Whether one likes the 90s aesthetic or not, there is no denying that it was distinctive and legendary. Along with remarkable developments in fashion, technology, and gizmos, the decade saw the emergence of several noteworthy films as well. Action movies improved in excitement, the horror genre saw a resurgence, and epic dramas took over the box office.
Therefore, we have compiled 15 of these incredible 90s films to watch. These films have remained classics for thirty years. So it’s likely that you have heard of or seen many of these classics even if you weren’t born in the 1990s.
Table of Contents
1. Goodfellas (1990)
The film Goodfellas is a Martin Scorsese adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s crime novel Wiseguy. Henry Hill, a former mafia member turned informant, is profiled in it. Without a doubt, Goodfellas is a candidate for both the best movie of the 1990s and Martin Scorsese’s best work.
With its varied soundtrack, realistic storyline, and outstanding performances by the late and great Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci, it is a masterpiece from every perspective. Every subsequent mob movie would build on the foundation that Goodfellas laid.
2. Schindler’s List (1993)
The film Schindler’s List chronicles the tale of Polish industrialist Oskar Schindler, who works with and tries to save persecuted Jews amid World War II. Liam Neeson plays Schindler before he becomes an incredible action sensation. Despite its lengthy three hours and fifteen-minute running time, this historical drama boasts an audience score of 97% and a nearly perfect Rotten Tomatoes rating of 98%, inspiring both critics and viewers.
This movie was purposely shot in black and white by producer and director Steven Spielberg to preserve the documentary material of the time, and the rare splash of color has emotional resonance to this day.
3. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Perhaps Quentin Tarantino’s most well-known work is Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction won the 1994 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival despite being told out of chronological order and in a non-linear jumble. Even while it’s possible to watch movie segments in chronological sequence, doing so is only advised if you’ve already seen the film’s original cut in its entirety because the way it manipulates time is fundamental to its appeal.
4. Titanic (1997)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet deliver dismal performances in this visually magnificent historical drama. Titanic, loosely inspired by the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, was a massive hit at the box office and won a whopping 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director (James Cameron), Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects. One of the best movies of the 1990s because of the central relationship, epic scope, amazing effects, and enduring music.
5. Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park, a 1993 American sci-fi action movie by renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg, will indeed have frightened you of dinosaurs if you weren’t already. The sixth installment of this big blockbuster franchise, released earlier this year, is one of five currently in theaters. Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, and Laura Dern stand out among the film’s excellent ensemble cast for their unwavering dedication to the enormous, magical spirit of the picture.
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Saving Private Ryan, directed by Steven Spielberg and hailed as one of the greatest cinematic triumphs of all time, recounts the harrowing events leading up to the Normandy landings and graphic Omaha Beach assault during World War II and stars a stellar cast of Hollywood greats, directed by Tom Hanks and Matt Damon.
When his brothers are murdered, and he goes missing in action, Army Rangers Captain John H. Miller (Hanks) and his devoted unit heroically proceed in search of the titular character, played by Damon. Spielberg’s revolutionary and influential film was a box office blockbuster and justifiably won five Academy Awards.
7. Apollo 13 (1995)
The 1995 American space docudrama movie Apollo 13 is based on the actual events of Apollo 13’s lunar mission. When an oxygen tank explodes, it puts the lives of astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton), and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) in danger.
When the shuttle’s planned moon landing is canceled, the crew must struggle to survive as they attempt to return to Earth without incident. Ron Howard’s film, which received nine Academy Award nominations, is still regarded as one of the best representations of NASA and space exploration.
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs is a film that almost every horror movie enthusiast has watched and for good reason. Jodie Foster plays FBI trainee Clarice Starling, who is requested to speak with Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins), a convicted serial killer thought to know something about another murderer stalking the streets.
Hopkins and Foster complement one another brilliantly in these affecting scenes. Only three movies have ever won all five of the “big five” Oscar categories, and this one is one of them.
9. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption is a prison drama based on the Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption novella by Stephen King. It follows Andy Dufresne, a falsely convicted banker who is now adjusting to life in jail. It is a timeless classic frequently appearing on lists of the best movies ever. Yet, ironically, the film barely made back its production costs when it was released in theaters in 1994.
Because of its outstanding performances, compelling and thought-provoking plot, and Morgan Freeman’s seamless and funny narration that keeps the audience interested from start to finish, it remains one of the best movies of the 1990s despite its modest box office success.
10. The Matrix (1999)
With a captivating stranger by his side, computer programmer and skilled hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) sets out on a reality-defying journey to a dangerous underworld in The Matrix, widely regarded as one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever to grace the silver screen. But, unfortunately, Neo eventually learns that a malicious cyber-intelligence is changing his world.
In the groundbreaking special effects film, Reeves is joined by Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss. The trio helped establish the successful and lauded Matrix franchise, which is gaining new and ardent fans.
11. Braveheart (1995)
The plot of Braveheart centers on Scottish warrior William Wallace, who rallies his people to revolt against King Edward I of England’s oppressive reign over Scotland. Despite being a three-hour epic, this historical drama is worth the time commitment because the emotional and political impact is evident over time. Mel Gibson, who also served as the movie’s producer and director, is the star of this masterpiece.
12. Good Will Hunting (1997)
The plot of Good Will Hunting centers on Will Hunting (Matt Damon), a disturbed adolescent with a brilliant IQ who accepts employment as an MIT janitor. Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), who notices Will’s intelligence when completing a college-level arithmetic problem, offers to mentor him.
Will is taken into custody soon after for allegedly punching a police officer. However, Professor Lambeau gives Will a bargain in exchange for agreeing to meet Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), a therapist. Stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay.
13. The Lion King (1994)
It was inevitable that a Disney picture would appear on our list, and The Lion King is possibly one of Disney’s most adored animated works. The voice cast of this masterpiece includes well-known actors, including James Earl Jones, Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, and Whoopi Goldberg.
Sir Elton John composed the wonderful music for it. In 2019, Disney released a photorealistic computer-animated recreation of The Lion King under the direction of Jon Favreau.
14. Groundhog Day (1993)
In this silly comedy, the self-absorbed weatherman (Bill Murray) is made to relive the same day until he gets it right repeatedly. He initially engages in self-destructive behaviors, including robberies, one-night hookups, and binge eating. However, when he finally breaks the cycle by falling in love with his producer Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell), he understands that he has the chance to have an influence and starts using his limitless time to benefit others.
15. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
In addition to founding a brand-new subgenre that would forever alter the horror film industry, The Blair Witch Project also succeeded in terrifying the living daylights out of all of us. But, unfortunately, this story of three documentary film students who really should have listened to those warnings about the Blair Witch employs the now-familiar “found footage” idea to chilling effect.