42 Best Movies of 2020

Choosing the best movies of 2020 may seem like an easy task. Cinemas were closed (and still are in some places) for a majority of the year, and all major releases were delayed or sent to streaming. This has meant that the viewers have been without the many new, hotly anticipated blockbuster films of the year. While this does make our job a little harder, it’s also allowed us to highlight some of the creative indie and small budget films that wouldn’t have made the list in other years. So, read on for our list of the best movies of 2020, ranging from big-screen popcorn flicks to small screen streaming saviours.

Now disclaimers-first, on our list, the best movies of 2020 are films that were reviewed well by critics as well as audiences, with ratings of at least five stars on IMDB. We’ve chosen to focus on films that were big amongst pop-culture, so don’t be offended if your favourite movie of 2020 hasn’t made the cut.

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1. Babyteeth

Kicking off our list of the best movies of 2020 is the Aussie indie film, Babyteeth. The film follows Milla, a seriously ill teen who finds new ways of enjoying life after falling in love with their small town drug dealer. Much to the dislike of her parents, Milla chooses to live like she’s got nothing to lose, taking risks and living in the present. This is a wonderful, feel good movie that’ll (hopefully) leave you with a new outlook on life yourself, much like Milla.

Director: Shannon Murphy
Starring: Eliza Scanlen, Michelle Lotters, Toby Wallace
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10
Run Time: 1h 58min

2. Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods is a Spike Lee joint that was made for and released on Netflix this year. The streaming movie has an all-star cast, featuring a powerful performance from the late Chadwick Boseman. The film follows four African American veterans who return to Vietnam for the remains of their fifth solider, and the fortune they hid behind while at war. As with all Spike Lee joints, they’ll some political commentary, delivered through an entertaining and enjoyable movie.

Director: Spike Lee
Starring: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Chadwick Boseman
IMDB Rating: 6.5/10
Run Time: 2h 34min

3. Mank

Another streaming movie that’s blown us away this year is Mank. Gary Oldman plays the alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane, one of the greatest movies of all time. The movie is directed by David Fincher, meaning you’re in for a guaranteed good time.

Director: David Fincher
Starring: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins
IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
Run Time: 2h 11min

4. The Gentlemen

The Gentlemen is one of the rare, new release movies 2020 had to offer to theatres before everyone locked down. A return to form from director Guy Ritchie, The Gentlemen follows a marijuana kingpin trying to sell his empire, while schemes of blackmail and bribery try to bring him down. A fantastic mix of comedy and crime, with twists you’ll never see coming and thrilling performances from all involved.

Director: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant
IMDB Rating: 7.8/10
Run Time: 1h 53min

5. Nomadland

Nomadland is a movie you may not have heard of before reading our list of the best movies of 2020. Starring Frances McDormand, of Fargo and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri fame, you’re guaranteed a great performance. The movie follows McDormand’s Fern, an old woman who lost everything in the Great Recession, and now journeys across the West of American as a nomad. This is a visually stunning movie that’s well worth your time.

Director: Chloé Shao
Starring: Frances McDormand, Gay DeForest, Patricia Grier
IMDB Rating: 7.8/10
Run Time: 1h 48min

6. Minari

Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead fame stars in the 2020 movie Minari. The flick follows a Korean family who movies to Arkansas in the 1980s. As you can imagine, the time period and setting are rife for potential conflict and confrontations, but the film doesn’t limit itself to these themes. With only about 25 per cent of the movie being in English, have your reading glasses ready for this heart-breaking and ultimately powerful film.

Director: Lee Isaac Chung
Starring: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Yuh-jung Youn
IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
Run Time: 1h 55min

7. Kajillionaire

If the premise alone doesn’t have you fascinated by Kajillianaire, we don’t know what will. A low level criminal family of three welcome in an outsider to their ranks, leading to the daughter of the family becoming jealous and lashing out. Intriguing, right? Full of wild, whacky, unpredictable performances, you’ll have no clue where the story is going next, in the best possible way.

