The 100 Best Films of 2012

Kam Williams’ Annual Assessment of the Cream of the Cinematic Crop

It’s impossible for me to limit my favorite films of 2012 to just 10 of the year’s 1,000 or so releases After all, it feels unfair even to compare most of them to each other, since they represent so many different genres, countries and cultures, and enjoyed such a range in budgets.

Therefore, as per usual, this critic’s annual list features 100 entries in order to honor as many of the best offerings as possible. And despite the cloud of controversy swirling around Kathryn’s Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty for its depiction of torture and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained for its violence and use of the N-word, both of these movies are nevertheless deserving of high accolades in my humble opinion.

Best Big Budget Films

  1. Zero Dark Thirty
  2. Silver Linings Playbook
  3. Django Unchained
  4. Looper
  5. Argo
  6. Life of Pi
  7. 21 Jump Streetsamuel_avenger[1]
  8. Cabin in the Woods
  9. Flight
  10. Magic Mike
  11. The Hunger Games
  12. Skyfall
  13. The Amazing Spider-Man
  14. Safe House
  15. The Sessions
  16. Savages
  17. The Avengers
  18. Think Like a Man
  19. Hitchcock
  20. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
  21. Mirror Mirror
  22. Anna Karenina
  23. Lincoln
  24. Sparkle
  25. Promised Land

Best Foreign Films

  1. Amour (France)
  2. Turn Me on, Dammit! (Norway)
  3. Nobody Else but You (France)
  4. Let the Bullets Fly (China)
  5. The Other Son (Israel)

  6. Putin’s Kiss (Russia)
  7. Sound of Noise (Germany)
  8. Attenberg (Greece)
  9. I Wish (Japan)
  10. The Fairy (Belgium)
  11. The Well Digger’s Daughter (France)
  12. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Japan)
  13. Ikland (Uganda)
  14. Elles (France)
  15. Simon and the Oaks (Sweden)
  16. The Intouchables (France)
  17. Unforgivable (Italy)
  18. Dolphin Boy (Israel)
  19. Oslo, August 31st (Norway)
  20. A Royal Affair (Denmark)
  21. Busong (Philippines)
  22. Gerhard Richter Painting (Germany)
  23. Somewhere Between (China)
  24. Crazy Horse (France)
  25. 360 (Brazil)

Best Independent Films

  1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  2. The Deep Blue Sea
  3. Quartet
  4. Take This Waltzrestlesscity[1]
  5. Middle of Nowhere
  6. Safety Not Guaranteed
  7. Compliance
  8. Restless City
  9. Goon
  10. Changing the Game
  11. God Bless America
  12. Ginger & Rosa
  13. Yelling to the Sky
  14. Nobody Walks
  15. V/H/S
  16. Tim & Eric’s Billion-Dollar Movie
  17. Model Minority
  18. The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
  19. 28 Hotel Rooms
  20. Velvet Elvis
  21. Deadfall
  22. Mosquita & Mari
  23. Happy New Year
  24. 96 Minutes
  25. Jack & Diane

Best Documentaries

  1. The Central Park Five
  2. Head Games
  3. Chasing Ice
  4. Bully
  5. The Loving Story
  6. The Queen of Versailles
  7. Hoodwinkedmarely2012_movie_poster[1]
  8. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
  9. 65_RedRoses
  10. Heist
  11. Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story
  12. The Revisionaires
  13. Six Million and One
  14. Marley
  15. High Ground
  16. Bonsai People
  17. Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story
  18. Soul Food Junkies
  19. Brooklyn Castle
  20. Chimpanzee
  21. Detropia
  22. Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment
  23. Never Stand Still
  24. 5 Broken Cameras
  25. Samsara

Also check out our annual Blacktrospective — The Best Black Films of 2012


Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.

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