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Great '90s Movies That Still Hold Up Today

With the advent of the internet, cell phones, and personal computing, the '90s left the world forever changed. As a result, movies of the era have become accidental time capsules of pre-PC life. Back then, stories had to rely on communication through landlines and clunky phone books. If you had to do research, there were no laptops, smart phones, or blazing-fast home WiFi — you had to get to the library within working hours and sift through a card catalog to find the information you needed. Movies themselves had to be physically owned or borrowed: You needed to be able to hold it in your hands if you wanted to watch it. "Stream" was just another word for creek.

And yet, the movies of the '90s still hold up. This decade of cinema pushed narratives to their furthest limits, using new technology in innovative ways that, amazingly, still impress today — even in the harsh light of high definition. Movies tackled social issues with new fervor, in ways that remain groundbreaking. Bold new directors, actors, and designers of all stripes broke through, who have gone on to reshape the medium as a whole. These are the movies of the '90s that still manage to dazzle, provoke, and entertain us to this day. 

12 Monkeys

Flipping back and forth between 2035, 1990, and 1996, 12 Monkeys explores the possible origins of a viral pandemic that decimates all but one percent of human life on Earth. The film follows Bruce Willis as time traveler James Cole as he attempts to uncover who is responsible for releasing the virus so that scientists in the future can stop it and restore the planet to health. As you might imagine, Watching 12 Monkeys in a post-coronavirus world in an exercise in surreality — but one worth undertaking. If anything, current events have only made the film more important.

Featuring a gritty, neo-noir sci-fi aesthetic that has aged phenomenally well, Terry Gilliam's movie did more than just predict a global contagion — it also predicted future movies. As Jeffrey Goines, an anti-capitalist psychiatric patient, Brad Pitt foreshadows his later performance as the enigmatic Tyler Durden of Fight Club fame, down to the manifesto monologues. Bruce Willis' Cole offers a glimpse into his role in The Sixth Sense, encapsulated by his line, "All I see are dead people." These aren't just fun tidbits for the trivia-happy cinephile, though — they're part of why classics like Fight Club and The Sixth Sense even got made. Those movies knew they could take a chance on these actors because they'd already seem them pull similar performances off. 12 Monkeys predicted a lot, but it also laid the groundwork for further cinematic brilliance.

Fight Club

Since 1999, everyone everywhere has been breaking those first two rules of Fight Club – and for good reason. David Fincher's social satire, starring Edward Norton as the morose narrator and Brad Pitt as his alter-ego, the charismatic Tyler Durden, continues to impress. Add in Helena Bonham Carter as lost girl Marla Singer and you've got an all-star cast pulling off an unforgettable story. 

Fight Club manages to be one of the most quotable films of its era and one of the most contentious — two qualities rarely found in one film. But that's just how Fight Club rolls: It's nihilistic, it's brutal, it's surprisingly tender, and it continues to be relevant. This is a movie about violence, but for all its macho swagger, it's also an intense indictment of its main characters' destructive urges. No wonder it still spurs discussion and debate. Its ultimate message of self-integration remains vital, a status we don't think will change any time soon.


If David Fincher's horror noir Seven included cell phones, you would immediately assume it was made today — that's how relevant it remains. Featuring Morgan Freeman as Detective Somerset, a lawman about to retire, and Brad Pitt as his temporary partner David Mills, the two men find themselves embroiled in a gruesome serial killer case. The killer has been choosing his victims based on their indulgence in the seven deadly sins, for which he forces them to "atone." Calling his methods grisly would be an understatement.

In 1995, the implied and on-screen violence in Seven went above and beyond anything anyone had seen. Then, the movie's horrific surprise ending knocked everyone for a further loop. Today,  Fincher's pristine noir aesthetic — John Doe's notebooks are works of disturbed art — is even more striking, thanks to high definition. But improved technology and intervening years have only made it more clear how thoughtful Fincher's use of violence is. Imitators capture the gore, but not the message, making Seven's themes all the most obvious (and impressive) to modern viewers. Seven is one of the best and darkest movies around ... just don't watch it with someone who doesn't know what's coming.

Dazed and Confused

Though it was released in 1993, Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused takes place in 1976, making this an interesting '90s movie indeed. Following a group of Texas high-schoolers on their first day of summer shenanigans, Dazed and Confused's technicolor '70s aesthetic has a distinctly '90s vibe that, somehow, works like gangbusters  today. It's nostalgia in a blender, filtered through the warm lens of a cinematic summer. It feels cozy and familiar, even if you weren't around for either decade. 

Those who first encountered Dazed and Confused in the '90s will find it just as clever and funny as the day they first saw it. For those watching it for the first time nowadays, it functions more like a period piece — yet one with a core of emotional truth. Decades later, Dazed and Confused's honest heart is what stands out most, and what keeps it relevant to today's teens. It's also totally rad (or perhaps groovy?) that the movie's socially conscious themes have only become more impressively ahead of their time.

Jurassic Park

In many ways, Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park has held up significantly better than its CGI-heavy follow-ups. Even to modern eyes, the film's practical effects continue to dazzle: There's just something about seeing those dinosaurs roar, stomp, and roam that takes your breath away. It is an entertaining as ever to watch the titular theme park fall to pieces — vicious predators, industrial espionage, and precocious kids just don't go out of cinematic style.

Beyond the spectacle of the film's visuals lie the sterling performances. Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm has a bizarre charm all his own, while Laura Dern's Dr. Ellie Sattler has become a modern-day girl power icon. An exchange between the two has become a cornerstone of '90s cinema for good reason: When Dr. Malcolm muses, "God creates dinosaurs. God kills dinosaurs. God creates man. Man kills god. Man creates dinosaurs," Dr. Sattler replies, "Dinosaurs kill man. Woman inherits the Earth." The line is as cheer-worthy now as it was then.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the rare sequel that surpasses its predecessor. One of the biggest reasons it manages this feat is because it took full advantage of then-modern technological advancements in digital filmmaking and editing. Cameron's brilliant use of both practical and digital effects elevates Terminator 2 into greatness, and makes it an absolute treat to revisit in high definition, all these decades later. 

But aside from its stellar effects, Terminator 2 is a strong, well-cast, cleverly-written film. Linda Hamilton's performance as Sarah Connor is simultaneously fierce and vulnerable, while Edward Furlong's breakout performance as Sarah's tormented son also holds up beautifully. Moreover, Terminator 2's plot, which revolves around artificial intelligence and authoritarianism, only becomes more relevant with every passing year. And don't forget — this is an early '90s movie, having debuted in 1991. The fact that Terminator 2 is one of the decade's earliest efforts makes it all the more impressive on every front. It thrills, it dazzles, and it makes you think twice about your smartphone. Not bad for a movie made in the shadows of the Cold War.


For action-spy movie fans, 1995 was a big year; it saw the return of Agent 007 to the big screen after a six-year absence, with actor Pierce Brosnan's first turn as James Bond in "GoldenEye." Bond hadn't been seen since 1989's "License to Kill," actor Timothy Dalton's final turn in the role of the heroic MI6 super spy. Of course, that wasn't the only bit of cast changeover seen in Bond's 17th feature-length outing; "GoldenEye" marked the first appearance of Judi Dench as M and Samantha Bond (no relation) as Miss Moneypenny. 

The film's prologue picks up right where Dalton's timeline as Bond ended, in 1986, on a mission inside a Soviet chemical weapons site. While Bond has worked with partners before, he's typically a solo act. In "GoldenEye," however, he starts off working alongside Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), Agent 006. The mission is blown, however, as is the facility shortly thereafter, with Bond escaping and Trevelyan presumed dead. Nine years later, Bond is tasked with looking into an electromagnetic pulse attack that wiped out a Soviet research facility at Severnaya, Siberia. It turns out, the attack was triggered by a satellite-borne nuclear EMP weapon called GoldenEye and the party responsible is a familiar face.

