From the ’90s alone there are 11 movies in the AFI 100 Greatest American Films of All Time list and more than 20 in the IMDB Top 100. Some of those are obviously repeats, but the point is that there were quite a few great movies that came out during that period. Between the heist movies, films every guy should see and iconic locations, picking just the 15 best films from the ’90s is one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do. But we did it anyway.

The Big Lebowski

Coasters. Art prints. Rugs. Cottages. The iconic White Russian. There are so many things from the Coen Brothers The Big Lebowski that we love that it’s hard to pinpoint even one Dude-ism that we like the most. Between the cast, the direction and the story, it’s no wonder that this supremely watchable film has spawned conventions, bowling tournaments and assumed a cult-like status over the years. HBO

Schindler’s List

Schindler’s List is the definitive Holocaust movie and isn’t so much entertainment as it is something that needed to be made. If you’re going to sit down for it, make sure you’ve blocked out at least five hours, because a serious bout of depression and self-examination comes with every viewing. There’s no question in our minds that Schindler’s List is one of the most impactful films ever created, which is probably why it ranks in the Top 10 in both the AFI and IMDB lists of greatest films of all time. No list of ’90s films would be complete without this harrowing tale. Netflix

Pulp Fiction

The hardest part about picking the best films from the ’90s might actually have been selecting which Tarantino flick we liked the most. Reservoir Dogs is a great heist movie and Jackie Brown is severely underappreciated, but Pulp Fiction might be the auteur’s greatest work ever. It’s smart. It’s funny. It’s violent. It tells a completely ridiculous story that’s enthralling and bewildering while still keeping you invested from beginning to end. From being ultimately quotable and spawning a cottage industry of BMF wallets to the fact that it’s held up after all these years and won numerous awards, Pulp Fictions is one of the best films ever. Link

Forrest Gump

“Run, Forrest, run!” “Momma always said life is like a box of chocolates.” Anything about Lieutenant Dan. The movie that won six Oscars and killed just as many boxes of Kleenex is one of the most quoted films of all time and remains one of the greatest performances esteemed actors Tom Hanks and Gary Sinise ever turned in. Describing Forrest Gump as an emotional gauntlet doesn’t do this iconic work justice, but it’s the closest we can get in only two words. Netflix

The Matrix

Bullet time. Alternate realities. Humans as batteries. There are a lot of things that The Matrix dealt with that would ultimately be imitated, appropriated or outright stolen in other films, but the original action/sci-fi tale will always tell the story the best. The Wachowskis created a dystopian future filled with questions, violence, special effects and more questions that leaves people debating almost twenty years later. They might not have delivered with the sequels, but the original is good enough that we’ll forgive them. Link

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

The ultimate battle between man, machine and other machine. James Cameron’s sequel story to the original Terminator plays out over two hours of action-packed sequences and nightmare-inducing running (Thanks, Robert Patrick!). Considered by some to be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best work, the Sci-Fi film includes everything from the iconic “Hasta la vista, baby,” “I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle,” and “Come with me if you want to live,” along with a story that showcases the action as much as the cast. This movie is the reason Terminator movies keep getting made, even if none of them live up to it. Link

The Shawshank Redemption

The American Film Institute might rank it in the 70s, but IMBD users agree—The Shawshank Redemption is the number one movie of all time. Everything about the combination of Stephen King’s writing, Frank Darabont’s direction, and the acting from both Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman comes together to make you root for the imprisoned men at the heart of the story—regardless of their innocence. Link

Fight Club

Written by Palahniuk and directed by Fincher, Fight Club is a film that, despite being based on fantastic source material—and we can can’t believe we’re about to say this—might be a better movie than a book (though Palahniuk already kind of thought that). Pitt and Norton give fantastic performances in a movie with one of the most epic twists of all time.  The movie somehow manages to deal with everything from dead end jobs and soap making to personal awakenings and physical violence in a way that still endears you to the characters and the ideals they stand for. Starz

The Silence of the Lambs

If we need to explain why The Silence of the Lambs won five Oscars and has almost hundred wins and nominations, you’ve clearly never seen the film. It’s arguably Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster’s best performances ever, and the two of them are far from slouches. This is one of the rare thrillers that reveals the villains fully in the beginning, but never loses sight of just how terrifying they actually are. Vudu


De Niro. Liotta. Pesci. Scorsese at the helm. There’s a reason Goodfellas is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 films of the ’90s, and it’s not just because it’s impossible to turn off every time it’s running on television. It’s quotable. It’s Martin Scorsese’s most widely loved work. It’s a crime story with a mob bent. At the most base level, Goodfellas is a violent crime drama that leaves you clamoring for the protection of law enforcement while also rooting for the bad guys. Link


Described by critics as a tale of “American suburban angst” and “quietly confrontational, genuinely haunting and unexpectedly moving,”  Happiness is a dramatic comedy starring Jane Adams, Jon Lovitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dylan Baker, Lara Flynn Boyle and plenty of others that turned out to be one of most unexpectedly great films of the year. Directed by Todd Solondz, Happiness is a controversial and provocative film that deals with everything from divorce and a missing penis to controversial interpersonal relationships and love. It’s an indie film that’s absolutely worth seeing. Link


Along with Tarantino, Wes Anderson is one of those iconic directors that’s hard to pick a favorite work for—even if he pretty much single-handedly made Bill Murray the cultural icon he is today. If we have to pick just one of his works, it’s absolutely Rushmore. Anderson’s directorial style, combined with Owen Wilson’s writing and the acting of Schwartman, Murray, Cox and the other Wilson brothers leads to the creation of a dark yet comedic film. Most people come to it through one of the ensemble cast’s work, so it’s a little more hidden than their other movies, but most people love Rushmore even more than whatever led them to it in the firstplace. HBO

The Blair Witch Project

In what is mathematically one of the most successful independent film projects of all time, three students vanish while filming a documentary about the Blair Witch legend leaving only their footage behind. The terrifying film is shot in a found footage way that has since come to be known as the “Blair Witch style” and led to multiple imitations, artistic appropriations and complete rip-off films that are nowhere near as haunting as the original. Netflix

Being John Malkovich

If we’re being completely honest, Being John Malkovich is one of the most f**ked up movies we’ve ever seen, and it’s probably one of the weirdest movies ever created. John Cusack takes a new job only to find a tiny door that takes you into the head of John Malkovich before being spit out onto the New Jersey turnpike a fifteen minutes later. It’s absurd. It’s complete madness. It’s so crazy that Malkovich himself wanted the film to be called Being Tom Cruise before it was released. In our opinion, this is also probably Spike Jonze’s greatest work. Starz | Crackle

Toy Story

Originally released in 1995 by an otherwise unknown brand that would go on to become an international animation and film powerhouse, Toy Story was the first feature length computer animation ever released. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles and the rest of an all-star cast deliver award-winning vocal capture performances animated by the skilled folks at Pixar in a film that would prove computer animation wasn’t just some kind of window dressing you could put in a live action movie.  It could carry a film all by itself. Link


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