotel Rwanda" exemplifies profound compassion, sensitivity, and restraint. Rather than sensationalizing the already heart-wrenching events of the Rwandan genocide, George chose a path of subtlety and intimacy. By prioritizing the personal experiences of the characters over the broader political context, he invited audiences to form a profound emotional connection with the story.

Critically, the film was widely lauded for its powerful storytelling and exceptional performances, reflected in its ratings on both IMDb and Metacritic. Don Cheadle's nuanced portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina received particular praise, earning him nominations for numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actor. Additionally, Sophie Okonedo's Academy Award-nominated portrayal of Tatiana Rusesabagina brought depth and humanity to Paul's wife, as Okonedo captured the resilience and strength of a woman facing unimaginable hardship. 

Beyond its technical and artistic achievements, "Hotel Rwanda" is a film of immense historical importance. By shining a light on the atrocities committed during the Rwandan genocide, it forces audiences to confront uncomfortable truths about humanity's capacity for cruelty while also celebrating acts of courage and compassion in the face of unimaginable horror.

30. Persepolis

Adapting a graphic novel into a feature film can be a bittersweet experience, as often these properties are translated into live-action films that erase the distinctive hand-drawn artwork of their source material. Thankfully, author Marjane Satrapi adapts her work "Persepolis" into a film of the same name through hand-drawn animation, which maintains the wonderfully idiosyncratic imagery of her original work. 

It's a fittingly unique look for an equally distinctive coming-of-age yarn that balances moments of grimness and levity with deft grace. Rather than being a hollow echo of the text it's adapting, the film "Persepolis" is a triumphant companion piece that works incredibly well on its own terms.

29. Hannah and Her Sisters

Winner of three Oscars, Woody Allen's 1986 film "Hannah and Her Sisters" is noteworthy for so much more than being a contender for the title of best Thanksgiving movie ever made. Most notably, it's a masterclass demonstration in acting from its principal players, with Dianne Wiest and Mia Farrow both making a meal out of the dialogue Allen's script hands them. 

The film takes place over a two-year period and revolves primarily around three sisters, their relationships, their goals, their failures, and the men who are constantly in their orbit. Consistently funny and well-made, "Hannah and Her Sisters" has managed to endure as one of the best-regarded films ever created by Allen.

28. Catch Me If You Can

Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can" is a compelling recreation of the real-life exploits of Frank Abagnale Jr., a master of deception and impersonation who managed to successfully evade the FBI for years. Released in 2002, the film received both critical acclaim and commercial success, becoming a modern classic in the process. One of the film's standout qualities is its engaging plot of deception and intrigue, which follows Abagnale as he assumes various identities and seamlessly blends into different professions while constantly staying one step ahead of the authorities.

Spielberg's direction expertly balances moments of tension with lighthearted humor, while top-notch performances from the cast make for an authentic experience. Leonardo DiCaprio delivers a charismatic portrayal of Abagnale, while Tom Hanks shines as the determined FBI agent hot on his trail. The chemistry between the two leads makes for one of the most compelling cat-and-mouse dynamics in cinematic history. These sentiments and more have been echoed on review sites like IMDb and Metacritic, in which the film holds an 8.1/10 rating and 75 out of 100 score, respectively.

27. Million Dollar Baby

Under Clint Eastwood's masterful direction, "Million Dollar Baby" achieves a rare blend of cinematic artistry and emotional resonance. Eastwood's minimalist approach allows the story and performances to take center stage, opting to abstain from flashy visuals or melodramatic flourishes in favor of quiet moments of introspection and intimacy. From the gritty realism of the boxing ring to the tender moments of connection between characters, it's a movie that distinguishes itself in the sports drama genre by capturing the full spectrum of human experience with nuance and depth.

Critically acclaimed upon its release, "Million Dollar Baby" garnered widespread praise for its impactful storytelling and standout performances. It swept the 77th Academy Awards, winning four prizes, including best picture, best director for Eastwood, best actress for Hilary Swank's powerhouse performance as Maggie, and best supporting actor for Morgan Freeman's just as unforgettable portrayal of Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris. The film's critical acclaim is also reflected in its ratings on review sites like IMDb and Metacritic, where it continues to hold impressive scores and glowing reviews.

26. Selma

Ava DuVernay's "Selma" is more than just a biographical drama — it's a searing indictment of systemic racism and a rallying cry for equality and justice. Through its historically accurate depiction of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches, the 2014 film shines a harsh light on America's troubled history of racial injustice. More than a decade after its release, the film continues to serve as a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality while challenging viewers to confront uncomfortable truths about the past. Its resonance is particularly striking in today's socio-political climate, where discussions surrounding voting rights, systemic racism, and activism continue to shape public discourse.