Brosnan would later speak about the importance of "GoldenEye" being successful. "The stakes were so high on this movie, because as I said, they'd been dormant for six years," he said during an Esquire UK "GoldenEye" watch-along. "A beloved character, a franchise, a family business, a homegrown British product, and we needed to get it right."

From Dusk Till Dawn

Fairly early in his career, director Robert Rodriguez gave us 1996's vampiric action-horror thrill ride, "From Dusk Till Dawn," making use of a screenplay written by a still-rising Quentin Tarantino. The film starred George Clooney and Tarantino as the criminal brothers Seth and Richie Gecko, respectively, the latter of whom broke the former out of custody in a daring and bloody escape. They're on the run, trying to make it through Texas to the Mexico border in order to link up with Seth's contact, Carlos (Cheech Marin), in El Rey.

As luck would have it, they meet up with a family traveling in an RV — and by meet up, we mean they take them hostage. Disillusioned pastor Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) is on the road with daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis) and son Scott (Ernest Liu), each of them trying to deal with or escape their grief following the death of Jacob's wife and the children's mother. The Geckos use the Fullers as cover to get across the border and head to meet Carlos at a bar, the name of which we can't really say. Unfortunately, this particular establishment, which caters to truckers and bikers only, has another distinction: it's infested with vampires, hence the preferred solitary clientele. The Geckos and Fullers must team up with fellow patrons Sex Machine (Tom Savini) and Frost (Fred Williamson) to fight off lead vampire Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) and her horde of the blood-sucking undead in order to survive the night.

The Sixth Sense

In 1999, director M. Night Shyamalan broke through big time with a four-word phrase that's echoed through the zeitgeist ever since: "I see dead people." "The Sixth Sense," a gripping supernatural thriller starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, made Shyamalan a household name and introduced viewers to his trademark penchant for surprise endings. While the director's love of twists has since gone memetic in the most mocking of fashions, this breakthrough film has withstood the test of time and still stands up with repeat watches.

In the unlikely event you haven't seen "The Sixth Sense," we won't give up the ghost; for those who have, you know that certain scenes take on a whole new meaning and will likely make a lot more sense on successive viewings. The film follows a troubled boy named Cole Sear (Osment), whose mother, Lynn (Toni Colette), is worried about him. Cole is working with a child psychologist named Malcolm Crowe (Willis), who's got his own issues to deal with. Malcolm's having trouble communicating with his wife, Anna (Olivia Williams), and their relationship hasn't been the same for about a year. The iconic line, "I see dead people," belongs to Cole, and it's the source of a lot of his issues. He believes he can see and communicate with the dead, for which Malcolm thinks he's delusional — at least, he does at first. When he comes to believe Cole's abilities are real, he encourages him to use them for good, to help the wayward spirits find closure. That he does.

Boyz N The Hood

The 1991 coming-of-age drama "Boyz N The Hood" tells of life in South Central Los Angeles, following Jason "Tre" Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.) as he comes into adulthood alongside friends Doughboy (Ice Cube), Ricky (Morris Chestnut), and Chris (Redge Green). In addition to serving as a coming-of-age tale, the film from writer-director John Singleton — who would later go on to write and direct "Shaft," in addition to helming "2 Fast 2 Furious" — is a seminal hood film, exploring motifs and subject matter linked to the Black urban experience.

After a fight at school, Tre's mother Reva (Angela Bassett) send her gifted but hot-headed son to Crenshaw to live with his father, Jason "Furious" Styles (Laurence Fishburne) in the early '80s. The elder Styles hopes to instill in his son the importance of hard work, but his friends' youthful hijinks are a distraction — one that lands Doughboy and Chris in jail for theft. Flash forward several years and Doughboy has made his life of crime official as a member of the Crips street gang. It could be worse, though; Chris is now paralyzed as a result of a gunshot and has to make use of a wheelchair to get around. Things are looking up for Ricky and Tre, though; the former is a star athlete, hoping to land a college scholarship on the strength of his football abilities, while the latter has turned into a responsible young man with a good job and good prospects, though his main preoccupation is getting his girlfriend Brandi (Nia Long) to consummate their relationship. 

The Truman Show

The Jim Carrey-starring 1998 dramedy "The Truman Show" is one of the actor-comedian's all-time greatest performances. He leaned into the emotive side of comedy he latched onto with 1997's "Liar Liar" to showcase his dramatic abilities for his turn as Truman Burbank, an insurance salesman who's living a lie. Truman's not engaging in self-deception or the victim of the Dunning–Kruger effect, mind you; his entire life is actually a scripted production, his friends and loved ones are actually actors, and he is the unwitting main star of the titular show-within-the-show, having been legally adopted by a corporation as an infant.

"The Truman Show" is a smash hit within the film universe, with millions tuning in to see Truman drink beers with his best pal, Marlon (Noah Emmerich), who's actually a performer named Louis Coltrane; to watched his relationship develop with now-wife Meryl (Laura Linney), actually an actor named Hannah Gill; and to experience his grief, having lost his father at a young age when Kirk Burbank (Brian Delate), as played by Walter Moore, was killed off in order to keep Truman in fear of venturing into the outside world. 

While the work of director and show mastermind Christof (Ed Harris) is practically flawless, Truman begins to see through the cracks. In the outside world, there's a growing contingent of people who oppose the show — including former college classmate Sylvia (Natascha McElhone), aka actor Lauren Garland — calling for an end to its fabricated reality and Truman's release from a virtual slavery.

Bad Boys

In 1995, director Michael Bay made his feature film debut with "Bad Boys," and edgy buddy cop action dramedy following two Miami police detectives who can't seem to stay out of trouble. Before Bumblebee and Sam Witwicky in the "Transformers" franchise, there were family man Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and rich kid and action junkie Mike Lowrey (Will Smith). Lowrey and Burnett, the seeming bane of captain Conrad Howard's (Joe Pantoliano) existence, are investigating the theft of millions of dollars of heroin from their career-making bust, though Lowrey is a bit distracted by the murder of his friend Max (Karen Alexander). It seems obvious that the theft had to be an inside job of sorts, given that the drugs were stolen from a secure police evidence vault.

According to Max's friend Julie (Tea Leoni), who witnessed her death, there may be a link between the two, but there's one small problem: Julie will only talk to Lowrey and he wasn't available when she called, to the captain forced Burnett to pose as him, a charade the two must keep up as long as possible while they work the case together. "Bad Boys" spawned two canonical sequels — 2003's "Bad Boys II" and 2020's "Bad Boys for Life." Additionally, the franchise was spun off into a TV series in "L.A.'s Finest," featuring Burnett's former DEA agent sister Syd (Gabrielle Union) — introduced in "Bad Boys II" — after a transfer to the LAPD, working alongside Jessica Alba's Detective Nancy McKenna.

"Bad Boys 4" is reportedly in the works.


Don't let the black-and-white footage fool you, "Clerks" was totally made in the '90s; it's an aesthetic choice made to simulate security camera footage, we promise. In 1994, writer-director Kevin Smith captured a crude form of indie lightning in a bottle, the result fo which was "Clerks," a crass-but-hilarious comedy set in the Quick Stop convenience store and RST Video location in New Jersey, places where he worked in real life. The film follows the ins-and-outs of a day in the lives of Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves, who work in the aforementioned retail locales. Well, technically Dante wasn't even supposed to be there that day; he was suckered into picking up an extra shift by his boss after having closed the Quick Stop down the night before. He's greeted by a wad of gum jammed in the padlock that keeps the steel shutters covering the windows in place when the store is closed and the day doesn't get any easier from there. For instance, he finds out his ex-girlfriend is engaged to be married by reading about it in the local newspaper.

Dante soon realizes the boss isn't coming in to relieve him at noon, as promised, but he'll be damned if that's going to keep him from playing hockey — he just has to get creative, like playing on the stores' roof. No need to worry about the customers who need their cigarettes — like Randal is fond of saying, "This job would be great if it wasn't for the f***ing customers."

