100 best movies of 2020, according to audiences

Written by:
December 18, 2020
Palomar

100 best movies of 2020, according to audiences

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, movie theaters were among the first places to close. In many states, including New York, they have yet to reopen. With many national chains reporting devastating losses quarter after quarter—the country’s three largest chains reported $1 billion worth of losses in Q3—many have begun to fear that the theater experience is lost for good.

But that doesn’t mean movies are lost for good. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: Americans are watching more than ever before. In April, a study found that the average American was streaming content (TV and movies) eight hours a day, and three out of four people reported watching more than they were in pre-COVID times. What we’re watching has changed as well. Another study found that Americans were discovering they enjoyed genres like documentary, comedy, and true crime more than they’d thought, and demand for these types of titles has been increasing.

As we reach the end of the year, Stacker’s been taking a look back at 2020 and rounding up some of its most memorable art and entertainment. Within this project, we wanted to know what movies audiences thought were the best of the year. So Stacker compiled IMDb data on all 2020 movies and ranked the top 100 according to user score (data was gathered December 4, 2020). To qualify, the film had to have an IMDb score, Metascore, and at least 1,000 votes. A vote exception was made for the Small Axe anthology films. Ties were broken by vote count.

We found that there were several identifiable trends in what movies audiences loved this year: plenty of documentaries, films that are based on real-life stories, and movies that highlight often-overlooked communities like LGBTQ+ folks and West Indian immigrants in London. But from “Deerskin” to “Hamilton,” these movies cover a wide range of interests, themes, and categories. Read on to see whether you agree with these audience rankings.

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1 / 100
Greenwich Entertainment

#100. Deerskin

- Director: Quentin Dupieux
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 5,644
- Runtime: 77 min

The French comedy takes the idea of a midlife crisis to absurd ends. Jean Dujardin play a divorcé who falls in love with a jacket made out of deer skin—at least, that's one interpretation for his obsessive attachment to the expensive item of clothing. Things only get weirder from there, as the film's protagonist descends into artistic expression-cum-madness.

2 / 100
Allison Shearmur Productions

#99. The One and Only Ivan

- Director: Thea Sharrock
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 6,514
- Runtime: 95 min

The One and Only Ivan” is based on an award-winning children’s novel of the same name by K.A. Applegate which, in turn, is based on the real-life story of Ivan the gorilla who spent years living in a 14-by-14 foot enclosure in a Tacoma, Washington mall. An impressive blend of CGI and live action, the Disney movie follows the 400-pound gorilla (who’s voiced by Sam Rockwell) as he tries, with a little help from his friends Stella and Bob, to piece together his past and plan their escape from captivity. Originally intended for a theatrical release, the heartwarming flick made its debut on Disney+ in August.

3 / 100
Foresight Unlimited

#98. The Last Full Measure

- Director: Todd Robinson
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 6,998
- Runtime: 116 min

Todd Robinson directed this sincere war drama about a Pentagon staffer’s campaign to get a fallen Vietnam War pararescue medic named William H. Pitsenbarger a much-deserved Medal of Honor. A fact-based film, “The Last Full Measure” struggles at points with its storytelling, but strong performances from the cast, which includes names like Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Fonda, Christopher Plummer, and Sebastian Stan, earned it a 96% approval rating with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.

4 / 100
Lionsgate

#97. Run

- Director: Aneesh Chaganty
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 11,459
- Runtime: 90 min

Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen star in this thriller about a single mom who appears to be keeping a dark secret from her chronically-ill daughter. Originally released on Hulu, “Run” was panned by critics for its far from original plot, but praised by audiences who enjoyed the fun, if not anxiety-inducing, story. In fact, audiences loved it so much that on its opening weekend, the movie set the record for the streaming service’s most-watched movie ever.

5 / 100
Working Title Films

#96. Emma.

- Director: Autumn de Wilde
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 24,838
- Runtime: 124 min

Anya Taylor-Joy, recently of “The Queen’s Gambit” fame, began her year by starring in this adaptation of the Jane Austen classic “Emma.” The movie’s plot adheres closely to the well-trodden story of a rich young woman who interferes in the love lives of her friends, but the interspersion of some screwball humor brings new life to the old tale. It’s this combination of familiar and new that made Autumn de Wilde’s version of the “Emma” novel a box office smash, bringing in $25 million worldwide.

6 / 100
Warner Bros.

#95. The Way Back

- Director: Gavin O'Connor
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 28,098
- Runtime: 108 min

Part sports movie, part character drama, “The Way Back” stars Ben Affleck as an alcoholic construction worker who steps in as head coach for the failing basketball team at his former high school. Although the storyline may leave audiences expecting 1.5 hours of worn-out sports cliches, the film manages to avoid almost all of them, while still telling a convincing story about redemption and growth.

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7 / 100
Netflix

#94. Extraction

- Director: Sam Hargrave
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Votes: 150,782
- Runtime: 116 min

Netflix released “Extraction” a month into coronavirus lockdowns, and the combination of fast-paced action, high-quality acting, and home-bound audiences quickly made it the streaming service’s most-watched original movie of all time. In the first month after its debut, more than 99 million people sat down to watch Chris Hemsworth, a black market mercenary, set out to save the kidnapped son of an international crime lord. Extraordinarily violent, the movie isn’t for everyone, however, and certainly earned its R rating.

8 / 100
East Japan Marketing & Communications Inc.

#93. Ride Your Wave

- Director: Masaaki Yuasa
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 1,291
- Runtime: 95 minutes

The anime film “Ride Your Wave'' is one of Masaaki Yuasa’s most adult offerings to date, filled with believable characters, polished animation, and emotional storylines. A romance at its core, the movie follows the relationship between a young, college-aged woman and her firefighter beau. While there is a fantastical element to it, which is typical of all of Yuasa’s films, this movie feels more down-to-earth than anything else he’s created.

