Only 11 Films on Netflix Have a Perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes Score
If you were to guess at the highest-ranked movies of all time, a few names might come to mind… perhaps Casablanca, or Citizen Kane.
But Rotten Tomatoes, which gives a 'tomatometer' score based on all movie reviews, has only 11 movies listed that have pleased 100% of critics, and you might be surprised at what made the list.
For one thing, there's not a 'classic' movie on here – the oldest one was released in 2013.
A Secret Love – 2020
The first of several documentaries on the list, this quiet and moving tribute to love made very few waves when it came out… but its 100% approval rating speaks volumes.
Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel met in 1947 when they were both part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. They were together for 65 years, during which time they mostly pretended to be cousins or 'just roommates'. By the time this documentary was made, the two women were finally free to be out of the closet… but they were also reaching the end of their extraordinary shared life.
Tambourine – 2018
Before the Oscars ' slap heard 'round the world, Chris Rock roared back onto our screens with this thoughtful (and thought-provoking) standup act. Interestingly, the audience score for this one sits at a less-than-impressive 40% – audiences are split between those who loved it and those who found Rock's jokes about white people offensive. You'll have to watch it yourself and see which side of the debate you fall on.
Athlete A – 2020
For 18 years Larry Nassar worked with the American women's national gymnastics team as a doctor. Complaints about Nassar went ignored or covered up for over 15 years, until Maggie Nichols (protected in court under the name 'Athlete A') became the first to come forward. A gripping but ultimately triumphant true-crime drama that follows the journey of Nichols and her fellow athletes, who finally get their day in court.
Coded Bias – 2021
It's not possible for an algorithm to feel prejudice… but algorithms are only as unbiased as the people who made them. This documentary follows the work of M.I.T. technicians who uncover chilling biases in facial recognition software, and fight to protect everyday citizens from the futuristic technology.
His House – 2020
The only horror movie to make the list, His House follows the story of a refugee couple who manage to make it out of their worn-torn country… only to find that their 'safe haven' in England is haunted.
Descendant – 2022
In 2019 the remains of a slave ship, The Clotilda, was discovered in Alabama's Mobile River. Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown spent four years exploring the impact of the discovery on modern-day descendants of the ship's enslaved passengers. There's a lot of heavy material here (obviously), but the film is also a beautiful tribute to the resiliency of its subjects.
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette – 2018
Of all the movies on this list, Hannah Gadsby's standup special 'Nanette' has by far the lowest audience score. While critics gave it a 100% tomatometer rating, audiences gave it an incredibly low 26%. You may remember the complaints against the special: namely, that many people didn't think it was funny enough to be called a comedy. To be fair, Gadsby does start us off with some pretty good jokes before sliding down into a dark examination of what it means to be a queer woman in standup comedy (and, ya know… the world.)
Is That Black Enough For You? – 2022
Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Whoopi Goldberg, and Laurence Fishburne are only a few of the famous names you'll see interviewed in this recent Netflix documentary. The film does a deep-dive on the craft, culture, and legacy of the Black films that began to make waves in the 1970s. The Rotten Tomatoes' critics consensus calls this movie 'an indispensable watch for film buffs [that] shines a sorely needed spotlight on a remarkably rich period in the medium's history'.
John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City – 2018
If you were one of those who had a problem with 'Nanette''s dark turn away from traditional standup, you may prefer John Mulaney's light-hearted special. The audience gave this one 90%, and Mulaney has never been funnier.
Strong Island – 2017
If you're a true-crime fan, this documentary is a must-see. Directed by Yance Ford, the film tells the story of Ford's brother William, a Black teacher who was murdered in 1992 by a white chop-shop mechanic. After he claimed self-defense, the all-white jury declined to indict the killer. Heartbreaking and unflinching, 'Strong Island' was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar.
The Square – 2013
This riveting documentary follows the Arab spring movement in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Filmmaker Jehane Noujaim follows the men and women on the ground as the Egyptian people decide to rise up against an oppressive governmental regime.