★ Best 90s Movies | Favorites of a Nineties Girl ★
I Was a 90s Kid & These Are My Top 10 Films
The nineties were my childhood, and it still remains my favorite decade for films. There are just so many great stories, classic teen flicks, funny kid's movies - mainly including Robin Williams! - as well as quite a few of the all-time best Disney animations. I have listed my top 10 movie recommendations below, with a summary of each one and an explanation of why I think it's so fantastic.
Many of them are family films, some are more adult, and some are aimed directly at the teenager market. I've also listed quite a few others that are worth a look too, just because I couldn't bear to not mention them somewhere on here!
I hope the variety makes it more interesting, and I hope there is a film here you haven't seen so I can persuade you to take a look :-)
Image credit: Amazon (see below)
This family film is based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl, and pretty much is the 90s for me. Mara Wilson, who played Matilda in this film (and also appeared in two of my other favorite films of the time too; Mrs Doubtfire and Miracle on 34th Street), is brilliant in the part. I actually recently saw that Mara has a Twitter account, is now a writer, and is the same age as me - and I've never felt more old! I'm such a fan of the story I actually went to see the new stage musical recently in London and it was the best I've ever seen...and that's from someone who really loves musicals!
In case you don't know the story, Matilda is a little girl who is extremely bright but has been born into a family who just don't appreciate intelligence at all, and as a result they just don't understand Matilda or treat her nicely. When Matilda starts to attend school, her lovely teacher (Miss Honey) notices that she is special and asks the headmistress if Matilda can move up a few years to a more advanced class. Unfortunately, the headmistress is a nasty and intimidating character, is a shot-put champion...and hates children. Not an ideal combination for a teacher. Aptly named Miss Trunchball, the headteacher takes against Matilda and tries to catch her misbehaving so that she can be thrown in the 'chokey' - a brutal punishment which consists of the child standing a narrow cupboard that has nails and shards of glass sticking out of the walls (slightly twisted!) Under stress from her family and from Miss Trunchbull, Matilda discovers she has a superpower...and that's when the fun begins :)
Stand-out actors are Danny DeVito as the dad, and Pam Ferris as the evil headmistress. It's a fantastic film that has comedy, magic and drama, as well as a great soundtrack. Me and my brother know an embarrassing amount of the script, which shows how many times I've watched it (I've long since lost count!). An amazing movie for the whole family.
Trailer, Scene Clip & Musical Behind-the-Scenes
Runaway Bride (1999)
'Runaway Bride' was a film that came out around the time of my (12th) birthday, and the birthdays of a few friends, so I ended up seeing this film at the cinema a few times - which may explain my connection to it. It's one of my all-time favorites (and not just because of my Richard Gere crush! What? I like gray hair!), due to it being a light-hearted, cute and fun story which has a cracking soundtrack and top-notch actors. It is aimed more at teen girls and women, but there is enough humor going on to make it a definite 'rom com' rather than just a 'rom' and it's not too cheesy or girly so I'm sure guys would like it too!
The combination of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in the lead roles is a very 90s coupling, and obviously worked well in the 1990 hit movie 'Pretty Woman'. They have great chemistry in this film and are very likeable, as are the funny supporting cast (including Joan Cusack who I love).
The story focusses on Maggie Carpenter who lives in a small town and has an unfortunate history of running away during her weddings (3 times). It's a bad habit. Anyway, Ike (Richard Gere) turns up from the 'big city' to report on wedding number 4, hoping that Maggie will run once more and he will get an exclusive story. Maggie is not happy about being followed by Ike, as you can understand, but eventually he wins her round and....well I'm sure you can guess the rest?!
It's a very loveable and sweet movie, and I very strongly recommend it!
Runaway Bride Trailer
Cruel Intentions (1999)
This teen movie has more of a daring and evocative edge than the other movies on my list, and is more of an intense story. A trio of famous young stars (Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe) adds the star quality, and they all have great on-screen chemistry, especially Ryan and Reese who in fact were dating during the filming and got married and had a baby shortly after. Awww!