9 / 100
Chicago Media Angels

#92. Come As You Are

- Director: Richard Wong
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 1,505
- Runtime: 106 minutes

Although the synopsis of “Come As You Are,” a movie about a trio of men with disabilities who travel from Colorado to Montreal to lose their virginities at a brothel that exclusively serves special-needs clientele, may sound like a raunchy comedy setup, the film is anything but. It’s certainly funny at points, but it’s never gross. Instead, the film, which is based on real events, makes a concentrated effort to focus on the real needs and desires of the disabled community with empathy and acceptance.

10 / 100
Skellig Rock

#91. Family Romance, LLC

- Director: Werner Herzog
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 1,787
- Runtime: 89 min

This strange drama imagines a world where family members and loved ones can be rented or hired. In “Family Romance, LLC,” which is very loosely based on a real Japanese company, a man is contracted to play the missing father of a young girl, going along with the gig until a crisis of conscience forces him to reckon with the choices he’s made. Making the film even more interesting, all of the roles were filled by ordinary people rather than professional actors. Among them is Ishii Yuichi, the real-life proprietor of Family Romance.

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11 / 100
Andreas Rentz // Getty Images

#90. A White, White Day

- Director: Hlynur Palmason
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 2,886
- Runtime: 109 minutes

In this Icelandic drama, a police chief mourns the accidental passing of his late wife and becomes obsessed with a man whom he believes was having an affair with her. Part thriller and part vengeance flick, “A White, White Day” gets down into the nitty-gritty of living with grief and the various ways it can skew our perceptions and motives.

12 / 100
Starship Entertainment

#89. 122

- Director: Yasir Al-Yasiri
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 3,750
- Runtime: 95 min

A bloody thriller, “122” follows a young couple who are involved in a car accident and then transported to a hospital, which they wind up having to flee in order to survive the night. The movie, which was released on Netflix in the United States, was one of the first Arab films made for 4DX—the immersive theater format that shakes your seat and simulates rain and snow.

13 / 100
Mazur / Kaplan Company

#88. Let Him Go

- Director: Thomas Bezucha
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 4,216
- Runtime: 113 minutes

Another bone-chilling thriller, “Let Him Go” stars Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as a set of grandparents who, after the death of their only son, set out to retrieve their grandson from a family that has no intentions of giving him up. The neo-Western drama is based on a 2013 novel of the same name, written by Larry Watson.

14 / 100
Arte France Cinéma

#87. The Wild Goose Lake

- Director: Diao Yinan
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 4,576
- Runtime: 113 minutes

Set in Wuhan, China, “The Wild Goose Lake” is a contemporary crime drama that feels like a noir classic. The movie follows Zhou Zenong, a gang leader, who goes on the lam after accidentally killing a police officer in a turf war. Hunted by law enforcement and rival mob bosses, Zhou is forced to rely on a local sex worker for his survival.

15 / 100
Sons of Manual

#86. Matthias & Maxime

- Director: Xavier Dolan
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 4,768
- Runtime: 119 minutes

In this aptly named Canadian drama, two lifelong friends share a kiss for a student film that sends them both into a spiral of self-doubt. The two-hour movie, which explores suppressed homoerotic longings and the nature of friendship, was praised by audiences for its incredible acting, emotional range, and unique take on underexplored topics.

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16 / 100
Big Mouth Productions

#85. Becoming

- Director: Nadia Hallgren
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 5,214
- Runtime: 89 min

“Becoming” is a documentary that follows former First Lady Michelle Obama as she embarks on a speaking tour throughout North America and Europe. Nominated for four Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Documentary, the film was a direct collaboration between Obama and director Nadia Hallgren, and gives audiences a behind-the-scenes look at what life in the public eye is really like.

17 / 100
Fabula

#84. Ema

- Director: Pablo Larraín
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 5,449
- Runtime: 107 minutes

An experimental tale, “Ema” follows a young, damaged dancer who’s unfit to be a mother, but adopts a young boy anyway. After divorcing her husband, she abandons their son to the system and returns to a life of hedonism. Told through a series of short, seemingly unrelated vignettes, the movie, despite its lack of cohesive story or message, lures you in and holds you captive for all 107 minutes.

18 / 100
Netflix

#83. The Boys in the Band

- Director: Joe Mantello
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 9,483
- Runtime: 121 min

As a part of his $330 million deal with Netflix, Ryan Murphy adapted the 1968 Broadway play “The Boys in the Band” into a feature-length film that stars the cast of the 2018 stage revival (who are all openly gay in real life). Honest in its depiction of queer life in the late ‘60s, the story follows seven friends who are gathered to celebrate a birthday. A drunken party game leads to shocking revelations and hurt feelings, and the group is left to wonder what it is about society and queer culture that has made them hate themselves (and each other) so much.

19 / 100
Millennium Media

#82. The Outpost

- Director: Rod Lurie
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 16,742
- Runtime: 123 min

“The Outpost” brought the 2012 nonfiction book “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valour” to life on the big screen. The war movie, which stars famous faces like Scott Eastwood and Orlando Bloom, is about the Battle of Kamdesh, which found a small band of U.S. forces ambushed by some 300 Taliban soldiers. While the battle was one of the bloodiest for American troops during the war in Afghanistan, only eight American lives were lost, compared to the deaths of 150 Taliban insurgents.

20 / 100
Spier Films

#81. Escape from Pretoria

- Director: Francis Annan
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 18,113
- Runtime: 106 min

In “Escape from Pretoria,” Daniel Radcliffe stars in a much more grown-up role than the boy wizard he’s famous for. The thriller is based on the real-life escape of three anti-apartheid political prisoners (including Tim Jenkins, played by Radcliffe) from a South African prison. Book lovers are sure to enjoy Jenkin’s similarly-titled memoir as well.

