﹛﹛We Ranked the 65 Best Movies of the 1990s, From Fargo to Forrest GumpCelebrate Pride Month With the 14 Best Gay/LGBTQ Movies on Netflix Right NowCelebrate Pride Month With Our In-Depth Look at The Babadook, The Best Horror Movie So Far This Century
﹛﹛These are the unforgettable motion pictures that define a decade full of innovation. To shine a light on one of our favorite decades in film, we＊re rounding up and ranking the best films of the 1990s.
﹛﹛For this list, we＊re getting eclectic: all genres are fair game. We＊ve included Hollywood hits, indie fare, foreign releases and even classic documentaries. We＊re taking into account the pictures＊ overall greatness, contribution to culture, and ability to re-watch. To be clear: these are all great films we recommend every fan of the medium see at least once.
﹛﹛In ascending order, these are the best movies of the ＊90s, ranked. We＊ve even included some can＊t-miss, nostalgic honorable mentions.
﹛﹛(Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
﹛﹛Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon headlined Forrest Whitaker＆s Phoenix-set romantic drama about four female friends and their relationships with men. Based on a novel by Terry McMillan, Waiting to Exhale was a massive hit, garnering solid reviews and making over four times its budget at the box office. The Los Angeles Times even went so far as to call the picture a ※social phenomenon.§
﹛﹛(Keith Hamshere/Getty Image)
﹛﹛A breath of fresh air delivered Bond to the ＊90s. Directed with muscle and wit by Martin Campbell (who returned a decade later for Casino Royale), Goldeneye is a terrific action thriller, with the kind of set pieces that help define the Bond brand. Also, there＊s lots of sex, jokes, and vibrantly performed characters. Our hero is thoughtfully deconstructed some here, too, like when Judi Dench＆s M labels him ※a sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War.§
﹛﹛Goldeneye the movie is now synonymous with the video game that followed two years later. Widely considered one of the very best games ever, the first-person shooter left more of a cultural impact than the film.
﹛﹛Goldeneye has no less than four of Bond＊s most memorable villains, including Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), General Ourumov (Gottfried John), and Boris Grishenko (Alan Cummings). Famke Janssen kind of upstages everyone, though每as Xenia Onatopp, a baddie who suffocates opponents with her thighs.
﹛﹛Related: ＆Take Me Home, Country Roads＊! The Real-Life Stories Behind 15 of the Greatest Songs of 1971
﹛﹛1999 was, frankly, a year to rival any in the history of film: it was like every major director was trying to get their last word end before the millennium ended. Did Sam Mendes＆ hyper-stylized, emotionally ripe tale of suburban life deserve top honors at the Oscars that year? Winner of five in total.
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﹛﹛Based on the 1992 bestselling novel by Olivia Goldsmith, this girl-power comedy about divorc谷s who bond after a mutual friend＊s funeral has become a fan-favorite over the years. The incomparable leading ladies are the heart and soul of the enterprise, of course, and the best part is their exuberant song-and-dance routine at the end. A reboot series of the same name is slated to premiere on the upcoming streaming service BET+.
﹛﹛Melodrama isn＊t a bad word. Paul Thomas Anderson＆s ensemble follow-up to Boogie Nights is an Altman-esque collage of interconnected stories, notably featuring a never-better, Oscar-nominated Tom Cruise. The finale is either genius or bogus, depending on who you ask. For the record, we love it.
﹛﹛How many performers can make you guffaw, consistently〞while also kind of scaring the hell out of you? Reese Witherspoon received rapturous praise for her portrayal of overachieving, cutthroat aspiring high-school student body president Tracy Flick, in Alexander Payne＆s delicious black comedy based on the book by Tom Perrotta. Shockingly, Election lost money at the box office. Critics loved it, and Witherspoon received her first Golden Globe nod for Best Actress.
﹛﹛In addition to some bone-crunching violence and no shortage of true style, Martin Scorsese＆s epic crime follow-up to GoodFellas features the most stunning performance of Sharon Stone＆s remarkable career. She received a Golden Globe and an Oscar nod.
