140 Essential 90s Movies

#105
#105
Adjusted Score: 97310%
Critics Consensus: Visually thrilling and rich with emotion, Raise the Red Lantern offers an engrossing period drama anchored by an outstanding performance from Gong Li.
Synopsis: Teenage Songlian (Gong Li), whose family has been devastated by the recent death of her father, becomes the third concubine... [More]
Directed By: Yimou Zhang

#104

House Party (1990)
93%

#104
Adjusted Score: 94520%
Critics Consensus: House Party is a light, entertaining teen comedy with an infectious energy.
Synopsis: Play's parents are out of town, and he's planning the house party to end all house parties. His best friend,... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#103
#103
Adjusted Score: 81433%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining Jackie Chan stunt-fest in which the impressive action sequences overcome the low production value and by-the-numbers plot.
Synopsis: Hong Kong policeman Keung (Jackie Chan) arrives in New York for the wedding of his uncle Bill (Bill Tung), a... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Tong

#102

Army of Darkness (1992)
73%

#102
Adjusted Score: 76732%
Critics Consensus: Army of Darkness is a madcap adventure worth taking thanks to Bruce Campbell's hammy charm and Sam Raimi's acrobatic direction, although an intentional lack of shocks make this a discordant capper to the Evil Dead franchise.
Synopsis: 3rd Evil Dead movie. Ash (Bruce Campbell) finds himself trapped in medieval times. He must quest for the Necronomicon, a... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#101
#101
Adjusted Score: 74080%
Critics Consensus: Visually inventive and gleefully over the top, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element is a fantastic piece of pop sci-fi that never takes itself too seriously.
Synopsis: In the 23rd century, a New York City cabbie, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), finds the fate of the world in... [More]
Directed By: Luc Besson

#100
#100
Adjusted Score: 79818%
Critics Consensus: Sleepless in Seattle is a cute classic with a very light touch and real chemistry between the two leads -- even when spending an entire movie apart.
Synopsis: After the death of his wife, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) moves to Seattle with his son, Jonah (Ross Mallinger). When... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#99
Adjusted Score: 99512%
Critics Consensus: While frothy to a fault, Four Weddings and a Funeral features irresistibly breezy humor, and winsome performances from Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell.
Synopsis: Lovable Englishman Charles (Hugh Grant) and his group of friends seem to be unlucky in love. When Charles meets a... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#98
#98
Adjusted Score: 100673%
Critics Consensus: Almodovar weaves together a magnificent tapestry of femininity with an affectionate wink to classics of theater and cinema in this poignant story of love, loss and compassion.
Synopsis: A Greek saying states that only women who have washed their eyes with tears can see clearly. This saying does... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#97

Men in Black (1997)
92%

#97
Adjusted Score: 97651%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script, spectacular set pieces, and charismatic performances from its leads, Men in Black is an entirely satisfying summer blockbuster hit.
Synopsis: They are the best-kept secret in the universe. Working for a highly funded yet unofficial government agency, Kay (Tommy Lee... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: 89978%
Critics Consensus: James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre.
Synopsis: Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is an obsessive-compulsive writer of romantic fiction who's rude to everyone he meets, including his gay... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#95
Adjusted Score: 75932%
Critics Consensus: A light and goofy comedy which provides laughs, largely due to performances and screenwriting by Myers.
Synopsis: A world-class playboy and part-time special agent, Powers is defrosted after 30 years in a cryogenic freeze to match wits... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#94

Demolition Man (1993)
60%

#94
Adjusted Score: 60902%
Critics Consensus: A better-than-average sci-fi shoot-em-up with a satirical undercurrent, Demolition Man is bolstered by strong performances by Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, and Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: With innocent victims caught in the crossfire in Los Angeles' intensifying war on crime, both cop John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone)... [More]
Directed By: Marco Brambilla

#93
#93
Adjusted Score: 85661%
Critics Consensus: The Thin Red Line is a daringly philosophical World War II film with an enormous cast of eager stars.
Synopsis: In 1942, Private Witt (Jim Caviezel) is a U.S. Army absconder living peacefully with the locals of a small South... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#92

The Crow (1994)
83%

#92
Adjusted Score: 86793%
Critics Consensus: Filled with style and dark, lurid energy, The Crow is an action-packed visual feast that also has a soul in the performance of the late Brandon Lee.
Synopsis: The night before his wedding, musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée are brutally murdered by members of a... [More]
Directed By: Alex Proyas

#91

Run Lola Run (1998)
93%

#91
Adjusted Score: 96368%
Critics Consensus: More fun than a barrel of Jean-Paul Sartre, pic's energy riffs on an engaging love story and really human performances while offering a series of what-ifs and a blood-stirring soundtrack.
Synopsis: In this visually and conceptually impressive film, two-bit Berlin criminal Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) delivers some smuggled loot for his boss,... [More]
Directed By: Tom Tykwer

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 86627%
Critics Consensus: American History X doesn't contend with its subject matter as fully as it could, but Edward Norton's performance gives this hard-hitting drama crucial weight.
Synopsis: Living a life marked by violence and racism, neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) finally goes to prison after killing two... [More]
Directed By: Tony Kaye

#89

Three Kings (1999)
94%

#89
Adjusted Score: 98624%
Critics Consensus: Three Kings successfully blends elements of action, drama, and comedy into a thoughtful, exciting movie on the Gulf War.
Synopsis: Just after the end of the Gulf War, four American soldiers decide to steal a cache of Saddam Hussein's hidden... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 64581%
Critics Consensus: A pulpy crime drama/vampire film hybrid, From Dusk Till Dawn is an uneven but often deliriously enjoyable B-movie.
Synopsis: On the run from a bank robbery that left several police officers dead, Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and his paranoid,... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#87
Adjusted Score: 103667%
Critics Consensus: The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.
Synopsis: The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#86