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21 / 100
20th Century Studios

#80. The Call of the Wild

- Director: Chris Sanders
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Votes: 33,746
- Runtime: 100 minutes

An adaptation of the classic 1903 Jack London novel, this “Call of the Wild” iteration is much more family-friendly than many of its predecessors. Earning only a PG rating, the film, which relies heavily on CGI, cuts out much of the violence that characterizes the story, instead opting to focus on the lessons Buck learns as he begins to heed to the “call of the wild.”

22 / 100
Kick the Habit Productions

#79. Words on Bathroom Walls

- Director: Thor Freudenthal
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 1,362
- Runtime: 110 min

“Words on Bathroom Walls” is about a teenager named Adam Petrazelli who is diagnosed with schizophrenia halfway through his senior year, and must find a way to handle his mental illness along with all the other typical stressors of adolescence. The film tackles this difficult topic with grace and frankness, thanks to the exceptional work of the screenwriters, actors, and director. The 2020 hit is based on a 2017 YA novel of the same name by Julia Walton.

23 / 100
Easy Open Productions

#78. Saint Frances

- Director: Alex Thompson
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 1,407
- Runtime: 101 minutes

Best described as a belated coming-of-age story, “Saint Frances'' follows an adrift 30-something who accepts a position as a nanny for an exceptionally astute six-year-old. Bridget, having just chosen to have an abortion, finds herself reimagining what family, and the rest of her life for that matter, could look like as she bonds with the young Frances. Modern in its sensibilities and handling of more “controversial” topics, “Saint Frances” stands out as an exceptional debut.

24 / 100
Iota Films

#77. Summerland

- Director: Jessica Swale
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 1,848
- Runtime: 99 minutes

Many viewers found “Summerland,” a sweet, hopeful movie about a crotchety loner who takes in a needy child after the London Blitz, to be just the balm they needed for their coronavirus-ravaged souls. Starring Gemma Arterton, the beautifully shot film has a love story arc as well as a redemptive one, and does its part to give “everyone something to believe in.”

25 / 100
Tarantula

#76. Fire Will Come

- Director: Oliver Laxe
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 2,103
- Runtime: 86 minutes

Audiences gushed over the beautiful cinematography in “Fire Will Come,” a Spanish film about a recently-released arsonist who moves back to his small hometown and his mother after his stint in jail. At its core, the movie is about forgiveness and the solitary nature of humanity. With little dialogue and story arc, the film won’t be for everyone, but those who can get into it are sure to love it.

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26 / 100
Roy Andersson Filmproduktion AB

#75. About Endlessness

- Director: Roy Andersson
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 2,910
- Runtime: 78 minutes

An anthology of the human condition, “About Endlessness” is the film equivalent of a short story collection—a group of vignettes that are completely unrelated except for the fact that they’re all reflecting on the same theme. This sort of work is typical of Swedish director Roy Andersson, who claims this movie will be his last.

27 / 100
Palomar

#74. The Life Ahead

- Director: Edoardo Ponti
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 4,153
- Runtime: 94 minutes

Sophia Loren returns to film under the direction of her son Edoardo Ponti in “The Life Ahead,” a film about an elderly Holocaust survivor who takes in a Senegalese immigrant after he attempts to rob her. Though the story may sound sentimental and mushy on the surface, the performances from both of the lead actors keep it from dipping into unwatchable territory. Instead, it lands as a bittersweet discussion of the immigration crisis and human nature.

28 / 100
Film Produkcja

#73. Mr. Jones

- Director: Agnieszka Holland
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 6,006
- Runtime: 119 minutes

Gareth Jones was a Welsh journalist who traveled to the Soviet Union in 1933 and broke the story of the man-made famine, Holodomor, that killed millions of Ukrainians. This 2019 thriller “Mr. Jones” tells a loose version of his real-life story and dangerous trip into the center of Stalin-controlled territory. More than anything else, the movie is a persuasive reminder of the importance of bearing witness to and standing in remembrance of history, even when you don’t necessarily have the power to change it.

29 / 100
Aardman Animations

#72. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

- Directors: Will Becher, Richard Phelan
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 8,502
- Runtime: 86 minutes

A standalone sequel to the first “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” follows our familiar stop motion friends as they welcome a visitor from another galaxy. Full of rompy, comical adventures, this family-friendly flick was released on Netflix in February.

30 / 100
Amazon Studios

#71. Troop Zero

- Directors: Bert, Bertie
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 8,865
- Runtime: 94 minutes

In “Troop Zero,” a group of misfit elementary schoolers come together to form a Birdie Scouts troop with the aim of winning a contest and having their voices included on NASA’s Golden Record. Amazon’s first foray into streaming-only films, the movie is a light, funny, and heartwarming hit. The underdog tale, which was directed by the female duo Bert & Bertie, stars Viola Davis, Jim Gaffigan, and Allison Janney.

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31 / 100
TriStar Pictures

#70. Happiest Season

- Director: Clea DuVall
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 9,112
- Runtime: 102 minutes

A very recent release, “Happiest Season” is a holiday comedy about a young lesbian couple heading home for a family Christmas. The trip immediately becomes an exhausting charade, since Harper (Mackenzie Davis) hasn’t told her family that she’s gay, let alone dating Abby (Kristen Stewart). Directed by Clea DuVall, the movie was praised for its honest deception of the ways queer people often self-annihilate in order to appease their straight family members, while still remaining light and funny in tone. All viewers, queer or not, will relate to the stress of keeping certain things off the table in an effort to not ruin Christmas.

32 / 100
Likely Story

#69. The Half of It

- Director: Alice Wu
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Votes: 26,039
- Runtime: 104 minutes

Touted as the next “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” Netflix’s “The Half of It” is about a quiet, nerdy student, Ellie, who agrees to ghostwrite love letters to a popular beauty, Aster, on behalf of a jock named Paul, only to realize she’s actually in love with Aster herself. The sweet friendship between Ellie and Paul is what really makes this modern “Cyrano de Bergerac” stand apart for most viewers, even when the ending doesn’t quite nail it.