Critics hailed "Selma" as a masterpiece of filmmaking and a vital cinematic experience. The film received widespread acclaim for its powerful performances, commitment to authenticity, and unflinching portrayal of historical events. Most importantly, "Selma" showcases the extraordinary power of cinema as a tool for education and empathy.

25. Malcolm X

With its astounding 202-minute runtime, Spike Lee's 1992 biographical epic, "Malcolm X," chronicling the life and legacy of one of the most influential figures in American history, earns every minute by captivating audiences with its raw emotion, illuminating narrative, and compelling performances. Denzel Washington's Academy Award-nominated portrayal of the titular character captures the essence of Malcolm's evolution from a troubled youth to a charismatic leader and uncompromising advocate for change.

"Malcolm X" is yet another testament to Lee's directorial vision and commitment to tackling pressing social issues. Lee's meticulous attention to detail, from the period-accurate costumes to the evocative cinematography, transports viewers back to the turbulent era of the civil rights movement, immersing them in Malcolm's world and the challenges he faced. Part of "Malcolm X's" impact was its ability to spark a renewed interest in its subject matter, prompting audiences to reexamine Malcolm's life and teachings in the context of contemporary social issues. It reignited conversations about race, identity, and the ongoing struggle for equality, inspiring a new generation to take action and fight for justice.

24. Ida

Immediately standing out to anyone who watches "Ida" is its use of a 1.37:1 aspect ratio. Director Pawel Pawlikowski's trademark affinity for movies that feature precise staging and blocking is more apparent than ever in a movie that's confined to such a restrictive space. A narrower frame only inspires the visual imagination of Pawlikowski, who delivers countless striking images throughout "Ida" that wouldn't be half as impactful if they were framed in a wider aspect ratio. 

The constricted framing and the black and white color scheme both serve as perfect visual extensions of the lead character's mindset as she's trapped between her past (where she was orphaned during World War II) and her search for any surviving relatives in the present. This is a haunting story that grabs you with its unique visual flourishes before keeping you with its emotionally unnerving atmosphere.

23. Inception

In his 2010 summer blockbuster "Inception," Christopher Nolan masterfully interwove elements of science fiction, a heist thriller, and an existential drama to create a cerebral yet action-filled experience that commands the viewer's attention from the start. The concept of delving into dreams within dreams within dreams challenged conventional cinematic norms and elevated the film to a mind-bending league of its own.

Nolan's directorial prowess shines through in "Inception" as he expertly navigates the complex layers of the storyline with precision and finesse. Each level of the dream world is meticulously crafted, immersing viewers in a surreal landscape where the boundaries of reality blur and anything is possible. This multilayered approach not only captivates the audience but also encourages them to engage with the film on a deeper intellectual level. As arguably one of the greatest filmmakers of our time, Nolan's ambitious "Inception" was yet another instance of him moving the goalpost of cinematic innovation.

22. The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg's most personal project to date, "The Fabelmans," puts the director at the center of his own story, chronicling his beginnings as a filmmaker. According to Spielberg himself, the film explores the question of "when does a young person in a family start to see his parents as human beings?" Sharing his conclusion with People, he explained, "In my case, because of what happened between the ages of 7 and 18, I started to appreciate my mom and dad not as parents but as real people." This introspective exploration lends the film a poignant coming-of-age essence, serving as a pivotal origin story for one of our greatest directors.

"The Fabelmans" strikes a delicate balance between nostalgia and reflection, avoiding the pitfalls of self-indulgence or sentimentality. It's a testament to Spielberg's craftsmanship, created by a true cinephile for fellow enthusiasts. Beyond its narrative of family dynamics, the film radiates a profound reverence for the art of cinema, reminding audiences of the medium's transformative power. "The Fabelmans" is more than just a movie; it's a love letter to filmmaking itself.

21. The Queen

Dealing with the death of a loved one is already a momentous undertaking for any family. But when you're the Royal Family, with so many eyeballs pointed at you as you grapple with how to proceed with the funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales, things get extra complicated. This process, told largely through the eyes of Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren), was the blueprint for "The Queen," a 2006 drama directed by Stephen Frears. 

Featuring an all-star line-up of acting talent that included Michael Sheen and James Cromwell, "The Queen" was hailed as cinematic royalty by critics, who especially appreciated the way the movie wrung moments of tasteful comedy out of this story rather than opting for a stagnant, somber mood.