﹛﹛Adapted from Terry McMillan＆s book of the same name, Kevin Rodney Sullivan＆s dramedy stars Angela Bassett as a stockbroker who falls for a studly 20-something (Taye Diggs in his film debut) while on Jamaican holiday. Whoopi Goldberg and Regina King round out the supporting cast.
﹛﹛Related: You Know You Were Raised in the ＊90s If You Can Answer These 50 Super Fly Trivia Questions!
﹛﹛It＊s impossible not to be wholly enchanted by Tim Burton＆s fairy tale about a gentle-natured outsider. The Christmastime favorite benefits greatly from gorgeous German Expressionism-inspired production design and a haunting Danny Elfman score, one of his best.
﹛﹛Vulgar and offensive is the jumping-off point for the most iconic〞and probably best〞comedy from Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Ben Stiller, Matt Dillon, Lee Evans and Chris Elliott star as men obsessed with winning the affections of a beautiful woman (Cameron Diaz). Inventively R-rated antics ensue.
﹛﹛Related: 80 Best ＊80s Movies, All Ranked
﹛﹛Most SNL movies are infamously bad (It＊s Pat could top a list of the worst films of the decade) but Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are party time, excellent, in Penelope Spheeris＆ shrewd laugh riot. Followed by a worthy sequel.
﹛﹛Stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and director/co-writer Nora Ephron are in top form in this swoon-worthy, often hilarious romantic comedy about a widower and a reporter who fall in love over the airwaves. Nominated for two Oscars, Sleepless in Seattle was a big hit with critics and a major force at the box office, grossing roughly ten times its budget worldwide.
﹛﹛With hindsight, who could deny the Oscar for Best Picture this year belonged to Fargo? Still, the reality is Anthony Minghella＊s widescreen epic romance took home the gold, and it＊s a respectable classic in its own right. Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche deliver dynamite performances in a post-war drama set in the expanses of the Sahara, based on the book by Michael Ondaatje.
﹛﹛The less said about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets or Lucy (the one where Scarlett Johansson turns into a USB port!), THE BETTER. But there＊s a wildness to Luc Besson＆s international breakthrough that＊s just wild enough. Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich and Gary Oldman star in the sci-fi thriller about a sexy, often scantily clad super-weapon named Leeloo.
﹛﹛Cameron Crowe＆s oft-quoted dramedy channels the great work of Frank Capra, with a selfish protagonist undergoing a crisis of conscience. Tom Cruise plays a humbled, determined sports agent. Jerry Maguire features a breakout turn from Ren谷e Zellweger, and Cuba Gooding Jr. swept awards season as a high-energy Arizona Cardinals wide receiver.
﹛﹛It＊s tempting to call Reservoir Dogs the ultimate independent film: it＊s a heist movie, only due to budgetary concerns, we never actually see the heist, mostly just the aftermath. The film is actually stronger for that. It＊s all about the process, not the payoff. The process is the payoff.
﹛﹛Still, as crackling and head-turning as the filmmaking is, this caper doesn＊t transcend its genre-movie trappings to become something more the way Quentin Tarantino＊s best have. Watching Reservoir Dogs in 2019, it feels like a wildly talented young filmmaker warming up for bigger and better things.
﹛﹛Jack Nicholson in ‘As Good as It Gets ‘ (TriStar Pictures)
﹛﹛James L. Brooks＊ acclaimed rom-com was the first movie since The Silence of the Lambs to win both Best Actor and Best Actress honors at the Academy Awards每for Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. They＊re magnificent as an improbably-paired couple who improve each other＊s lives in surprising, consequential ways. As Good As It Gets won a Golden Globe for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), but lost the Best Picture Oscar to Titanic.
﹛﹛Related: Best 90s TV Shows
﹛﹛This action crime drama directed by F. Gary Gray (The Fate of the Furious, Straight Outta Compton) was a landmark moment in the careers of Queen Latifah and co-stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise. It＊s a thriller focused on four female LA friends who plan a bank robbery. A quarter-century later, Set It Off holds up as superior genre filmmaking with memorable, well-developed and highly sympathetic characters. Many have rightfully compared it to Thelma & Louise.
