Best 20 Films of the 90's

  • The rules are here. This was extremely hard to do, considering the sheer number of films I’ve seen from the decade.
  • 1. The American President (1995). Rob Reiner creates a magical romantic comedy that also, incidentally, paints a portrait of a president that most of us would want.
  • 2. Being John Malkovich (1999). An unique film in the American oeuvre, this runs the gamut of genres, with inspired performances and just amazing storytelling.
  • 3. Dark City (1998). I’ve talked about here. I just love it.
  • 4. Dead Man Walking (1995). Great film from Tim Robbins that shows, once again, that Sean Penn may be one of the most talented actors working today. This is a modern morality tale without being pedantic.
  • 5. Delicateseen (1991). Ahh, the French. Make fun of them if you must, but they know how to use surrealism in their work to just the right effect.
  • 6. Fight Club (1999). Unf. This was a perfect marriage of material with a director (David Fincher).
  • 7. The Fugitive (1993). Great acting, people often forget how involving this thriller is.
  • 8. Lion King (1994). Ehh, you might go for Aladdin, but I think this is more representative of Disney’s output in the 90’s.
  • 9. The Matrix (1999). As a stand-alone film, in one moment of time, this changed everything. Not all for the good of course, but rules did change.
  • 10. Miller’s Crossing (1990). A perfect vision with a great attention to details.
  • 11. Nixon (1995). Oliver Stone’s slightly skewed history lesson is a powerful reminder of the idiom, ‘Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely’. Hopkins doesn’t really sound like Nixon, but he understands what made him tick.
  • 12. Pulp Fiction (1994). I think enough has been said about the importance of this film.
  • 13. The Shawshank Redemption Frank Darabont’s debut film is a timeless story about the human spirit. It is perfect.
  • 14. Schindler’s List (1993). Spielberg finally gets his Oscar. The three central characters make this more moving than the oft talked about Ghetto clearing scene.
  • 15. Silence of the Lambs (1991). This dominated at the Oscars, and rightfully so. Jodie Foster isn’t always used correctly, but when allowed, she shines.
  • 16. The Sweet Hereafter (1997). I almost picked Exotica, but this one is more complex and heartfelt. Atom Egoyan is certainly Canada’s best director.
  • 17. Three Kings (1999). A perfect anti-war film that also shows the BS associated with America’s imperialistic tendencies. It also happens to be a terrifically entertaining film.
  • 18. Toy Story (1995). Pixar revolutionized animation, and are still riding an amazing run of unbelievably successful films.
  • 19. The Usual Suspects (1995). Fabulous use of archetypal characters that somehow morph into unique beings.
  • 20. Three Colors: White (1994). I won’t argue about which of these is best; I think it’s different for everyone. I like this revenge comedy best. Period.
  • Honorable Mentions
  • Army of Darkness (1993) The film that cued me into how a director really controls what happens on screen. One of my five favorite films, and one of a handful of movies that pushed me into taking the medium seriously.
  • Braveheart (1995)
  • Clerks (1994)
  • La Femme Nikita (1990)
  • Shallow Grave (1994)
  • The Sixth Sense (1999)

Another nice list! I remember liking The American President, but not so much that I'm not surprised to see it top your list (boy, double-negatives really do suck - when you unravel that grammatical tangle you'll see that what I mean is I'm surprised it tops your list :-). I'll have to give it another viewing.

For my Disney representative, I'd go for Beauty and the Beast. Also, for my money, if you want to pick a representative Disney movie you gotta go for the Howard Ashman lyrics rather than the Phil Collins lyrics. Just my opinion, of course!

It always makes me happy to see Delicatessen make the grade on lists like this.

Yeah, Beauty and the Beast is a good one. Disney sure had a run there for a while, didn't they?

Also, these are only in alphabetical order, not a ranked order. I just number to keep track of the total.

It was quite a run! Oh, and I should have noticed the alphabetical listing.