33 / 100
Optec

#68. Vitalina Varela

- Director: Pedro Costa
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 1,225
- Runtime: 124 minutes

Veering back into the dramatic, “Vitalina Varela” follows a Cape Verde woman (played by a non-professional actress telling her real-life story) who tracks down her runaway husband in Lisbon, discovering his secret, illicit life along the way. Full of suffering and requiring a good deal of attention, the movie isn’t necessarily easy to watch, but the story is a powerful one that left many viewers reflecting on how destiny has played a role in their own lives.

34 / 100
Prithviraj Productions

#67. 9

- Director: Jenuse Mohammed
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 1,737
- Runtime: 149 min

“9” is an Indian science-fiction thriller made in the Malayalam language. When a comet is set to pass close to Earth for nine days, Dr. Albert Lewis, an astrophysicist, heads to the Himalayas in order to conduct research on it. While there, forces conspire to take his only son away from him, and Lewis must do whatever he can to protect him.

35 / 100
Screen Ireland

#66. Dating Amber

- Director: David Freyne
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 2,605
- Runtime: 92 minutes

In this endearing coming-out comedy, two closeted Irish teens embark on a fake relationship in an effort to better fit in with their peers. The director, David Freyne, noted that the film’s story was strongly autobiographical, which shines a new light on some of the more bizarrely funny moments (like the nun-lead sex education).

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36 / 100
Pinball Party Productions

#65. Class Action Park

- Directors: Seth Porges, Chris Charles Scott III
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 2,723
- Runtime: 90 minutes

An HBO original documentary, “Class Action Park” tells the story of the infamous New Jersey theme park named Action Park, which was open during the ‘70s, ‘80s, and early ‘90s. Eventually shuttered thanks to a slew of lawsuits and deaths, the park was infamous for how dangerous and shoddy it was, as well as its “no rules” approach to fun.

37 / 100
Netflix

#64. Circus of Books

- Director: Rachel Mason
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 3,377
- Runtime: 92 minutes

Another documentary, this Netflix title tells the story of LA’s Circus of Books, a hardcore gay porn shop run by a husband and wife team that became an important venue in LGBTQ+ history. The movie is directed by the owners’ daughter, Rachel Mason, which gives it an intimate, reverent feel.

38 / 100
A24

#63. First Cow

- Director: Kelly Reichardt
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 5,366
- Runtime: 122 minutes

The indie film “The First Cow” follows the unlikely partnership that develops between a skilled chef and a Chinese immigrant as they seek to make their fortunes in unsettled Oregon. Loosely based on co-writer Jonathan Raymond’s novel “The Half-Life,” the film examines how our social hierarchies are established.

39 / 100
Fred Films

#62. Fisherman's Friends

- Director: Chris Foggin
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 5,868
- Runtime: 112 minutes

Based on the stranger-than-fiction tale of the Fisherman’s Friends choral group, this Chris Foggin movie is about a band of seafaring men who become chart-toppers after a cynical London executive hears them perform while on vacation. A charming and sentimental story, the movie already has a sequel in the works.

40 / 100
American High

#61. Big Time Adolescence

- Director: Jason Orley
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 6,171
- Runtime: 91 minutes

In “Big Time Adolescence” Pete Davidson plays a character that seems like an extension of his public persona: a 20-something stoner and slacker who never grew up. The idealized hero in this coming-of-age story, Zeke (Davidson) befriends the younger teenage brother of his ex-girlfriend, Mo, much to the despair of Mo’s parents, who bemoan Zeke’s destructive influence. A funny, bittersweet move, “Big Time Adolescence” was released on Hulu back in March.

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41 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#60. Love and Monsters

- Director: Michael Matthews
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 20,830
- Runtime: 109 minutes

Post-apocalyptic aficionados loved this lighthearted end-of-the-world film about a man (Dylan O’Brien) who sets out to find his girlfriend (Jessica Henwick) after an asteroid explosion turns all the world’s animals into blood-thirsty monsters. Although it was a mid-budget movie, “Love and Monsters” shines, thanks to the excellent writing that manages to balance humor and danger almost perfectly.

42 / 100
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)

#59. Greyhound

- Director: Aaron Schneider
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 60,248
- Runtime: 91 minutes

Tom Hanks both wrote and starred in this World War II drama about a rookie U.S. Navy commander who is tasked with protecting an Allied convoy as it crosses the so-called “Black Pit” of the Atlantic Ocean. Early on, the convoy falls under attack by U-boats, and most of the film’s runtime is spent in that tense, nail-biting experience. Originally slated for a theatrical release, the film made its debut on Apple TV.

43 / 100
Basque Films

#58. The Platform

- Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Votes: 156,158
- Runtime: 94 minutes

The Platform” is a Netflix horror movie about the imaginary “Vertical Self Management Center,” where prisoners are all fed from a single platform that works its way from the top floor to the bottom without refilling. Although there should be enough food for everyone, in theory, the platform is always completely empty by the time it gets to the bottom thanks to greedy folks in the top levels. An allegory about the dehumanization of capitalism, the film is an interesting watch, albeit a gross and brutal one.

44 / 100
Berserk Films

#57. End of Sentence

- Director: Elfar Adalsteins
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 1,845
- Runtime: 96 minutes

Icelandic director Elfar Adalsteins’ debut feature, “End of Sentence” is a sweet road trip movie about an estranged father and son who head to Ireland to spread their dead wife and mother’s ashes. Although the set-up is cliched, John Hawkes and Logan Lerman’s performances are complex enough that the film feels fresh and the ending feels far from contrived.