﹛﹛Set It Off was referenced with a wink in the uproariously funny dance-off scene in Girls Trip, which reunited Latifah and Pinkett-Smith.
﹛﹛Related: The Best Queen Latifah Movies, Ranked
﹛﹛Often stylized as Se7en, David Fincher＆s harrowing police procedural stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as detectives who partner on a case of brutal ritualistic killings. From the handcrafted opening titles to the heart-stopping final moments (don＊t let anyone spoil the ending for you), Seven is really unsettling and creepy stuff. Handle with care.
﹛﹛Seven earned about 10 times its budget at the worldwide box office, and was nominated for a Best Film Editing Oscar, but lost to Apollo 13.
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﹛﹛Harrison Ford＆s best, most popular picture since Witness, a Hitchcockian yarn about a wrongfully accused man and an aggressive manhunt, was a critical and commercial phenom. Nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award.
﹛﹛(Buena Vista Pictures)
﹛﹛A legendary blockbuster that actually lives up to its hype, M. Night Shyamalan＆s ghost story still has the ability to terrify over 20 years later. An elegant and skillfully acted white-knuckler worthy of its comparisons to Hitchcock, The Sixth Sense was an international phenomenon because it inspired us to explore the dark corners of our imagination. This film held the top spot at the North American box office for five weeks, and was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture. If you are one of the seven or eight people out there who don＊t know the twist ending, then it＊s an emergency每you must watch The Sixth Sense on Amazon right now before anyone spoils it for you. Go now! Hurry!
﹛﹛There＊s no way around this: the ＊90s often belonged to Jim Carrey, one of the all-time great comedic virtuosos. At least until Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, his best role was in Peter Weir＆s sublime, romantic dramedy〞as a man whose entire life has been the hottest show on international television. Released on the cusp of Survivor and reality TV taking over, the emotionally engaging, highly entertaining picture also proved prescient.
﹛﹛(Buena Vista/Getty Images))
﹛﹛Following a breakout turn in Mystic Pizza, Julia Roberts＊ star shot into the stratosphere thanks to Garry Marshall＊s audience favorite. She plays a hooker with a heart of gold in a fairy tale on Rodeo Drive (and less reputable corners of LA). Richard Gere is the wealthy businessman who falls for her scrappy allure. Roberts won a Golden Globe, was Oscar-nominated〞and Pretty Woman grossed over thirty times its budget (it remains Disney＊s highest-earning R-rated release).
﹛﹛Ang Lee＆s Sense & Sensibility remains the big-screen high-water mark for Jane Austen adaptations. Emma Thompson stars in (and won an Oscar for adapting) Austen＊s 1811 story of suddenly destitute sisters choosing respective suitors. Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman costar.
﹛﹛Spike Lee＆s biopic, largely adapted from Alex Haley＆s biography, showcases an electrifying Denzel Washington. Malcolm X takes an approach as complex as its subject. On a 90s retrospective, Roger Ebert of At the Movies and co-host Martin Scorsese (sitting in for late Gene Siskel) both named Malcolm X one of the decade＊s ten best.
﹛﹛Alcoholic torture is the name of the game in Mike Figgis＆ devastating account of a suicidal drunk who moves to Sin City to die after losing his family and his job. Nicolas Cage won an Oscar for Best Actor, and Elizabeth Shue received a Best Actress nod.
﹛﹛Roger Ebert named Leaving Las Vegas the best film of 1995, and the eighth-best film of the 1990s. He wrote:
﹛﹛※[The characters] are the drunk and the whore with a heart of gold. Cage and Shue make these clich谷s into unforgettable people.§
﹛﹛Review: Mandy is Nicolas Cage as His Very Best
﹛﹛(Murray Close/Getty Images)
﹛﹛Michael Crichton＊s 1990 novel about the disasters that befall a wildlife park of cloned dinosaurs was so tantalizing as a source for a film that an industry-wide bidding war ensued before it even hit shelves. Eventually, the rights went to Spielberg and Universal. The special effects were shopped to the greatest creators in the industry: ILM and the late Stan Winston.
