/Film's Top 15 Movies Of 2016: Which Movies Reign Supreme For The Entire Staff?

For the past week, the entire /Film team has been bidding adieu to 2016 in style, publishing our personal lists counting down our favorite movies of the year. But those were just appetizers to the main event: the overall /Film top 15, where the personal lists of the entire staff are brought together to form one big list representing the site as a whole.

Blood was spilled. Tears were shed. Numbers were crunched. But we did it. This is the official, mathematically proven /Film Top 15 Films of 2016.

If you remember last year's /Film Top 15, you may remember the system we used to determine the the list. Each writer (Ethan Anderton, David Chen, Jack Giroux, Jacob Hall, Angie Han, and Peter Sciretta) submitted their personal list of favorite 2016 movies. The film in each number one spot received 15 points, while the film in each number two spot received 14 points, and so on, with the film in each number fifteen spot receiving 1 point.

This system allows for a general consensus on which films were the most well-loved, while giving films that have passionate fans an edge against movies that everyone kind-of, sort-of liked. Any ties (of which there were two this year) were settled through a separate email discussion.

Once all of the ballots were turned in, there were 45 movies with at least one point. So before we get to the final list, here are the 30 runners-up, the movies that received votes but didn't garner enough support to make the final list.

The Nice Guys final trailer

The Runners-Up

High-Rise: 1 point

A Bigger Splash: 2 points

The Giant's Dream: 2 points

Hail, Caesar!: 3 points

Sausage Party: 3 points

Other People: 4 points

Loving: 5 points

Magicians: Life in the Impossible: 5 points

American Honey: 6 points

Christine: 6 points

Hell or High Water: 7 points

Indignation: 7 points

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: 7 points

Everybody Wants Some!!: 8 points

The Edge of Seventeen: 9 points

The Invitation:  9 points

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping:  9 points

Tower: 9 points

Kubo and the Two Strings: 10 points

Little Sister: 10 points

Zootopia: 10 points

Paterson: 11 points

Weiner: 11 points

The Witch: 11 points

Swiss Army Man: 12 points

Tickled: 12 points

Don't Think Twice: 13 points

Jackie: 13 points

Love & Friendship: 13 points

The Nice Guys: 13 points

/Film's Top 15 Movies of 2016

20th Century Women trailer

15. 20th Century Women

15 points

While writer/director Mike Mills' 20th Century Women was present on only one /Film top 10 list, it was Jack Giroux's favorite movie of the year, giving it just enough weight to break into the our group top 15.

"Each moment in this movie is full of life, with every emotion radiating off the screen. There's a tremendous sense of joy to Mills' film. The director has made a movie that celebrates moms, people as kindhearted as William (Billy Crudup), and the cool, honest adults from your teenage years, like Abbie, who weren't bad tastemakers to be around." -Jack GirouxMovies Coming to Netflix

14. Captain America: Civil War

16 points

The best superhero movie of 2016 (and the only superhero movie present on this list), Captain America: Civil War continues fine-tuning and perfecting the Marvel Studios formula, delivering a combination of crowd-pleasing action, wonderful character beats, and unexpected emotion from unlikely sources.

"It's insanely rewatchable, gives great introductions to characters like Black Panther and Spider-Man, and takes superhero confrontation to the next level in a third act that packs a serious punch in more ways than one." -Ethan Anderton10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

13. 10 Cloverfield Lane

18 points

Dan Trachtenberg's 10 Cloverfield Lane opened in March 2016, so it's a testament to the film's tense storytelling and overwhelming sense of claustrophobic dread that we remember it so vividly (and so fondly) almost a year later.

"It's full of endless suspense and has plenty of twists and turns right to the very end. John Goodman plays the perfect paranoid doomsday prepper while Mary Elizabeth Winstead proves that she just might be the next Sigourney Weaver." -Ethan AndertonLife, Animated

12. Life, Animated

18 points

Of the documentaries on this list, Life, Animated is the more heartwarming and life-affirming of the two, telling the true story of Owen Suskind, an autistic boy who learned to communicate through Disney animated movies.

"This is one of the most moving documentaries I've ever seen ... Documentary footage is cleverly juxtaposed with clips from various Disney movies, as well as some stunning original animation that brings Owen's emotions to life. Believe me when I say you'll laugh and cry." -Ethan Andertontop 10 movies of 2016 green room

11. Green Room

21 points

2016's most vicious movie was also one of its best, a horror thriller that knows exactly when and where to plunge the knife...and how to twist the blade for maximum suffering.

