The 10 Most Quintessential 90s Movies

The 10 Most Quintessential 90s Movies

The 90s produced a ton of great movies. These aren't those movies.

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Ahhh 90's cinema, the only place where post-modernism got us some cool shit.

But to pick Ace Ventura over something like Being John Malkovich, American Beauty or The Big Lebowski though, really? Now those feel 90's.

The 90s ushered in the downfall of 80s fantasy horror but there were still some hidden gems. Hellraiser: Bloodline was my favorite in the series behind the second film, and it featured a space station that was a puzzlebox in disguise! It also kicked off Marvel's first real attempt at movie making in a long time with Blade, brought to you from the production company behind pretty much any rated R flick at the time, New Line Cinema. Aliens were still a hot property after their second movie in 86, so in 1992 we got Alien 3 on a defunct prison world with only a custodial skeleton crew remaining, then Alien: Resurrection (1997), written by Joss Whedon, which despite the sacrilege that was cloning Ellen Ripley, was a completely serviceable Alien movie that I've watched many times since.

Cowabungaa:
Ahhh 90's cinema, the only place where post-modernism got us some cool shit.

But to pick Ace Ventura over something like Being John Malkovich, American Beauty or The Big Lebowski though, really? Now those feel 90's.

We were going more for the movies that consumed pop-culture at the time more than actually, you know, good movies, but you have a point with those films. Good choices, all.

All of these movies are principally about the problems of privileged white American males. Even the one about the kid on the run from the authorities has the kid be a super-hacker with a Terminator as a surrogate father. I know you guys have to play to your audience, but is it really THAT narrow?

"Con Air" is an exception, maybe, but isn't that more a forerunner of Michael Bay-era excess than a product of the nineties?

What's more Nineties than "Trainspotting"? I realise this is an American website, but c'mon now.

As a runner-up spot I'd put "The Crying Game". Both for the impact it had on a generation - especially THAT twist moment - and for its depiction of the Irish troubles.

I would put Space Jam in there somehow, its is so 90's, and maybe Fight Club but I dont know about that one for sure.

Good choice with Terminator 2, that haircut truly was a product of the 90's.

Are you serious, no Total Recall? Pfffssh, I'm done with this site....

Are you serious, no Total Recall? Pfffssh, I'm done with this site....

Calais27:
Are you serious, no Total Recall? Pfffssh, I'm done with this site....

Well, that didn't last long.

OT: I've only actually seen like 3 of those movies. They were pretty good I suppose, though maybe I should get around to seeing those other films.

You had me at Home Alone, I could tell you knew what you were talking about when it came to 90s essentials when you started there. Although, Pulp Fiction is gravely missing. Can't be 90s without it.

TheMadDoctorsCat:

"Con Air" is an exception, maybe, but isn't that more a forerunner of Michael Bay-era excess than a product of the nineties?

Yeah, I do apologize, but you've sparked something that's been irritating me for a while, and I'm about to rant...

Kinda getting tired of everyone thinking Michael Bay invented dumb action movies. You want to know what's a forerunner to Michael Bay? EVERY ACTION MOVIE MADE IN THE 80s! Only thing Michael Bay has done is kept it perpetually going well into today, making every millennial think he invented the genre. You want a good version of Michael Bay? Watch Paul Verhoeven movies.

80sboy:
You had me at Home Alone, I could tell you knew what you were talking about when it came to 90s essentials when you started there. Although, Pulp Fiction is gravely missing. Can't be 90s without it.

TheMadDoctorsCat:

"Con Air" is an exception, maybe, but isn't that more a forerunner of Michael Bay-era excess than a product of the nineties?

Yeah, I do apologize, but you've sparked something that's been irritating me for a while, and I'm about to rant...

Kinda getting tired of everyone thinking Michael Bay invented dumb action movies. You want to know what's a forerunner to Michael Bay? EVERY ACTION MOVIE MADE IN THE 80s! Only thing Michael Bay has done is kept it perpetually going well into today, making every millennial think he invented the genre. You want a good version of Michael Bay? Watch Paul Verhoeven movies.

Eighties action movies had editing where you could tell what the heck was going on. Not something I noticed in "Bad Boys 2" or "Transformers". I can't speak for his most recent movies because I haven't seen them. The two I just named were bad enough, why go back for more punishment?