﹛﹛Critics at the time每and many today每generally liked Jurassic Park, but couldn＊t help but compare it unfavorably to Spielberg＊s Jaws because of thinly drawn characters. That definitely holds water, but Jurassic Park IS Jaws compared to most blockbusters of its era, and certainly to its numerous sequels. The raptors＊ pursuit of children in a gigantic commercial kitchen, utilizing reflective surfaces and ingenious sound design, is a mini-masterpiece of suspense, a firm reminder (not that we needed one) that Spielberg is in a league of his own when it comes to this kind of thing.
﹛﹛Deliberate, gripping, taut and disturbing, Clint Eastwood＆s revenge Western swept the Oscars, the legend＊s most accoladed endeavor until Million Dollar Baby over a decade later.
﹛﹛Sci-fi disaster smash Independence Day made Will Smith the biggest movie star in the world, but strange charmer Men In Black holds up better these days. Tommy Lee Jones shares top billing in Barry Sonnenfeld＆s eye-popping, effects-heavy and dryly hilarious science.
﹛﹛One of the gems in mockumentary king Christopher Guest＆s crown is a farce about small-town community theater and lofty dreams. Guest and co-writer Eugene Levy＆s sublime comedy is at once savage and heartfelt. A top-of-their-game cast includes Parker Posey, the late great Fred Willard and Catherine O＊Hara. If you love Schitt＊s Creek, you＊ll adore this!
﹛﹛One of the most acclaimed films of the 1990s (this picture has one lonely, frankly nonsensical negative review on Rotten Tomatoes), Curtis Hanson＆s stunningly crafted throwback noir〞set in the 1950s〞is a tale of scandal, murder and conspiracy. L.A. Confidential was nominated for nine Oscars (losing most to Titanic), with wins for its screenplay, and a Best Supporting Actress trophy for Kim Basinger.
﹛﹛Did you think we＊d forget to include one of the best high-school movies of all time? As if! Amy Heckerling＆s observant, delightful take on Jane Austen＆s Emma made Alicia Silverstone a superstar, and launched the career of Paul Rudd. The future Ant-Man also starred in the less-fondly remembered Halloween 6 the same year.
﹛﹛Before the parodies, and long before the found footage genre was run into the ground, Eduardo S芍nchez and Daniel Myrick＆s micro-budgeted The Blair Witch Project, an innovative work of wondrous and horrid imagination, was one of the most frightening motion pictures of all time. No visual effect in a movie will ever be as scary as what we can create in our heads with our imaginations. The Blair Witch Project knows that. It preys on that. Turn off the lights. Turn off your phone. Immerse yourself in this movie. By the end of it, you＊ll just want to cover yourself with a blanket, perhaps paralyzed with fear. It＊s the kind of scary that stays with you for days, maybe forever.
﹛﹛Both Blair Witch sequels: 2000＊s Book of Shadows and 2016＊s Blair Witch, are hilarious, unfortunately.
﹛﹛Between brutal Mad Max action masterworks, George Miller made damn-near-perfect, highly inventive family films centered on a talking pig. The original Babe received an Oscar nod for Best Picture; the sequel was Gene Siskel＆s final ※best film of the year§ on At the Movies.
﹛﹛Holly Hunter won an Academy Award and the Cannes Best Actress Award for her portrayal of mute Scottish widow Ada McGrath in Jane Campion＆s The Piano, and a six-year-old Anna Paquin took home Best Supporting Actress. The strange, brutal, dreamlike and exquisite drama is one worth revisiting over and over.
﹛﹛Like fellow holiday classic Gremlins, this red-blooded Halloween-Christmas mashup is one of the scariest movies ever aimed〞ostensibly〞at children. The Tim Burton-produced stop-motion musical has grown so iconic and popular that it＊s become its own brand, but it＊s important to remember just how special the film is on its own merits. The Danny Elfman songs haunt, and the German Expressionism-inspired visuals are breathtaking. Film critic Roger Ebert even compared the picture to Star Wars.
