The 10 Best A24 Movies, Ranked


A24 is an independent film studio that has revolutionized the independent film industry while producing some of the best films on the market. The company works in film and television production, as well as film distribution. A24, as a whole, takes risks continually to produce distinctive films that focus on important themes and characters. They give audiences stories that are surreal, honest, and thought-provoking. A studio like A24 is rare, and they are not afraid to push the boundaries of cinema while introducing us to original and authentic stories. Since their humble beginnings, A24 has become a major contender in the industry that has produced award-winning films.


A24 was founded by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges in 2012. Their career took off with the release of Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, an artistic and surreal look at modern youth. Since then, they have produced several films and TV series that have been adored by critics and audiences alike. A24 has proved that independent filmmaking can make an impact on our culture and introduce us to new themes and thought-provoking stories. The studio has spanned across all genres, including drama, comedy, and horror. They focus on their characters and have created several stories that introduce audiences to a new dimension of cinema; with the studio’s back catalog made up of so many great titles, here’s a look at the ten best A24 movies to date.

Update January 5, 2024: If you love films produced by A24, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve updated this article with new entries, including where you can watch each title.


10 The Iron Claw (2023)

Read Our Review

One of the more recent titles to be released by the studio, 2023’s The Iron Claw, centers on the Von Erichs, a real-life family of professional wrestlers who made history during the 1980s. Written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Sean Durkin, the film stars Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, and Harris Dickinson as Kevin, Kerry, and David Von Eich, respectively, and depicts the brothers’ monumental rise and tragic fall over almost a decade of time. Since its release, The Iron Claw has been met with critical acclaim. A large chunk of the praise has been directed at the performances of the cast, particularly Efron, which has led parts of the internet to campaign for the actor to win an Oscar.

What Makes It Great

Though The Iron Claw is a more straightforward biopic than some might’ve expected from A24, it’s, nevertheless, an incredibly well-made film. Heartbreaking and tragic, yet filled with small glimmers of hope and joy, the film is far more about the relationship between the family members outside the ring, than it is about their achievements in it. It’s far from an easy watch. In fact, at many points throughout its runtime, the film will have even the least emotional audience members close to tears. However, that’s just a testament to the brilliant writing, impressive direction, and spectacularly committed performances of the cast. The Iron Claw is currently playing in theaters.

Related: The Iron Claw: Here’s Why the Youngest Von Erich Brother Isn’t Included in the A24 Movie

9 Uncut Gems (2019)

Prior to the release of the crime thriller Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler might’ve been the last person one would expect to pop up in an A24 film. Yet, as the 2019 movie proves, the comedy actor and the acclaimed studio make a perfect fit. Taking place in New York in the early 2010s, the film follows Howard Ratner (Sandler), a fast-talking jeweler and gambling addict whose only hope of paying off his mounting debts is to retrieve a rare black opal gem. Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, the film focuses on New York’s grimy criminal underworld, and employs a deliberately anxiety-inducing directorial style. Following its theatrical run, the film became A24’s highest-grossing title (a record that has since been broken) and received universal acclaim from critics.

What Makes It Great

Intense, restless, and frenetic, the film’s anxiety-inducing tone might be too unsettling for some viewers to handle. But for those who can stand it, Uncut Gems is a rich and expertly crafted piece of self-destructive drama. At the heart of it all is a truly mesmerizing central performance by Sandler, who defies expectations and proves that there is more to is talents than cheesy second-rate comedies. He gives everything here and, in doing so, creates an engaging and complex character whose plight one can’t help but root for. Sandler’s efforts, along with outstanding work by the Safdie brothers marks Uncut Gems out as one of the most riveting films of recent years. Stream on Netflix

8 The Florida Project (2017)

The Florida Project

Release Date
October 6, 2017

Cast
Brooklynn Prince , Christopher Rivera , Aiden Malik , Josie Olivo , Valeria Cotto , Edward Pagan

Rating
R

A24 and Sean Baker is a partnership that just makes sense. Their collaboration has produced two highly thought-provoking and original films, one of which is 2017’s The Florida Project. The small-scale slice-of-life film depicts the day-to-day adventures of 6-year-old Moonie (Brooklynn Prince), as she and her friends spend their summer days causing trouble at the motel Moonie lives at with her single mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite). Halley and Moonie’s lives are dominated by struggles to pay rent to the motel’s manager, Bobby (Willem Defoe), and to stay off the streets, which wildly contrasts the magical tourist attraction that is Walt Disney World, which sits right on their doorstep. For his work in the film, Defoe was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards Ceremony.

