The 20 Best Movies of 2020

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The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the economy like nothing else in recent memory. No industry was spared, and the entertainment business took a severe hit. Hollywood studios found themselves forced to postpone the release of highly anticipated movies such as Marvel’s “Black Widow” and the latest installment of the Mission Impossible franchise as movie theaters across the nation were ordered to shut down.

Still, 2020 was not deprived of quality productions, most of which were released on streaming platforms as lockdowns led to a surge in streaming consumption and on-demand video services.

24/7 Tempo created an index based on data from the Internet Movie Database and movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to rank the best movies of 2020. Compared to years past, female directors have a strong showing with eight of the 20 productions on the list being directed or co-directed by a woman.

2020 was also a very strong year for documentaries — 12 of the 20 best movies of the year are documentaries. They vary from accounts of investigative reporting to humorous and graceful perspectives on imminent death.

From adaptations of novels to stories that grapple with social issues, the films on this list make people laugh and cry and forget from the stranger-than-fiction year that 2020 has been.

To determine the best movies of 2020, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Internet Movie Database and movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. We created an index based on the IMDb user rating and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score for each movie as of Jan. 6, 2021. To be considered, each film must have at least 1,000 IMDb reviews and be included on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of The Best Movies of 2020, Ranked By Tomatometer. IMDb scores among movies on the list range from 7.2 to 8.6, while Tomatometer scores range from 96% to 100%.