The 90’s, often overlooked, brought us some incredible entertainment. Although we had the likes of Bewitched and Backstreet Boys on the radio, we had X Files, Sliders and various Star Treks on TV and cinemas were filled with would-be classics. We look back and pick our ten favourite 90’s movies…
10. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Scraping into the decade (released here in the UK on Bonfire Night ’99), M. Night Shyamalan bought us the one of the greatest thrillers of modern times. Although he’s since bought us The Last Airbender, he delivered a mighty twist thanks to Bruce Willis’s brilliant performance as Dr. Malcolm Crowe. The film also featured Haley Joel Osment who turned heads with his performance as a child haunted by the dead… he also provided the world with the film’s infamous line.
Most iconic line: ‘I see dead people’.
Quentin Tarantino bought us his debut back in 1992. An instant classic, Reservoir Dogs tells of a bank heist gone wrong. Perpetrated by a black suited group of master criminals, the survivors begin to suspect each other of foul play. Featuring unforgettable performances and a slick script, Reservoir Dogs cemented Tarrantino’s prowess as both a writer and a director.
Most iconic line: ‘Let’s go to work’.
Set for re-release in glorious 3D later this year, Disney’s The Lion King loosely adapts Shakespeare’s Hamlet and sets it in the heart of Africa. We watch as young cub Simba grows. Faced with the death of his father he abandons his home, gripped with guilt, only to return years later to find his birthplace overrun with hyenas under the totalitarian rule of his uncle. Winning Oscars for its soundtrack, The Lion King features impressive animation and benefits from some great casting including James ‘Darth Vader’ Earl Jones as Simba’s father Mufasa.
Most iconic line: ‘Hakuna Matata’.
7. Toy Story (1995)
Sporting the decade’s material of choice (that’s denim to anyone who didn’t live through it), Woody single-handedly made cowboys cool again. To anyone who doesn’t know the story (firstly, shame on you), Woody’s position as Andy’s favourite toy is jeopardised when the all-new Buzz Lightyear appears on the scene. Sporting flashing lights and sparkly wings, Buzz refuses to believe he is a toy much to the irritation of Woody. Various escapades ensue that see the two end up in evil nextdoor neighbour Sid’s house where they are faced with imminent death. The second Disney classic to make it on to our list, Toy Story was a pioneer of its time, being the first fully computer-animated movie ever. Despite this it showed no signs of being a debut and was (and still is) a slick, funny and perfectly scripted tale of friendship that Disney Pixar have emulated since in their films.
Most iconic line: ‘To infinity, and beyond!’
6. Fight Club (1999)
Ed Norton and Brad Pitt united forces in Chuck Palahniuk-penned Fight Club. Seeing Norton establish a fight club for men to release their aggression muted in daily life he finds himself controlled more and more by Pitt’s Tyler Durden. Helena Bonham Carter appears as the multi-layered love interest whilst Meat Loaf is one of the many who join the increasingly militant club. Exploring some interesting takes on the modern world the film serves a heady twist comparable to the greatness of that served in The Sixth Sense. Our lips are sealed, but keep your eyes peeled to try and guess it before the denoument.
Most iconic line: ‘The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is you DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB’ – don’t worry, the third is about not beating your opponent too savagely. Aww, you guys.
5. The Matrix (1999)
Before the dizzying sequels came The Matrix, a jaw-dropping effects-filled spectacle that shaped a host of films that followed in the 21st century. Pioneering the slo-mo 360 degree angle shots that have been widely mimicked, The Matrix questioned reality and gave Keanu Reeves a career-defining role as the ‘chosen one’, Neo. Audiences watched as the Wachowski brothers bent reality and suggested that humanity is merely a drone-like community unknowingly hooked up to the Matrix, a computer-run world that mimicks our own. The few aware of their fate battle against the ever encroaching robot race and defy all scientific laws when inside the Matrix itself whilst fighting Hugo Weaving’s menacing agent.
Most iconic line: ‘You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes’. … we were going to choose the menacing ‘Mr. Anderson’ but thought the lengthier the better.
Tom Hanks’s Forrest Gump is one of the best-loved characters to have ever appeared in cinema. Although a little slow, Gump provides the people he encounters with new hope. Recounting his unbelievable life story whilst sitting on a park bench, he tells of how he happened to be present at some of the most pivotal moments in the 20th century. Encountering Elvis Presley, several presidents and John Lennon, Gump also becomes world ping pong champion, fights in the Vietnam war and manages to uncover the Watergate scandal, too. His story is heart warming and, amazingly, never seems implausable.
Most iconic line: ‘Momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get’.
3. Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Stephen King’s short story received cinematic attention in 1994 and became one of the best-loved movies of all time. Number one on IMDb’s chart (a hugely impressive feat), it tells the story of the friendship struck between two prisoners and their road to redemption. Tim Robbins excels opposite Morgan Freeman’s Red. Entwining sadness and hope in a heart-warming story, Shawshank Redemption is a must-see.
Most iconic line: ‘Get busy living, or get busy dying’.
2. Jurassic Park (1993)
It is hard to believe this Spielberg classic is nearly twenty years old thanks largely to its impressive Oscar-winning special effects. After Richard Attenborough’s cooky scientist Hammond transports dino-experts Sam Neill and Laura Dern to a mysterious island, they discover that he’s recreated the dinosaurs they have been confined to excavating. Understandably shocked, Neill and Dern join Hammond’s grandchildren and Jeff Goldblum to tour the island. Disaster inevitably ensues making for enthralling viewing. Featuring both the foreboding cup-full of trembling water and the iconic T-Rex scene, Jurassic Park is testament to Spielberg’s expert skill at creating truly awesome films. A true classic, Jurassic Park made us scared of entering the kitchen for months, scared of being ambushed by Velociraptors.
Most iconic line: ‘Must go faster’.
Before gallivanting around with whopping blue aliens and their glorious 3D world of Pandora, James Cameron could be found way back in 1912 on a merry voyage between Southampton and New York on the new and shiny Titanic. That is, of course, until an iceberg (of the glacier variety, not the lettuce) entered the mix and made the trip a lot more problemtatic. One of the biggest and most popular films of the decade, Titanic was the film that really launched Leonardo DiCaprio’s hugely impressive career. Starring opposite Kate Winslet, the two fall in love, a love that is doomed from the off, on the ill-fated ship. Many are yet to forgive Winslet’s final act of the film. Thanks to its success Titanic tops our list… a decision that has nothing to do with the fact that Leo’s floppy ‘do has 90’s written all over it despite the film being set in the 1910’s.
Most iconic line: ‘I’ll never let go Jack, I promise’ …before letting go.