Mrs. Doubtfire

Fresh off the success of the first two "Home Alone" movies and several years before helping to launch the "Harry Potter" film series, director Chris Columbus helmed a project in 1993 that captured an iconic performance from a screen legend. "Mrs. Doubtfire" captured late actor-comedian Robin Williams in one of his most ridiculous performances. Recently divorced and newly unemployed voice actor Daniel Hillard (Williams) is looking for a way to spend more time with his three children — eldest daughter Lydia (Lisa Jakub), son Chris (Matthew Lawrence), and youngest daughter Natalie (Mara Wilson) — who live with their mother, Miranda (Sally Field). When his ex-wife needs to hire a nanny, he sees his opportunity and poses as an elderly British woman, going by the name Euphegenia Doubtfire and getting help with a convincing look from his brother, Frank (Harvey Fierstein), who just happens to be a makeup artist.

His ruse of posing as a British nanny may be dishonest, but it forces Daniel to become a responsible parent — an important step, given that his role as the fun parent is what led Miranda to resent him and seek divorce in the first place. When Daniel's interview for a new job is double booked with Miranda's birthday party — to which Mrs. Doubtfire is invited — he attempts to pull off both but his split lives instead come to a head, with potentially disastrous results. "Mrs. Doubtfire" boasts a solid 72% critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, which is fairly impressive for children's fare with an admittedly silly presmise.

American History X

"American History X" is as timelessly redeeming as it is disturbing. The 1998 drama starring Edward Norton and Edward Furlong tells the tale of two brothers mixed up in the Neo-Nazi skinhead and white power movement in Venice Beach, California, with the former nominated for the Academy Award for Best actor for his performance. In present day, young Danny Vinyard (Furlong) is pushing the wrong buttons at school, turning in a book report on Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" and antagonizing African-American students before his older brother, Derek, is released from prison. How Derek landed in prison is complicated but fairly straightforward. After his father was killed by Black gang members, he spouted a racist diatribe on the local news, which put him on the radar of local white supremacist Cameron Alexander (Stacy Keach), who began to mold the angry young man, with whom he formed a powerful local gang. After he had several run-ins with the Crips, they try to steal Derek's truck, for which he shoots and kills two gang members and curb stomps a third.

Danny is punished for his school shenanigans with a corrective special class that Principal Dr. Bob Sweeney (Avery Brooks) calls American History X, and his first order of business is to write a report on his older brother. Upon his release, Derek is a changed man and tries to get Danny away from the gang, in addition to steering his girlfriend, Stacey (Fairuza Balk) away from Cameron's destructive influence. Derek encourages his younger brother to listen to Dr. Sweeney, who helped him get through his time in prison, but the Vinyard brothers are unable to escape their past misdeeds.

Independence Day

In the mid-to-late '90s, Will Smith made two very different science fiction movies. For 1996's sci-fi action thriller "Independence Day," he took on the role of Marine Corps fighter pilot Captain Steven Hiller, a no-nonsense prospective astronaut who, along with the rest of the planet, is about to learn that mankind is not alone when it comes to intelligent life. Joining him in that are satellite engineer David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), his ex-wife, political aide Constance Spano (Margaret Colin), her boss, President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman), and Vietnam-era pilot and former alien abductee Russell Casse (Randy Quaid). What brings this motley crew together from far and wide is an existential threat in the form of a full-scale alien invasion, which is first postulated when David notices a piggyback signal in Earth's satellite network is actually a countdown, information he relays to Connie and the president. Captain Hiller is among the first line of attack sent to blast the aliens out fo the sky and one of only a few pilots to make it back hen that mission goes disastrously wrong. 

President Whitmore marshals all of Earth's defense forces for a last-ditch assault after David and Captain Hiller upload a computer virus to the alien mothership, in the hopes of disabling their shields and rendering them vulnerable to humanity's erstwhile useless air-to-air combat weaponry. In addition to still holding up, "Independence Day" still contains a Top 10 goosebumps-inducing movie moment in the form of President Whitmore's pre-flight speech, though critics initially gave it middling reviews; "Independence Day" currently has a 68% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Big Lebowski

"The Dude abides" — three simple words that have remained relevant in the zeitgeist for more than two decades following the 1998 release of Joel and Ethan Coen's bizarre neo-noir crime comedy "The Big Lebowski," which had a cast full of all-stars. There is, of course, another enduring quote, uttered by The Dude (Jeff Bridges) to his friend, Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), but if you know, then you know; if you don't, we can't repeat it here.

All of this quotable goodness stems from a darkly comedic case of mistaken identity. Slacker and bowling aficionado Jeffrey Lebowski (Bridges' character's legal name) is assaulted in his home by two thugs working for adult film mogul Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara), who believe his wife, Bunny (Tara Reid) owes their boss money. The thing is, The Dude isn't married, which should be readily apparent to anyone who sees his home, including the two morons who broke in to dunk his head in the toilet and pee on his rug. This really puts The Dude, who's very chill by nature, in a foul disposition. After all, that rug really tied the room together. It turns out, another man named Jeffrey Lebowski, aka the titular Big Lebowski (David Huddleston), is indeed married to Bunny, who does indeed owe Jackie Treehorn money. And Bunny may or may not have been kidnapped for ransom, a situation for which The Dude is enlisted to aid, when all he really wanted was his rug replaced. Fortunately Walter has a plan that'll totally work out.

Office Space

Sandwiched in between creator Mike Judge's films "Beavis and Butthead Do America" and "Idiocracy" is the seminal workplace dark comedy "Office Space." Office drone Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) is in a rut. He hates his wash-rinse-repeat job at Initech and he hates his smug boss Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole), so he agrees to undergo hypnosis at the suggestion of his girlfriend. The only problem is the hypnotherapist dies of a heart attack after placing Peter in a relaxed state, so he remains in this care-free, relaxed mood, which results in ignored calls from Lumbergh and even his girlfriend, who dumps him. With his new chill vibe, it doesn't really bother him; in fact, he simply goes up to Joanna (Jennifer Aniston) the waitress he's been eyeing at franchise sports bar Chotchkie's, and asks her out in the middle of her shift.

When Initech brings in the Bobs (John C. McGinley and Paul Wilson), two efficiency experts, to trim the fat at the company, they're surprisingly impressed with his new cavalier approach to life — so much so that they confide in him that his friends Samir (Ajay Naidu) and Mike (David Herman) are among the upcoming departures. When Peter tells them, Mike devises a computer virus that will quietly shave hundredths of a cent off of the company's transactions, eventually making them rich off of money no one will ever notice is gone. Well, they'd never have noticed if he'd coded the virus correctly — since there's a bug, it grabbed hundreds of thousands of dollars the first weekend, which will of course get them caught.


There are only a few gangster movies more satisfying than Martin Scorsese's 1990 crime caper "Goodfellas," and this one gets bonus points for being autobiographical in nature. The film's protagonist, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is based on a real-life mob associate of the same name who turned informant for the FBI. Ever since Henry could remember, he was seduced by the gangster lifestyle and began working for local organized crime operatives at a young age. Eventually he takes on a larger role as an adult, working with fellow sophisticates like the hot-headed Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and the scheming Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro).

Henry heads down a path of excess, with pretty much any day rife with the potential for things to go wrong in the arenas of sex, drugs, and murder. His drug habit and cheating on wife Karen (Lorraine Bracco) are causes of concern for Paulie, the capo under whom he's been working for years. Tommy doesn't make life any easier when he kills Billy Batts (Frank Vincent); Billy was a made man, the type of whom is off-limits to pretty much anyone without official dispensation from the higher-ups. Things come to a head for the first time when Henry is sent to prison, relying on Karen smuggling in drugs for him to sell to other inmates in order to provide for the family. 

"Goodfellas" was nominated for six Academy Awards, with Pesci winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Scorsese was also nominated for Best Director and the Film was nominated for Best Picture, though it faced stiff competition in the form of "The Godfather, Part III" and eventual winner "Dances With Wolves" (via Oscars.org).