Director: Miranda July
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Belcher, Kim Estes
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10
Run Time: 1h 44min

8. Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a seemingly simple, yet commanding movie. When a rural Pennsylvania teen mysteriously falls pregnant, her and her best friend collect all their money and travel to New York for help. This dramatic coming of age story depicts the unpredictability of female adolescence, and the importance of friendship through these times.

Director: Eliza Hittman
Starring: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Théodore Pellerin
IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
Run Time: 1h 41min

9. Herself

This time an Amazon Prime original, Herself is a story of resilience and hope. Sandra escapes from her abusive relationship and sets out to build a home for her and her children. In doing so, she begins to rebuild her life, making rich self-discoveries along the way. Herself is a compelling movie that explores an often taboo topic we should all be more conscious of, a theme that was consistent across a number of the best films 2020 brought us.

Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Starring: Clare Dunne, Molly McCann, Ruby Rose O’Hara
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10
Run Time: 1h 37min

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7

Another Netflix giant on our list, The Trial of Chicago 7 features an all star cast depicting the uprise of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, the movie is as fast and sharp as we’ve come to expect from the director. The movie also features stellar performances from Eddie Redmayne and Sacha Baron Cohen, this time in a straight role rather than a comedic parody character.

Director: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharp, Sacha Baron Cohen
IMDB Rating: 7.8/10
Run Time: 2h 9min

11. Dick Johnson is Dead

Dick Johnson Is Dead is the first documentary on our list of the best movies of 2020. Streaming on Netflix, the documentary follows director Kirsten Johnson preparing her father for the end of his life, by making a movie about his many outlandish deaths. The documentary is funny and poignant, while touching on themes of mortality and coming to terms with death. Have the tissues ready for this one.

Director: Kristen Johnson
Starring: Dick Johnson
IMDB Rating: 7.6/10
Run Time: 1h 29min

12. The Sun

Also known as Sun Children, The Sun is a coming of age story from Iran. The movie follows four 12 year old children as they try to survive and support their families in Iran. One of the children is given a guide to a treasure to solve all their problems, but to find it, the gang of children must enrol in a charitable institution that educates street children and child labourers. Do yourself a favour and add The Sun to your watch list.

Director: Majid Majidi
Starring: Ali Nassirian, Javad Ezati, Tannaz Tabatabaei
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
Run Time: 1h 39min

13. Saint Frances

Saint Frances is a movie that explores all the themes of female physiology and sexuality. Our protagonist Bridget takes on the job of a nanny, when an unexpected pregnancy has her questioning her maternal abilities. This low budget, comedy drama movie explores the often taboo topics of women’s rights and biology on the big screen, bringing to light some clear problems within our global society.

Director: Alex Thompson
Starring: Kelly O’Sullivan, Charin Alvarez, Braden Crothers
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10
Run Time: 1h 41min

14. The Nest

The Nest is an expected thriller hidden amongst the plot of a drama film. Jude Law’s hard working family man moves his family out to an English side manor, where things slowly begin to unravel as he loses touch with himself and his family. Saying any more than this would give the plot away, but if you go to press play on this one, know that you’ll be in for a tense, riveting good time.

Director: Sean Durkin
Starring: Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Oona Roche
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10
Run Time: 1h 47min

15. Bad Education

Australia’s own Hugh Jackman stars in the HBO streaming movie Bad Education. Based on a New York Magazine article, Bad Education follows the real-life corruption and embezzlement that occurred in New York’s Roslyn school district. This is one of those ‘based on a true story’ movies you won’t believe happened in real life.

Director: Cory Finley
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Ray Romano, Welker White
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10
Run Time: 1h 48min

16. The Midnight Sky

When George Clooney chooses a project to work on, you know he’s going to give it his all, as you’ll find with The Midnight Sky. Directed by and starring the Hollywood heartthrob, The Midnight Sky is a post-apocalyptic story where Clooney is racing to stop escaped astronauts from returning to the now ruined Earth. This is a movie that’ll have you eager to explore this vast new world.