What Makes It Great

What The Florida Project does, like many other A24 projects, is give its audience a glimpse into the real and unfiltered lives of the types of people not commonly depicted on screen. There are no complex storylines or big plot twists, nor are there any tricks or gimmicks to wring emotion out of the audience; the film is simply a snapshot of the kind of life many normal people experience, as seen through the eyes of a child. And, though both Defoe and Vinaite are excellent here, it’s ultimately Prince who deserves the most praise. Despite only being six years old at the time of filming, the actress is phenomenal in the leading role, with her natural and understated performance being one of the best turns by any young performer in cinema history. Overall, The Florida Project is an intelligent, sensitive, and well-directed piece of true-to-life drama. Stream on Fubo

7 Ex Machina (2015)

Alex Garland’s 2015 science fiction masterpiece, Ex Machina, deals with a very prescient theme; the evolution of artificial intelligence. Oscar Issac stars as Nathan Bateman, the CEO of a successful search engine company, who enlists the help of programmer, Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), to carry out the Turing test on a highly developed piece of humanoid A.I. known as Ava (Alicia Vikander). However, things quickly descend into horror-filled chaos when Ava starts to rebel against her creator. A relatively early hit for the studio, Ex Machina went on to be nominated for several awards, including two Oscars and a Golden Globe.

What Makes It Great

Gory, claustrophobic and full of suspense, Ex Machina is a magnificent directorial debut by Garland, who has yet to better his work here. All three of the film’s main stars shine, but it’s Vikander who steals the show with a cold yet surprisingly nuanced performance that manages to make Ava a sympathetic villain. Furthermore, the film’s gorgeous cinematography, sharp script, and intelligent direction make Ex Machina an engaging and terrifying look into the darker side of artificial intelligence. Stream on Max

Related: The Best A24 Movie of Every Year So Far

6 The Lighthouse (2019)

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

Release Date
October 18, 2019

Director
Robert Eggers

Rating
R

In the course of his relatively short feature film career, Robert Eggers has established himself as one of the most exciting and original directors currently working in Hollywood. Each of his three films have been sublime but, arguably the best of the bunch is 2019’s The Lighthouse. A hypnotic tale of two men trapped on a desolate island in the late 19th century, the film follows the island’s longtime lighthouse keeper and the guardian of its superstitions, Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe), and his new taciturn assistant, Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson). Shot entirely in black-and-white, it received universal acclaim for its direction and visual flair, as well as the performances of the two leads.

What Makes It Great

The Lighthouse‘s claustrophobic setting makes Ex Machina look like it takes place in a wide open space. Described as a psychological thriller, a horror movie, a black comedy, and a character study, the film is a difficult one to define. However, it’s for precisely this reason that the film works. It’s original, gripping, and unlike anything seen on film before, with its stunning cinematography and trance-like plot helping to immerse the viewer in the hellish world depicted. Additionally, the performances of both Defoe and Pattinson are sensational, with the latter, in particular, delivering some of the best work of his career. On the whole, The Lighthouse is everything that A24 stands for; a well crafted and unique film made by a visionary filmmaker. Stream on Fubo

5 Aftersun (2022)

Aftersun

Aftersun

Release Date
November 18, 2022

Director
Charlotte Wells

Cast
Paul Mescal , Frankie Corio , Celia Rowlson-Hall , Sally Messham

Rating
R

Read Our Review

Aftersun marks the feature directorial debut of Charlotte Wells. However, given the film’s sophistication and elegance, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was made by someone with far greater experience. Set at the start of the millennium, the film revolves around the relationship between 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio) and her single father, Calum (Paul Mescal), as they holiday together at a Turkish resort. Calum, whose 31st birthday is days away, suffers from depression, which he tries to hide from Sophie. This, as well as Sophie’s age and a change in her situation back home, means that there is a growing distance between the father and daughter. Upon premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022, Aftersun was met with critical acclaim and later nominated for several prestigious awards.

What Makes It Great

Similarly to The Florida Project, the film is low concept and lacks any real plot. Instead, Aftersun is a snapshot of the life of its two main characters. And what a beautiful snapshot it is. Between intelligent writing, naturalistic performances, and impressive direction, the film manages to paint a very real and life-like portrait that, in moments, allows the viewer to forget they are watching a film rather than a video diary of someone’s actual existence. Both Mescal and Corio are effortlessly brilliant here, and their winning chemistry helps to create an authentic father-daughter bond. Sweet, moving, and effective, Aftersun is an astonishing debut by Wells and is arguably A24’s most underrated film. Stream on Fubo

4 Past Lives (2023)

Past Lives

Past Lives

Release Date
August 31, 2023

Director
Celine Song

Rating
PG-13

Another impressive directorial debut released by A24 is Celine Song’s 2023 romance Past Lives. In the film, Greta Lee and Teo Yoo play Nora Moon and Hae Sung, respectively, a pair of childhood friends who, after spending the last two decades apart, save for a few interactions over Facebook, they reunite and start to question the nature of their relationship. Taking place in both Seoul and Toronto, the film is partly based on Song’s own life experiences and is widely tipped to do well at the Oscars later this year.