"...director Jeremy Saulnier has shown that he's a fan of old-school filmmaking and effects; you viscerally feel (and are sickened by) the impact of each stabbing and gunshot wound. Saulnier's smart script and the way it ratchets up the tension had me clenching for the entire 95-minute runtime." -David Chen"Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room is the single most intense movie released this year, a horror film that drops you in a pot of water and increases the heat so slowly that you don't realize how truly, powerfully fucked everything is until your skin has started melting off." -Jacob HallThe Lobster

10. The Lobster

23 points

The Lobster may be Yorgos Lanthimos' English-language debut, but his twisted, maddening, and bleakly hilarious style survived the transition without a single compromise. It infuriates as many viewers as it inspires, which only makes its fans love it all the more."...underneath that heightened artificiality is something raw and true, and even, in spite of itself, kind of hopeful." -Angie Han"The Lobster is one unsettling, wacky, romantic, beautiful, and original story. Very few movies last year resembled Yorgos Lanthimos's dark romantic comedy. A part of its appeal is that it isn't a film we see every month at the theaters. It's a distinct vision that hilariously explores the ups and downs of the single life and relationships with its fantastic high concept. Sometimes the more ridiculous The Lobster gets, the more truthful it becomes." -Jack Girouxtop 10 movies of 2016 oj made in america

9. O.J.: Made in America

27 points

For the past few months, the film critic community has argued over whether or not Ezra Edelman's O.J.: Made in America is a movie or a television miniseries. Everyone has a different opinion. But everyone also seems to agree that it's a masterpiece either way.

"When I first watched Ezra Edelman's sprawling 7.5 hour film about O.J. Simpson, I called it the Fury Road of documentaries, in the sense that as I was watching it, roughly once every 10 minutes, my jaw dropped and I wondered aloud, 'How did they get this footage?!'" -David Chen"To understand the O.J. trial, you have to understand Los Angeles, and to understand Los Angeles, you have to first grapple with race in America. [Director Ezra] Edelman does just that and the results are disturbing, sobering, relevant, and, let's be honest here, wickedly entertaining. Even at eight hours, this movie feels far too short." -Jacob HallHunt for the Wilderpeople

8. Hunt For the Wilderpeople

30 points

Taika Waititi's What We Do in the Shadows was a surprise contender on last year's top 15, coming in second place on a list stacked with great movies. His follow-up effortlessly glided into the 2016 edition of this list, making one thing clear: /Film really, really loves this guy's movies.

"After delivering a movie that was beloved by pretty much everyone at /Film last year, director Taika Waititi has come through with another hilarious addition to his filmography, but this one has much more heart." -Ethan Anderton"Taika Waititi has a soft spot for misfits, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople sends two of them traipsing through the New Zealand bush to find a family of sorts. It feels like a childhood classic waiting to happen, in a similar vein as Pixar and Roald Dahl, but with an oddball spirit that's entirely its own." -Angie HanMoana Clip - You're Welcome

7. Moana

31 points

Disney Animation has found its strongest groove since the early '90s, seemingly churning out a new instant classic ever year or so. Moana is the best of the "new Disney Renaissance," combining old fashioned Disney storytelling with stunning animation and incredible songs.

"With a spotlight shining on a culture that had yet to be touched significantly by Disney, and a strong female lead who doesn't need romance to have character definition, this musical adventure has charm, poise and a soundtrack that is even better than Frozen." -Ethan Anderton"This movie combines everything I love about Disney movies from my childhood: An inspiring storyline about self-actualization, catchy songs that speak towards universal truths, and spectacular, cutting-edge animation." -David Chen"We are in the middle of a new Disney Renaissance, and Moana is the studio at its very finest. No, it doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it does put a new spin on that old staple, the Disney princess tale. Moana sets sail on the Pacific and takes us through a journey filled with laughs, tears, and even some Mad Max: Fury Road-worthy action, all set to an incredibly earworm-y soundtrack by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa'i, and Mark Mancina." -Angie Hanthe handmaiden review

6. The Handmaiden

33 points

After making his Hollywood debut with the fantastic Stoker, director Park Chan-wook returned to South Korea to make what is quite possibly his best movie yet. As you'd expect, The Handmaiden is twisted and violent and deeply weird. But you may not be prepared for how sexy, romantic, and truly hilarious it really is.