Pi (1998)
88%

#86
Adjusted Score: 89751%
Critics Consensus: Dramatically gripping and frighteningly smart, this Lynchian thriller does wonders with its unlikely subject and shoestring budget.
Synopsis: Numbers whiz Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) is stunted by psychological delusions of paranoia and debilitating headaches. He lives in a... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

#85
Adjusted Score: 78204%
Critics Consensus: Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is a grimy, twisted, and funny twist on the Tarantino hip gangster formula.
Synopsis: Eddy (Nick Moran) convinces three friends to pool funds for a high-stakes poker game against local crime boss Hatchet Harry... [More]
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

#84

Wayne's World (1992)
78%

#84
Adjusted Score: 85498%
Critics Consensus: An oddball comedy that revels in its silliness and memorable catch phrases, Wayne's World is also fondly regarded because of its endearing characters.
Synopsis: A big screen spin-off of the "Saturday Night Live" skit. Rob Lowe plays a producer that wants to take the... [More]
Directed By: Penelope Spheeris

#83
#83
Adjusted Score: 92949%
Critics Consensus: An outstanding sophomore feature, Welcome to the Dollhouse sees writer-director Todd Solondz mining suburban teen angst for black, biting comedy.
Synopsis: Middle-school student Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo) faces degradation at school -- where she is teased constantly -- and at home.... [More]
Directed By: Todd Solondz

#82
#82
Adjusted Score: 96019%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Synopsis: This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#81

The Piano (1993)
91%

#81
Adjusted Score: 95206%
Critics Consensus: Powered by Holly Hunter's main performance, The Piano is a truth-seeking romance played in the key of erotic passion.
Synopsis: After a long voyage from Scotland, pianist Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter) and her young daughter, Flora (Anna Paquin), are left... [More]
Directed By: Jane Campion

#80

Three Colors: Red (1994)
100%

#80
Adjusted Score: 101119%
Critics Consensus: A complex, stirring, and beautifully realized portrait of interconnected lives, Red is the captivating conclusion to a remarkable trilogy.
Synopsis: Part-time model Valentine (Irène Jacob) meets a retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who lives in her neighborhood after she runs over... [More]
Directed By: Krzysztof Kieslowski

#79
Adjusted Score: 87431%
Critics Consensus: There's Something About Mary proves that unrelentingly, unabashedly peurile humor doesn't necessarily come at the expense of a film's heart.
Synopsis: Ted's (Ben Stiller) dream prom date with Mary (Cameron Diaz) never happens due to an embarrassing injury at her home.... [More]

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 100116%
Critics Consensus: Endlessly witty, visually rapturous, and sweetly romantic, Shakespeare in Love is a delightful romantic comedy that succeeds on nearly every level.
Synopsis: "Shakespeare in Love" is a romantic comedy for the 1990s set in the 1590s. It imaginatively unfolds the witty, sexy... [More]
Directed By: John Madden

#77

Braveheart (1995)
79%

#77
Adjusted Score: 83504%
Critics Consensus: Distractingly violent and historically dodgy, Mel Gibson's Braveheart justifies its epic length by delivering enough sweeping action, drama, and romance to match its ambition.
Synopsis: Tells the story of the legendary thirteenth century Scottish hero named William Wallace (Mel Gibson). Wallace rallies the Scottish against... [More]
Directed By: Mel Gibson

#76

The Sandlot (1993)
64%

#76
Adjusted Score: 67607%
Critics Consensus: It may be shamelessly derivative and overly nostalgic, but The Sandlot is nevertheless a genuinely sweet and funny coming-of-age adventure.
Synopsis: When Scottie Smalls (Thomas Guiry) moves to a new neighborhood, he manages to make friends with a group of kids... [More]
Directed By: David Mickey Evans

#75

Out of Sight (1998)
93%

#75
Adjusted Score: 97883%
Critics Consensus: Steven Soderbergh's intelligently crafted adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel is witty, sexy, suprisingly entertaining, and a star-making turn for George Clooney.
Synopsis: Meet Jack Foley (George Clooney), the most successful bank robber in the country. On the day he busts out of... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#74

Aladdin (1992)
95%

#74
Adjusted Score: 100145%
Critics Consensus: A highly entertaining entry in Disney's renaissance era," Aladdin is beautifully drawn, with near-classic songs and a cast of scene-stealing characters.
Synopsis: When street rat Aladdin frees a genie from a lamp, he finds his wishes granted. However, he soon finds that... [More]
Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker

#73

Tombstone (1993)
74%

#73
Adjusted Score: 76447%
Critics Consensus: If you're seeking a stylish modern western with a solid story and a well-chosen ensemble cast, Tombstone is your huckleberry.
Synopsis: Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) and his brothers, Morgan (Bill Paxton) and Virgil (Sam Elliott), have left their gunslinger ways behind... [More]
Directed By: George P. Cosmatos

#72

Casino (1995)
79%

#72
Adjusted Score: 83265%
Critics Consensus: Impressive ambition and bravura performances from an outstanding cast help Casino pay off in spite of a familiar narrative that may strike some viewers as a safe bet for director Martin Scorsese.
Synopsis: In early-1970s Las Vegas, low-level mobster Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert De Niro) gets tapped by his bosses to head the... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#71

Speed (1994)
94%

#71
Adjusted Score: 98592%
Critics Consensus: A terrific popcorn thriller, Speed is taut, tense, and energetic, with outstanding performances from Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: Los Angeles police officer Jack (Keanu Reeves) angers retired bomb squad member Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) by foiling his attempt... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

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