Good Will Hunting

For 1997's award-winning drama "Good Will Hunting," up-and-coming actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck did more than simply star as the title character and his best friend, respectively; they wrote the movie, for which they received the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at 1998's 70th edition of the Academy Awards. The film tells the tale of Will Hunting, a brilliant but troubled young man. A product of the foster system in South Boston, Will grew up subject to abuse, but that didn't stop him from developing an incredible thirst for knowledge, which, coupled with an eidetic memory and self-taught skills in advanced and theoretical mathematics, make him something of a paradox. 

After Will is caught solving a complicated math problem in the halls of MIT, he quits his job as a janitor, prompting Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) to track him down. They finally catch up at Will's hearing for assaulting a police officer — long story — and the good professor sets Will up with his old college roommate, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), as his therapist as part of the conditions of his release. Sean helps Will come to terms with what he suffered in the past and navigate his first real adult relationship with Skylar (Minnie Driver), a beautiful Harvard student who fits in swimmingly with Wills best friend, Chuckie (Affleck), and the rest of their crew. Can Will truly open up to Skylar and share himself or will he shut her out like he has with everyone else who's tried to form an emotional bond with him?

Forrest Gump

In 1994, the director known for fun and engaging comedies like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and the "Back to the Future" franchise swung big and the result was the award-winning drama "Forrest Gump." Robert Zemeckis took home the Oscar for Best Director at the 67th Academy Awards and he wasn't the only one who worked on the film to walk away with some hardware; actor Tom Hanks won Best Actor for his performance as the title character, writer Eric Roth won for Best Adapted Screenplay and the film won Best Picture, among other awards. 

"Forrest Gump" follows the title character from childhood, growing up with sweetheart Jenny in Greenbow, Alabama. He's fitted with leg braces and seems to be living with some form of intellectual disability that's never specified, though he could politely be called slow-witted. As a result, he's an easy target for bullies, though one day he finds he can run like the wind, which eventually leads him to a college football scholarship and the chance to meet President John F. Kennedy as an All-American. Forrest's life intersects with numerous historical events throughout the decades, from the integration of the University of Alabama and the Vietnam War to the Watergate Scandal and fictitiously inspiring John Lennon's song "Imagine" during a TV interview. Forrest and his former commanding officer, Lieutenant Dan Taylor (Gary Sinise) even become millionaires in the shrimping industry, but in the end, the story is all about Jenny (Robin Wright), from whom Forrest was inseparable, like peas and carrots.


Hollywood executives could stop green-lighting films of the Western oeuvre if they really wanted to, because we're not sure anything is ever going to top 1993's "Tombstone" when it comes to that particular genre. Featuring Kurt Russell as legendary lawman Wyatt Earp and one of actor Val Kilmer's best performances in the role of gunfighter and gambler John "Doc" Holliday, "Tombstone" is one of many tellings of what transpired at the OK Corral in the titular Kansas city.

The movie starts, mind you, with the arrival of the Brothers Earp — Wyatt, Virgil (Sam Elliott), and Morgan (Bill Paxton) — at Tombstone. After retiring from law enforcement, Wyatt and his brothers are going into business for themselves, which at first means dealing faro at a local casino. Life gets pretty good pretty fast for the Earps and their wives, though they need to steer clear of the local Cochise County cowboys, a gang of outlaws that can count sheriff John Behan (John Tenney) — whose actress girlfriend Jospehine Marcus (Dana Delany) has eyes for Wyatt — as a friend. But when gambling and drinking mix among people carrying guns, things can potentially get ugly at a moment's notice, the first instance of which comes with the death of town marshal Fred White (Harry Carey, Jr.).

Since this film is titled "Tombstone" and not "Happy Place," there's plenty of gun-fighting action between the Earps and the cowboys, namely leaders Curly Bill Brocius (Powers Boothe) and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn). After things go down at the OK Corral, the cowboys strike back, leading to the legendary Wyatt Earp Vendetta Ride.

True Romance

With apologies to the Bard, what's in a name? A Quentin Tarantino-penned movie if by any other name would still be filled with the filmmaker's trademark gratuitous violence that we know and love. So while this Tony Scott-helmed romantic crime film was met with critical acclaim — it's Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an impressive critics score of 93% — it bombed at the box office, barely recouping its $12.5 million production budget, according to The Numbers. The only explanation we can come up with is Tarantino fans were unsure about the title and rom-com fans going to see a movie called "True Romance" starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette did not get the movie they were expecting.

Nevertheless, "True Romance" practically has the pedigree of a modern classic. Comic shop nerd and Elvis devotee Clarence Worley (Slater) meets his wife-to-be, Alabama (Arquette) at a kung fu movie triple feature, not knowing at the time she's a call girl hired by his boss to show him a good time on his birthday. It doesn't seem to bother him, and the two are instantly smitten, which means Clarence needs to have a sit-down with her pimp, Drexl (Gary Oldman). That doesn't exactly go smoothly, but one dead scumbag later, Clarence walks away with a bag full of drugs and they're bound for the West Coast. Clarence wants to visit his childhood friend, aspiring actor Dick Ritchie (Michael Rappaport), to try to unload the drugs for cash. The only problem is the cocaine's proper owner has sent his henchman, Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken) after them in pursuit.


In 1995, rapper Ice Cube set out to dispel the negative image of life in the hood presented by popular entertainment — though it could be argued he contributed to it with his role as Doughboy in "Boyz N The Hood." As such, he co-wrote the script for and starred in the feel-good stoner comedy "Friday," working alongside actor Chris Tucker. Cube appeared as Craig, a recently unemployed, pot-smoking young man whose best friend, Smokey (Tucker), gets them in shared debt of local drug dealer Big Worm (Faizon Love), whose money better show up or they'll be killed. Craig and Smokey try all manner of raising the $200 owed —which seems like a petty amount to cost someone their life, no? — from borrowing from any number of sources to stealing from their neighbors on behalf of local bully Deebo (Tiny Lister Jr.). Fearing for their lives, they hide out at Craig's home but eventually have to head outside, with Big Worm's deadline approaching, to settle up. 

F. Gary Gray, who made his directorial debut with "Friday" initially had his doubts about directing Ice Cube playing against type in such a good-natured, comedic role; given the rapper's public persona, Gray said the prospect "scared the s*** out of" him (via Complex). "He was like the toughest man in America, and when you take someone you're used to delivering on hard-hitting social issues in hardcore gangster rap, and who has a hardcore point of view on politics, you would never think comedy." But the film was a success and spawned two sequels, 2000's "Next Friday" and 2002's "Friday After Next."

L.A. Confidential

Director and co-writer Curtis Hanson delivered big with 1997's neo-noir period crime classic "L.A. Confidential." For his efforts, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and won for Best Adapted Screenplay with co-writer Brian Helgeland, according to Oscars.org. The film enjoys an enviable 99% creitics score and is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Set in the 1950s, "L.A. Confidential" tells a tells a multi-pronged tale of police corruption in Los Angeles, California. With mob boss Mickey Cohen behind bars, several entities are rushing in to fill the power vacuum and own the criminal enterprises, which includes a rich heroin trade. Captain Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) employs hot-headed detective Bud White (Russell Crowe) to intimidate any would-be usurpers, while the smug, bookish detective Edmund Exley (Guy Pearce) has misgivings over the case that seems to have made his career. Celebrity detective Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is content to chase bright lights as a technical advisor on the law enforcement TV show-within-the-show "Badge of Honor," his conscience is driving him to dig deep on an investigation that may have resulted in blood on his hands. All the while, the mysterious Pierce Patchett (David Strathairn) — whose shadowy Fleur De Lis service includes high-end call girls who've had plastic surgery to resemble movie stars — is pulling strings behind the scenes and yellow journalist Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito) is sticking his nose and camera lens anywhere it can fit to get the scoop.

With the film successful in every regard, Hanson had an "L.A. Confidential" sequel in the works, though it failed to materialize.


