Most popular movies 2021
THE BEST MOVIES OF 2021, RANKED BY TOMATOMETER
Rotten Tomatoes is collecting every new Certified Fresh movie into one list, creating our guide to the best movies of 2021. Among them you’ll find blockbusters (Shang-Chi), documentaries (Lily Topples the World), awards contenders (The Green Knight), the cutting-edge in horror (The Night House).
Movies achieve Certified Fresh status by maintaining a steady Tomatometer score of at least 75% after a minimum number of reviews, with that number depending on how the movie was released. For wide releases (of which there were significantly fewer this year, as you can imagine), the minimum number of reviews is 80. For streaming or limited release movies, that number is 40. And finally, it’s 20 reviews for movies premiering on television. Across all release types, each movie needs at least five of its reviews to be published by Top Critics. Once a movie goes Certified Fresh, the only way to lose it is by dropping below 70%.
After the world-altering year of 2020, critics and audiences and studio heads alike are navigating 2021 with its evolving distribution models and industry standards. So far, streaming continues to deliver the goods straight to the people while theaters have now reopened in earnest, and are delivering some big hits (Free Guy, Black Widow, and yes, Shang-Chi).
4. The Last Duel
6. Licorice Pizza
8. The Worst Person in the World
10. The Power of the Dog
Read on for the best movies of 2021, ranked by Tomatometer, and check back often as we update the list!
Newly added: Parallel Mothers, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Memoria, The Novice, Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Lost Daughter, Boiling Point, Hive.
At the beginning of last year, it was impossible to anticipate just how much the moviegoing experience would change over the following months. As theaters across the globe closed, many films shifted to a streaming-only release strategy, and blockbusters got punted to a year or two later in the wake of the pandemic. This year has been similar in at least one significant way: It’s strange. With movies getting hybrid releases and major studios attempting to make a return to “normal,” it’s been hard to predict exactly what would come out and when, even as theaters reopen. Hopefully, that makes a list like this more useful than ever.
We’ve updated these rankings throughout the year as new movies were released, but now that 2021 is coming to a close, the list is complete. Here are the 40 best movies.
For more movies to watch, check out our rankings of Best Horror Movies of 2021, Best Action Movies of 2021, and our favorite movies from 2020.