"This film shows director Park Chan-wook at the height of his powers, weaving an extremely complex narrative into sumptuous visuals and spectacular production design." -David Chen"It's sexy in all the ways you'd expect — nudity, explicit love scenes, kinky fantasies — but it's also intimate and warm, laced with real passion and affection. It's also one of the most sensual experiences Park has ever delivered, with the camera lingering on the lush surroundings and lavish costumes that keep Hideko and Sook-hee bound to the home and to one another." -Angie Hantop 10 movies of 2016 sing street

5. Sing Street

34 points

John Carney's coming-of-age musical is the feel-great movie of 2016, an inspiring, hopeful, and relentlessly positive look at art as the best way to build friendships, escape a rotten situation, and find out who your truly are.

"From the amazing, catchy original soundtrack of songs created by director John Carney to the fantastic ensemble of young talent playing the titular band, this is just a feel-good, music-charged gem about the bonds of brotherhood, daring to dream in the face of authority that punishes you for being different, and just being true to what's inside you." -Ethan Anderton"If you look at its component parts, Sing Street should have been a treacly disaster. However, writer/director John Carney showcases a gentle and thoughtful touch that elevates its movie-of-the-week premise into something joyful and beautiful, a testament not only to music, but to youthful rebellion and the joy of creation." -Jacob Halltop 10 movies of 2016 manchester by the sea

4. Manchester by the Sea

34 points

A movie as tragic as Manchester by the Sea shouldn't be this engrossing, this funny, and this accessible. The beauty of Kenneth Lonergan's film is how it approaches the universality of grief – sadness isn't a single emotion, but rather dozens of different, smaller emotions colliding at once.

"...this movie delivers such an authentic portrayal of grief, the bond of family and the struggle of loss that it never feels like it's just trying to be an Oscar contender." -Ethan Anderton"Manchester by the Sea had me completely engaged from beginning to end, laughing and crying, but it wasn't until a few days later when Kenneth Lonergan's heartbreaking (and often very funny) film about grief started to really get to me." -Jack Giroux"...while Kenneth Lonergan's film is appropriately brutal and uncomfortable and unflinching in its portrait of crippling tragedy, it is transcendent because it recognizes that the passage of time breeds comedy. The gallows humor in Manchester by the Sea is as effective, and as important, as the gut-punching sorrow, a perfect reflection of how we protect ourselves with the mundane and the ridiculous lest we totally fall apart." -Jacob Hall"There's nothing especially noble or meaningful about the way its characters suffer, and the film has no interest in piling on the misfortunes — the tribulations they've already been through are enough. Its empathy takes the form of a clear-eyed acknowledgment that there are some wounds that will never heal and some wrongs that can never be righted, and that the rest of the world keeps on marching forward even when your own has stopped." -Angie Hantop 10 movies of 2016 la la land

3. La La Land

53 points

Damien Chazelle's follow-up to Whiplash is a movie punch-drunk in love with the past, but also keenly aware of the present. The language of classic Hollywood musicals is re-appropriated to tell a thoroughly modern (and thoroughly melancholy) story of dreams that come true and dreams that don't.

"This movie is cinematic perfection. It's a love story that isn't necessarily about the romance between a boy and a girl. It's a story about the romance that we have with our dreams and ambitions. It's about the dreams that we strive for, and those same dreams that we give up when another dream comes along." -Ethan Anderton"Stunning is the right word to describe La La Land. Chazelle's follow-up to Whiplash is often a visual marvel, partly because of [Ryan] Gosling and [Emma] Stone's undeniable charisma, their excellently choreographed moves, and those costumes." -Jack Giroux"La La Land is a melancholy film, but it knows that every beautiful moment is composed of shards collected from previously broken dreams. Life is hard, love is hard, and you're going to fail a lot and wish that things could have been different...but every failure makes you stronger and every love will arm you to face the days ahead." -Jacob Halltop 10 movies of 2016 moonlight

2. Moonlight

61 points

The only film to occupy two number one spots among the /Film staff, Moonlight is 2016's most empathetic movie, a powerful, subtle experience that confronts masculinity and sexuality with a gentle, often funny, often romantic, and occasionally painful touch.

