140 Essential 90s Movies

#70

Home Alone (1990)
66%

#70
Adjusted Score: 69040%
Critics Consensus: Home Alone uneven but frequently funny premise stretched unreasonably thin is buoyed by Macaulay Culkin's cute performance and strong supporting stars.
Synopsis: When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#69

Falling Down (1993)
73%

#69
Adjusted Score: 77436%
Critics Consensus: Falling Down's popcorn-friendly take on its complex themes proves disquieting -- and ultimately fitting for a bleakly entertaining picture of one man's angry break with reality.
Synopsis: A middle-aged man dealing with both unemployment and divorce, William Foster (Michael Douglas) is having a bad day. When his... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#68

Reality Bites (1994)
64%

#68
Adjusted Score: 67713%
Critics Consensus: Reality Bites may be too slick to fulfill its promise as a profound statement on Generation X, but an appealing ensemble and romantic sizzle make for an entertaining dive into the ennui of youth.
Synopsis: After college, Lelaina (Winona Ryder) films a documentary about herself and friends as they flounder in their attempts to forge... [More]
Directed By: Ben Stiller

#67
Adjusted Score: 76798%
Critics Consensus: Baz Luhrmann's visual aesthetic is as divisive as it is fresh and inventive.
Synopsis: Baz Luhrmann helped adapt this classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy for the screen, updating the setting to a post-modern city named... [More]
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann

#66

The Crying Game (1992)
94%

#66
Adjusted Score: 98373%
Critics Consensus: The Crying Game is famous for its shocking twist, but this thoughtful, haunting mystery grips the viewer from start to finish.
Synopsis: Irish Republican Army member Fergus (Stephen Rea) forms an unexpected bond with Jody (Forest Whitaker), a kidnapped British soldier in... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#65
#65
Adjusted Score: 99153%
Critics Consensus: A stunning feat of modern animation, Ghost in the Shell offers a thoughtful, complex treat for anime fans, as well as a perfect introduction for viewers new to the medium.
Synopsis: In this Japanese animation, cyborg federal agent Maj. Motoko Kusanagi (Mimi Woods) trails "The Puppet Master" (Abe Lasser), who illegally... [More]
Directed By: Mamoru Oshii

#64

True Romance (1993)
93%

#64
Adjusted Score: 96231%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by Quentin Tarantino's savvy screenplay and a gallery of oddball performances, Tony Scott's True Romance is a funny and violent action jaunt in the best sense.
Synopsis: A comic-book nerd and Elvis fanatic Clarence (Christian Slater) and a prostitute named Alabama (Patricia Arquette) fall in love. Clarence... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#63

Independence Day (1996)
68%

#63
Adjusted Score: 71586%
Critics Consensus: The plot is thin and so is character development, but as a thrilling, spectacle-filled summer movie, Independence Day delivers.
Synopsis: In the epic adventure film "Independence Day," strange phenomena surface around the globe. The skies ignite. Terror races through the... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

#62

Point Break (1991)
69%

#62
Adjusted Score: 72963%
Critics Consensus: Absurd, over-the-top, and often wildly entertaining, Point Break is here to show you that the human spirit is still alive.
Synopsis: After a string of bizarre bank robberies in Southern California, with the crooks donning masks of various former presidents, a... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#61

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
72%

#61
Adjusted Score: 75123%
Critics Consensus: On paper, Mrs. Doubtfire might seem excessively broad or sentimental, but Robin Williams shines so brightly in the title role that the end result is difficult to resist.
Synopsis: Troubled that he has little access to his children, divorced Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) hatches an elaborate plan. With help... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#60

Election (1999)
92%

#60
Adjusted Score: 96957%
Critics Consensus: Election successfully combines dark humor and intelligent writing in this very witty and enjoyable film.
Synopsis: Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), a well-liked high school government teacher, can't help but notice that successful student Tracy Flick (Reese... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Payne

