Best of 2016: Film Critic Top Ten Lists

  • Publish Date: December 5, 2016
  • Comments: ↓ 0 user comments

Below, we collect every year-end Top Ten list published by major film critics and publications. This page will be updated throughout December and January whenever new lists are published; be sure to check back frequently.

Critics pick the best movies of 2016

Recent updates:
Added 12/5: Scorecard launched with 15 lists.

Below is our updated running tally of the films most frequently mentioned by individual critics on the year-end Top Ten lists. Note that if a critic ranks more than the standard 10 films, we will not include films ranked 11th or worse. (Beginning this year, we do include unranked lists of 11-20 titles, though each film gets just one-half of a point.) In case of a tie for first or second, each film will receive the full points for that position. Our points system works as follows:

  • 3 points for each 1st place ranking
  • 2 points for each 2nd place ranking
  • 1 point for being ranked 3rd - 10th, or for being included on an unranked list of 10 or fewer titles
  • 0.5 points for being included on an unranked list of 11-20 titles
Films Mentioned on Most Critic Top 10 Lists - 2016
Movie and Metascore # 1st Place # 2nd Place # Other Points
1 Moonlight21311
2 Toni Erdmann1127
3 Arrival0226
Son of Saul *1036
I, Daniel Blake1036
La La Land2006
7 Manchester by the Sea0215
Loving1025
9 O.J.: Made in America **0124
Hell or High Water0124
Elle0124
12 12 tied with...       3

* Some 2015 American releases may be included because they were released in 2016 in the UK and we do include top 10 lists from UK publications. (These will likely drop out of the overall leaderboard once more U.S. top 10 lists are added.)
** The eight-hour documentary O.J.: Made in America was screened in two theaters to qualify for film awards prior to airing as a miniseries on ESPN. As a result, you may see it appear in lists from movie critics in addition to those from TV critics.

Individual critic top ten lists

Below are the 15 individual top ten lists published by the film critics regularly included in Metacritic's score calculations, as well as a few extra lists from additional prominent film sources. Some critics merely list films without ranking them in order; such lists are displayed below, without numbers, in alphabetical order.

Melissa Anderson
  1. Moonlight
  2. Toni Erdmann
  3. O.J.: Made in America
  4. Happy Hour
  5. Fort Buchanan
  6. Born in Flames
  7. Regrouping
  8. "An Early Clue to the New Direction: Queer Cinema Before Stonewall" [survey]
  9. The Ornithologist
  10. Elle
  11. Hermia & Helena
J. Hoberman
  1. Three Screen Ray
  2. O.J.: Made in America
  3. Toni Erdmann
  4. Kaili Blues
  5. The Death of Louis XIV
  6. Sieranevada
  7. Austerlitz
  8. The Witch
  9. Demon
  10. "Walkers: Hollywood Afterlives in Art and Artifact" [exhibition]
James Quandt
  1. Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillèt [retrospective]
  2. From the Branches Drops the Withered Blossom [restored version]
  3. Sieranevada
  4. The Death of Louis XIV
  5. The Ornithologist
  6. Ma' Rosa
  7. Yourself and Yours
  8. Neruda
  9. Kékszakállú
  10. As Without So Within
Amy Taubin
  1. Bruce Conner: It's All True [retrospective]
  2. Moonlight
  3. Toni Erdmann
  4. Everything Else
  5. I Am Not Your Negro
  6. O.J.: Made in America
  7. My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea
  8. Tempestad
  9. Sand Storm
  10. Command and Control
John Waters View full list
  1. Krisha
  2. Tickled
  3. Everybody Wants Some!!
  4. Roar
  5. Wiener-Dog
  6. Elle
  7. Julieta
  8. Like Cattle Towards Glow
  9. Valley of Love
  10. A Quiet Passion
Artforum
Cahiers du cinéma
Staff
  1. Toni Erdmann
  2. Elle
  3. The Neon Demon
  4. Aquarius
  5. Slack Bay
  6. Julieta
  7. Staying Vertical
  8. La Loi de la jungle
  9. Carol
  10. Le bois dont les rêves sont faits
Empire
Staff View full list
  1. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  2. Arrival
  3. Hell or High Water
  4. Captain America: Civil War
  5. Victoria
  6. The Hateful Eight
  7. Kubo and the Two Strings
  8. The Revenant
  9. Spotlight
  10. Green Room
The Guardian
Peter Bradshaw View full list
  • American Honey
  • Anomalisa
  • The Childhood of a Leader
  • Divines
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Fire at Sea
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Paterson
  • Son of Saul
Indiewire
Eric Kohn View full list
  1. Moonlight
  2. Jackie
  3. Weiner
  4. Everybody Wants Some!!
  5. Creative Control
  6. Cameraperson
  7. Paterson
  8. Swiss Army Man
  9. American Honey
  10. Neruda
The Irish Times
Staff consensus View full list
  1. I, Daniel Blake
  2. Arrival
  3. Paterson
  4. Embrace of the Serpent
  5. Son of Saul
  6. The Witch
  7. The Edge of Seventeen
  8. Mustang
  9. Pete's Dragon
  10. Green Room
Movie Nation
Roger Moore View full list
  1. Loving
  2. Hell or High Water
  3. Kubo and the Two Strings
  4. Manchester by the Sea
  5. Arrival
  6. Moana
  7. Moonlight
  8. Lion
  9. Doctor Strange
  10. Anthropoid
The Observer
Mark Kermode View full list
  1. Under the Shadow
  2. Notes on Blindness
  3. Embrace of the Serpent
  4. Son of Saul
  5. 13th
  6. Room
  7. Julieta
  8. I, Daniel Blake
  9. Your Name
  10. Things to Come
  11. A United Kingdom
Rolling Stone
Peter Travers View full list
  1. La La Land
  2. Manchester by the Sea
  3. Moonlight
  4. Fences
  5. Silence
  6. Jackie
  7. Sully
  8. Loving
  9. Hell or High Water
  10. The Birth of a Nation
These Violent Delights
Tom Shone View full list
  1. La La Land
  2. Manchester by the Sea
  3. Loving
  4. Arrival
  5. Love & Friendship
  6. Weiner
  7. Midnight Special
  8. A Bigger Splash
  9. Moonlight
  10. 20th Century Women
Time Out London
Staff consensus View full list
  1. Son of Saul
  2. Spotlight
  3. American Honey
  4. Mustang
  5. I, Daniel Blake
  6. The Nice Guys
  7. Embrace of the Serpent
  8. Anomalisa
  9. A Bigger Splash
  10. Love & Friendship

Want more of 2016's best films?

View our updated Film Awards Scorecard for the latest awards and nominations from over 50 different film critic groups and industry organizations.

 

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