The Best Movies of 2017

  • Publish Date: January 4, 2018
  • Comments: ↓ 2 user comments

Faces Places is the best-reviewed movie of 2017

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2017 95 Faces Places
2016 99 Moonlight
2015 96 Carol
2014 100 Boyhood
2013 97 12 Years a Slave
2012 95 Zero Dark Thirty
High Scoring Movies by Year
(Minimum 7 Reviews)

For the first time in the 21st century, a documentary has taken the title of Metacritic's highest-scoring movie of the year.

Faces Places, which finds 89-year-old director Agnes Varda roaming the French countryside with 33-year-old photo-muralist J.R., outscored all other releases in 2017. It's the first time in five years that no film has exceeded a score of 95. And the year's highest-scoring, English-language narrative film, Dunkirk, scored "only" 94.

That said, 2017 marked the third consecutive year that the number of truly outstanding films—marked by Metascores of 90 or higher—was in the double digits. There were 11 such films in the past year, down just slightly from a record-high 12 in 2016. (See chart below.)

In all, 603 films released during 2017 received at least seven reviews from top professional critics. Of those, 357 received positive reviews (scoring 61 or higher). That's an almost shocking 59% approval rate, well up from 2016's figure of 53%.

A total of 69 of those films received a Metascore of 81 or higher, the cutoff we use to indicate "universal acclaim" from reviewers. That is also significantly higher than the number for 2016. And the average Metascore for all film crept up from 60.3 in 2016 to 62.3 in 2017. Either we just experienced a boom year in terms of cinematic quality, or grade inflation is on the rise. (It probably helps that only four 2017 releases scored lower than 20, compared to seven such horrendous films in both 2016 and 2015 and 14 in 2014.)

Total number of films scoring at least 90, by year

The year's best films

Below are 2017's highest-scoring overall films regardless of genre, followed by separate lists of the year's best movies in a variety of categories.

Highest-Scoring Movies Released in 2017

movie still 
Movie Score Watch Now
1Faces Places95 
2A Fantastic Woman94 
3Dunkirk94 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
4Lady Bird94 
5Call Me by Your Name93 
6Foxtrot92 
7The Florida Project92 
8Phantom Thread92 
9EX LIBRIS: The New York Public Library91 
10I Called Him Morgan90Buy From Amazon Instant VideoiTunes
11Loveless90 
12Columbus89 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes Hulu
13Uncertain89Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
14In Transit88 
15Quest88 
16Rat Film88 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
17Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri87 
18Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan87Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
19The Farthest87Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Netflix
20Jane87 
21My Journey Through French Cinema87Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
22The Shape of Water86 
23My Happy Family86 Watch on Netflix
Chasing Coral86Netflix
25I Am Another You86Buy From Amazon Instant Video
26 The Big Sick86Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime
27 City of Ghosts86Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime
28 Baby Driver86Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
29 Strong Island86 Netflix
30 The Salesman85Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime
31 God's Own Country85 
32 The Ornithologist85Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
33 Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi85 
34 Mudbound85 Netflix
35 My Life as a Zucchini85 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
36 Behemoth85 
37 Starless Dreams85Buy From iTunes
  The Departure85 
39 Dawson City: Frozen Time85Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
40 After the Storm84Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime
41 BPM (Beats Per Minute)84 
42 The Other Side of Hope84 
43 The Work84 Amazon iTunes
44 Harmonium84Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
45 Graduation84 
46 A Ghost Story84 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
47 Get Out84Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
48 Glory84Buy From Amazon Instant Video
49 The Post83 
50 The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki83 
51 The Woman Who Left83 
52 Nowhere to Hide82 
53 War for the Planet of the Apes82Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
54 Our Time Will Come82Buy From iTunes
55 Marjorie Prime82Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime
56 Sieranevada82 
57 Heal the Living82Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
58 The Girl Without Hands82 
59 Step81 AmazonBuy From iTunes
60 The Levelling81Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
61 Truman81 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
62 Dolores81 
63 Blade Runner 204981 Amazon iTunes
64 Raw81 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
65 A River Below81 
66 White Sun81 
67 Whose Streets?81 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
68 Menashe81 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
69 Coco81 
70 Unrest80 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
71 The Wound80 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
72 Trophy80 
73 On the Beach at Night Alone80 
74 Bending the Arc80 
75 Good Time80Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
76 Last Men in Aleppo80 Netflix
77 The Survivalist80Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
78 The Force80 
79 California Typewriter80Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
  194580 
81 Indivisible80 
82Your Name.79  
83Lucky79 Amazon iTunes
84The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)79 Netflix
85Sami Blood79  
86One of Us79  
87Walking Out79 Amazon Buy From iTunes
88Hermia & Helena79 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
89Brawl in Cell Block 9979 AmazonBuy From iTunes
90Contemporary Color79 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
91Long Strange Trip78 Amazon Prime
92It Comes at Night78 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon PrimeBuy From iTunes
93Clash78  
  Barracuda78  
95A Silent Voice78  
96The Lost City of Z78 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon PrimeBuy From iTunes
97Beach Rats78 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
98Win It All78 Netflix
99Endless Poetry78 Buy From Amazon Instant Video
100Detroit78 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes


For this and all tables in this article, only movies with seven or more reviews and released in at least one theater (or on a streaming service) in the United States between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017 were considered. Re-releases of older films are excluded. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). Although scores have been rounded to the nearest whole number, movies are ranked prior to rounding. All scores in this article are from January 3, 2018.