20. The Triplets of Belleville

There's lots to be praised within the confines of the hand-drawn animated comedy "The Triplets of Belleville." However, what's especially wonderful here is director Sylvain Chomet's embracing of stylized character designs. The human and animal figures in this feature are not meant to emulate reality, but rather resemble organisms that could only exist within their world. 

The henchmen to the movie's main villain, for example, are gigantic intimidating squares that look more like Wilson Fisk from "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" than individuals you'd run into on the street. The human designs and backgrounds are stylized in a manner that any given shot in "The Triplets of Belleville" is a feast for the eyes. In an era where computer-animated realism has dominated feature-length animation, "The Triplets of Belleville" tipped its hat to the wacky past.

19. Forrest Gump

Directed by Robert Zemeckis and based on Winston Groom's novel, "Forrest Gump" takes audiences through decades of American history, all through the eyes of one unforgettable character. The heart of the film is a story about the triumph of the human spirit. With its endearing characters, impressive technological achievements, and universally resonant themes of destiny, resilience, and belonging, "Forrest Gump" is easily regarded as one of the great modern classics.

When it hit theaters in 1994, "Forrest Gump" charmed critics and audiences. It was a box office hit and favored by the Academy, winning six out of its 13 Academy Award nominations, including best picture and best actor for Tom Hanks. But like any great work of art, "Forrest Gump" wasn't without its detractors. Some critics accused it of being overly sentimental or criticized its portrayal of historical events as overly simplistic. Yet, despite these criticisms, the film's enduring popularity speaks for itself. Not only will you find "Forrest Gump" recognized on multiple best film lists, but even catchphrases from the movie like "Life is like a box of chocolates" and "Stupid is as stupid does" have become ingrained in the collective consciousness.

18. Knives Out

Rian Johnson's 2019 film "Knives Out" is a meticulously crafted whodunit filled with twists, turns, and red herrings. The film expertly reinvents the classic murder mystery with modern sensibilities, redefining a genre many have prematurely dismissed as outdated. Through its satirical take on class dynamics and family politics, "Knives Out" offers thought-provoking insights into contemporary issues while still keeping its commentary open to interpretation. The narrative keeps viewers guessing until the very end and is designed for multiple viewings, each one as satisfying as the first, as new layers of intricacy and foreshadowing emerge with every rewatch.

"Knives Out" was widely acclaimed upon its release, bringing in more than $312 million at the worldwide box office. It garnered numerous awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. "Knives Out" stands as a rare example of a film capable of shifting industry focus by proving there's a demand for more original story-driven entertainment. There couldn't have been a more perfect film to mark the turn of the century.

17. Quiz Show

An innocuous game show from the 1950s would seemingly be the last place high drama would be hiding out. But the program "Twenty-One" was full of scandals related to the show's game being fixed and champion contestant Charles van Doren not being what he seemed. All this and more was dramatized under the stewardship of director Robert Redford in the movie "Quiz Show." 

Rather than just being a stale retelling of history, "Quiz Show" uses these events to ruminate on heavy subjects like what people will do for money, as well as all the deceit hiding under the veneer of seemingly squeaky-clean 1950s America. The whole affair was so well put together that "Quiz Show" scored consistently exceptional marks from critics. 

16. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Every trilogy has a beginning. For the "Lord of the Rings" saga, this came in the form of 2001's "The Fellowship of the Ring." Any doubts moviegoers may have had about adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's landmark fantasy work into a film were wiped out by the craftsmanship on display in the first of Peter Jackson's three-film epic

In addition to Jackson's incredible world-building, actors like Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood gave performances that lent tangible humanity to the story's fantastical characters. Occasionally digressing from the source material while staying true to its spirit, "The Fellowship of the Ring" kicked off the "Rings" trilogy in impressive fashion, followed by the equally awe-inspiring "The Two Towers" in 2002 and "The Return of the King" in 2003.

15. Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Eliza Hittman applied her trademark intimate gaze as a filmmaker to "Never Rarely Sometimes Always," a captivating story of a teenage girl traveling to New York City to get an abortion. The procedure is just one part of the film, though, as Hittman's camera observes how the protagonist and her companion attempt to find shelter, score money, and obtain other necessities. 

The thoughtful camerawork lends insight to the quiet, complicated world of the film's lead character, with the emotionally immersive nature of the piece managing to make something as simple as hands touching into something that tugs at your soul.

