Best Films of the 1990's

  2. Underground - Emir Kusturica (1995)
  3. The Kingdom - Lars Von Trier (1994)

  4. 8.5/10
  5. Conspirators of Pleasure - Jan Svankmajer (1996)
  6. Rouge - Krzysztof Kieslowski (1994)

  7. 8/10
  8. Lost Highway - David Lynch (1997)
  9. Satantango - Bela Tarr (1994)
  10. Pulp Fiction - Quentin Tarantino (1994)
  11. The Color of Paradise - Mahid Majidi (1998)
  12. Funny Games - Michael Haneke (1997)

  13. 7.5/10
  14. After Life - Hirokazu Kore-eda (1998)
  15. City of Lost Children - Jean-Marie Jeunet (1995)
  16. Eternity and a Day - Theo Angelopoulos (1998)
  17. Maborosi - Hirokazu Kore-eda (1995)
  18. Dr. Akagi - Shohei Imamura (1998)
  19. Dead Man - Jim Jarmusch (1995)
  20. Black Cat, White Cat - Emir Kusturica (1998)
  21. Face/Off - John Woo (1997)
  22. LA Confidential - Curtis Hanson (1998)
  23. Reservoir Dogs - Quentin Tarantino (1992)
  24. Europa - Lars Von Trier (1991)
  25. Ulysses' Gaze - Theo Angelopoulos (1995)
  26. Leaving Las Vegas - Mike Figgis (1995)
  27. La Femme Nikita - Luc Besson (1990)
  28. Twelve Monkeys - Terry Gilliam (1995)
  29. Breaking the Waves - Lars Von Trier (1996)
  30. Pi - Darren Aronofsky (1998)
  31. Being John Malkovich - Spike Jonze (1999)
  32. Schindler's List - Steven Spielberg (1993)
  33. Fargo - Joel Coen (1996)
  34. King of New York - Abel Ferrara (1990)
  35. The Sweet Hereafter - Atom Egoyan (1997)
  36. Hard Boiled - John Woo (1992)
  37. Dogma - Kevin Smith (1999)
  38. Forrest Gump - Robert Zemeckis (1994)
  39. Delicatessen - Jean-Marie Jeunet (1991)
  40. Miller's Crossing - Joel Coen (1990)
  41. Naked - Mike Leigh (1993)
  42. Shallow Grave - Danny Boyle (1994)
  43. Silence of the Lambs - Jonathan Demme (1991)
  44. Amateur - Hal Hartley (1994)
  45. Natural Born Killers - Oliver Stone (1994) [Director's Cut, 123 minutes]
  46. American Beauty - Sam Mendes (1999)
  47. Wild at Heart - David Lynch (1990)
  48. Batman Returns - Tim Burton (1992)
  49. Blue - Krzysztov Kieslowski (1993)
  50. Life is Beautiful - Roberto Benigni (1997)
  51. Exotica - Atom Egoyan (1994)
  52. The Game - David Fincher (1998)
  53. The Truman Show - Peter Weir (1998)
  54. The Thin Red Line - Terrence Malick (1998)
  55. Leon: The Professional - Luc Besson (1994)
  56. Trainspotting - Danny Boyle (1996)
  57. The Fifth Element - Luc Besson (1996)
  58. Strange Days - Kathryn Bigelow (1995)
  59. The Pillow Book - Peter Greenaway (1996)
  60. The Piano - Jane Campion (1993)
  61. Once Were Warriors - Lee Tamahori (1994)
  62. To Die For - Gus Van Sant (1995)
  63. Chungking Express - Wong Kar-wai (1994)
  64. Funny Bones - Peter Chelsom (1995)
  65. Eyes Wide Shut - Stanley Kubrick (1999)
  66. Thelma & Louise - Ridley Scott (1991)
  67. Rebels of the Neon God - Tsai Ming-liang (1992)
  68. Wayne's World - Penelope Spheeris (1992)

I'd suggest Crumb, Boogie Nights, Man Bites Dog, Big Lebowski, Before Sunrise, Goodfellas, Barton Fink, Dazed and Confused, Terminator 2, and Rushmore. Maybe Office Space. And maybe Casino for 7.5. And, possibly Groundhog Day (though I'm sure I overrate it a bit).