The 1993 biographical sports movie "Rudy" has been hailed for its inspirational, never-say-die themes, embodied by its title character, Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, a scrappy football player from Illinois who chases his lifelong dream of playing for the University of Notre Dame's Fighting Irish. Rudy, as played by actor Sean Astin, has the deck stacked against him: he's undersized and never bothered hitting books, meaning he lacks both the physicality and grades to attend the esteemed private Catholic university in South Bend, Indiana. He settles for a life of manual labor alongside his father (Ned Beatty) and brother Frank (Scott Benjaminson) at the local steel mill, until the death of his best friend Peter (Christopher Reed) drives him to finally chase his dream.

Since you can't just walk up and enroll at Notre Dame, he enrolls at Holy Cross, hoping to later transfer. To make ends meet, he get s a job as a groundkeeper at the Notre Dame football field. After plenty of tutoring from new friend D-Bob (Jon Favreau) and with the force of his undeniable will, Rudy is granted admission to his beloved Notre Dame. The thing is, he's still way too small, but manages a spot on the practice squad to start.

"Rudy" is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a critics score of 78% and gets frequent mention among the top sports movies of all time, including coming in at No. 27 of the Chicago Tribune's 2020 roundup. Detractors of the film point out its dramatized moments that didn't quite happen that way in real life as part of their criticisms.

The Silence of the Lambs

Nothing say's "still holds up" like an intellectual property still generating spinoff iterations 30 years later. In this case, we're talking about 1991's horror-thriller "The Silence of the Lambs," which became only the third film ever to sweep all five major categories (via the Los Angeles Times) — Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay — at the following year's Academy Awards. Anthony Hopkins took home the best actor Oscar for his role as incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who's interviewed by fledgeling FBI agent Clarice Starling — a role for which Jodie Foster won Best Actress — in the hope he can shed light on the mind of an active serial killer dubbed "Buffalo Bill." It's of vital importance that he help, mind you, since Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith) — the daughter of U.S. Senator Ruth Martin (Diane Baker) — has just gone missing under circumstances similar to Bill's other victims, suggesting she might be the latest.

Of course, the good doctor isn't just going to give up the goods because Clarice asks nicely; he insists on a quid pro quo, asking questions about her life, tit for tat, in exchange for his insight. The problem is, the ambitious and craven Dr. Chilton (Anthony Heald) — in whose care Hannibal remains at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane — won't stop meddling, which causes Hannibal to deal directly with the senator in order to strike a deal, circumstances that lead to his escape.

The Rock

At some point, someone had the so-crazy-it-just-might-work idea to cast eccentric but talented actor Nicolas Cage as an action star, the result of which was a decidedly mainstream swerve in his career path. Director Michael Bay's 1996 action thriller "The Rock" serves as one of the earlier works to pull this off with great success, raking in an impressive $336 million worldwide gross against a reported $75 million production budget, according to The Numbers. Additionally, it sports a decent 68% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, despite its existence within the big-stupid-action-film genre, which was becoming Bay's personal sandbox right around that time.

"The Rock" tells the tale of a rogue general named Frank Hummel (Ed Harris) who's tired of seeing his men, the fallen soldiers of countless unofficial black-ops missions, forgotten in the face of their sacrifices, with their families uncompensated. In order to remedy the situation, he roughs up the soldiers tasked with guarding a cache of rockets equipped with chemical weapons, specifically VX poison gas. He then takes over Alcatraz Island, holding dozens of tourists and the city of San Francisco hostage. It's up to a team of Navy SEALs led by Commander Anderson (Michael Biehn) and supported by former inmate John Mason (Sean Connery) and chemical weapons expert Stanley Goodspeed (Cage) to save the day before the airstrike scheduled to fire bomb the former prison is launched. He may have some impressive teammates, but as his fiancee Carla reveals, Stanley's never even snorkeled before.

The Usual Suspects

Nearly two decades before John Wick, as played by Keanu Reeves, became the criminal underworld's person Baba Yaga, actor Kevin Spacey introduced the world to the garrulous, unthreatening small-time lowlife Roger "Verbal" Kint, a criminal who looks like he belongs behind a desk at H&R Block filing your taxes instead of behind bars. Verbal, so named because he pretty much never shuts up, is swept up for a police lineup with — you guessed it — the usual suspects, despite the fact that none of the men in the lineup shares much in common with the others when it comes to physical features. But what he and fellow criminals Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak), Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Fred Fenster (Benicio del Toro), and Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) do have in common is they've all crossed a demonic myth incarnate in one Keyser Söze, a notorious criminal with whom its best not to trifle.

The tale unfolds via Verbal's recollection to United States Customs agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri), an interaction borne out of the latter's quest to put Keaton away for good. As he tells it, the five criminals were brought together by a lawyer in order to pull a job and repay their debts to the terrifying Mr. Söze, though — in one of the greatest movie twists of all time — he's so terrifying because been sitting in front of Agent Kujan the entire time, toying with him, ad-libbing his story as Verbal Kint. It's such a shocker that apparently no one in the movie knew who really was Keyser Söze — Spacey told the Evening Standard he nearly got in a fight with Byrne over the latter's belief that his character was the mythic criminal.


Director Michael Mann's 1995 heist drama "Heat" has stood the test of time and then some. It's so good, in fact, that sequences from "Heat" have reportedly inspired real-life crimes modeled after scenes in the film, according to the BBC. According to the outlet, French gangster Redoine Faid even went so far as to chat Mann up at a Paris film festival, crediting the filmmaker as the "technical director" for his illicit activities. As for the actual movie, "Heat" followed Robert De Niro's Neil McCauley, a professional thief looking to retire after nabbing a final score. Opposite him is Al Pacino's Vincent Hanna, an LAPD detective whose investigation puts him on McCauley's tail as the titular heat. "Heat" actually marked the first time the acclaimed actors appeared onscreen together, despite both being a part of "The Godfather." 

Rounding things out for Team Neal is Kilmer as righthand man Chris Shiherlis, enforcers Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore) and Trejo (Danny Trejo), and McCauley's fence Nate (Jon Voight), who has the bright idea to sell the bearer bonds they just stole from an armored car back to their mark, a money launderer named Roger Van Zant (William Fichtner). Well, Van Zant isn't too pleased and double crosses Neal, having his men ambush their crew. Neal anticipated the betrayal and prepared his own back-stabbing ambush, vowing to kill Van Zant after having killed his men. When Neal's men start becoming bigger targets on Hanna's radar, he has to figure out how long he can stick around before the heat becomes too much.

Cool Runnings

When considering the best sports comedy movies of all time, we've got to put 1993's "Cool Runnings" up there. It's a tale of overcoming adversity that's loosely based on the real life Jamaican Bobsleigh Team and features an inspiring story, a talented cast, and an infectious chant — "Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme. Get on up! It's bobsled time! Cool Runnings!" — that you won't be able to stop yourself from yelling.

"Cool Runnings" follows Jamaican sprinter Derice Bannock (Leon Robinson) in his attempts to assemble a bobsled team to compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada after he loses a shot at competing in track and field at the 1988 summer games. He enlists Junior Bevil (Rawle D. Lewis), the man who accidentally tripped him; Yul Brenner (Malik Yoba), the other casualty of the fall; and his best friend, Sanka Coffie (Doug E. Doug), though he's hard-pressed to find support from the tiny island nation's Olympic Committee. Next he needs a coach, which he happens to find in Irving "Irv" Blitzer (John Candy), a disgraced former American bobsledder who knew his father Ben Bannock, whom Blitzer had initially tried to convince to assemble a bobsled team.

Initially dismissed by the Olympic community and nearly laughed out of Calgary, the Jamaican Bobsled Team earned the respect of their contemporaries and the hearts of Olympics fans around the world, though the former is a divergence from what happened in real life. One difference between how the film portrays events and reality is that the team was welcomed with open arms from the get-go.

