What do you think of when you think back to the 90s (please don’t say you are not old enough to remember)? I mostly think of bad music, a booming economy and good movies. There are parts I don’t remember, but we don’t need to get into that. Speaking of great movies, I’ve rounded up a list of the best 10 from the decade that brought us the Clinton years and the Macarena.
10. The Big Lebowski
The Dude, White Russians and Nihilists – TBL makes the list for an outstanding ensemble cast and memorable performances. People often forget that this is a Coen brothers movie – TBL shows their range. Hilarious that TBL won the 1998 “Best Foreign Film” award from The Russian Film Critics association.
9. Fight Club
To this day, I often ask myself “What Would Tyler Durden Do”? Brad Pitt, Ed Norton and David Fincher absolutely knock it out of the park in one of the most groundbreaking films of the decade. If you don’t know the first rule of Fight Club, you need to watch this movie again. Though snubbed by the Academy, Fight Club is currently #17 on IMDB’s top-250 of all time.
8. The Usual Suspects
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.” Kevin Spacey will almost certainly never top his performance as Verbal King/Keyser Sose, and how can you hold that against him? A very complete movie, that deservedly pulled in a couple of Oscars.
7. American History X
Another Ed Norton flick cracks the top ten. If you are not haunted by the curb-side scene in Venice Beach, you are not a human being. Powerful cinematography and a great cast (no A-listers – Norton was still an up-and-comer) make American History X one of the best ten of the 1990′s. Though American History X did not haul in any major awards, Norton did receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
6. Office Space
Before you throw something at your computer screen for seeing Office Space on the list, consider this – can you think of any movie that’s more part of our day-to-day work vernacular than Office Space? All of this from a movie that was produced on a very low budget, and only had a small cult following when it initially came out. Office Space makes the list for the cult following it has garnered over the past decade.
5. Pulp Fiction
Tarantino made “playing with time” in films trendy with Pulp Fiction. Not only did he do that, but he revived Travolta’s career, and put together an all-time classic in the process. I wonder what’s in the suitcase (aside from the 43 award wins that PF hauled in)…
Mel Gibson, before he got super creepy….. Braveheart was recognized by critics and viewers alike as the best movie of 1995. Ten academy award nominations, and 5 wins aside, Braveheart is a touching story. To this day, you still hear Gibson’s famous pre-Falkirk speech in sports arenas across the country.
3. Saving Private Ryan
All due respect to Apocalypse Now, Platoon, and Hurt Locker (etc, etc) lovers, but Saving Private Ryan is the best war movie of all time. Putting aside my personal opinion for a moment, SPR’s 52 award wins across multiple categories show how well received it was. The most telling awards, in my opinion, is the Best Ensemble Cast award from SAG. Hanks, Damon, Vin Diesel, Giovani Ribisi, Edward Burns, Adam Goldberg, Tom Sizemore…. all of that talent directed by Spielberg and you have one for the ages.
2. Silence of the Lambs
Silence of the Lambs doesn’t just crack the top ten of the 1990s, but probably the top ten of all time. One of three films that swept the major categories, and deservedly so. Anthony Hopkins is still in a lot of peoples’ nightmares, not least of which is Clarice Starling.
1. The Shawshank Redemption
Shawshank may very well fall into the same category as Silence of the Lambs – top ten of all time. Masterful performances by Robbins and Morgan Freeman and a very touching story all the way through. Shawshank is currently the number one movie of all time on IMDB’s top-250 list.
Honorable Mention: Swingers, The Sixth Sense, Heat, The Matrix, Reservoir Dogs, Forrest Gump, Goodfellas, Clerks, Dances With Wolves, Toy Story, Dazed and Confused
Written by Sunil Rajaraman who is the President and CEO of Scripped.com.