Great list as always!

hmmm, great choices

Haven't seen...

Crumb, Man Bites Dog, Dazed & Confused

Have seen...

-Boogie Nights 7/10
-Big Lebowksi...I forgot this one but it's now added. Thanks for the reminder.
-Before Sunrise...actually not sure if I've seen it or not...want to though...
-Goodfellas 7/10, though it's been a long time and I should see it again to be sure
-Barton Fink...I'm actually unfinished on this I should finish it and get back to you...
-Terminator 2...6.5/10, possibly 7/10...I think the first one is better (much more suspenseful)
-Office Space...7/10
-Casino...probably 7/10

Crumb is possibly the best documentary film of all time. Man Bites Dog is a brazen mockumentary satirizing media obsession with violence. And Dazed & Confused is perhaps the ultimate recollection of adolescence. Definitely see Before Sunrise, the only convincing romance in the 90's.

I just remembered Pete Jackson's Braindead (aka Dead Alive), a gem of splatter and comedy horror. That's it for now. My only disagreement is Magnolia over Boogie Nights, I still find the latter to be Anderson's masterpiece. It just steals so well from the masters (Altman, Scorsese, Demme) that you want to high-five Anderson the next time you see him. You might be right about Goodfellas, though, I recently realized there's something lacking there. T2 is still an impressive technological achievement, but it's not as suspenseful, that's true. That's all for now.

Can't really argue with a list that has such fine selections in its uppermost tier.

This list does need Bela Tarr's Satantango, the Coen Bros' Fargo and Miller's Crossing, David Cronenberg's Crash, Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged, Jean-Luc Godard's Nouvelle Vague and John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood... maybe Tim Burton's Ed Wood. I second the Goodfellas and Crumb nominations. I'm probably missing a good few, release dates never really stick in my mind.

I don't know how you could tolerate Life is Beautiful, though; it was so saccharine I could feel cavities developing.

Haven't finished the monumental task of Satantango yet but I'm sure it will be on here (probably a 9) once I do.

I just recently re-rated Fargo from 7.5 to 7

Boyz n the Hood would get about a 6.5

Haven't seen the rest though they look promising

Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on Life Is Beautiful. Similar to Chaplin, if you watch it more as theater (which is how it's presented) than as a strictly cinematic experience it works much better.

Face/Off, haha, nice! That really is an excellent film, probably the most artistic straight-up action film of the 90's (and definitely my favorite Woo behind Hard Boiled). I remember seeing that in Scaruffi's top 100 and laughing. But he may have a point, it's pretty damn good.

Pulp Fiction not a 9 anymore, Blasphemy! ;-)

It's 9 rating was pretty was an 8-8.5 for years before that so don't feel too bad... ) :

I would recommend Menace II Society from 1993.

thanks, I'm pretty sure I've seen it, but it's been a long time so who knows...not sure what I'd rate it.

I'm sorry, I didn't get Leon. If I hadn't heard it was so great before, I may have laughed at the cheesiness of some of it. It seemed very cliché. Care to enlighten/explain?

It's very operatic and dramatic and the sequencing of the scenes (especially the first and last third), combined with the warmth of some middle scenes and the ill-fated and strangely beautiful/uncomfortable relationship between the leads makes for explosive emotional content. It can seem cliche and overblown but that's also it's heart bleeding on it's sleeve.

No love for Eyes Wide Shut?

It's a great film that I would give a 7/10 ( :

satantango not a 9? why you feel it is not deserving??

It is deserving! An 8 is still easily one of the greatest films of all time! An 8 is a 10 (or 5 stars) by any other standard.

It's a lot to take in (7+ hrs). I may need to see it again. I had it as a 9 for a couple days after I saw it but dropped it down as I watched many of my other 9's.