The Devil's Advocate

Whereas playing the devil's advocate typically means taking the opposite stance so as to illustrate a given argument from an opposing point of view, author Andrew Neiderman decided to take it literally, publishing a 1990 novel about a fictional law firm in New York City. That book was eventually adapted into the 1997 film of the same name, starring Keanu Reeves as seemingly unbeatable Florida defense attorney Kevin Lomax, a man whose success keeping his clients out of jail has him pondering the morality of representing parties he's no longer sure are innocent. Well Kevin's record is getting noticed, and he's quickly recruited to a massive NYC firm, offered an incredible salary, and molded by the managing partner, the enigmatic John Milton, played by Al Pacino

But something's not quite right, and Kevin's wife, Mary Ann (Charlize Theron), begins having troubling thoughts. Kevin's tireless work on a big case leaves Mary Ann all alone with her troubling thoughts, prompting a visit from his fundamentalist Christian mother, Alice (Judith Ivey), who receives quite a shock upon meeting Milton. Unwilling to pass the case off to someone else, Kevin all but abandons his wife and his clear desire for fellow lawyer Christabella Andreoli (Connie Nielsen) just seems to make it easier. But he's in for a shock of his own when his mother tells him some hard truths and Kevin must decide where his heart and his conscience truly lie: with winning at all cost to preserve his record or with being able to live with himself in the fallout of getting guilty clients off.

The Green Mile

"The Green Mile," a 1999 adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name, not only stands the test of time but it contains one of the many Tom Hanks movie moments that make us cry. The 1930s-set period fantasy features Hanks as death row prison guard Paul Edgecomb, who's responsible to minding those condemned to die at Louisiana's Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Getting help from fellow guards Brutus Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper), and Harry Terwilliger (Jeffrey DeMunn), Paul is also saddled with a smarmy, cantankerous jerk of a guard named Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison), who considers himself untouchable owing to a connection with the governor's office. While the other guards are tough but fair — treating their wards with human dignity — Percy takes joy in being mean and spiteful whenever possible.

One day, gentle giant John Coffee (Michael Clarke Duncan) is transferred to the Green Mile — the nickname for the death row wing at Cold Mountain. Mild-mannered and afraid of the dark, it's hard for Paul to believe John could ever have killed to two little girls for which he was sentenced to death, especially after John performs an amazing feat and cures Paul's bladder infection by touch, in addition to bringing the dead mouse of fellow inmate Eduard Delacroix (Michael Jeter) back to life. In fact, he suspects that newly remanded inmate "Wild Bill" Wharton (Sam Rockwell) is responsible for their deaths. Unable to do anything about it, Paul struggles with being assigned to put John to death, knowing him to be a kind and merciful being.

As Good as it Gets

The awkward 1997 romantic dramedy "As Good as it Gets" doesn't really need much of a case to be made for its legacy for viewers who follow awards season. The leading duo of Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt each took home an Academy Award — Nicholson with 1998's Oscar for Best Actor and Hunt with that year's Best Actress hardware — and co-star Greg Kinnear was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor award. That's not mentioning the film's Best Picture nomination, though "Titanic" took home the honors at the 70th Academy Awards (via oscars.org).

With all that star power, you'd wonder if the movie even needed much of a plot, though it would hardly have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Screenplay without a solid one. "As Good as it Gets" follows reclusive, obsessive compulsive, and casually racist novelist Melvin Udall (Nicholson) as he insults people and is nasty to pretty much everyone with whom he comes in contact. That includes waitress Carol (Hunt), the only one at his favorite diner that can handle Melvin's guff. Things take a turn when his homosexual neighbor Simon (Kinnear) — did we mention the misanthropic Melvin is also homophobic? — is assaulted and his fiery agent Frank (Cuba Gooding Jr.) strong-arms Melvin into taking care of Simon's dog, Verdell. Although not an animal lover by any means, Melvin is not immune to his new canine companion's charms and his general disposition softens. Don't worry: he's going to have plenty of fuel for the old curmudgeon engine, just you wait.

The Game

In 1997, acclaimed director David Fincher followed up his smash-hit psychological thriller "Seven" with another mind-bending thrill-ride. "The Game" stars Michael Douglas as cold and cranky investment banker Nicholas Van Orton, whose upcoming 48th birthday will make him as old as his father was before dying by suicide. Nicky's eccentric and flaky brother, Conrad (Sean Penn), gets him a unique gift to celebrate: a voucher for Consumer Recreation Services. CRS is a company that provides an immersive, all-encompassing fantasy adventure experience; imagine your entire life and all of reality being turned into an escape room that never actually ends when you think you've gotten out.

Nicholas is initially disinterested but eventually decides to participate. After a grueling series of physical and mental tests, he's told that his game is not going to happen, much to his annoyance. That, of course, is all part of the show; at least, he hopes it is. Then Conrad turns up at Nicholas' home, claiming to have been attacked and it turns out that, in the course of combing through his brain, inch by inch, CRS found a way to figure out his account codes. Not only that, Christine (Deborah Kara Unger), the waitress whom he though he was helping, has been in on the scam the entire time and he just gave his bank password over the phone in front of her. Of course, things haven't even begun to get crazy yet; thankfully it's all just a game, right?

Mission: Impossible

Actor Tom Cruise has been a part of many a franchise, but none has lasted longer than his tenure with the "Mission: Impossible" series. While the sixth film, "Mission: Impossible — Fallout," came out in 2018 and the release date for the untitled "Mission: Impossible 7" sequel is set for 2022, the first film — which came out in 1996 — still really holds up. Cruise stars as talented black-ops agent Ethan Hunt, part of a covert CIA division called the IMF — yes, that's short for impossible Mission Force. He and his team have been tasked by director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) with retrieving a list of covert agents embedded throughout Europe before it's stolen by a suspected traitor. 

The problem is the traitor appears to have seen them coming; tech man Jack Harmon (Emilio Estevez) dies in an apparent but suspicious elevator accident; Hannah Williams (Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė) is blown up; Sarah Davies (Kristin Scott Thomas) is stabbed; and team leader Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) is shot when the team tries to grab the list in Prague. Ethan, despite the dizzying events unfolding around him, recognizes another IMF team on the premises, prompting him to ask Kittredge about them during his debrief. It turns out that their operation was intended to smoke out a mole in the IMF organization and with his entire team dead and the list seemingly missing, Ethan looks like he's got a big fat guilty sign hanging around his neck. Forced to go rogue and work with the criminals he's supposed to be apprehending, Ethan sets out to clear his name and track down the real traitor, but he's going to need help to do it.

The Nutty Professor

In 1996, comedian and actor Eddie Murphy starred as Professor Sherman Klump in the hilarious remake of "The Nutty Professor." While the 1963 original starred Jerry Lewis as the bumbling, buck-toothed, brilliant, and completely awkward Professor Julius Kelp, the remake saw the protagonist as a revolutionary scientist struggling with obesity. After being targeted by an insult comic named Reggie Warrington (Dave Chappelle), Sherman tests his DNA-altering formula on himself in an attempt to easily lose weight. The good news is, it worked; the less good news is its effects don't exactly last long. Having dropped so much weight that he's unrecognizable, he adopts the alter ego Buddy Love, just like Professor Kelp some three decades prior.

Another unintended side effect is Buddy becomes less of an alter ego and more of a separate identity, one that's kind of a jerk. He lands a date with Carla (Jada Pinkett), the object of Sherman's desire, but then cheats on her. Meanwhile, it turns out Sherman's lab assistant, Jason (John Ales), saw him transform into Buddy and is concerned about the long-term effects the serum could be having on him. He's right to be concerned, considering buddy plans to take enough serum to burn Sherman out forever and take over!

In addition to playing Sherman, Murphy also plays his father Cletus Klump, his mother Anna Klump, his grandmother Ida Mae Jenson, and his brother Ernie Klump, roles that all come together in a hilarious family dinner scene.