14. The Class

Teaching is not the most glamorous or highly-paid job in the world, but people in this occupation can leave an indelible impact on the children they interact with. The best teachers are the ones who coax us to look at the world a little bit differently and see the potential in ourselves that we never even realized was there. The 2008 French film "The Class" underscores the importance of teaching by adapting François Bégaudeau's novel of the same name, with the author also on hand to play a protagonist who's a parallel to himself.

Directed by Laurent Cantet, "The Class" is about how one teacher bonds with and helps kids at his school who have been tossed aside by everyone else. What could have been one-note schmaltz ended up being one of the best-reviewed foreign-language titles of 2008, thanks to the film's dedication to rendering its lead character as a complicated and flawed human while also delivering optimally-conceived feel-good moments. 

13. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) was an ordinary journalist until a sudden seizure at the age of 43 left him almost entirely paralyzed. He eventually used the tactic of blinking to signal which letters to use from the alphabet to the ghostwriter who helped pen his memoir, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." This text was adapted into a 2007 film of the same name, which managed to do justice to Bauby's life and then some.

The restrictive nature of Bauby's condition could have daunted other filmmakers, but director Julian Schnabel managed to figure out the tiniest ways to convey this man's interior world. Though Bauby may have thought his life was over once he was paralyzed, the critically-praised film of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" shows how truly alive this man's spirit was in the face of adversity.

12. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

It's rare for a movie to conjure up the word "sweeping," but that's just what "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" does. Whether it's the sight of human beings flying through the sky or the absorbing human drama that drives the plot, Ang Lee's 2000 wuxia feature is a remarkable movie that makes one's jaw drop as often as it makes your heart soar. 

As if that weren't enough, it also delivers a bevy of fight scenes featuring masterful choreography as well as old-fashioned romantic subplots devoid of any snark that would undercut their effectiveness. Still one of the greatest works ever helmed by Lee, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is a quintessential example of sweeping, epic cinema. 

11. La La Land

Today may be "another day of sun," but it's hard to find another modern musical quite like "La La Land." Combining the color scheme and musical numbers of a 1950s MGM musical with the recognition of brutal reality from "All That Jazz," "La La Land" is utterly gorgeous to look at. 

However, it's also a deeply affecting feature thanks to a pair of great performances from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Any movie like "La La Land" that gets toes tapping and tears flowing with such grace is worth remembering.

10. The Boy and The Heron

As one of the most influential figures in animation, it's only natural for Hayao Miyazaki's work to make it onto this list, and there's no better film to take the number 10 spot than the much-anticipated 2023 release of "The Boy and The Heron." After a decade-long hiatus, Miyazaki returned with what can only be described as a culmination of his life's work. An imaginative and fantastical approach to the heavy subject matter of life, death, and grief, "The Boy and The Heron" is a coming-of-age tale that evokes a sense of wonder and nostalgia beyond what we've seen before with his other two PG-13 films under Studio Ghibli, "Princess Mononoke" and "The Wind Rises."

For a film that abstained from any promotional material, including a trailer, it still debuted as the highest-grossing Studio Ghibli film in Japan, with $13.2 million in its opening weekend. It also marked a significant milestone as the first Miyazaki film to claim the number one spot at the U.S. box office, while critics on IMDb and Metacritic unanimously hailed it as one of Miyazaki's best films to date.

9. Dunkirk

Leave it to Christopher Nolan to make a war movie like "Dunkirk" that can leave you on the edge of your seat without resorting to graphic violence. The PG-13 rating may limit the amount of blood on screen, but Nolan's filmmaking still makes this cinematic representation of an incredible historical event extra harrowing. 

As a cherry on top, the unorthodox narrative structure of the piece manages to work without undermining the characters, played with grit and desperation by largely little-known actors like Fionn Whitehead and Tom Glynn-Carney, along with established faces like Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Harry Styles. Consider "Dunkirk" to be one of the most unique takes in memory on the war movie genre.

8. Amour

Good luck watching "Amour" without having to reach for handfuls of tissues. This French film from director Michael Haneke follows an elderly couple who are plagued by health problems that reaffirm their mortality and put a strain on their relationship. 

This meditation on the fragile nature of existence itself is far from an easy watch, but its gut-wrenching qualities are made especially palpable thanks to a pair of extraordinary lead performances from Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, as well as remarkable cinematography from Darius Khondji. "Amour" shatters your heart while reminding one of the kind of love that makes it possible to not lose all hope in the middle of life's miseries. This is one film that's as certain to impress on an emotional level as a technical one.