Probably the best way to explain it would be to compare it to other "similar" 9's, like Traveling Players in particular, which is a bit more powerful overall due perhaps to a marginally more effective formulation of structure, even better performances...I suppose. I'll see if I can add more to this later--I'm in a real hurry right now...I'll get back to you on this.

What about Malick's Thin Red Line?

That's a close call. I've rated it as high as an 8 before. Currently I put it as a high 7 just barely missing out, but I wouldn't be surprised if it makes it's way back on here.

I would never discredit a masterpiece like The Kingdom by Von Trier, but isn't it more along the lines of a television show than an actual movie? After all, they did make a second season of the Kingdom few years later (which I have been meaning to watch). And if it is a television show, shouldn't this list include other television shows?

I would only include TV shows that were a clearly defined, sequentially story-driven series... the problem is I almost never watch TV and I don't know of any other shows that I'd rate 7.5+ definitively. Sopranos (seen some episodes) and the Wire (seen 2 seasons) are quite good, but no higher than a 7 from me based on what I've seen (which is very high, relatively speaking, for a TV show). Arrested Development might be the best I've seen - maybe a 7.5.

thanks for the answer. By the way, does your rating of The Kingdom include both seasons? And if not, do you plan on evaluating the second season separately.

For now, it only includes the 1st season. I'll probably decide whether to evaluate them separately once I've seen the 2nd one.

Stick with The Wire, it ranks beside my favorite artworks. Season 4 in particular is up there, on the pantheon.

I may get back to it. Last time I watched it was about 3-4 years ago...

Definitely hop onto Riget II. It maybe isn't *quite* as good as the first season, it's a bit more loose in terms of plot, but the editing/camerawork/atmosphere is still the same. I also think it's funnier, more outrageous and maybe scarier.

It kills me that there won't be a part II.

Thanks, it's on my "to see" list for sure

And that should be Part III.

Glad you put King of New York on this list! It is my favorite Abel Ferrara film and easily one of my favorite films of the 90s -top 5 fav. I thought about putting it on my list. I rate it a 93%. Props!

Yea, amazing, very underrated film!

Have you seen close up? I just got it today gonna see if its 'the best film of the 90s'

Nope - let me know what you think though

Close-up is a great film, should probably be at least 7/10 for you.

Thanks, that's still one I haven't seen yet

Related: You should also rewatch Taste of Cherry :P

Thanks, Ill get around to it again at some point. If someone could point out what's so extraordinary about it with accurate, compelling analysis, then I might be more interested in revisiting it faster -- otherwise I'm sure to figure it out whenever I do get back to it, but that could be a while...

Seeing some of your discussion with Marquee about it gives me the impression that you understand it to some extent but just don't connect with it emotionally yet.

Oh by the way, you seem to like The Big Lebowski but it isn't anywhere on the list, is it just a 7/10 for you?

Yeah, maybe I should just revisit that conversation. I'd forgotten about what Marquee said and he tends to have very reliable analysis.

Big Lebowski is probably a high-7 or low-7.5. Also, keep in mind that none of my film lists are current. Lots of updates on the way (many of the ratings are returning to my previous assertions -- in other words, many of them as presently listed are rated a little too highly).

Does that mean that a lot of the films in the 7.3-7.7 range will be demoted to 7/10? If so, can you please add the 7/10 category to the list instead of simply removing those choices?

I might. Either way, the 7.3-7.7 range will probably have little drop off. Probably some of the 7.3s but little, if anything, above that. Most of them are pretty accurate, maybe a decimal or two off here and there, but the vast majority will stay at or above 7.3.

Do you know where Marquee and I discussed Taste of Cherry?


Would you agree there's a discrepancy in quality in Leon between the majority of the film and the shoot em up scenes towards the end? In terms of rhythms he really had something powerful going on, and then he lost me. I'm not saying it should have been different plot-wise but the descent into chaos was, I think, incongruent--if not jarring--with what he had developed.

Hmmm, I'd have to watch it again. It's never bothered me though I understand where you're coming from. I think it's jarring too, but I also think it's a plus - the chaos and operatic destruction/death of it all.