Best 2017 Films in Selected Genres

movie still 
2017's Best Documentaries
1Faces Places95 
2EX LIBRIS: The New York Public Library91 
3I Called Him Morgan90Buy From Amazon Instant VideoiTunes
4Uncertain89Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
5In Transit88  
6Quest88  
7Rat Film88 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
8Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan87Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
9The Farthest87Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Netflix
10Jane87 
11My Journey Through French Cinema87Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
12Chasing Coral86Netflix
13I Am Another You86Buy From Amazon Instant Video
14City of Ghosts86Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime
15Strong Island86Netflix
16Behemoth85 
17Starless Dreams85Buy From iTunes
18The Departure85 
19Dawson City: Frozen Time85Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
20The Work84Amazon iTunes
21Nowhere to Hide82 
22Step81AmazonBuy From iTunes
23Dolores81 
24A River Below81 
25Whose Streets?81Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
movie still 
2017's Best Foreign-Language Films (Live-action narrative films only)
1 A Fantastic Woman94 
2 Foxtrot92 
3 Loveless90 
4 My Happy Family86Watch on Netflix
5 The Salesman85Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime
6 The Ornithologist85Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
7 After the Storm84Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime
8 BPM (Beats Per Minute)84 
9 The Other Side of Hope84 
10 Harmonium84Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
11 Graduation84 
12 Glory84Buy From Amazon Instant Video
13 The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki83 
14 The Woman Who Left83 
15 Our Time Will Come82Buy From iTunes
16 Sieranevada82 
17 Heal the Living82Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
18 Truman81Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
19 White Sun81 
20 The Wound80Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
21 On the Beach at Night Alone80 
22 194580 
23 Indivisible80 
24 Sami Blood79 
25 Clash78 
movie still 
2017's Best Animated Films
1 My Life as a Zucchini 85 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
2 The Girl Without Hands 82  
3 Coco 81  
4 Your Name.79  
5 A Silent Voice 78  
6 The Breadwinner 76  
7 Birdboy: The Forgotten Children 75  
8 The LEGO Batman Movie 75 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
9 In This Corner of the World 73 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
10 Ethel & Ernest 72  
movie still 
2017's Best Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superhero Films (English-language, live action)
1 The Shape of Water86 
2 Star Wars: The Last Jedi85 
3 War for the Planet of the Apes82Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
4 Marjorie Prime82Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime
5 Blade Runner 204981Amazon iTunes
6 The Survivalist80Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
7 Logan77 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
8 Wonder Woman76 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
9 Okja75 Netflix
10 Thor: Ragnarok73 Amazon
movie still 
2017's Best Horror Films and Supernatural Thrillers
1Get Out84Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
2Raw81Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
3It Comes at Night78Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon PrimeBuy From iTunes
4Personal Shopper77Buy From Amazon Instant Video
5Gerald's Game77 
6Super Dark Times75 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
7mother!74 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
8Thelma74 
9Hounds of Love73Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
10The Killing of a Sacred Deer73 Amazon Buy From iTunes
11The Devil's Candy72Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes
12The Lure72 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
13The Untamed72 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes
14Prevenge71 Amazon iTunes
15It70 Buy From Amazon Instant Video iTunes

What about the year's worst movies?

Well, they were bad, for starters—though not quite as bad as 2016's worst. Find the 15 most awful titles released in 2017 in the gallery below:

What are your favorites?

What are your selections for the best and worst movies of the past year? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you are looking for even more of 2017's best films, be sure to check out our compilation of over 250 film critic top 10 lists as well as our 2017 Film Awards Scorecard.

Comments (2)

  • kgarrett  

    Still incredibly amazed at Dunkirk. I felt like it was the best movie of the year. We watched it multiple times from lawn parties to restaurants. Great movies in 2017, but 2018 seems even better!

  • duanewilliams  

    In light of the increasing popularity of services like MoviePass, it would be interesting to know how many movies shown in mainstream theaters each year are getting very positive Metascores. It is nice to know that 69 films received “universal acclaim” in 2017, but some of those films, e.g. the #1 film Faces Places, were not available in movie houses for most people.

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