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15 Best '90s Movies On Hulu

Every decade has at least a few great movies, but the '90s were a particularly unique 10 years in film. 

The era of Blockbuster Video contains more than its share of massive special effects extravaganzas and franchise-expanding sequels and reboots. But in those days, Hollywood also saw a since-diminished value in mid-budget dramas for adults, full of folks using cuss words, committing violence, and doing sex with each other. Heck yeah. 

For the first time since the 1960s, the youth and its associated culture had a name and a defined sense of identity — so naturally, the influence of "Generation X" flows through the metaphorical veins of its epoch's most memorable films. In some respects, that means characters wearing flannel shirts and discussing a general sense of aimlessness. But even when the obvious signifiers of post-"Nevermind" America aren't on display, its less explicit callsigns — irony, irreverence, and deep-seated fixation on popular culture — remain.   

And when it comes to films from the final decade of the previous millennium, what does Hulu offer? Well, let's have us a look...

Updated on December 29, 2021: Hulu is constantly updating its catalogue of awesome '90s movies. Be sure to come back here each month to check out the latest '90s gems streaming on the site, from sci-fi blockbusters to gritty indie flicks.


Steven Spielberg examines the law's struggle to keep pace with morality and justice in this stirring film. Africans imprisoned on a late-1830s Spanish ship overtake their captors on the way to the Americas. An unprecedented legal situation unfolds upon their unexpected arrival in New England, which changes the course of history and many individual lives. A star-studded cast brings this historical epic to brilliant life. 

  • Starring: Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Matthew McConaughey
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Year: 1997
  • Runtime: 152 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%


Michael Bay probably had more influence on '90s pop culture than any film nerd's favorite director. Consider "Armageddon," one of the mightiest box office earners of 1998. An enormous asteroid is on its way to annihilate the Earth. While bits of space rock rain down, causing all kinds of awesome explosions, the U.S. government recruits a scruffy gang of oil drillers led by Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) to go to space and drill the projectile into a state of harmlessness. "Armageddon" was not a serious Oscar contender, but it is representative of the '90s many adventure/disaster blockbusters at their most exciting.

  • Starring: Bruce Willis, Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck
  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Year: 1998
  • Runtime: 150 minutes 
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 38%

Boys Don't Cry

"Boys Don't Cry" tells the story of Brandon Teena, a Nebraska trans man who was viciously murdered, along with two other people, at the age of 21 in 1993. Though the film is a brutal one, it's about Teena's life as much as it's about his death — a life that was filled with tenacity, courage, and love. Hilary Swank's stellar performance in the lead role earned her a Best Actress Oscar at the 2000 Academy Awards.

  • Starring: Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard
  • Director: Kimberly Peirce
  • Year: 1999
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Boyz n the Hood

Tre is a kid trying to find his way in the world. He's smart, curious, and friendly, but he's also got a temper, which eventually gets him sent to live with his dad in Los Angeles' Crenshaw neighborhood. There, he grows into a teenager — but L.A. of the 1990s is not kind to young Black men. Against a backdrop of discrimination, gang violence, and gentrification, Tre and his peers must find a path into the future. With this movie, first-time feature-length director John Singleton became both the youngest and first-ever Black nominee for Best Director at the 1992 Academy Awards. Moreover, Ice Cube guaranteed that his departure from N.W.A. would certainly not be the end of his career in entertainment.

  • Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr.
  • Director: John Singleton
  • Year: 1991
  • Runtime: 112 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Dead Man Walking

In a semi-true and absolutely devastating story, a nun advocates for a death row convict as the conclusion of his tenure among the living looms near. As the doomed Matthew Poncelet, a transcendent Sean Penn petitions the audience to see humanity and hope in an unabashedly loathsome, rotten criminal. Penn garnered a Best Actor Oscar nomination for the effort. Meanwhile, Susan Sarandon scored a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar for her brilliantly nuanced performance as Sister Helen Prejean.   

Devil in a Blue Dress

An inspired attempt to scratch the decade's Los Angeles-based neo-noir itch a few years ahead of "L.A. Confidential," "Devil in A Blue Dress" sees Denzel Washington play Easy Rawlins, a recently unemployed man who gets tangled up in the case of a missing woman. Don Cheadle might've already been too established by this point for his inspired performance as Mouse to count as his breakthrough, but it definitely didn't make him any less famous.     


A considerable teen movie renaissance unfolded throughout the second half of the '90s — from the slasher revival brought on by the "Scream" to campier fare like "She's All That" and "Can't Hardly Wait." Meanwhile, the quirky dark comedy "Election" has aged a little more gracefully than some of its contemporaries. Matthew Broderick inverts the good-intentioned everyman archetype as the semi-tragic high school social studies teacher Jim McAllister, and Reese Witherspoon predicts "Lean In"-style feminism as relentless overachiever Tracy Flick. But who we decide to sympathize with feels less important than understanding there's no clean-cut villain in "Election." Just like in real life, everybody's the hero in their own mind. 