45 / 100
Escape Plan Productions

#56. Saint Maud

- Director: Rose Glass
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 2,374
- Runtime: 84 minutes

A razor-sharp psychological thriller, “Saint Maud” is about a young nurse who believes God is working through her to save the soul of her cancer-stricken patient. The aesthetics of the film make its creepy moments all the more heart-racing.

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46 / 100
Rosetta Productions

#55. Beats

- Director: Brian Welsh
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 2,941
- Runtime: 101 minutes

Set in early-1990s Scotland, “Beats” is a coming-of-age story about two best pals who decide to sneak into a secret rave. Based on a play by Kieran Hurley, the film’s vibe and soundtrack went a long way in establishing it as a fan favorite.

47 / 100
Screen Australia

#54. Babyteeth

- Director: Shannon Murphy
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 6,595
- Runtime: 118 minutes

Shannon Murphy’s film directorial debut “Babyteeth” has been described by audiences as funky and heart-warming. The Australian movie is about a young woman with a terminal illness who goes to drastic measures, like falling in love with a no-good drug dealer, in order to feel alive. The movie is as much about the way terminal illnesses affect the family as it is a love story, making it stand apart from the year’s other romantic flicks.

48 / 100
AR Content

#53. Beanpole

- Director: Kantemir Balagov
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 6,947
- Runtime: 130 minutes

A movie about what happens when war is over, “Beanpole” follows two friends, Iya and Masha, both of whom lost central parts of themselves during World War II. Incredibly bleak, and hard to watch at points, the movie certainly packs an emotional punch as viewers watch the two women attempt to rebuild their lives.

49 / 100
IBC Movie

#52. The Traitor

- Director: Marco Bellocchio
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 7,725
- Runtime: 153 minutes

The biographical picture “The Traitor” follows the life of Mafia boss turned informant Tommaso Buscetta. Set in Sicily in the 1980s, the film underscores how brutal the Mafia is through its stellar performances and excellent directing. Viewers noted that the film wasn’t the slightest bit boring, despite its two-and-a-half-hour runtime.

50 / 100
HBO Films

#51. Bad Education

- Director: Cory Finley
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 28,068
- Runtime: 108 minutes

In the early 2000s, a superintendent and his assistant embezzled almost $2 million from their Long Island school district. This HBO drama tells the whole scandalous story. The movie stars famous faces like Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, and Ray Romano.

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51 / 100
Universal Pictures

#50. The King of Staten Island

- Director: Judd Apatow
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 28,914
- Runtime: 136 minutes

Pete Davidson’s second big hit of the year, “The King of Staten Island” was written by Davidson, director Judd Apatow, and Dave Sirus. Semi-biographical, the movie is about a Staten Island teen who can’t seem to grow up or get his life back on track after the death of his firefighter father on 9/11.

52 / 100
Bronx Moving Co.

#49. The Devil All the Time

- Director: Antonio Campos
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 77,951
- Runtime: 138 minutes

Almost every player in “The Devil All the Time” is at least a little bit evil, from the main character Arvin (Tom Holland) to the scripture quoting pastor (Robert Pattinson). Based on a novel of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock, the movie, which is set in the South in the ‘50s and ‘60s, is about the many ways power can be twisted and abused, especially in cultures where organized religion reigns supreme.

53 / 100
Universal Pictures

#48. The Invisible Man

- Director: Leigh Whannell
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Votes: 152,980
- Runtime: 124 minutes

In “The Invisible Man,” a woman is sure she’s being stalked and gaslit by her abusive ex, even after his apparent suicide. Despite a few plot holes or leaps of logic, viewers widely agree that the film, which focuses on the effects of domestic violence, succeeds in its mission to thrill and spook its viewers.

54 / 100
Beijing Diqi Yinxiang Entertainment

#47. The Eight Hundred

- Director: Guan Hu
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Votes: 1,320
- Runtime: 149 minutes

“The Eight Hundred” saw its Chinese release delayed for over a year thanks to apparent issues with censors. Eventually granted a premiere date in the fall of 2020, the historical war drama is about the defense of Sihang Warehouse, a battle which pit a group of scrappy Chinese soldiers against a troop of Japanese soldiers during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Critics and audiences alike praised the film, comparing it to other war epics about Dunkirk or the Alamo.

55 / 100
Disneynature

#46. Elephant

- Directors: Mark Linfield, Vanessa Berlowitz, Alastair Fothergill
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Votes: 1,752
- Runtime: 86 minutes

Narrated by the Duchess of Sussex, “Elephant” is a Disney documentary about an elephant mother and son who journey across the Kalahari Desert with their pride. The family-friendly film is educational and beautifully shot, and gave many viewers a new appreciation for the massive mammals.

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56 / 100
Hillman Grad

#45. The Forty-Year-Old Version

- Director: Radha Blank
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Votes: 1,756
- Runtime: 123 minutes

Radha Blank wrote, directed, and starred in this autobiographical film about a middle-aged Black woman who transforms from playwright to rapper in a bid to earn a little fame. Fans appreciated the way Blank’s singular story had universal appeal, touching on the pains of turning 40 as well as the struggle of the artistic journey. Laugh out loud funny at times, the film feels far shorter than its 123-minute runtime.

57 / 100
Amazon Studios

#44. Uncle Frank

- Director: Alan Ball
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Votes: 3,184
- Runtime: 95 minutes

“Uncle Frank” is part coming-of-age story, part road trip epic, and part family drama about the relationship between a teenage girl and her gay uncle. The Amazon original stars Paul Bettany and Sophia Lillis, and is, in turn, heartbreaking and hilarious. Audiences agree that it manages to avoid many of the cliches you’d expect to see from a film of this type, making it a refreshing end of the year release.

58 / 100
General Film Corporation

#43. Capital in the Twenty-First Century

- Director: Justin Pemberton
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 1,288
- Runtime: 103 minutes

Capital in the Twenty-First Century” is based on the best-selling book of the same name by French economist Thomas Picketty. This eye-opening documentary shines a light on growing wealth inequalities in America, and dispels the myth that rich nations are more socially progressive.

