Top 10 Best Movies of 2016



Top 10 Best Movies of 2016

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Spencer Sher

As the year ends and film and movie lovers start go gear up for oscar season, we look back at the best movies to come out in 2016 that we will remember for a long time! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Best Movies of 2016. But what will take the top spot? La La Land, the indie darling Moonlight, or the sci fi drama Arrival? Watch to find out!

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Here they are, the cream of the celluloid crop. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Movies of 2016.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the best and/or most unforgettable films that 2016 had to offer. We’ll be basing our choices on a mix of their critical and commercial success, and popularity among movie goers and more.

#10: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)

You can call it what you want: prequel, spin-off or epic space opera, but that doesn’t change the fact that the first standalone story in the “Star Wars Anthology” will have you cheering along for the Rebel spies all the way through. Set before the events of “A New Hope,” the sci fi flick follows Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor and the rest of their team during their attempted theft of the Death Star plans. Fun and full of fan service, it also provides plenty of action and thrills, along with some stunning visuals, a diverse cast and some very funny one-liners. Oh, and just like “The Force Awakens,” “Rogue One” has its own entertaining and memorable droid!

#9: “Silence” (2016)

One of only a handful of directors that can cause people’s ears to perk up at even a mention of a new project, Martin Scorsese delivers yet another masterpiece in a film that he has been developing for over 20 years. Taking place in the seventeenth century, the historical drama follows two Jesuit priests who must travel to Japan to locate their mentor after it was revealed he renounced god in public. A thrilling tale told in only the way he can, “Silence” sees Scorsese holding nothing back – pushing and pulling the audience’s emotions with scenes that showcase everything his films are famous for: intense violence, brilliant set pieces and spot-on direction. A shoe-in for a couple of Oscar nods, this film doesn’t have to work very hard to earn a spot on this list.

#8: “Jackie” (2016)

From the moment the first trailer dropped, it was clear that this film was going to be something special. Following the life of Jacqueline Kennedy in the White House and in the aftermath of her husband’s assassination, the movie serves as a window in the existence of a woman trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered world. As has become her staple, Natalie Portman knocks the role out of the park – delivering to audiences a character that is flawed, sympathetic, unpredictable and charming all at the same time. Earning praise from fans and critics alike, the biographical drama is sure to pick up a number of nominations when awards season rolls around.

#7: “Moana” (2016)

Do these guys ever strike out? In a year filled with an array of fantastic animated movies, such as “Zootopia”, the piece du resistance was clearly Disney’s “Moana”. After wildlife and vegetation begin to die on her island home, the daughter of a Polynesian chief must set sail in search of Maui, a demigod with the power to save her home and her people. Thanks to wonderful animation, a well-crafted story and some hilarious voice work, it’s clear this film was hitting on all cylinders. A unique tale with the ability to bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your lips, there is no question that this musical fantasy deserves a spot on anyone’s list of the year’s best!

#6: “The Lobster” (2015)

Rarely does a film come along with a vision for the future that is both terrifying and hilarious. “The Lobster”, which premiered at multiple festivals in 2015 but saw its theatrical release the year after and earned 2016 award consideration, is the story of a man who is sent to a special “hotel” after separating from his wife. Once there, he must find a suitable romantic partner in 45 days or be transformed into an animal and released into the wild. While it may sound far-fetched, the comedy-drama works in its own special way. Subtle performances by Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly carry the plot forward, stopping periodically to showcase the oddities of the world their characters inhabit. Brimming with moments of dry humor, shocking violence and frightening self-realizations, this film is one you won’t soon forget.

#5: “Manchester by the Sea” (2016)

The kind of film that earns Oscar buzz before even being released, “Manchester by the Sea” does not disappoint. After his brother dies of a heart attack, Lee, a janitor with a troubled past, is shocked to learn that he is the appointed guardian to his brother’s son Patrick. Filled with memorable performances from Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams and relative newcomer Lucas Hedges, the drama is an intensely personal look into the lives of a fractured New England family. This character-driven piece isn’t afraid to trust its audience, utilizing the age-old film technique of “show-don’t-tell” to perfection.

#4: “Captain America: Civil War” (2016)

It wouldn’t be a “best films of the year” list without at least one Marvel property. The standout from this year’s crop of superhero flicks, “Civil War” had an enormous amount of hype to live up to. When an international oversight committee is established to control The Avengers, they become divided; separated by the differing ideologies of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. While it would be easy to throw the film’s ridiculously high box office numbers on the table and call it a day, this superhero movie was so much more than that. Introducing many new faces to the franchise while simultaneously broaching a number of subjects previously unseen in the genre, “Civil War” set the standard for all superhero films to come.

#3: “Arrival” (2016)

The sci-fi genre has given us some of the most influential films in cinematic history, such as "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Blade Runner". But with a few exceptions, one could say that the genre has fallen on hard times, ditching the social commentary and philosophical reflections in favor of thin plots, big explosions and relatively dumb aliens in the early 21st century. “Arrival” is none of those things. This beautifully shot movie starts off like many others, with the abrupt appearance of aliens on Earth. But in place of a gun-toting soldier or pilot for a hero, the film delivers a linguist. An emotionally driven, cerebral tale unfolds - one that respects the intelligence of its audience, and rewards their careful attention with a truly original cinematic experience.

#2: “La La Land” (2016)

After the success of “Whiplash”, fans and critics alike waited with baited breath for director Damien Chazelle’s next masterpiece. Thankfully, the wait was short. A musical of visual delights, this film takes place in a highly stylized version of Los Angeles - as a jazz pianist and an aspiring actress fall deeply in love. A beautiful combination of all the things that make the City of Angels a dream to some and a nightmare to others, “La La Land” strikes all the right chords. Strong performances from Gosling and Stone, a bevy of eye popping musical numbers and spot-on direction from start to finish; it should come as no surprise that this film placed as high as it did.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Kubo and the Two Strings” (2016)

“Deadpool” (2016)

“The Nice Guys” (2016)

#1: “Moonlight” (2016)

A brilliant mix of acting and directing, this film garnered near universal praise from critics upon release. Focusing on the rough upbringing of a black boy in a poor Miami neighborhood, the film traces his life from childhood to adulthood as he attempts to carve out a place for himself in the world. With an approval rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes as well as a spot in the top five highest rated films of all time on Metacritic, it would come as quite the surprise if this film doesn’t pick up a few Oscars come award season. A profound look at the struggles of coming to terms with one’s own identity, “Moonlight” doesn’t hold anything back, making it one of the year’s best!

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the best movie of the year? For more entertaining top 10s published everyday, be sure to subscribe to