The 1992 modern horror classic "Candyman" adapted a story from legendary horror writer Clive Barker, though it swapped his native Liverpool, England, for the housing projects of Chicago, Illinois. As grad student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) works on her thesis about urban legends, she stumbles upon the seeming myth of the Candyman, a vengeful spirit that haunts Cabrini Green, which has become a breeding ground for crime and conflict. She learns that several unsolved murders have been attributed to the specter, which was based on a Black artist whose dalliance with a white woman resulted in his death at the hands of her father and a lynch mob. Candyman's attackers cut off his hand and covered him in honey, attracting a swarm of bees that stung him to death. Legend has it that Candyman will visit and kill anyone who dares to say his name five times in the mirror.

Obviously above such superstition, Helen performs the ritual and is unsurprised when nothing happens — or so she thinks. She soon finds out, to her dismay, that Candyman (Tony Todd) is very real and he visits such horrors upon her that she finds herself committed to a mental institute, accused of murdering a woman and kidnapping her infant boy; blaming such crimes on a vengeful monster is a sure-fire way to land yourself in a straightjacket, after all. Determined to save the boy from Candyman's clutches, Helen agrees to be his if he'll let the boy go.

Producer Jordan Peele's "Candyman" sequel and reboot continues the tale and keeps the modern horror legend alive.


J.M. Barrie's classic tale of Peter Pan — the flying, pirate-fighting boy who never grew up — has been adapted for the stage and screen more times than we can hope to remember. One notable entry into the catalog is 1991's "Hook," from acclaimed director Steven Spielberg. The film featured Dustin Hoffman in a performance for the ages as the titular villain, Captain James Hook, equally matched by the late Robin Williams in the role of Peter Banning, the adult version of Peter Pan, who indeed grew up. And the only thing worse than Peter Pan growing up is what he grew up to be: a cranky corporate lawyer who neglects his kids and is short with them pretty much any time he is paying them any attention. 

Grown-up Peter is forced to return to Neverland and recall things long forgotten when Hook kidnaps his children while he is attending a dinner to honor Wendy Darling (Maggie Smith), Peter's former friend who grew old and raised him when he decided to grow up. Faithful fairy friend Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) takes Peter back to Neverland and does her best to whip him into fighting shape, the only way he'll get any respect or help from the Lost Boys, who are now led by the fearless Rufio (Dante Basco). Can Peter learn how to fly again in order to lead the Lost Boys against Hook and his army of pirates in order to rescue his kids — son Jack (Charlie Korsmo) and daughter Maggie (Amber Scott) — and bring them home to his wife Moira (Caroline Goodall)?

Pulp Fiction

No list of '90s films that still got it would be complete without director Quentin Tarantino's 1994 seminal masterwork, "Pulp Fiction." The gritty crime thriller features standout performances from an ensemble cast — including Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, John Travolta, Harvey Keitel, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson — and tells an interwoven story that helped make nonlinear storytelling an industry standard in entertainment. The mixture of high diction, humor, and graphic violence became a hallmark of Tarantino's work. 

As a whole, "Pulp Fiction" offers a day-in-the-life glimpse into the illicit activities of a handful of characters of the Los Angeles underworld, centered around crime boss Marsellus Wallace (Rhames). Wallace has to deal with the fallout of boxer Butch Coolidge (Willis) reneging on his agreement to throw a fight, in addition to dispatching his fixer, the Wolf (Keitel) to help clean up a mess his two henchmen, Vincent Vega (Travolta) and Jules Winnfield) (Jackson) made when securing a package for him. Vincent's story centers on Marsellus' request that he take his wife, Mia (Thurman), out to show her a good time while he's out of town. Jules' arc is wrapped up in a restaurant robbery gone wrong, as two small-time crooks — Ringo-slash-Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Yolanda-slash-Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer) — interfere in his delivery of the aforementioned package to Marsellus. When Marsellus and Butch are going at it in the street, they're captured and imprisoned in an S&M dungeon, a predicament from which they must fight their way out and put aside their differences.

Army of Darkness

In 1992, future "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi rounded out his campy "Evil Dead" horror-comedy trilogy with "Army of Darkness." The film continues the tale of unlikely-but-iconic hero Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), who's transported to another world — whether it's a time jump or a parallel universe is never established — after he makes the mistake of reading from a mysterious book while at a cabin in woods with his girlfriend. Ash is a pretty average guy, but when dropped into a medieval setting, he becomes the most advanced human being around. That doesn't stop him from being enslaved in a chain gang by Lord Arthur's (Marcus Gilbert) men, though when he escapes his death sentence to the pit  filled with monsters, some alleged wise man (Ian Abercrombie) believes he is the subject of a prophecy, the one long foreseen to deliver humanity from the monstrous creatures known as Deadites.

Ash wants none of that prophecy mumbo jumbo, he just wants to get back home, so he agrees to retrieve the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis — the Book of the Dead — because it should be able to accomplish exactly that, in addition to saving the world and stuff. And sure, maybe he doesn't exactly say every single little tiny syllable of the magic phrase he's supposed to recite when retrieving the book, but yeah, basically he said them. And so what if the Deadite army is coming, led by his evil twin, who's made off with Sheila (Embeth Davidtz), his new love interest who was taken by the Deadites. Just send him home, like in the deal.


British filmmaker Danny Boyle's hit movie "Trainspotting" features one of the decade's most powerful opening sequences, with protagonist Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) delivering a startling monologue over top Iggy Pop's "Lust for Lust" in a montage that introduced his friends and co-stars and their lives in the drug scene of the Edinburgh, Scotland, underground. "Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career ... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who need reasons when you've got heroin?"

Renton is an unemployed heroin junkie who's trying to get his life together, but having the friends he's fallen in with doesn't exactly make that an easy task. Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) is a fellow addict and James Bond obsessive whose infant daughter dies courtesy of his and girlfriend Allison's neglect. Spud (Ewen Bremner) is a conman and fellow heroin user, while hooligan Begbie (Robert Carlyle) may not touch the stuff, but he uses senseless violence as a means of sorting out his issues instead. When Renton's legal trouble forces him to quit the junk cold turkey, he finds a normal existence to be empty and meaningless. One final act of selfishness may allow him to break free of his cycle and the vicious doldrums, but at what cost?

Boyle would later go on to make "28 Days Later," "Sunshine," and "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Trainspotting" became Ewan McGregor's coming out party as an international film star.

Sister Act

How on earth could you make a successful comedy film franchise about nuns? Simple: hire actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg to star in it. That's what the makers of 1992's "Sister Act" did and it spawned both a sequel and a musical adaptation — in fact, Disney+ will release "Sister Act 3" when it's finished and ready for its big premiere.

But before all of that, Goldberg first appeared as nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier in the early '90s. Things are going great for her and her act in Reno, Nevada — that is, until she sees her boyfriend, Vincent LaRocca (Harvey Keitel), whack a police informant. So Lieutenant Eddie Souther (Bill Nunn) places Deloris in witness protection while the case against Vince is being assembled and she ends up at a convent in Saint Katherine's Parish in San Francisco, California. We assume the rationale is that the last place anyone would look for the foul-mouther Deloris is a church. While there, under the guise of Sister Mary Clarence, Deloris begins working with the convent's real nuns, leading their chorus in an exciting new direction: actually being good. While Eddie has told her she needs to fly under the radar, Deloris begins to see the good she can do while at Saint Katherine's and digs deep. The thing is, while Deloris' compatriots are on the side of angels, the same can't be said for Eddie's department and a dirty cop leaks her hiding place to Vince.

Men in Black

Rapper and actor Will Smith must really hate aliens. After starring in 1996's blockbuster sci-fi action thriller "Independence Day," he launched the "Men in Black" franchise the very next year, mixing in plenty of comedy with the alien-fighting action. "MiB" grossed a massive $587 million at the worldwide box office (via The Numbers) and spawned two sequels and the 2019 spinoff, "Men in Black: International," starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson.