#59

The Player (1992)
98%

#59
Adjusted Score: 103180%
Critics Consensus: Bitingly cynical without succumbing to bitterness, The Player is one of the all-time great Hollywood satires -- and an ensemble-driven highlight of the Altman oeuvre.
Synopsis: Certain that the anonymous threats he's been receiving are the work of David Kahane (Vincent D'Onofrio), producer Griffin Mill (Tim... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#58
#58
Adjusted Score: 87225%
Critics Consensus: Breaking the Waves offers a remarkable testament to writer-director Lars von Trier's insight and filmmaking skill -- and announces Emily Watson as a startling talent.
Synopsis: In a small and religious coastal town, a simple, devoutly religious Scottish woman, Bess McNeill (Emily Watson), finds a partner... [More]
Directed By: Lars von Trier

#57

Forrest Gump (1994)
71%

#57
Adjusted Score: 78388%
Critics Consensus: Forrest Gump may be an overly sentimental film with a somewhat problematic message, but its sweetness and charm are usually enough to approximate true depth and grace.
Synopsis: Slow-witted Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field),... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#56

Face/Off (1997)
92%

#56
Adjusted Score: 96501%
Critics Consensus: John Travolta and Nicolas Cage play cat-and-mouse (and literally play each other) against a beautifully stylized backdrop of typically elegant, over-the-top John Woo violence.
Synopsis: Obsessed with bringing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) to justice, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) tracks down Troy, who... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#55

Swingers (1996)
87%

#55
Adjusted Score: 89939%
Critics Consensus: Funny, heartfelt, and effortlessly cool, Swingers made stars out of Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, established Doug Liman as a director to watch.
Synopsis: A transplanted New Yorker attempting to acclimate to Los Angeles, Mike Peters (Jon Favreau), is struggling to both boost his... [More]
Directed By: Doug Liman

#54

Galaxy Quest (1999)
90%

#54
Adjusted Score: 94470%
Critics Consensus: Intelligent and humorous satire with an excellent cast -- no previous Trekkie knowledge needed to enjoy this one.
Synopsis: The stars of a 1970s sci-fi show - now scraping a living through re-runs and sci-fi conventions - are beamed... [More]
Directed By: Dean Parisot

#53

Total Recall (1990)
82%

#53
Adjusted Score: 87431%
Critics Consensus: Under Paul Verhoeven's frenetic direction, Total Recall is a fast-paced rush of violence, gore, and humor that never slacks.
Synopsis: Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a bored construction worker in the year 2084 who dreams of visiting the colonized Mars.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#52

Dumb & Dumber (1994)
68%

#52
Adjusted Score: 70234%
Critics Consensus: A relentlessly stupid comedy elevated by its main actors: Jim Carrey goes bonkers and Jeff Daniels carries himself admirably in an against-type performance.
Synopsis: Imbecilic best friends Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) stumble across a suitcase full of money left... [More]

#51

The Fugitive (1993)
96%

#51
Adjusted Score: 102661%
Critics Consensus: Exhilarating and intense, this high-impact chase thriller is a model of taut and efficient formula filmmaking, and it features Harrison Ford at his frantic best.
Synopsis: Wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) escapes from the law in an attempt to find her... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Davis

#50

The Sixth Sense (1999)
86%

#50
Adjusted Score: 93216%
Critics Consensus: M Night Shayamalan's The Sixth Sense is a twisty ghost story with all the style of a classical Hollywood picture, but all the chills of a modern horror flick.
Synopsis: Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is haunted by a dark secret: he is visited by ghosts. Cole is frightened... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#49

Ed Wood (1994)
92%

#49
Adjusted Score: 96192%
Critics Consensus: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up to fete the life and work of cult hero Ed Wood, with typically strange and wonderful results.
Synopsis: Because of his eccentric habits and bafflingly strange films, director Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) is a Hollywood outcast. Nevertheless, with... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#48