Director: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo
IMDB Rating: 5.5/10
Run Time: 2h 2min

17. The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time is a Netflix movie that should appeal to you for it’s cast alone. Starring Tom Holland in his first bad boy role, opposite the unstoppable Robert Pattinson, Holland must defend the ones he loves in a town full of crime and corruption. While pacing can be slow from scene to scene, sit back and enjoy the cast chew up the scenery in every shot.

Director: Antonio Campos
Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Bill Skarsgård
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10
Run Time: 2h 18min

18. One Night in Miami

One Night in Miami is one of the best movies 2020 has given us, as well as a movie with a strong, timely political message. One Night in Miami tells a fictional story of one night where Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown meet to discuss their roles in the civil rights movement of the 60’s. Strong performances from the cast help the film to entertain as well as inform, making it one of the best movies of 2020.

Director: Regina King
Starring: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
Run Time: 1h 50min

19. Borat Subsequent Movie Film

Usually with long-awaited sequels, it can be almost impossible to replicate the magic of the original. We’re pleased to say, that Borat Subsequent Movie Film is the exception, and is much, much better than we could have imagined. This time around, Borat is sent to America to deliver his daughter as a gift from Kazakhstan. This witty political film also manages to include a heart-warming father-daughter plot, with a standout performance by Maria Bakalova as Tutar Sagdiyev. All in all, this movie is vary nice!

Director: Jason Woliner
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova
IMDB Rating: 6.8/10
Run Time: 1h 35min

20. The Way Back

The Way Back is a highly emotional and personal story, championed by lead Ben Affleck. When watching, you can’t help but feel Affleck relate to the character he plays, with his real life struggles with alcohol and addiction playing out across the media in past years. Affleck plays a high school basketball coach, who is fighting for redemption as well as his team. A wonderful movie with a sporting, Mighty Ducks undertone.

Director: Gavin O’Connor
Starring: Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Janina Gavankar
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10
Run Time: 1h 48min

21. The Father

The Father is one of those movies with a great concept that really sticks the landing in its execution. Starring the Oscar award-winning Olivia Coleman opposite the also Oscar-winning Anthony Hopkins, we see Hopkins play a father who’s slowly losing his independence to dementia, as well as his grip on reality. The challenges of dementia are shown from the patient’s perspective, a unique story telling device that is sure help audiences better understand Hopkins’ character.

Director: Florian Zellar
Starring: Olivia Coleman, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Gatiss
IMDB Rating: 7.4/10
Run Time: 1h 37min

22. First Cow

If you’re looking for a slow but entertaining movie for your Sunday afternoon, First Cow could be the one for you. This 2020 movie follows a skilled cook who travels across American to join a group of fur trappers. From here, he meets a Chinese immigrant, and they collaborate to create a successful business. Being an A24 film, you’ll find no lack of quality here, from performances to breathtaking cinematography.

Director: Kelly Reichardt
Starring: John Magaro, Orian Lee, Dylan Smith
IMDB Rating: 7/10
Run Time: 2h 2min

23. Relic

Finally, a scary movie on our list of the best movies of 2020. Another Australian made film on our list, Relic follows a mother and daughter who are haunted after going to their dementia burdened grandmother’s home. Be ready for jump scares and long, tense moments, because this just be one of the scariest movies of 2020.

Director: Natalie Erika James
Starring: Robyn Nevin, Emily Mortimer, Bella Heathcote
IMDB Rating:  6/10
Run Time: 1h 29min

24. Athlete A

The second documentary on our list, Athlete A explores the investigation into USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. A peak behind the curtain of the high intensity, make or break world that is competitive gymnastics, the documentary talks to professionals in the field about the impacts of Doctor Nassar’s abuse on them and their careers. This remains an ongoing investigation at the time of release, so expect to be left pondering questions and outcomes.

