The best movies of the year? Here’s the top 25.

Fiercely original films, female-focused stories and theatrical-first releases had the clear edge in The Associated Press’s inaugural Top 25 Movies list, released Thursday and topped by Searchlight Pictures’ “The Banshees of Inisherin.”

In a cinematic landscape where it often seems only franchise films have a shot at traditional box office success, the top five films on the AP’s list were all original — and most did find robust audiences in theaters, despite the fact that moviegoing has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Writer-director Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy about feuding friends in Ireland has been a clear favorite of critics’ groups and industry voting bodies since its decorated debut at the Venice Film Festival in September. The Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson starrer continues to find new audiences now that it’s available on streaming.

Second place went to the year’s Cinderella story, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s anarchic, multiverse-hopping “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” an A24 release starring Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan that became a word-of-mouth sensation.

Focus Features’ “Tár,” Todd Field’s challenging classical music drama with Cate Blanchett, placed third. It’s the only film in the top five that has struggled at the box office.

Writer/director Jordan Peele arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Nope,” Monday, July 18, 2022, at TCL Chinese Theatre. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Although the top three may sound like many critics’ lists, things took a representative, crowd-pleasing turn with the next several films. Jordan Peele’s movie thriller sendup “Nope” snagged fourth place and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s throwback action epic “The Woman King” rounded out the top five. Both are major studio films (Universal and Sony respectively) from Black directors with Black actors in the lead.

The list also included the biggest blockbusters of the year, “Top Gun: Maverick” (No. 7) and “Avatar: The Way of Water” (No. 16, tied); big studio releases like Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical “The Fabelmans” (No. 8) and Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” (No. 14) and myriad international films like the Telugu-language musical epic “RRR,” prominently featured at No. 6.

Netflix did break into the top 10 with a crowd-pleaser of its own: Rian Johnson’s starry, comedic whodunit “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”

Female-directed films centered on women’s stories were also prominently represented. In addition to “The Woman King,” with Viola Davis as an Agojie warrior, Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking,” with Claire Foy, Rooney Mara and Jessie Buckley playing women of an isolated, conservative religious community, landed in ninth place. Charlotte Wells’ acclaimed, semi-autobiographical father-daughter film “Aftersun” settled in 11th place, followed closely in 15th by Laura Poitras’ Venice Film Festival-winning “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” about activist and photographer Nan Goldin — the only documentary in the top 25.

Further down the list were two very different biopics exploring systems of injustice — “She Said” (No. 19), about the New York Times reporters who exposed the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and “Till” (No. 22) about Mamie Till-Bradley, the mother of the slain 14-year-old Emmett Till.

With seven films from female directors, accounting for 28% of the list, representation is slightly better than the industry as a whole, which — according to a recent study by San Diego State University — was at 24% for the top grossing films of 2022. Nine films were also directed by non-white directors.

Two prestigious offerings that left critics quite divided, Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” featuring Brendan Fraser as a 600-pound man, and Damien Chazelle’s “Babylon,” a sprawling and raucous film about Hollywood in the silent film era starring Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt, made the list. “The Whale” tied with the “Avatar” sequel for 16th place, while “Babylon” placed 18th.

Many genres were represented in the top 25, including horror (“Nope”) and satire with “Triangle of Sadness” (No. 21). “Glass Onion” (No. 10) wasn’t the only mystery in the bunch; there was also the Korean noir “Decision to Leave” (No. 12), as well as two stop-motion animation offerings ( “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” at No. 13 and “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” at No. 20).

Movies also hailed from many countries around the world including Poland, with Jerzy Skolimowski’s dark donkey-centered fable “EO” at No. 23, and Iran with Jafar Panahi’s “No Bears,” which rounded out the list at No. 25.

Rank Movie Total points

1. The Banshees of Inisherin 392

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once 384

3. Tár 346

4. Nope 304

5. The Woman King 267

6. RRR 263

7. Top Gun: Maverick 252

8. The Fabelmans 238

9. Women Talking 222

10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery 209

11. Aftersun 201

12. Decision to Leave 200

13. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio 147

14. Elvis 145

15. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed 141

16. Avatar: The Way of Water 130

16. The Whale 130

18. Babylon 129

19. She Said 125

20. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On 122

21. Triangle of Sadness 121

22. Till 116

23. EO 98

24. Turning Red 95

25. No Bears 89

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The best movies of the year? Here’s the top 25.

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