The 1990s are the second best decade for cinema in my opinion (closely following the 1970s). In this decade, we see huge advances in special effects, the introduction of Tarantino, and Steven Spielberg take command of the world of cinema.
10. Pulp Fiction: Slightly ruined for me by the unnecessarily violent and pointless Bruce Willis storyline, this Tarantino classic is still perfect for all other parts of the film with it’s fantastic dialogue, brilliant pop culture references, and inventive interwoven story lines.
9. Terminator 2: Arguably even better than the original, this brilliantly scripted action film proves that action films can in fact have an intelligent storyline and brilliant special effects at the same time. It’s up there with Aliens and Toy Story 2 as the best sequels ever created.
8. The Lion King: An emotional roller coaster and a must-see for all children of the 90s generation, this brilliant animation film, along with its impeccable soundtrack, can stand up and go toe to toe with the classic Disney giants, and in some ways, win.
7. American Beauty: A highpoint for the late 90’s and strong platform for Kevin Spacey to shine, this darkly humored film metaphorically discusses the struggles of going through a mid-life crisis in a mature and, yes, beautiful way.
6. Toy Story: The film that opened up the entire world of computer animation films and placed Pixar on the map with a bang, Toy Story remains the best animated film I’ve ever seen due to it’s lovable characters, flawless animation, and ever-brilliant script.
5. Goodfellas: Martin Scorsese’s equivalent of Godfather is the only mafia drama we have seen come close to matching Coppola’s classics. Overflowing with style and brilliant acting, this movie is arguably the best in a long line of Scorsese classics.
4. The Shawshank Redemption: A movie that does everything perfectly and changed the game for prison films by combining realistic prison interactions with a unique depiction of hope and uplifting emotion.
3. Silence of the Lambs: The first horror film to win best picture and garner the big five awards at the Oscars, Silence of the Lambs balances its two story lines of the hunt for Buffalo Bill and the interactions between Starling and Lector perfectly. What drives this film to new heights, however, is the all-time creepiest performance by Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lector.
2. Saving Private Ryan: One of the best war films, Saving Private Ryan asks tough moral questions while simultaneously praising the courage and determination of all WWII veterans. A movie (along with Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park) that allowed Spielberg to dominate the decade.
1. Schindler’s List: An uncompromising look at the harsh realities of the Holocaust combined with the simple story of the hope and salvation, Schindler’s List is Spielberg’s crowning achievement and required viewing for all adults.
Honorable Mentions: Jurassic Park, The Matrix, Fight Club, Fargo, Good Will Hunting, Reservoir Dogs, The Big Lebowksi, L.A. Confidential, Braveheart, La Vita é Bella