This Is the Best Movie of 2020, According to Critics

In a year without many major releases, these films quietly stood out.

Chances are you didn't see many movies in theaters this year. With closures across the country, and many of us forced to stay inside our homes, the moviegoing experience in 2020 was different—to say the least. But there were still plenty of new releases: smaller, indie films that got a little more attention on streaming services than they likely would have while competing against the many blockbuster releases that were postponed until post-pandemic. The critics were certainly paying attention. Based on their reviews, the following list represents the best movies 2020 had to offer.

We turned to Metacritic, which assigns films scores based on an average of the reviews they receive. The site's ranked list of the best reviewed films of the year is eclectic and filled with titles you might have missed in a more crowded, studio-driven year. Read on to see if any of your 2020 favorites made the list, and to find out what movies you need to make time to stream. And for more on what we watched this year, These Were the Most Popular Shows on Netflix in 2020.

50
Make Up

still from make up
IFFR

Metascore: 81

And for more recent films that got great reviews, check out The Best Movies of the 21st Century, According to Critics.

49
Sound of Metal

sound of metal
Amazon Studios

Metascore: 81

48
A Thousand Cuts

a thousand cuts
PBS Distribution

Metascore: 81

And for more fun content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

47
The Climb

still from the climb
Sony Pictures Classics

Metascore: 82

46
Bacurau

bacurau
Kino Lorber

Metascore: 82

And for more of the year's best genre films, These Are the Best Horror Films of 2020, According to Critics.

45
Sorry We Missed You

sorry we missed you
Zeitgeist Films

Metascore: 82

44
Da 5 Bloods

da 5 bloods
Netflix

Metascore: 82

43
House of Hummingbird

house of hummingbird
Well Go USA Entertainment

Metascore: 82

42
Residue

still from residue
ARRAY Releasing

Metascore: 82

41
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

bloody nose empty pockets
Utopia

Metascore: 82

40
Driveways

still from driveways
FilmRise

Metascore: 83

39
Palm Springs

still from palm springs
Neon

Metascore: 83

38
Saint Frances

saint frances
Oscilloscope Laboratories

Metascore: 83

37
I Wish I Knew

I wish I knew
Kino Lorber

Metascore: 83

36
Our Time Machine

our time machine
Walking Iris Media

Metascore: 84

35
The Vast of Night

the vast of night
Amazon Studios

Metascore: 84

34
On the Record

on the record
HBO Max

Metascore: 84

33
Beanpole

still from beanpole
Kino Lorber

Metascore: 84

32
Boys State

still from boys state
A24

Metascore: 84

31
Red, White and Blue

still from red white and blue
Amazon Prime Video

Metascore: 84

30
Black Is King

black is king
Disney+

Metascore: 84

29
76 Days

76 days
MTV Documentary Films

Metascore: 85

28
Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin

nomad in the footsteps of bruce chatwin
Music Box Films

Metascore: 85

27
Athlete A

still from athlete a
Netflix

Metascore: 85

26
The Father

still from the father
Lionsgate

Metascore: 85

25
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

crip camp a disability revolution
Netflix

Metascore: 86

24
Vitalina Varela

vitalina varela
Grasshopper Film

Metascore: 86

23
To the Ends of the Earth

to the ends of the earth
Free Stone

Metascore: 86

22
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

ma rainey's black bottom
Netflix

Metascore: 86

21
Divine Love

still from divine love
Outsider Pictures

Metascore: 86

20
Welcome to Chechnya

welcome to chechnya
HBO Films

Metascore: 86

19
The Wolf House

still from the wolf house
Anto

Metascore: 86

18
Wolfwalkers

still from wolfwalkers
Apple TV+

Metascore: 87

17
What the Constitution Means to Me

what the constitution means to me
Amazon Prime Video

Metascore: 87

16
Rewind

still from rewind
PBS

Metascore: 87

15
Minari

still from minari
A24

Metascore: 87

14
City Hall

still from city hall
Zipporah Films

Metascore: 88

13
Education

still from small axe education
Amazon Prime Video

Metascore: 88

12
Dick Johnson Is Dead

dick johnson is dead
Netflix

Metascore: 89

11
First Cow

still from first cow
A24

Metascore: 89

10
Soul

still from soul
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Metascore: 89

9
Mangrove

still from small axe mangrove
Amazon Prime Video

Metascore: 90

8
Hamilton

still from hamilton
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Metascore: 90

7
Gunda

still from gunda
Neon

Metascore: 90

6
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

never rarely sometimes always
Focus Features

Metascore: 91

5
Time

still from time
Amazon Studios

Metascore: 91

4
David Byrne's American Utopia

david byrne's american utopia
HBO

Metascore: 93

3
Collective

still from collective
Participant

Metascore: 95

And for more movies worth watching, find out The Best Movie That Came Out the Year You Graduated, According to Critics.

2
Lovers Rock

small axe lovers rock
Amazon Prime Video

Metascore: 95

1
Nomadland

still from nomadland
Searchlight Pictures

Metascore: 97

And if you're wondering what films critics hated this year, discover The Worst Movies of 2020, According to Critics.

Filed Under