Trainspotting (1996)
91%

#48
Adjusted Score: 95279%
Critics Consensus: A brutal, often times funny, other times terrifying portrayal of drug addiction in Edinburgh. Not for the faint of heart, but well worth viewing as a realistic and entertaining reminder of the horrors of drug use.
Synopsis: Heroin addict Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) stumbles through bad ideas and sobriety attempts with his unreliable friends -- Sick Boy... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#47

Magnolia (1999)
83%

#47
Adjusted Score: 89652%
Critics Consensus: Magnolia is an ambitious, lengthy work that ultimately succeeds due to interesting stories and excellent ensemble performances.
Synopsis: On one random day in the San Fernando Valley, a dying father, a young wife, a male caretaker, a famous... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 92962%
Critics Consensus: Expertly shot and edited, The Usual Suspects gives the audience a simple plot and then piles on layers of deceit, twists, and violence before pulling out the rug from underneath.
Synopsis: "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist," says con man Kint (Kevin Spacey),... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#45

Reservoir Dogs (1992)
92%

#45
Adjusted Score: 96856%
Critics Consensus: Thrumming with intelligence and energy, Reservoir Dogs opens Quentin Tarantino's filmmaking career with hard-hitting style.
Synopsis: A group of thieves assemble to pull of the perfect diamond heist. It turns into a bloody ambush when one... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#44

The Truman Show (1998)
95%

#44
Adjusted Score: 101731%
Critics Consensus: A funny, tender, and thought-provoking film, The Truman Show is all the more noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives.
Synopsis: He doesn't know it, but everything in Truman Burbank's (Jim Carrey) life is part of a massive TV set. Executive... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 94214%
Critics Consensus: The first collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, Edward Scissorhands is a magical modern fairy tale with gothic overtones and a sweet center.
Synopsis: A scientist (Vincent Price) builds an animated human being -- the gentle Edward (Johnny Depp). The scientist dies before he... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 103502%
Critics Consensus: Enchanting, sweepingly romantic, and featuring plenty of wonderful musical numbers, Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney's most elegant animated offerings.
Synopsis: An arrogant young prince (Robby Benson) and his castle's servants fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, who turns... [More]
Directed By: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

#41

Seven (1995)
82%

#41
Adjusted Score: 86427%
Critics Consensus: A brutal, relentlessly grimy shocker with taut performances, slick gore effects, and a haunting finale.
Synopsis: When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 99932%
Critics Consensus: Smart, funny, and highly original, Being John Malkovich supports its wild premise with skillful direction and a stellar ensemble cast.
Synopsis: In this quirky cult-favorite comedy, unemployed New York City puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) reluctantly takes a temp job as... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#39

Boogie Nights (1997)
93%

#39
Adjusted Score: 97455%
Critics Consensus: Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg.
Synopsis: In the San Fernando Valley in 1977, teenage busboy Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) gets discovered by porn director Jack Horner... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#38

The Professional (1994)
74%

#38
Adjusted Score: 77192%
Critics Consensus: Pivoting on the unusual relationship between seasoned hitman and his 12-year-old apprentice -- a breakout turn by young Natalie Portman -- Luc Besson's Léon is a stylish and oddly affecting thriller.
Synopsis: Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is only 12 years old, but is already familiar with the dark side of life: her abusive... [More]
Directed By: Luc Besson

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 92033%
Critics Consensus: Even if all it had to offer were writer-director Wong Kar-wai's thrillingly distinctive visuals, Chungking Express would be well worth watching; happily, its thoughtfully drawn characters and naturalistic performances also pack a potent dramatic wallop.
Synopsis: Every day, Cop 223 (Takeshi Kaneshiro) buys a can of pineapple with an expiration date of May 1, symbolizing the... [More]
Directed By: Kar Wai Wong

#36

Heat (1995)
87%

#36
Adjusted Score: 92582%
Critics Consensus: Though Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share but a handful of screen minutes together, Heat is an engrossing crime drama that draws compelling performances from its stars -- and confirms Michael Mann's mastery of the genre.
Synopsis: Master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is trying to control the rogue actions of one of his men, while... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

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