59 / 100
Ghost Pictures

#42. Mystify: Michael Hutchence

- Director: Richard Lowenstein
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 1,792
- Runtime: 102 minutes

The life of INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence is the focus of this 2019 documentary. Using archival footage of the rock star, as well as home videos, never-before-seen interviews, and commentary by those who knew him well, the movie paints a full picture of Hutchence, including formerly unknown details about a physical assault that changed his life.

60 / 100
Silver Screen

#41. The Painted Bird

- Director: Václav Marhoul
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 3,395
- Runtime: 169 minutes

Based on a controversial novel by Polish author Jerzy Kosinski, “The Painted Bird” follows a young Jewish boy around World Ware II-ravaged Europe, as he seeks care from a number of different characters. Uncompromising, brutal, and honest, the film relies heavily on its visual elements to carry the story along, rather than on dialogue or narration.

61 / 100
BBC Films

#40. Never Rarely Sometimes Always

- Director: Eliza Hittman
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 8,855
- Runtime: 101 minutes

Two young teens make the journey from rural Pennsylvania to New York City in search of an abortion in “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.” The subtle indie film was praised for its quiet emotion and honest depiction of the way women are often treated in our society. Although it lacks any dramatic sequences or a major climax, you’re sure to find yourself glued to the screen.

62 / 100
Romulus Entertainment

#39. The Banker

- Director: George Nolfi
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Votes: 16,329
- Runtime: 120 minutes

Apple TV’s first original movie, “The Banker,” tells the real-life story of two Black entrepreneurs, Joe Morris and Bernard Garrett (played by Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie), who hire a white guy to act as the face of their new bank while they pose as his chauffeur and janitor. Viewers appreciated learning more about the little known piece of Black history and applauded the writing and performances of the film’s lead actors.

63 / 100
Turbine Studios

#38. Small Axe: Red, White and Blue

- Director: Steve McQueen
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 366
- Runtime: 80 minutes

The third installment in Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology, which tells the stories of London’s West Indian community, “Red, White and Blue” shines a spotlight on Leroy Logan, a Black police officer who aims to change the racist attitude of the force from the inside out. Much like “The Banker,” this adaptation of real-life events tells the story of a minority figure that’s not heard often enough.

64 / 100
CinemaWerks

#37. Driveways

- Director: Andrew Ahn
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 2,218
- Runtime: 83 minutes

A film about the immigrant experience in America, “Driveways” follows a young Korean-American boy who accompanies his mother to clean out his dead aunt’s house, and forms an unlikely friendship with a Korean War vet along the way. Brian Dennehy’s last film, the sweet movie acts like a balm for these trying times.

65 / 100
Tremolo Productions

#36. Miss Americana

- Director: Lana Wilson
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 14,874
- Runtime: 85 minutes

After a series of celebrity feuds and awards season snubs, Taylor Swift, one of pop music’s biggest stars, spent a year out of the public eye healing, growing, and, it turns out, creating. In “Miss Americana” Swift gives fans a glimpse into what was going on in her inner world during that time, proving that she’s not just another vapid celebrity, but a self-realized woman with a message.

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66 / 100
Limelight

#35. Palm Springs

- Director: Max Barbakow
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 58,873
- Runtime: 90 minutes

This rom-com has a “Groundhog Day” element to it, as two strangers meet at a wedding and get stuck in a time loop. Fans enjoyed the “pure fun” that Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti brought to the screen.

67 / 100
Walt Disney Pictures

#34. Onward

- Director: Dan Scanlon
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Votes: 88,933
- Runtime: 102 minutes

The year’s biggest Disney-Pixar hit, “Onward” follows two teenage elf brothers (played by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt), who set out on an adventure to locate a magical artifact that might have the power to bring their deceased father back to life. The family-friendly movie was banned in multiple markets due to a brief reference to a lesbian relationship.

68 / 100
Turbine Studios

#33. Small Axe: Lovers Rock

- Director: Steve McQueen
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 779
- Runtime: 70 minutes

Another installment in the “Small Axe” anthology, “Lovers Rock” was released before “Red, White and Blue.” In this film, two lovers meet at a blues party in West London and harmony ensues. The film is largely focused on the communion and beauty that can be found in Black communities.

69 / 100
Mad Chance

#32. Clouds

- Director: Justin Baldoni
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 3,654
- Runtime: 121 minutes

This weepy YA offering from Disney+ tells the life story of Zach Sobiech, a singer-songwriter who died of cancer at the age of 18. A moving and inspiring story, “Clouds” hit home with an audience grappling with the weight of a global pandemic and the upending of their everyday lives.

70 / 100
Ancine

#31. Bacurau

- Directors: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 18,208
- Runtime: 131 minutes

A horror western set in near-future Brazil, “Bacurau” traces a series of strange events that take place in a rural settlement after the death of the village’s matriarch. At its core, the film is a pointed critique of Brazilian politicians and their “global-focused” politics, noting in its closing credits that it created 800 jobs for local citizens.

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71 / 100
"Weathering With You" Film Partners

#30. Weathering with You

- Director: Makoto Shinkai
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Votes: 19,518
- Runtime: 112 minutes

In this Japanese anime film, a high school boy runs away to Tokyo, where he befriends and falls in love with a young woman who seems to be able to control the weather. The movie’s story, about a budding romance in a time of catastrophe, landed well with audiences despite a few tricky plot points and the never-ending comparisons to Makoto Shinkai’s earlier hit film “Your Name.”