Eighties action movies also had humour that wasn't annoying unfunny off-colour sexual banter (remember Steve Buscemi in "The Island"? Or the masturbation "jokes" in "Transformers"?) They also occasionally managed a likeable character or two. Again, if anything of the kind appeared in "Transformers" or "Bad Boys 2" or "The Island", I must have missed it. Probably because I was too damn busy trying to work out what was going on because Bay can't edit a scene for more than a second without needing to "cut" to a different viewpoint.

So let's please not compare the creator of "Robocop", "Starship Troopers" and "Total Recall" - three of my favorite retro action movies - to the creator of "The Island", "Bad Boys", and "Transformers". (Yeah, I know it was a cartoon before Bay got his grubby hands on it. You know what I mean.) They are very, very different beasts.

And I'm not a "millenial", if that means what I think it means.

I would've made it a joke thing and post 10 Nic Cage movies.

Good choices but i'm missing a bunch of Tarantino flicks, Die Hard 3, Starship Troopers, True Lies and Last Action Hero, and what about japanese animation finally taking off in other countries like the usa and europe? (I know this is about cinema but this deserves a mentioning since it started there) Some of those movies wouldn't be my choice but i really liked the list and know i feel like getting Ace Ventura and banging my head to some hammer smashed face while i'm at it.

I'm confused why Singles did not make this list. This movies IS the nineties all wrapped up in about two hours. For Christ's sake, it even has Eddie Vedder in it (amongst other notables like members of Soundgarden and Alice in Chains).

Reality Bites. I hate the film but I can think of little else more nineties than Reality Bites, except maybe Strange Days.

EDIT: Oh yeah, Golden-fucking-eye.

Calais27:
Are you serious, no Total Recall? Pfffssh, I'm done with this site....

Hi!

Calais27:
Are you serious, no Total Recall? Pfffssh, I'm done with this site....

Bye!

I would have mentioned Starship Troopers and Event Horizon, but those were more cult hits compared to this list.

Huh... I have seen all of those movies more than once in my life, coincidentally one of those times was when I was around 7 or 8 at my grandmother's place...

With that said, I would have added either Boyz n the Hood, Menace II Society, or Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, my personal favorite of the three, just to make the list count be 11...
Why 11, you ask? Because Nostalgia Critic...

Good list. I don't know which was more 90s but Face/Off was a far better film than Con Air.

12 Monkeys was awesome back in the day as a kid but it feels very 90s watching it now. The only other I would have included was Jurassic Park, although we seem to still have an obsession with giant prehistoric monsters on the loose.

And it looks like you needed a 1998 film. Dark City should fit the bill.

I think Terminator is better than Terminator 2, even if they're both great films.

Mmmh, let's see... Jurassic Park is a must for me.
Then there's Total Recall... Robocop.... Tim Burton's Batman....

There were five Home Alone movies? Good lord I only remember two.

What about, Broken Arrow, So I Married An Axe Murderer or The Usual Suspects?

Dumb & Dumber is definitely a quintessential 90's movie, whether folks enjoy it or not it is very 90's.

Also on the list for me, Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs because they were definitive of the 90's shifts away from conventional movie making. The Usual Suspects because it made an impact. Fight Club came out in '99, but being on the tail end of the decade it really had more of an impact in the new millennium. Forrest Gump was huge pop culture-wise. Se7en cemented Brad Pitt's career, and was a damn good movie to boot hats off to the nameless actor who played the killer for not having his name on the credits so people would be guessing who it was (I know who, just being nice to those who haven't seen it yet).
Oh and Saving Private Ryan gave us a feel for the Normandy invasion and the horrors of that war... And last but not least, how the hell could you forget Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Seriously!!!
I look back and realize just how many damn good movies there were from that era and must conclude the 90's ruled. Millenials, you all got screwed XD

8bitOwl:
I think Terminator is better than Terminator 2, even if they're both great films.

Mmmh, let's see... Jurassic Park is a must for me.
Then there's Total Recall... Robocop.... Tim Burton's Batman....

Batman was 1989, just a year shy. But you can totally say Batman Returns, Batman Forever or (oh god no!!) Batman & Robin. All 90's movies, but I'd say that Forever was the one that captured the 90's aesthetic fairly well...
Also Robocop was '87.

I feel like Armageddon could replace Con Air in terms of "90s culture", not because of the soundtrack that mostly contains Aerosmith, but that it pretty much launched Michael Bay into the direction of where he is today.

TheMadDoctorsCat:
What's more Nineties than "Trainspotting"? I realise this is an American website, but c'mon now.