﹛﹛Related: 14 Essential Can＊t-Miss Christmas Movies
﹛﹛Two years before making romantic classic (and unlikely franchise-launcher) Before Sunrise, Richard Linklater crafted one of the essential high-school films〞and, let＊s be real, the ultimate stoner movie. Big laughs and surprising pathos in equal measure, with a cast of stars-on-the-rise.
﹛﹛Michael Mann＆s crime masterpiece brought viewers some of the most heart-stopping action scenes of all time. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are towering presences in a thriller about a face-off between bank robbers and cops. Heat is one of the best heist movies ever.
﹛﹛Related: The Best LGBTQ Romance Movies Ever
﹛﹛The Dude〞an iconic unemployed slob who inspired nothing less than a religion〞abides, in the immortal cult classic follow-up to Fargo. Jeff Bridges is El Duderino, who＊s entangled in a ransom plot, some sex stuff〞and lots and lots of bowling.
﹛﹛Drew Barrymore in ‘Scream’ (Dimension Films)
﹛﹛The great pleasure and innovation of Scream was that the characters had seen horror movies. Scream was released before social media and Reddit, before spoilers spread like wildfire. It killed off its biggest star, horrifically, in its opening ten minutes每a wink to Psycho and a warning to its audience: No one is safe. Be afraid. This is a knowing, funny film每hilarious even每yet the comedy never undermines the horror elements. From The Predator to even some popular superhero movies, too much snarky and self-aware comedy is an issue that plagues many genre films to this day. Scream gets that balance, and pretty much everything else, just right.
﹛﹛The opening is still, after all these years, scarier than all unholy hell. Shiver; shudder.
﹛﹛Apart from a final shot that betrays the guts of the picture the came before it, Ridley Scott＆s road thriller〞starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon as fugitives of the law〞is groundbreaking, essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in motion pictures. It＊s still gripping, funny and powerful.
﹛﹛(Warner Broshttps://parade.com/1214385/samuelmurrian/best-90s-movies/Getty Images)
﹛﹛About as chilly as a Christmas movie can be, Stanley Kubrick＆s final film is an intense drama about the one-night sexually charged odyssey of a New York doctor (Tom Cruise) whose wife (Nicole Kidman) has confessed to fantasizing about another man. Kubrick died six days after showing his final cut to Warner Bros., and in order to avoid an NC-17 rating, the film received extensive edits (the original cut is now widely available on DVD and streaming). Though Kubrick was long-known as the master of torturously long takes and shoots, he outdid himself with Eyes Wide Shut, and at 400 days of principal photography the film holds the Guinness World Record for longest film shoot ever.
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﹛﹛With no shortage of catchy tunes, memorable anthropomorphized characters, humor and drama, this Africa-set loose adaptation of Hamlet was one of the most financially successful films of the ＊90s, for good reason. The ※live-action§ though not really live-action remake received mixed reviews (Uncanny Valley alert!), and is currently the highest-grossing animated film of all time.
﹛﹛Hilarious, romantic and moving, Good Will Hunting launched the careers of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck into the stratosphere. The duo＊s Oscar-winning screenplay centers on a mathematics genius grappling with mental health issues, a lady love and small-town trappings. Good Will Hunting struck a chord with audiences worldwide, grossing about 20 times its budget. Robin Williams won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for an indelible turn as a grieving psychotherapist.
﹛﹛Jan de Bont＆s red-blooded yet witty and buoyant popcorn thrill ride about a terrorist plot on a bus put Sandra Bullock on the map, cementing Keanu Reeves as action royalty, Dennis Hopper as a master of unnerving screen villainy. A critical and commercial smash with modest beginnings, Speed sees legends operating at peak power.
﹛﹛Pop quiz, hotshot: we＊re scrolling through TV channels and Speed is on. What do we do? What do we do? Watch it through ＊til the very end, of course!