7. A Separation

The outstanding films of director Asghar Farhadi do not adhere to a binary sense of morality. Characters have good, bad, and every other quality in between all swirling around them, just like real people. That's just as apparent as ever in what's arguably his greatest directorial effort, "A Separation," especially regarding protagonist Nadir (Peyman Moaadi). One scene can have you passionately hating this man while the next moment flips that effortlessly and has you sympathizing with his plight. 

The varied emotions that "A Separation" conjures up are made all the more palpable by the camerawork, which subtly immerses viewers into the point of view of its characters — including Nadir and his wife Simin (Leila Hatami), who has filed for divorce in a country where it is all but impossible to get one. While you can't go wrong with any Farhadi movie, "A Separation" is an especially strong and thoughtful achievement from this artist. 

6. The Dark Knight

Hailed as the pinnacle of modern superhero films, Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" not only reigns supreme as the definitive Batman interpretation but also a cultural-defining touchstone that's left a lasting impact on popular culture and the collective consciousness. As the sole superhero entry to make it on the list, the film rightfully claims its position among the top 10 PG-13 films of all time. From its performances and storytelling to its direction and visual effects, "The Dark Knight" has gone down in history as one of the best films of the 21st century, revolutionizing the genre with its gritty realism and timeless themes.

Proudly holding the mantle of 2008's premier summer blockbuster, "The Dark Knight" shattered box office records, amassing over $1 billion in global ticket sales. Its impact transcended mere commercial success, earning the film unparalleled acclaim from critics and audiences. As the first mainstream superhero film to command universal prestige and respect, "The Dark Knight" solidified its status as a cinematic landmark.

5. The Social Network

It would be understandable if the 2010 David Fincher drama "The Social Network," which chronicled the rise of then-hot social media platform Facebook, would eventually feel outdated only a few years after its release. But more than a decade later, "The Social Network" continues to resonate as an incredible movie. 

Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's examination of Facebook's ascension in power and how that came at the cost of so many people's well-being and relationships has only gotten more prescient as the years have passed by. Plus performances as good as the ones delivered here by Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield never go out of style.

4. Gravity

Alfonso Cuaron has always had a passion for unorthodox visual details, but he takes that proclivity to a whole new realm with "Gravity." Freed from the title force and telling a story set high above the Earth, Cuaron delivers a survival thriller that's unlike any other entry in the subgenre. 

All the unique possibilities of telling a story in this environment are embraced by the screenplay, while Cuaron's immersive camerawork puts viewers right in the middle of all the zero-g terror. Brought to life through state-of-the-art special effects and a gripping Sandra Bullock performance, "Gravity" soars.

3. Summer of Soul

The 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival was a milestone event that featured countless Black artists performing music from all genres, but for decades, it faded into obscurity. Director Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson's documentary, "Summer of Soul," reaffirms the existence, presence, and joy of this seemingly forgotten moment with restored archival footage of the performances that comprised this event. 

Adding extra poignancy to the proceedings is modern-day interviews with some of the performers reacting to their vintage singing and dancing. These moments will touch your heart, but what really leaves an impact here is the infectious joy emanating from the crowd. How can you not tap your toes or walk away impressed by a documentary bursting with this much vibrant life?

2. Hoop Dreams

Don't be intimidated by the 170-minute runtime of "Hoop Dreams." Though a lengthy commitment, this project from director Steve James is undeniably rewarding as a cinematic experience. The story of high schoolers William Gates and Arthur Agee and their aspirations to become basketball players is used as a springboard to explore larger issues that specifically and profoundly impact Black Americans. 

The expansive but emotionally resonant project has managed to become the best-reviewed PG-13 documentary of all time and was hailed by the likes of Roger Ebert as an astonishing achievement of filmmaking, documentary or otherwise. A movie as great as "Hoop Dreams" more than earns every minute of its extensive runtime.

1. Past Lives

Only a debut as captivating as Celine Song's "Past Lives" could climb the rankings past decades of classic PG-13 movies so swiftly. Adored by critics and audiences alike, the tug-at-your-heartstrings romantic drama is a master class in the art of subtlety while evoking complex human emotions. The minimalist love story is like no other in how it expertly captures the slow-burn nature of fate. It's a bittersweet experience that'll leave you aching for all of life's "what-ifs."

The film's accolades speak volumes, with well-deserved Academy Award nominations and placements on esteemed lists such as the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute's top 10 films of 2023. Despite its unassuming release, "Past Lives" captured widespread attention while maintaining a hidden gem status. Appropriately for a film whose themes are rooted in memory and time, it inevitably lingers in the minds of viewers and, we suspect, will do so for years to come.