"This is a movie about what it really means to be a man, a challenge to how masculinity is defined, especially among the black population. But most of all, it's a story about love, loving yourself, and letting yourself love who your heart tells you to love." -Ethan Anderton"More than any other film on this list, it managed to immerse me into the life of another human being, and invited me to contend with his struggles, his triumphs, his moments of discovery, his tragedies, his pain. It also elicits a reaction that I think we all need more of in the coming days: empathy." -David Chen"Moonlight loves its characters and wants you understand them, to walk with them on their journey. It's a bumpy road, but it's a trip worth taking. The reward at the end is understanding. And love." -Jacob Hall"I'd been expecting something bigger, louder, more ostentatiously Important given all the hype, and wasn't quite sure what to make of the subtle, slow-burn drama I'd gotten instead. Then in the days that followed, I kept thinking about it. And thinking about it. I saw it a second time, and then a third. I'd see it again tonight and tomorrow if I could. This movie has gotten under my skin, and I never want it to go away." -Angie Hantop 10 movies of 2016 arrival

1. Arrival

63 points

Perhaps Arrival was destined to be /Film's number one movie of 2016. It was the only movie to be present on every single list and it really does have something for everyone: it's a wickedly intelligence science fiction movie and a stirring visual effects spectacle and a beautiful story of what you do (and what you give up) for love.

"This is a movie which starts as a compelling story about humanity trying to sort out its first encounter with alien life, and then turns it into something even more significant and intimate by way of a third act revelation that will deliver one of the biggest gut punches you'll receive this year." -Ethan Anderton"It's easy to see how this adaptation might not have been able to pull off its ending since the movie is so story-driven and fast-paced, but [Denis] Villeneuve, screenwriter Eric Heisserer, and Amy Adams deliver with a devasting ending that sticks with you long after the credits roll." -Jack Giroux"It's a sentimental reveal, but it's one that tugs on the heartstrings while simultaneously providing a specific human face for the film's most oblique science fiction concepts. Arrival is a film powered by hope, overjoyed by discovery, and in love with human possibility. It will also make you cry a whole bunch." -Jacob Hall"It's all too uncommon to see a sci-fi film that stresses empathy and cooperation over paranoia and conflict, and more unusual still to see one that does so by venturing into the field of linguistics. But gradually, Arrival reveals the bloody, beating heart powering that giant brain." – Angie Hantop 10 movies of 2016 la la land

Ethan Anderton's Top 15

15. Captain America: Civil War

14. Manchester by the Sea

13. Moana

12. Other People

11. 10 Cloverfield Lane

10. Life, Animated

9. Indignation

8. The Edge of Seventeen

7. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

6. Don't Think Twice

5. Arrival

4. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

3. Sing Street

2. Moonlight

1. La La Land

The Handmaiden

David Chen's Top 15

15. Hunt For the Wilderpeople

14. Life, Animated

13. Captain America: Civil War

12. La La Land

11. Arrival

10. Christine

9. Moana

8. Green Room

7. Tower

6. Swiss Army Man

5. Weiner

4. Tickled

3. Moonlight

2. O.J.: Made in America

1. The Handmaiden

20th Century Women

Jack Giroux's Top 15

15. The Edge of Seventeen

14. A Bigger Splash

13. Paterson

12. Moonlight

11. Green Room

10. Hell or High Water

9. Jackie

8. Everybody Wants Some!!

7. The Invitation

6. Little Sister

5. Manchester by the Sea

4. La La Land

3. Arrival

2. The Lobster

1. 20th Century Women

top 10 movies of 2016 the witch

Jacob Hall's Top 15

15. High-Rise

14. The Lobster

13. Hail, Caesar!

12. The Handmaiden

11. American Honey

10. Jackie

9. Sing Street

8. Green Room

7. Manchester by the Sea

6. Kubo and the Two Strings

5. The Witch

4. Arrival

3. O.J.: Made in America

2. La La Land

1. Moonlight


Angie Han's Top 15

15. American Honey

14. Swiss Army Man

13. Don't Think Twice

12. The Nice Guys

11. Loving

10. Zootopia

9. The Lobster

8. Paterson

7. Arrival

6. Moana

5. Hunt For the Wilderpeople

4. Manchester by the Sea

3. Love & Friendship

2. The Handmaiden

1. Moonlight

Science of Arrival

Peter Sciretta's Top 15

15. Hell or High Water

14. The Giant's Dream

13. Sausage Party

12. Zootopia

11. Magicians: Life in the Impossible

10. Hunt For the Wilderpeople

9. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

8. La La Land

7. The Nice Guys

6. Life, Animated

5. Moana

4. Captain America: Civil War

3. 10 Cloverfield Lane

2. Sing Street

1. Arrival