Director: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
Starring: Maggie Nichols, Steve Berta, Mark Alesia
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10
Run Time: 1h 43min

25. Hamilton

During a time where live performances were unavailable to audiences, Lin-Manuel Miranda hits the small screen with a professional filming of Hamilton. Streaming exclusively on Disney+, you can now watch this multi-award-winning Broadway production from the comfort of your couch. It’s about time you see what all the fuss is about.

Director: Thomas Kail
Starring: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Phillipa Soo, Leslie Odom Jr.
IMDB Rating: 8.6/10
Run Time: 2h 40min

26. Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is a Polish film that questions the bureaucratic nature of religion. Daniel, an inmate at a youth detention centre, experiences a spiritual reawakening, and wants to become a priest. His criminal record prevents him from legally acquiring the role, so instead he dresses as a priest and becomes the illegitimate minister of a small-town parish. Unbelievably based on a true story, you’ll never see what comes next.

Director: Jan Komasa
Starring: Bartosz Bielenia, Aleksandra Konieczna, Eliza Rycembel
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10
Run Time: 1h 55min

27. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Ma Rainy’s Black Bottom is a period piece drama that shines through its acting and musical performances. The film follows a tension-filled recording session between the great Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and her manager who is trying to control her music. Staring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, in what is sadly his last movie role, every character is fierce and likable, making for an overall great watch.

Director: George C. Wolfe
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Colman Domingo
IMDB Rating: 7.5/10
Run Time: 1h 34min

28. Another Round

Another Round asks the question, what would life be like if you were always a little tipsy? The Danish/Swedish film follows four adult friends as they test a theory, that maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their system will improve their creativity and problem solving. Led by Mads Mikkelsen, the tone of the movie can turn from drama to comedy on a knives edge, making for a riveting viewing experience.

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10
Run Time: 1h 57min

29. The King of Staten Island

Pete Davidson stars in this semi-autobiographical movie, written and produced by Judd Apatow. More serious and emotional than previous Apatow Productions, The King of Staten Island follows Davidson as he learns to grow up and move on from the grief of losing his father in 9/11. If you’re looking for a feel good movie, check out King of Staten Island.

Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10
Run Time: 2h 16min

30. Farewell Amor

Closing out our extensive list of the best movies of 2020 is Farewell Amor. After spending 17 years apart, an Angolan immigrant family use dance to overcome the distance that has formed between them. A huge hit on the indie awards scene, see for yourself what critics are raving about in Farewell Amor.

Director: Ekwa Msangi
Starring: Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah, Jayme Lawson
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10
Run Time: 1h 35min

31. I’m Thinking of Ending Things

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is just as dramatic as it sounds. The movie follows the tone of director and writer Charlie Kaufman’s other works, such as Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. On the brink of ending their relationship, a young woman visits her boyfriend’s family on their farm, where she questions even more her relationship and her life. This is a movie where you may want your therapist on speed dial.

Director: Charlie Kaufman
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10
Run Time: 2h 14min

32. Palm Springs

Without a doubt, Palm Springs is one of the best movies of 2020. This fresh take on the Groundhog Day premise, where someone (this time both Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti) get trapped in a time loop, having to repeat the same day over and over. The comedy is masterful, and doesn’t take away from the romantic or dramatic moments later in the film. If you watch any movie from 2020, watch Palm Springs.

Director: Max Barbakow
Starring: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons
IMDB Rating: 7.4/10
Run Time: 1h 30min

33. Promising Young Woman

Carey Mulligan plays a woman traumatized by past events in Promising Young Woman. One by one, she seeks out revenge on those who she feels deserve it, in a truly twisted and sometimes comedic revenge tale.

Director: Emerald Fennell
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox
IMDB Rating: 6/10
Run Time: 1h 53min

34. Extraction

Chris Hemsworth takes the lead in the John Wick inspired action flick Extraction. Playing a black market mercenary, Hemsworth must take down everyone in his way to rescue the kidnapped child of an imprisoned crime lord. Directed by a veteran stunt co-ordinator, the action cinematography here is as real and gritty as you can get.