  • Starring: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein
  • Director: Alexander Payne
  • Year: 1999
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • Rating: R

Jacob's Ladder

With the Cold War finally in the rearview, some folks might have wondered what American espionage movies would be about, without the Soviet Union around. The raging popularity of Agents Mulder and Scully's struggle against shadowy operators in "The X-Files" stands as the most obvious next step, but the slow-burning cult status of "Jacob's Ladder" makes a similar point. Tim Robbins plays a traumatized Vietnam veteran who experiences nightmarish visions of train passengers with slithering tentacles and attempted vehicular homicides perpetrated by men with warped faces. The precise nature of his post-war existence grows ever more strange and terrifying, until the movie reaches its unforgettable climax.

  • Starring: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello
  • Director: Adrian Lyne
  • Year: 1990
  • Runtime: 113 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%


We don't talk about them much these days, but two raunchy pictures from the filmmaking duo of Bobby and Peter Farrelly played key roles in defining American comedy for the '90s. These movies are "Dumb and Dumber" and "There's Something about Marry." The Farrellys also cranked out the much-less influential "Kingpin" — a bowling-centric romp that belongs on this list due to its many '90s-specific qualities. These include the presence of Vanessa Angel — best recognized from the USA Network's "Weird Science" TV series — and an unusually villainous supporting performance from Bill Murray during that peculiar, underrated phase between his stints as a 1980s megastar and 2000s prestige actor.

  • Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
  • Year: 1996
  • Runtime: 114 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

The Last of the Mohicans

Grand-scale historical epics don't make too many appearances in today's Hollywood, but moviegoers of the '90s couldn't get enough of olden-times drama. Set during the French and Indian War of the 1700s, "The Last of the Mohicans" is the film Michael Mann directed before "Heat," making the early '90s a particularly explosive phase in his career. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Hawkeye, the adopted son of a Mohican chief. In this now-classic role, he bears witness to the end of one era, and the bloody beginning of another.

Mr. Holland's Opus

The trials and tribulations of a dedicated music teacher depicted in "Mr. Holland's Opus" will resonate with anyone who fondly remembers their high school arts program. Richard Dreyfuss, who snagged a best actor Oscar nomination for this performance, shines as the titular teacher. Music shapes his family, career, and understanding of a changing world — but not always in the way he expects. This sentimental tribute to the arts and education is a warm-hearted wonder.

  • Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas
  • Director: Stephen Herek
  • Year: 1995
  • Runtime: 142 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%


We can't tell you "Se7en" embodies the zeitgeist of 1995, because in reality, "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" also sold a lot of tickets that year. But we can say that David Fincher's feature-length breakthrough represents the decade's gritty, angst-ridden streak at its absolute best. In a city soaked in constant rain, a diabolically cruel serial killer is knocking off his victims in ways that recall the seven deadly sins. It's up to detectives Somerset and Mills to stop him — or be consumed by the carnage themselves.   

Sense and Sensibility

Often placed among the crème de la crème of its ilk — which really says something, because Hollywood loves doing new versions of Jane Austen stories — 1995's "Sense and Sensibility" won its star and writer Emma Thompson an Oscar for best adapted screenplay. This winning tale of romance, inheritance, and labyrinthine social norms sees some of the greatest stars of the decade bring one of Austen's most beloved books to life. It's also a testament to the range of director Ang Lee, who went on to make 2000's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and 2003's "Hulk."

  • Starring: Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet
  • Director: Ang Lee
  • Year: 1995
  • Runtime: 135 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Star Trek: First Contact

According to Rotten Tomatoes, "First Contact" is the best "Star Trek" film featuring crew from "The Next Generation" — arguably the definitive "Trek" series that originally aired from 1987 to 1994. Not coincidentally, "First Contact" also features the Borg — one of the most effective "Doctor Who" rip-offs in all of sci-fi. It's as if a very bright person asked themselves, "What if Cybermen were genuinely frightening, instead of very goofy looking?" 

"First Contact" also involves a time-travel adventure, in which a scientist played by James Cromwell invents warp drive. So if the viewer wants to imagine Cromwell as Farmer Hoggett and tell themselves "Star Trek" occurs in a shared universe with Babe the talking pig, the viewer can certainly do so. And if not, then they can definitely enjoy the greatest cinematic outing of Picard, Data, and the rest of the "TNG" crew.

  • Director: Jonathan Frakes
  • Year: 1996
  • Runtime: 110 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

A collection of era-defining actors star in this endearing tale of flyover state ennui. Young Gilbert finds his ambitions for a life outside of Endora, Iowa stifled by his familial responsibilities. When something new finally arrives, it's as exciting as it is challenging, and leaves Gilbert's life forever altered. A then-unknown actor by the name of Leonardo DiCaprio shines in his touching and joyful performance as Gilbert's brother, Arnie.