What Makes It Great

Like many A24 films, including a few on this list, Past Lives is small-scale and minimalist, eschewing a complex plot in favor of deep character studies and an exploration of relationships. This approach more than pays off, with the end result being a touching and well-observed look at how relationships evolve over time and the human condition. Every detail about the film feels delicately and deliberately placed, with each shot and every syllable spoken conveying exactly what it needs to convey in that moment. Additionally, both Lee and Yoo are phenomenal in their respective roles, and share a chemistry that is nothing short of electric. Powerful without trying too hard to be and engaging without relying on gimmicks, Past Lives is a beautiful and original romantic drama that deserves all the awards it will likely win. Rent on Vudu, Prime Video, and AppleTV.

3 Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight

Moonlight

Release Date
October 21, 2016

Rating
R

Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning coming-of-age drama, Moonlight was a groundbreaking piece of art when it hit cinemas in 2016. And over seven years since it was released, the film still stands out as one of the best LGBTQ+ movies of the last decade. It tells the story of a young African-American man named Chiron (Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, and Alex R. Hibbert) at three different points in his life and depicts his struggles with his own sexuality and finding his place in a cruel world. At the same time, his mother (Naomie Harris) is a drug addict, and the only affection he gains as a child is from his mother’s drug dealer, Juan, who is excellently played by Mahershala Ali. At the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony in 2017, Moonlight won the award for Best Picture, becoming the first A24 film to do so.

What Makes It Great

As with The Florida Project, Moonlight portrays the lives of people often ignored by cinema. It’s raw, urban, and toned down, yet its powerful themes and heartbreaking story make it a truly effective watch. There’s no glamour or gimmicks to this piece. Instead, Jenkins crafts a poignant and personal character study about one man’s struggle to understand who he is and where he belongs. It’s a breathtakingly good coming-of-age tale that’s enhanced by a strong script, assured direction, and magnificent performances by the cast, with Ali and Harris, in particular, delivering acting masterclasses. There are easier-to-watch entries in A24’s back catalog, but few are as rewarding as Moonlight. Stream on Max

2 Lady Bird (2017)

lady bird

Lady Bird

Release Date
September 8, 2017

Rating
R

One thing A24 does better than any other studio is give new voices a platform to be heard. That’s certainly the case with 2017’s Lady Bird, which marked the directorial debut of now-household name Greta Gerwig. The coming-of-age film follows the story of high school student Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) as she navigates love, friendship, and personal identity. One of the most endearing parts of the film is the honest and loving, but often strained, relationship between Lady Bird and her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf), which forms the film’s emotional backbone. Lady Bird picked up a total of five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress (for Ronan).

What Makes It Great

The movie is a perfect blend of comedy and drama, with the superbly written script capable of evoking both laughs and tears from the film’s audience. What really makes Lady Bird great, though, is how relatable it is. The coming-of-age genre is one filled with many great titles, but few, if any, of them manage to capture the adolescent experience quite as perfectly as Lady Bird does. It’s an immersive throwback to the days of teenage angst, where fitting in and being wanted meant everything and where the adults in one’s life feel like aliens from another planet. It’s a superb film filled with wonderful dialogue, memorable scenes, and stunning performances by both Ronan and Metcalf. Despite the success that has followed, Lady Bird remains Gerwig’s best film. Stream on Fubo

1 Everything Everywhere All at Once (2023)

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once

A Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save the world.

Release Date
March 25, 2022

Director
Dan Kwan , Daniel Scheinert

Rating
R

Read Our Review

The very best entry in A24’s pantheon of great films has to be 2022’s Everything Everywhere All at Once. Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka the Daniels), the absurdist comedy-drama tells the unique, bizarre, and utterly mind-bending tale of an exhausted laundromat owner named Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) who, while being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, discovers that she is the last hope of saving the multiverse. Guided by a variation of her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), Evelyn must connect with alternate versions of herself across many parallel universes in order to stop an ominous threat. An unmitigated success, Everything Everywhere All at Once not only became the first A24 film to surpass $100 million at the box office but also went on to win a total of seven Academy Awards. It currently stands as the most-awarded film of all time.

What Makes It Great

Broadly speaking, the most impressive thing about Everything Everywhere All at Once is that it manages to deliver on its big and wonderfully original title for a film. It does what it says on the tin and literally offers audiences everything all in one film. It’s wacky, weird, honest, hurt-filled, funny, joyous, epic, action-packed, deep, and beautiful all at the same time. There’s quite simply no other film like it, with its brilliantly unique premise and marvelously written script putting the cookie-cutter outputs of Marvel and DC to shame. The fact that its stunning visuals were achieved on a budget of less than $25 million further rams this point home and highlights just how much of a technical achievement it is. Furthermore, with career-best performances by Yeoh and Quan and some nice supporting work by Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a jaw-droppingly bonkers and chaotic ride that’ll have you laughing, crying, and on the edge of your seat. Stream on Prime Video



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