Director: Sam Hargrave
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Bryon Lerum, Ryder Lerum
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10
Run Time: 1h 56min

35. Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog was the unexpected smash hit of the summer back at the start of 2020. Having to basically start over when audiences were repulsed by their first trailer, and fearsome Sonic character design, the movie that was released somehow managed to be coherent and a fun time for all. Jim Carrey gives an electric performance that harkens back to his Ace Ventura days.

Director: Jeff Fowler
Starring: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey
IMDB Rating: 6.5/10
Run Time: 1h 39min

36. The Old Guard

A team of mercenaries that have lived for centuries are exposed in Charlize Theron’s action-packed movie The Old Guard. The Netflix action-adventure movie follows a team of ageless assassins, as they fight to keep their lives a secret from the outside world. Like Extraction before, this movie has some kick-ass action scenes.

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
Run Time: 2h 5min

37. Enola Holmes

Enola Holmes is Netflix’s go at a young adult mystery/adventure movie, starring their own Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown. Brown plays Enola Holmes, the just as sleuth-y younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, in search for her missing mother. Enola Holmes is a fun movie for the whole family.

Director: Harry Bradbeer
Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
Run Time: 2h 3min

38. On the Rocks

On the Rocks is Apple’s only big movie release on our list from their streaming platform Apple TV+. Reconnecting director Sofia Coppola and legendary human Bill Murray, the movie follows a young mother reconnecting with her playboy father as a dry, witty comedy. Much like Coppola’s other films, pacing can be slow, but the performances and visuals will keep you eyes glued to the screen.

Director: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, Marlon Wayans
IMDB Rating: 6.5/10
Run Time: 1h 36min

39. Tenet

Tenet is the Christopher Nolan blockbuster that was set to save cinemas. While it didn’t reach that goal, it’s still a truly mind-boggling good time. Explaining the plot of the film would take a whole article in itself, so we’ll just say that things are going backwards and its up to John David Washington’s character to get to the bottom of it.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki
IMDB Rating: 7.6/10
Run Time: 2h 30min

40. The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man is a modern take on the Universal classic monster character. Writer/director Leigh Whannell uses the Invisible Man character to personify the fears of domestic abuse survivors, using tricky camera angles to mislead audiences and have them second-guessing what is and isn’t there.

Director: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10
Run Time: 2h 4min

41. Bill & Ted Face the Music

If you’re a fan of the first two Bill & Ted movies you’re going to love this long-awaited sequel, Bill & Ted Face the Music. With themes of family, parenthood, and legacy, you’ll find yourself going from laughing to crying throughout. This movie is certainly most excellent, dudes.

Director: Dean Parisot
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Kristen Schaal
IMDB Rating: 6.1/10
Run Time: 1h 31min

42. Mulan

Mulan is the Disney blockbuster that was supposed to take over cinemas this year, instead finding its home on Disney’s streaming service Disney+. The live-action remake of the animated classic takes a more serious approach, forgoing the songs and magical dragon for a story of honour and some pretty impressive action scenes. This is another big-screen flick you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

Director: Niki Caro
Starring: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Li Gong
IMDB Rating: 5.5/10
Run Time: 1h 55min

You may also like:
23 Best Superhero Movies of All Time, Ranked
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General FAQ

What is the best movie of 2020?

According to independent ratings from IMDB, the top-rated film of 2020 was the Disney Plus smash Hamilton. The film currently has a rating of 8.9/10, making it the top pick for the year 2020.

What are some good movies released in 2020?

The Invisible Man, Borat Subsequent Movie Film and The Gentlemen are just a few of the great movies that have been released in 2020. While much of the industry was under a cloud of uncertainty, these films managed to buck the trend and were released through streaming platforms to moderate success.

Which film releases were delayed in 2020?

Black Widow, No Time To Die and Free Guy among other movies have been delayed from 2020 to 2021 or later.