Rotten Tomatoes has been on every movie fan’s lips this month, as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opened, and currently sits at a brutal 29% on the site. Although fans gave the flick an audience score of 71%, the rotten rating has been getting a lot of attention, with 209 of the 293 critic reviews counted landing in the “rotten” camp. Ouch.
Since the site launched in 1998, it’s "tomatometer" has been aggregating critic reviews (and audience opinion) to let fans know if the overall response has been positive or negative – it’s a system that isn’t without flaws, but it’s a solid starting point when considering critical reception. But with a box office smash like Batman V Superman coming in so low, we have to wonder which films managed to wow critics enough for a near-perfect rating. Read on for 10 Movies That Got 100% On Rotten Tomatoes (And A Few That Got Close).
The Rules: Because it’s hard to gauge critic reaction in retrospect or on a handful of reviews, we are looking at only those films which were released after the site launched in 1998. Many older movies, particularly those deemed to be classics, have 100% but no doubt would have faced more criticism upon their release. All of these films have over 100 critic reviews included. We’re also including films with a 99% rating.
10 Shaun The Sheep Movie (99%)
This madcap British comedy is one in a long line of spinoffs based on the hit claymation comedy series Wallace and Gromit. Shaun the Sheep became the star of his own TV series in 2007, which led to the full-length film Shaun The Sheep Movie in 2015.
The plot itself is fairly simple, with plenty of room for classic Wallace and Gromit-style plots and slapstick. The sheep, bored of the same old routine, trick their farmer into falling asleep, but wind up giving him amnesia in the big city! The sheep and the farmer’s faithful dog have to try and find a way to give their farmer back his memory so that he can come home. It’s funny, fast-paced, and while there is plenty of silliness to it, you have to appreciate an entire caper, written entirely without dialogue.
9 Leviathan (99%)
A bleak drama, Leviathan manages to avoid many of the pitfalls associated with foreign films that seek to make a point. Set in Northern Russia, the film centers on a family whose land and home is going to be taken from them by the corrupt local mayor, unless they (and an old friend who is now a lawyer) are able to stop him.
Unlike the traditional underdog story, Leviathan does not guarantee us a feel-good ending, but is instead a stunning look at the rotting heart of a society in despair. Beautiful, moving, and Oscar-nominated, not even the depressing subject matter (or the subtitles) can detract from how good this film is.
8 Gloria (99%)
Another film festival favorite, Gloria is an uplifting and poignant story of starting again in middle age. Set in Santiago, it centers on the recently divorced Gloria (Paulina Garcia) and her whirlwind love affair with a former naval officer.
Garcia’s performance is one of the highlights of the film – as is seeing a movie revolve around the kind of character that is all too rare in American cinema. At the end of the day, Gloria’s journey is not about the love that she seeks with men in clubs, but the love that she develops for herself. Fun, inspiring and bursting with vitality, Gloria is beautiful and hopeful through and through.
7 Zootopia (99%)
Everyone has been raving about Zootopia in recent weeks, and it’s not hard to see why. This adorable tale (or should that be tail?) is Disney magic at its best. In a perfect society of anthropomorphic animals, predator and prey get along just fine… until someone goes savage, and it’s up to new cop on the block Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) to solve the case.
Of course, there’s more to it, with an inclusive message coming from Judy’s species – as the first bunny cop, she’s got a lot to prove. Full of hilarious references for the grown-ups, it’s a slam dunk of an animated film. With an audience rating of 95%, clearly everybunny loves Zootopia.
6 A Separation (99%)
A riveting thriller-style drama about a marriage falling apart, A Separation is another film festival darling from 2011. Set in Iran, it centers on a husband and wife who love each other, but who file for divorce when the mother wants to leave the country with their daughter to give her a better life, and the husband cannot bring himself to leave his father who has Alzheimer’s.
When the two separate, the husband becomes embroiled in a legal battle with the woman who he hired to take care of his father, and their lives fall further apart. It’s a moving look at very real and flawed characters, complex and nuanced. Critics and audiences alike loved it, with an audience rating of 92%.
5 Man on Wire (100%)
This 2008 documentary about tightrope walker Philippe Petit and his famous stunt in 1974 wowed critics and audiences alike (with an audience rating of 87%). Combining an artistic stunt and a criminal caper, his story winds from the conception to the execution of a plot to string a tightrope wire between the roofs of the Twin Towers – and perform an act on that wire for nearly an hour.
The film is a masterpiece of tension, yet hugely irreverent and exhilarating at the same time. Man on Wire is a joy to watch, and Petit’s adventure will win your heart. Man on Wire is everything that a documentary should be.
4 Finding Nemo (99%)
Another Pixar offering to receive a near-perfect rating, it is no surprise that Finding Nemo makes it onto this list. The only real surprise is that it took quite so long to get a sequel! This fun, fishy adventure is absolutely uplifting. From the father who develops his confidence to the new friend who figures out how to live life in more than three-second spurts, to the kid at the heart of it all, everyone gets to be a better version of themselves in the end.
The characters are engaging, the writing is full of clever gags and subtle nods, and the action keeps us glued to the screen. With an audience score of 86%, we can only hope that Finding Dory does just as well.
3 Selma (99%)
Based on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s fight for equal voting rights in 1965 after the end of segregation. Centered on the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama that led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the film is a gripping biopic that received almost unanimous acclaim.
David Oyelowo gave a stunning performance as Dr Martin Luther King Jr, with a storyline that is nuanced and passionately written. Many critics also mentioned how well the film dealt with where we are today, and paid homage to Dr King’s legacy without diminishing the progress that still needs to be made. Audiences agree that this powerful film is a must-watch, giving it an 86%.
2 Short Term 12 (99%)
With 35 wins across the film festival circuit of 2013, Short Term 12 is a movie that deserved far more mainstream attention than it got at the time. Brie Larson gives a standout performance as Grace, a young supervisor at a group home for at-risk teens.
Between her personal journey with her co-worker and partner Mason (John Gallagher Jr) and the struggles of the young people under her care, the audience is taken on an emotional rollercoaster that ends in hope. A film filled with warmth and heart, Short Term 12 pulls no punches with an incredibly difficult subject. Indie filmmaking at its best.
1 Toy Story (100%)
The filmed to launch the juggernaut that is Pixar, everybody can agree that Toy Story is a modern classic. Based on childhood fantasies of toys coming to life when humans aren’t around, Toy Story mixes nostalgia with a classic buddy comedy, set to catchy tunes and in a brand new format (at the time).
Critics applauded its charm, its narrative, its clever writing and its heart, and audiences agreed (giving it an audience score of 92%). What’s even more impressive is that the entire Toy Story trilogy made it into the Tomatometer top lists, with Toy Story 2 getting 100%, and Toy Story 3 dipping only slightly to 99%.
What other movies deserve to have 100%? Let us know in the comments!