The original "Men in Black" was a loose adaptation of a comic book of the same name — one published by a company that would eventually be owned by Marvel — and featured the titular government figures that UFO conspiracists have tied to supposed sightings for years. After putting his past-his-prime partner out to pasture, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) needs a new one to continue his work with the MiB, an intergalactic organization that monitors and polices alien activity on Earth, which was designated as a neutral safe zone for alien refugees. Enter NYPD officer James Edwards (Smith), a loudmouth cop who doesn't exactly take direction well. He's a little freaked out about his suspect blinking two sets of eyelids before taking a swan dive off a roof and things don't get less weird when K tells him they were gills. Already deeper in it than most people could stand, he becomes Agent J, the MiB's newest recruit, just in time for an space cockroach to hijack the meatsuit of an Upstate New York farmer named Edgar (Vincent D'Onofrio) and try to start an interstellar war.

Reservoir Dogs

You didn't think "Pulp Fiction" was the only Quentin Tarantino movie to make this list, did you? The screenplays for "From Dusk Till Dawn" and "True Romance" plus directing "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs" puts our count at four — and "Jackie Brown" was pretty close to making the cut.

A dialogue-driven heist film that shows the planning and fallout from a diamond theft gone wrong, "Reservoir Dogs" served as Tarantino's feature film directorial debut. It features a colorful collection of characters — played by an all-star ensemble cast — many of whom go by code names and all of whom have some kind of tie to Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney), the guy who financed and planned the job. Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) is a recently released felon named Vic Vega — canonical brother to Vincent Vega of "Pulp Fiction" — who loses his cool and starts shooting in the middle of the heist. Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) is a longtime associate of Joe's named Larry who is tending to a wounded member of the crew. Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) is the wounded crew member with something to hide. Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) is the foul-mouthed team member who insists people start acting like professionals. Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn) is Joe's son and he insists that Mr. Blonde is on the level. They're all looking for the presumed rat who must have sold them out to the cops, since there's no other way this perfectly planned job got botched so quickly.

Con Air

Action. Adventure. A villainous John Malkovich. Nicolas Cage with long hair and a horrible Southern accent. The 1997 action thriller that was "Con Air" really had it all. And we're resisting the urge to borrow from the spiel from Simon Pegg's character in "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" about how "Con Air" is the best movie ever.

The premise, ridiculous as it is, goes like this: eight years after being sent to prison for accidentally killing a man while defending his pregnant wife Tricia Poe (Monica Potter), former Army Ranger Cameron Poe (Cage) is paroled and catches the wrong flight home. Cameron has to be transported on a Department of Corrections airplane full of United States Marshalls and the worst criminals in the American prison system, who are being flown on the titular craft in order to populate a supermax prison. King of the bad guys is Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom (Malkovich), a sadistic killer with a genius-level intellect and proclivity for killing guards. He also happens to be the mastermind behind the successful hijacking of their transport plane, all part of a plan to help free drug cartel figure Francisco Cindino (Jesse Borrego), who's promised Grissom and his accomplices their freedom for helping him escape. Despite the fact that he just wants to get home to his wife and the daughter whom he's never met, Cameron can't allow his friend Baby-O (Mykelti Williamson) to fall into a diabetic coma or the female guard, Sally Bishop (Rachel Ticotin), to be subject to the abuse of a plane full of prisoners. Guess he's gonna have to save the effing day.

Groundhog Day

Being trapped in an endless cycle of repetition in which nothing you say or do matters may hit a little too close to home for some people, but it made for a great movie premise in the form of "Groundhog Day," the 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray as cynical weatherman Phil Connors. Phil is a bit of a jerk, not the festive type, and isn't the best person to cover the annual festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the titular animal comes out to see or not see his shadow and determine the weather for an entire hemisphere. In fact, he's pretty sick of the annual routine, as producer Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell) comes to learn, but they get through the events without too much smug sarcasm in the broadcast. Unfortunately, they can't head home, because a blizzard that Phil swears is not suppose to hit them is bearing down on the small town, trapping the Pittsburgh news team in Punxsutawney.

Something magical and-or horrible happens the next day: the exact same thing. Phil has become trapped in an endless cycle of the same day, Groundhog Day, and nothing he does during the course of the day changes anything; he still wakes up in his cold hotel bed to Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" on the radio. After some initial confusion, Phil begins to see the advantages of the situation, seducing women and stealing money from an armored car. The novelty soon wears thin and Phil becomes desperate to escape.

The Matrix

In 1999, the blockbuster sci-fi action movie "The Matrix" launched an impressive media franchise that's still going strong more than 20 years later, as the fourth film, "The Matrix Resurrections," premieres in 2021. After the first movie was a smash success, grossing $465 million worldwide, it received two live-action sequels in 2003 — "The Matrix: Reloaded" and "The Matrix: Revolutions" — as well as a direct-to-video animated companion, "The Animatrix."

In addition to a stellar cast, impressive martial arts stunt work, and groundbreaking special effects, "The Matrix" features an intriguing premise. Imagine you're living in an illusion. Everyday life as you know it isn't real, but you have no way of knowing it, save for small inconsistencies you can't explain. But hey, no reason to have an existential crisis over it, life just doesn't make sense! So it was for Thomas Anderson a.k.a. Neo (Keanu Reeves), a hacker searching for an answer. Well the alleged techno-terrorist Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) has an answer, but Neo is not going to like it. It turns out he is nothing more than a power source, generating biological heat to be converted into electricity to power an army of sentient machines that took over the world when humans created artificial intelligence. He's not living in a dream; he's in a chemically induced coma and his life is a series of electronic signals being interpreted by his brain. But there's good news: he's been prophesied to bring an end to humanity's enslavement as The One, a person capable of showing the world the truth behind the fake reality they inhabit. No pressure.

The Shawshank Redemption

Another Stephen King story has made our list of '90s movies that still hold up today: "The Shawshank Redemption." The film, which adapts King's novella, "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption," stars Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, a banker convicted of killing his wife and her lover, though he maintains his innocence throughout his trial and incarceration. Andy's struggles to adapt to life in Maine's fictional Shawshank State Penitentiary and is a target for assault by his fellow inmates, though he does manage to befriend Ellis Redding (Morgan Freeman), a prison lifer with a talent for smuggling in contraband.

Over the course of nearly two decades, the pair's bond grows, with Andy finding favor with the guards after offering some unsolicited financial advice to guard captain Byron Hadley (Clancy Brown) and nearly being thrown from the roof in the process. He finds his work detail changed to the prison's meager library as a cover for him doing the guards' taxes and helping warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton) set up and manage several illicit enterprises, utilizing his prisoners as a free labor source to undercut legitimate contractors and cash in. Andy uses the opportunity to expand the library by pestering the state government for funds, in addition to helping several inmates pass their high school equivalency tests. When his relationship with the warden is strained after a fellow inmate claims his former cellmate at another prison took credit for the death of his wife and her lover, Andy has to decide if he's going to get busy living or get busy dying.

The Crow

Rounding out our rundown of '90s movies that have still got it as a tale of love conquering death, with a real-life tragedy that's even more devastating than the film: "The Crow." Musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancee Shelly Webster (Sofia Shinas) are murdered on Devil's Night, the night before Halloween, in Detroit. A young girl named Sarah (Rochelle Davis) whose mother neglects her and whom had they befriended shows up to see Shelly being wheeled to an ambulance and is comforted by the responding officer, Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson). A year later, Eric returns from the grave — granted strength and near-invulnerability by a mysterious crow — to exact revenge on his killers, who had also raped Shelly before her death. 

Starting out at the bottom of the food chain, Eric takes on the knife-wielding Tin Tin (Laurence Mason), whose talents with a blade are no match for Eric's vengeful rage. After tracking down Shelly's engagement ring at Gideon's Pawn Shop, where Tin Tin had sold it, he's armed with the names of the other criminals he needs to track down, killing his way to the boss, Top Dollar (Michael Wincott).

The film's popularity upon release — it enjoys an 83% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed $51 million worldwide (via The Numbers) — was overshadowed by the death of Brandon Lee during production. On-set mishandling of a gun resulted in actor Michael Massee essentially firing a live round at Lee during a scene, fatally wounding him, as Entertainment Weekly reported at the time.