﹛﹛Frankly, it＊s nearly tied with the underrated Magnolia for us, but we＊re selecting this iconic, hilarious, sad and punchy depiction of 1970s California porn-making as Paul Thomas Anderson＆s finest of the 1990s. Rapturous performances from an ensemble cast and a masterly control of tone call to mind the best of Robert Altman.
﹛﹛Pam Grier and Robert Forster in ‘Jackie Brown’ (Miramax)
﹛﹛Though some considered it a disappointment at the time of release, and it＊s underrated to this day, Jackie Brown is Tarantino＊s most mature, soul-satisfying storytelling. This adaptation of Elmore Leonard＆s Rum Punch doesn＊t sacrifice the invention, hilarity, danger, or intoxicating theatricalities of Pulp Fiction, but the characters are perhaps even richer, and it＊s got even more heart. In fact, Jackie Brown has something that＊s eluded every other film in the Tarantino canon: a great romance.
﹛﹛Robert Forster was Oscar-nominated for his turn as a world-weary bail bondsman who becomes hopelessly smitten with a beautiful flight attendant (a great performance by Pam Grier) in the midst of a heist.
﹛﹛Jackie Brown lightly homages Blaxploitation pictures of the 1970s (of which Grier was queen), and as is the case in all of Tarantino＊s films, sharply selected music selections do some of the storytelling. Jackie Brown benefits greatly from a Delfonics motif and rousing bookends of ※Across 110th Street§ by Bobby Womack.
﹛﹛Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves in ‘The Matrix’ (Warner Bros.)
﹛﹛The Wachowskis＆ stone-cold stunner sci-fi actioner broke all the rules, captured the zeitgeist and snagged four Academy Awards (notably beating Star Wars for Visual Effects, American Beauty for Film Editing). With every trip down the rabbit hole, The Matrix loses none of its allure or heart-pounding excitement. The second and third entries petered out; fingers crossed that next year＊s fourquel, a return to the alternate reality mythology that captivated us on the first go-round, captures the magic of the classic smash.
﹛﹛The mundane gives way to the profound in Harold Ramis＆ romantic dramedy centered on a time loop. Groundhog Day showcases Bill Murray at his enigmatic greatest.
﹛﹛Neil Jordan＆s dense, exhilarating character-driven masterwork is many things. It＊s a violent, taut thriller about political unrest. It＊s so funny at times one could be tempted to call it a dark comedy. It has one of the most hyped and brilliant plot twists of all time, one to rival Psycho and The Empire Strikes Back.
﹛﹛Running through all of this is a touching love story of the best kind〞the kind where two people grow and become better human beings because they know each other. The Crying Game won the BAFTA Award for Best British Film. It was nominated for six Oscars, winning for Best Original Screenplay. This is one of the smartest scripts ever, by any metric.
﹛﹛(Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images)
﹛﹛Pixar＊s mature saga of long-term friendship〞and growing up〞ushered in a new era of animation. The series maintained massive critical and financial success for a quarter-century.
﹛﹛Edward Furlong and Arnold Schwarzenegger in T2 (Carolco)
﹛﹛The most expensive production in cinematic history up to that point at $102 million, T2 was a phenomenon at the time (that time being the zenith of Arnold Schwarzenegger＆s formidable popularity), grossing over half a billion dollars at the box office and winning four Academy Awards. Critics have praised the filmmaking, and general audiences love it; T2 is currently ranked the 45th best movie of all time by users of the Internet Movie Database.
﹛﹛The first rule of Fight Club is we don＊t discuss what a huge flop this was back in the day. Now regarded as a classic〞modern auteur David Fincher＆ most influential if not very best film〞the action-drama based on Chuck Palahniuk＆s novel, a savage, mind-bending dissection of masculinity〞tanked in 1999. Now it＊s one of the most-quoted of all cult films, benefiting greatly from arguably Brad Pitt＆s most savagely screen-commanding performance.