72 / 100
Medieoperatørene

#29. The Painter and the Thief

- Director: Benjamin Ree
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Votes: 1,017
- Runtime: 102 minutes

“The Painter and the Thief” is a moving documentary about a young artist who befriends and paints the man who stole two of her most valuable works. Called “brilliant” and “beautiful,” the movie is an inspiring tale of empathy, acceptance, and courage.

73 / 100
Big Mouth Productions

#28. Dick Johnson Is Dead

- Director: Kirsten Johnson
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Votes: 1,727
- Runtime: 89 minutes

Through the creation of “Dick Johnson is Dead,” Kristen Johnson prepares both herself and her father, who has dementia, for his impending death. By imagining different scenarios that could lead to the end of his life, the two come to terms with the fact that even though they’ll be saying goodbye soon, they’ll never really lose each other.

74 / 100
Ready Fictions

#27. Feels Good Man

- Director: Arthur Jones
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Votes: 1,894
- Runtime: 92 minutes

A Sundance award winner, “Feels Good Man” follows artist Matt Furie as he attempts to reclaim his character Pepe the Frog from the alt-right movement, which has adopted it as their own. Reviewers loved learning more about the meme, discovering its bizarre connection to the 2016 election, and the unique format through which the story is told.

75 / 100
Sixteen Films

#26. Sorry We Missed You

- Director: Ken Loach
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Votes: 15,175
- Runtime: 101 minutes

This drama highlights the tolls that the growing gig economy takes on its workers. “Sorry We Missed You,” about a UK couple who seeks employment as gig workers in the hopes that it will solve financial woes, competed at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It’s been called striking, real, and a difficult but necessary watch.

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76 / 100
Srab Films

#25. Les Misérables

- Director: Ladj Ly
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Votes: 17,371
- Runtime: 104 minutes

Not the Les Misérables story you’re used to, this Ladj Ly film tells the story of real-life riots that broke out in Paris in 2005 when the North African immigrant population began protesting police brutality. Compared to Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” “Les Misérables” is an important story of a community at odds with authority and the negative effects that tension has on both sides.

77 / 100
Jigsaw Productions

#24. Totally Under Control

- Directors: Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan, Suzanne Hillinger
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 1,838
- Runtime: 123 minutes

Filmed secretly over the first few months of 2020, “Totally Under Control” is a damning portrayal of how grossly the Trump administration mishandled the coronavirus pandemic. A must-watch film in this pandemic year, the film can be streamed on Hulu.

78 / 100
Concordia Studio

#23. Boys State

- Directors: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 2,222
- Runtime: 109 minutes

“Boys State” is a documentary about an annual week-long program in which boys create their own mock government system and get a crash course in politics. The film, which focuses on Texas’ 2018 Boys State event, won the Grand Jury prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

79 / 100
Actual Films

#22. Athlete A

- Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 6,435
- Runtime: 103 minutes

Netflix’s “Athlete A” pulls back the curtain on USA Gymnastics and its culture of secrecy. The documentary follows a group of brave gymnasts and investigative journalists as they work together to break the story of Larry Nassar, the doctor convicted of sexually abusing at least 265 young athletes.

80 / 100
Aurum Film

#21. Corpus Christi

- Director: Jan Komasa
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 11,326
- Runtime: 115 minutes

“Corpus Christi” is about a young violent offender who passes himself off as a priest after his release from juvenile prison. The drama asks important questions about faith, spirituality, and making amends, illustrating a depth that many viewers appreciated. Fans also praised the intense performance of the film’s main actor, Bartosz Bielenia.

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81 / 100
Exposure Labs

#20. The Social Dilemma

- Director: Jeff Orlowski
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 55,926
- Runtime: 94 minutes

A lockdown phenomenon, “The Social Dilemma” had many pledging to delete all social media and get rid of their smartphones once and for all. The documentary reveals how the creators of these platforms designed them with little regard for users’ mental health or privacy—or the stability of American democracy. If nothing else, this film will have you thinking twice about the amount of time you spend glued to your screens.

82 / 100
Warner Bros.

#19. Tenet

- Director: Christopher Nolan
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Votes: 162,247
- Runtime: 150 minutes

Christopher Nolan’s latest movie, “Tenet,” is an innovative spy thriller with a plot that, like most Nolan movies, is almost impossible to describe. Viewers are quick to point out that you’ll need to watch the film at least twice for it to make sense, but praise the way it acts like a puzzle, keeping them far more engaged than an ordinary spy blockbuster.

83 / 100
Cor Cordium Productions

#18. Nomadland

- Director: Chloé Zhao
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 1,185
- Runtime: 108 minutes

Frances McDormand stars as a 60-year-old woman who takes off in a van across the West after the Great Recession causes her to lose everything, including her husband. The winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the movie is a “stunningly well-made portrait of Americana” and one of McDormand’s best-played roles to date.

84 / 100
Higher Ground Productions

#17. Crip Camp

- Directors: James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 2,179
- Runtime: 106 minutes

In the 1970s, teenagers with disabilities gathered at Camp Jened, a summer camp in the Catskills designed just for them. As adults, they became vocal activists for the disability rights movement, advocating for legislation that would change the future for millions like them. An uplifting and heartbreaking film, “Crip Camp” is one of the year’s must-watch documentaries.

85 / 100
Fresh Bread

#16. Beastie Boys Story

- Director: Spike Jonze
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 4,124
- Runtime: 119 minutes

Written, directed, and produced by Spike Jonze, “Beastie Boys Story” is narrated by Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz, who tell the intimate, detailed story of their band and the trio’s friendship. The Apple TV+ film has been declared a must-see by former fans, who swear there’s also something in the story for those who didn’t grow up listening to “Ch-Check It Out” or “Professor Booty.”

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86 / 100
French Quarter Film

#15. And Then We Danced

- Director: Levan Akin
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 8,569
- Runtime: 113 minutes

The Georgian film “And Then We Danced” was shot in secrecy, with bodyguards protecting the cast, crew, and then-anonymous director. This extremely controversial movie tackles the country’s homophobia through a story about a young dancer who falls in love with his male classmate. Protested by far-right groups in its country of origin, the film received a 15-minute standing ovation when it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.

