Ladies and gentlemen, as we hop into the cinematic time capsule of 2016, we’re about to embark on a journey through the best movies of 2016 that still linger in our memories. From quirky comedies to thrilling action and thought-provoking dramas, this year was a rollercoaster of emotions and genres. So, grab your popcorn and let’s revisit some of the standout moments from the silver screen in 2016.
10. Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Starting off our top 10 movies of 2016 is Hail Caesar! In the early 1950s, Eddie Mannix is busy at work trying to solve all the problems of the actors and filmmakers at Capitol Pictures. His latest assignments involve a disgruntled director, a singing cowboy, a beautiful swimmer, and a handsome dancer.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Mannix faces his biggest challenge when Baird Whitlock gets kidnapped while in costume for the swords-and-sandals epic “Hail, Caesar!” If the studio doesn’t pay $100,000, it’s the end of the line for the movie star.
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum
Release date: February 5, 2016
Runtime: 106 minutes
9. The Lobster (2016)
Colin Farrell stars as David, a man who has just been dumped by his wife. To make matters worse, David now lives in a society where single people have 45 days to find a new true love. If you don’t make this love connection, you are turned into an animal and released into the woods.
David stays at a mysterious hotel and searches for a new partner. But after several romantic misadventures, he makes a daring escape.
Not your normal relationship movie, but the shock value of many scenes holds your attention. The importance of time is made a premium by everyone. Lanthimos movies are off kilter by design, and that’s exactly what makes Lobster a solid pick for our best movies from 2016 list.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, Olivia Colman, Ashley Jensen, Ariane Labed, Angeliki Papoulia, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux, Michael Smiley, Ben Whishaw
Release date: May 13, 2016
Runtime: 118 minutes
8. The Nice Guys (2016)
Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a down-on-his-luck private eye in 1977 Los Angeles. Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a hired enforcer who…hurts people for a living.
Fate turns them into unlikely partners after a young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) mysteriously disappears. Healy and March learn the hard way that some dangerous people are also looking for Amelia. Their investigation moves along, but only turn up more dead bodies.
The two run all over Hollywood looking for Amelia with no luck. They do, however, encounter one obstacle after another.
Our frustration grows right alongside these two, but The Nice Guys delivers one of the best comedy movies 2016.
Director: Shane Black
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, Kim Basinger
Release date: May 20, 2016
Runtime: 116 minutes
7. American Pastoral (2016)
#7 on our top movies 2016 list stars Swede Levov (Ewan McGregor) and Dawn Levov (Jennifer Connelly). American Pastoral follows “Swede”, a legendary high school athlete, who grows up to marry a former beauty queen.
Swede’s seemingly perfect life shatters when his daughter rebels by becoming a revolutionary. She commits a deadly act of political terrorism during the Vietnam War and vanishes.
Director: Ewan McGregor
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, Peter Riegert, Rupert Evans, Uzo Aduba, Molly Parker, David Strathairn
Release date: October 21, 2016
Runtime: 108 minutes
6. Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016)
Our top 10 movies of 2016 continue with a film made in New Zealand–Hunt For The Wilderpeople. Raised on hip-hop and foster care, defiant city kid Ricky gets a fresh start in the New Zealand countryside.
He quickly finds himself at home with his new foster family: the loving Aunt Bella, the cantankerous Uncle Hec, and a dog named Tupac. When a tragedy strikes, that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, both he and Hec run.
A national manhunt ensues, and the newly branded outlaws face their options: go out in a blaze of glory or overcome their differences and survive as a family.
If you don’t want to continue reading, I guarantee Wilderpeople is one of the best movies on Netflix 2016 that you can watch.
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rhys Darby, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House
Release date: June 24, 2016
Runtime: 101 minutes
5. Jason Bourne (2016)
The director (Tommy Lee Jones) of the CIA assigns a top agent (Alicia Vikander) to draw former operatives Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) out of hiding. Same story, but we never get tired of this movie franchise.
Nearly a half billion in box office receipts says we’re not alone. A solid performance from the entire Matt Damon/Paul Greengrass team in creating one of the best action movies 2016.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Riz Ahmed
Release date: July 29, 2016
Runtime: 123 minutes
4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Marvel must have a say in blockbuster movies each year it seems. So, why should they be left out of top action movies 2016 conversation?
Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo divides members of the team.
Captain America (Chris Evans) thinks superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government gridlock. But Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) disagrees and puts the matter up for a vote.
As the dispute turns into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side. You can’t miss this action movie.
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl
Release date: May 6, 2016
Runtime: 147 minutes
3. The Founder (2016)
Chronicling the meteoric rise of McDonald’s fast food empire, The Founder tells the true story of how salesman Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) met brothers Mac (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman).
Ray was pushing milkshake machines, and the brothers were creating a hamburger restaurant with a system.
Kroc subtly maneuvers himself into position to take control of their company. Kroc soon gains full control of McDonald’s and the name too.
And forget a meager best films of 2016 mention on our list. If you have the skill to negotiate away someone’s name, you’re one of the greatest salesmen ever.
Ray is as shrewd as they come. A good movie to stream this weekend–especially good if you have any entrepreneurial ambitions.
Director: John Lee Hancock
Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, B. J. Novak, Laura Dern
Release date: January 20, 2017
Runtime: 115 minutes
2. The Birth of a Nation (2016)
This critically acclaimed film wasn’t one of the most popular movies of 2016, but it was one of the most memorable.
Birth is a 2016 historical period drama about Nat Turner, the slave who led a rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831. The film is written, produced, and directed by Nate Parker (his directorial debut). Parker pulls double duty as the film’s lead Nat Turner.
The Birth of a Nation had a $8 million production budget and film in Georgia. There are no other movies in 2016 that went head-to-head with the ugly history that is slavery in America.
Director: Nate Parker
Cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Colman Domingo, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Penelope Ann Miller, Gabrielle Union
Release date: October 7, 2016
Runtime: 120 minutes
1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
#1 on our top 10 movies of 2016 is Rogue One. An outlaw band of resistance fighters unite to steal the Death Star and bring new hope to the galaxy.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. Slightly different from other films in the franchise, but with enough familiarity to connect.
It basically explores the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining the essential Star Wars feel.
There was little competition for Rogue One for box office bragging rights. $1B for those of you that are wondering. But it’s not really the explosions or special effects that keep bringing audiences back. What earned Rogue the best movies of 2016 crown was fulfilling the fantasy that is Star Wars.
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen
Release date: December 16, 2016
Runtime: 134 minutes
In the year 2016, cinema offered us a diverse array of stories, from intergalactic adventures to harrowing historical accounts and tales of ambition. These films, each unique in its own right, have left an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape. As we revisit these best movies of 2016, we’re reminded of the power of storytelling and the enduring impact of exceptional filmmaking.