﹛﹛You can divide the history of war films into two eras: before and after Saving Private Ryan. The most influential war movie since Lewis Milestone＆s All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), which director Steven Spielberg cites as a key inspiration, Saving Private Ryan is one of the great directorial accomplishments in cinema. The battle scenes are as remarkable for their awe-inspiring technical wizardry and authenticity (Spielberg famously didn＊t storyboard the D-Day landing scene, as he wanted genuine spontaneity) as they are for being stomach-turning and at times almost unbearable to watch. After the release of the unflinching, masterfully immersive Saving Private Ryan, so many earlier World War II films just seem quaint, phony by comparison. This film is uniquely powerful for veterans and their loved ones.
﹛﹛John Singleton＆s breakthrough is a bildungsroman in the streets, jumpstarting the careers of Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut and Nia Long. Singleton became the youngest-ever nominee for Best Director at the Oscars.
﹛﹛(PARAMOUNT PICTURES/ PHILLIP CARUSO/Album/Newscom)
﹛﹛Slow-witted but generous of heart, Tom Hanks＆ titular hero captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. Robert Zemeckis＆ profoundly American epic〞also sees the filmmaker at the top of his oft-formidable game. In telling the story of a good man who traverses the U.S. over several decades, suffers loss, falls in love and never gives up, the innovator uses special effects (that still, frankly, wow) without ever upstaging the plot or people.
﹛﹛The second film in the Disney Renaissance is an even more refined, dramatically punchy film than The Little Mermaid. Taking a cue from the 1946 French masterwork La Belle et La B那te, benefiting enormously from the songs of Ashman/Menken, this is a landmark.
﹛﹛For some perspective, the film was first shown to an audience in September 1991 at the New York Film Festival, in an unfinished ※work print§ cut. Only 70 percent of the animation was finished, so the audience saw 30 percent crude pencil drawings paired with the soundtrack, and nevertheless, by all accounts, it received a historically rapturous reception, with cheers throughout, and a 10-minute standing ovation. Beauty and the Beast went on to become the first animated film to gross $100 million in the United States, nominated for six Oscars. The soundtrack album was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys. The less said about the off-puttingly campy〞financially successful, but featherweight〞2017 remake, the better.
﹛﹛(Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
﹛﹛An account of the rise and fall of mob associate Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is such a masterpiece that upon its release, Roger Ebert christened it the finest organized crime movie of all time, ahead of even The Godfather. Say no more. A key work of our finest living director, Goodfellas lost the Oscar for Best Picture to Dances With Wolves, in an upset for the ages.
﹛﹛Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ (Columbia Pictures)
﹛﹛Critically acclaimed and nominated for seven Oscars, Frank Darabont＆s adaptation of a King novella was a commercial disappointment in 1994, no match for the pop culture phenomena of Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction. The popularity of The Shawshank Redemption has only grown, and it＊s currently IMDb＊s top-rated movie of all time.
﹛﹛It＊s rare enough to see a big-screen story about the friendship between men, and the bond between Andy (Tim Robbins) and Red (Morgan Freeman) is extra weighty and rich because it begins in such a dark place (within prison walls), ultimately filling them with a good thing called hope, driving them to better days. Shawshank is unflinching〞then it rewards us with one of the most triumphant, hard-earned happy endings we＊ve ever seen.
﹛﹛You betcha this is the best black comedy thriller hybrid in cinema history. Now tied with Daniel Day-Lewis as the most decorated living film star in the eyes of the Academy Awards, Frances McDormand delivered a heroine for the ages in Marge Gunderson, a good-natured cop investigating a series of senseless, grisly and moronic crimes in the frozen American North. Fargo is trenchantly funny, strange and thrilling.
﹛﹛Liam Neeson played Oskar Schindler in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Academy Award winning film, Schindler’s List. (Universal Pictures)
﹛﹛At once one of the most harrowing films you＊ll ever see〞and one of the most inspiring. Steven Spielberg＊s period piece stars Liam Neeson as the titular real-life merchant-turned-wartime-hero. Schindler＆s List is an unflinching account of the horrors of the Holocaust, and a testament to the power of an individual to make positive change. The American Film Institute ranked Schindler＊s List the third most inspiring picture ever, behind only It＊s a Wonderful Life and To Kill a Mockingbird.