I LOVE Trainspotting but that could legitimately take place now.

The one movie that I think is really truly a 90s movie, and I know that this is going to show how old I am, is Reality Bites. It captures a very specific moment in time, specifically the 90s, and defines it. At least for my generation it hits the nail on the head. It is honestly the defining film for a whole slew of Gen Xers.

Got no problem with the list as presented, though I'd agree that Reality Bites would've been a solid inclusion for the time. My touchstone would've been Pump Up the Volume, but to each their own.

There are lots of arguably good films listed here which were omitted, but I think it's missing one collossal bad one : Waterworld.

UPDATE: Also, after reviewing the trailer, Hackers may be the most 90s movie ever, in both the good and bad brackets. I really liked it when it came out but for chrissakes, that trailer... it really was that bad, wasn't it?

UPDATE 2: Son of Update : Also, where's The Crow?

Imperioratorex Caprae:

8bitOwl:
I think Terminator is better than Terminator 2, even if they're both great films.

Mmmh, let's see... Jurassic Park is a must for me.
Then there's Total Recall... Robocop.... Tim Burton's Batman....

Batman was 1989, just a year shy. But you can totally say Batman Returns, Batman Forever or (oh god no!!) Batman & Robin. All 90's movies, but I'd say that Forever was the one that captured the 90's aesthetic fairly well...
Also Robocop was '87.

I was afraid they actually were '80s films... I should've checked it out.

Well, then Batman Returns, for sure! And I even liked it more than Tim Burton's first Batman film.

Uhm... is Escape From New York an '80s film too? Boys I am old...

I've always thought the 90's are kind of hard to define because, or that it's not something that can really be defined. It started off bleeding culture from the 80's, went into a sort of null state in the middle, then moved into the dawn of the internet era at the latter end. I mean Hackers was silly but it's not like Hollywood has gotten any better on the topic!

That said adding to the list how about a 90's sci-fi, The Fifth Element?

No 'Reality bites' or 'Bill and Ted'? I mean, the 90's melted cheese just drips off of it!

Reality Bites is automatically disqualified for the terrible cod reggae cover of Baby I love Your Way! Singles on the other hand is freaking brilliant.

8bitOwl:

Imperioratorex Caprae:

8bitOwl:
I think Terminator is better than Terminator 2, even if they're both great films.

Mmmh, let's see... Jurassic Park is a must for me.
Then there's Total Recall... Robocop.... Tim Burton's Batman....

Batman was 1989, just a year shy. But you can totally say Batman Returns, Batman Forever or (oh god no!!) Batman & Robin. All 90's movies, but I'd say that Forever was the one that captured the 90's aesthetic fairly well...
Also Robocop was '87.

I was afraid they actually were '80s films... I should've checked it out.

Well, then Batman Returns, for sure! And I even liked it more than Tim Burton's first Batman film.

Uhm... is Escape From New York an '80s film too? Boys I am old...

Escape From New York is an 80's film. Escape From LA is a 90's film with all that 90's goodness of early CGI and Bruce Campbell.

Lets not forget Demolition Man with Stallone and Snipes duking it out in a pacifist future LA.

The Rock with Connery and Cage trying to stop rogue soldiers from launching nerve gas into San Francisco from Alcatraz.

Army Of Darkness and its classic S-Mart speech and "boomstick".

icythepenguin:

8bitOwl:

Imperioratorex Caprae:

Batman was 1989, just a year shy. But you can totally say Batman Returns, Batman Forever or (oh god no!!) Batman & Robin. All 90's movies, but I'd say that Forever was the one that captured the 90's aesthetic fairly well...
Also Robocop was '87.

I was afraid they actually were '80s films... I should've checked it out.

Well, then Batman Returns, for sure! And I even liked it more than Tim Burton's first Batman film.

Uhm... is Escape From New York an '80s film too? Boys I am old...

Escape From New York is an 80's film. Escape From LA is a 90's film with all that 90's goodness of early CGI and Bruce Campbell.

Lets not forget Demolition Man with Stallone and Snipes duking it out in a pacifist future LA.

The Rock with Connery and Cage trying to stop rogue soldiers from launching nerve gas into San Francisco from Alcatraz.

Army Of Darkness and its classic S-Mart speech and "boomstick".

Army of Darkness is a '90s film?
I give up, looks like I just get '90s and '80s films confused. I think my mind just put them both in the same "films I grew up with" category.

 

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