87 / 100
STX Films

#14. The Gentlemen

- Director: Guy Ritchie
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Votes: 209,301
- Runtime: 113 minutes

“The Gentleman” is an action-comedy about an American drug kingpin who tries to sell off his UK-based empire, and in doing so accidentally sets off a string of schemes to undermine him. The highly-rated film features an all-star cast including Matthew McConaughey, Henry Golding, Colin Farrell, Charlie Hunnam, and Hugh Grant.

88 / 100
Beech Hill Films

#13. A Secret Love

- Director: Chris Bolan
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 3,128
- Runtime: 81 minutes

Terry Donahue, a former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player, fell in love with her partner, Pat Henschel, back in 1947. The couple kept their relationship a secret from their family for decades. “A Secret Love,” directed by their great-nephew, finally tells their story and explains why they kept it private for so long.

89 / 100
Dreamworks Pictures

#12. The Trial of the Chicago 7

- Director: Aaron Sorkin
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Votes: 64,839
- Runtime: 129 minutes

Aaron Sorkin directed this drama about seven (really, eight) protestors who faced legal charges after demonstrating at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” took on added significance ahead of the 2020 presidential election, with many viewers seeing parallels between the two events.

90 / 100
Cedar Creek Productions

#11. Rewind

- Director: Sasha Joseph Neulinger
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 1,000
- Runtime: 86 minutes

Sasha Joseph Neulinger mined the archives of his own family videos to piece together this documentary about the cyclical nature of child sexual abuse and the many ways it ruins lives. Incredibly heavy, the brave movie offers harsh criticisms of how the justice system works to re-victimize survivors even while attempting to “help” them.

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91 / 100
BBC Storyville

#10. Welcome to Chechnya

- Director: David France
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 1,239
- Runtime: 107 minutes

In Russia’s Chechnya region, there’s an ongoing purge of LGBTQ+ residents. The heroes in the documentary “Welcome to Chechnya” are working to smuggle them out. This disturbing and powerful documentary reminds audiences that there is still plenty of work to be done in the fight for equality.

92 / 100
Netflix

#9. Mank

- Director: David Fincher
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 1,340
- Runtime: 131 minutes

“Mank” is a biographical drama that follows alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he struggles to finish the screenplay for “Citizen Kane” (credit for which he eventually shared with Orson Welles). The movie, starring Gary Oldman as Mankiewicz, is a technical wonder and solid retelling of Hollywood history.

93 / 100
Bones

#8. My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising

- Director: Kenji Nagasaki
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Votes: 3,076
- Runtime: 104 minutes

The second installment in the “My Hero Academia” series, “Heroes Rising” follows a group of students who must defend their world against an ultra-strong hero named Nine. Fans enjoy the movie’s balance of drama, action, and humor, which make it a fun watch.

94 / 100
Zentropa Entertainments

#7. Another Round

- Director: Thomas Vinterberg
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Votes: 4,653
- Runtime: 117 minutes

In this Danish-Swedish drama, four high school teachers in the midst of mid-life crises embark on a social experiment that requires them to maintain a low-level, alcohol-induced buzz at all times in an effort to improve their enjoyment of life. The experiment quickly spirals out of control, although the consequences are different for each man. A truly unique cinematic experience, fans were obsessed with this film and its critical look at drinking culture.

95 / 100
Turbine Studios

#6. Small Axe: Mangrove

- Director: Steve McQueen
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Votes: 1,292
- Runtime: 127 minutes

The first chapter in the “Small Axe” anthology, “Mangrove” dramatizes the true story of the Mangrove Nine, a group of activists who incited a riot protesting the unfair police targeting of a Caribbean restaurant in Notting Hill. The activists were all acquitted, and their trial marked the first time London’s Central Criminal Court acknowledged racism within the Metropolitan Police. The Steve McQueen film is violent, long, and insightful.

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96 / 100
Orwell Productions

#5. The Dissident

- Director: Bryan Fogel
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Votes: 2,589
- Runtime: 119 minutes

“The Dissident” dives into the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, following the clues his fiance and other investigators uncover while attempting to piece together the story of his murder and the international cover-up that followed. A truly adrenaline-pumping ride, the documentary reminds viewers of the importance of a free press

97 / 100
Disclosure Films

#4. Disclosure

- Director: Sam Feder
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Votes: 3,368
- Runtime: 108 minutes

This documentary takes an in-depth look at the way Hollywood depicts transgender people, as well as how these depictions affect the public’s acceptance of the community and the lives of the community’s members. Incredibly eye-opening, “Disclosure” brought tears to more than a few viewers’ eyes.

98 / 100
40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

#3. David Byrne's American Utopia

- Director: Spike Lee
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Votes: 1,312
- Runtime: 105 minutes

Spike Lee directed this concert film/documentary about David Byrne’s recent Broadway adaptation of his album, “American Utopia.” The combination of the two men’s talents makes this one of the most enjoyable HBO specials in recent years.

99 / 100
Alexander Nanau Production

#2. Collective

- Director: Alexander Nanau
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Votes: 1,731
- Runtime: 109 minutes

The final documentary on our list, “Collective” follows a team of Romanian investigative reporters as they attempt to uncover a massive health care scheme that claimed the lives of dozens of innocent civilians. The film frustrated viewers and drove many Romanian citizens to take action and attempt to reform the flawed system.

100 / 100
Walt Disney Pictures

#1. Hamilton

- Director: Thomas Kail
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Votes: 48,133
- Runtime: 160 minutes

Finally, audiences agreed that “Hamilton” was the best movie of the year. The live recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway hit features the original cast. The film was originally intended to be released in 2021, but hit Disney+ early thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

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