﹛﹛(Courtesy of Miramax Films/Entertainment Pictures)
﹛﹛Pulp Fiction tells a pretty standard, run-of-the-mill crime story about a crime boss, his wife, and some hired guns. It＊s the telling of it all that makes this one of the essential films of 1990s, one of the ultimate movie experiences to get lost in.
﹛﹛Pulp Fiction is told in an extravagantly nonlinear fashion, but it＊s hard to feel too disoriented when mostly we＊re just thrilled by the hilarity and excitement of what＊s playing out in front of us moment-to-moment. Tarantino＊s trademark dialogue is never about moving the plot forward; it＊s about immersing us in the realities of the characters. Jackson＊s Jules has the most important arc, and in a roundabout kind of way, Pulp Fiction is a movie about redemption.
﹛﹛Pulp Fiction won Cannes＊s coveted Palme d＊Or, and Tarantino won his first screenwriting Oscar. A star was born.
﹛﹛Jonathan Demme＆s classic psychological horror film based on the popular book by Thomas Harris stars Jodie Foster as FBI trainee Clarice Starling. As a serial killer sweeps the midwest, Starling seeks the help of incarcerated Hannibal ※The Cannibal§ Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), resulting in a ※quid pro quo§ t那te-角-t那te that＊s become Hollywood legend. The Silence of the Lambs is one of three movies in history to win the ※Big Five§ Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best [Adapted] Screenplay, Best Director). The American Film Institute named it the fifth most suspenseful movie in history in their ※100 Years, 100 Thrills§ list of cinema＊s most heart-pounding movies. In their 2003 special, ※100 Heroes and Villains,§ Clarice Starling was named the sixth all-time greatest screen hero ever; Lecter was named cinema＊s all-time most unforgettable villain.
﹛﹛(New Line Cinema)
﹛﹛Widely acclaimed as a singular achievement, Steve James＆ emotional juggernaut documentary, shot over five years, follows two inner-city Chicago students, their families, and the sacrifices made seeking careers in pro basketball每seeking a better life.
﹛﹛Roger Ebert famously called Hoop Dreams the best picture of the 1990s, and ※one of the best movies about American life§ he＊d ever seen. It＊s lost none of its power. Is there a best documentary of all time? If so, what is it? Probably this.
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﹛﹛These days, it seems like that nonsense backlash is dying: pure and simple, strong and true, Titanic is one of the most extraordinary, extraordinarily entertaining of all films, a bar-setting masterpiece of the craft.
﹛﹛In a highly publicized ordeal quite similar to the production of ※Disney＊s Folly§ Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, James Cameron bet the farm on a meticulously detailed epic pitched as ※Romeo and Juliet on the Titanic.§ The budget was record-breaking, the production turbulent. It looked like Titanic would be a disaster movie in a cynical sense. Instead, it became an instant classic.
﹛﹛Any backlash in the decades since is, frankly, unfounded. Particularly in its second half, Titanic is spellbinding in a way few pictures have even aspired to be. The love story is simple〞but is that even a fault? That accessibility paired with great performances (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are as captivating as the picture around them) and groundbreaking effects gripped international audiences; Titanic obliterated box-office records, and is tied with Ben-Hur and Return of the King for most Oscar wins (11 in total).
﹛﹛Honorable mentions: Cruel Intentions, Notting Hill, A Little Princess, Reality Bites, Heavenly Creatures, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Philadelphia, Princess Mononoke, The Man in the Moon, Galaxy Quest, Breaking the Waves, Being John Malkovich, Pleasantville, Short Cuts, JFK, Three Colors Trilogy: (Blue, White Red), Reservoir Dogs, Aladdin, Bottle Rocket, The Last of the Mohicans, The Thin Red Line, Addams Family Values, Get Shorty, Independence Day, The Last Seduction, Dances With Wolves, A Bronx Tale.
﹛﹛Next, recall the best 90s kids movies.
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