It's a rather sex-charged plot, so not for kids or young teens, but there's also some comedy and lots of tense drama, and I just love it!
Ryan Philippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar play Sebastian and Kathryn who are step brother and sister and are rich, ruthless manipulators and consider it a day wasted if they haven't taken revenge, tarnished someone's reputation and/or successfully ruined a life. They are considered to be role models in their private high school and they play the part well to the parents and teachers, but underneath they are cold and malicious. There is a weird dynamic between the two leads, as Sebastian has lustful feelings for his step sister Kathryn, and Kathryn is one heck of a tease who can twist Sebastian around her little finger.
However, Sebastian ends up falling in love and shows he does have a heart after all...which leads to what I think is one of the best movie endings ever, with romance, a twist and even more revenge. This movie is extremely enjoyable, with attitude and sizzling seduction. There is also plenty of lavish scenery to feast your eyes on too, plus an excellent soundtrack (particularly 'Bittersweet Symphony').
Cruel Intentions Trailer
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
So it turns out 1999 was a pretty great year for teen movies, and this is definitely in my top 3 romantic comedies ever, with a low helping of cheese and an extra dollop of feistiness!
The leads are played by Heath Ledger (Patrick), a very young-looking Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Cameron), Julia Stiles (Kat) and Larisa Oleynik (Bianca), all of whom fill their roles brilliantly, especially Heath Ledger who is very charming and has a lovely smile (be still my beating heart), and Julia Stiles who plays the moody, rebellious teenager (with a soft side) wonderfully.
Based on Shakespeare's 'The Taming Of The Shrew', this movie takes place at high school where the main focus is on the love lives of two sisters; Bianca and Kat. Bianca is pretty and popular and is being chased by cocky lothario Joey as well as shy new-boy Cameron, whilst Kat is full of bitterness and anger...and hates boys. Which is unfortunate because their dad won't let Bianca date unless Kat does. Cameron finds out about this house rule and sets about trying to find a guy to date Kat so that he can then date Bianca. Cameron ends up paying the mysterious loner and resident bad-boy Patrick to date Kat, who finds out his job is harder than he first thought. He perseveres however, and eventually he falls in love...but will Kat feel the same, especially when she finds out Patrick was paid to take her out? Well you'll have to watch to find out!
The whole film is filled with funny scenes, moments and lines, but I particularly love: the beginning where the 'cliques' of the school are introduced, the part where Patrick sings (swoon), the sonnet that Kat reads in English class (which makes me cry), when Kat flashes the teacher, and of course the bit where Joey gets punched! This really is one of the best teen flicks around; it's sweet and it's funny, and the soundtrack is fabulous.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Hocus Pocus is the ideal movie to watch every Halloween (as is my tradition!) because the mix of comedy and drama is so well-balanced. The fact that it's so well-loved across the world shows just how great it is - whenever it's shown on TV, it always ends up as a trending topic on Twitter! In my opinion Hocus Pocus is the ultimate Halloween movie because the whole family can enjoy it and it doesn't rely on suspense, shocks or gruesome scenes. It's got a hint of the scare-factor, but it's mild and is paired with terrific humor.
I don't think the casting for this film could be made any better; with Bette Midler (Winifred) as the hilarious head of the Sanderson sisters trio, and Kathy Najimy (Mary) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah) as comical sidekicks. They really embody their characters, and the whole thing is just a super Halloween treat.
Brought back to life on a Halloween night in modern-day Salem, after they were hanged 300 years previously, the Sanderson sisters set about trying to steal the souls of children to keep them young and ...erm, 'beautiful'. They don't deal with the 20th century so well at first, and I love when they confuse a man dressed up as the devil as their master!
Full of magic, fantastic music and hilarious high-jinks, it's a perfect blend, and the 3 witches own every scene completely. My favourite part is the scene where Winifred sings 'I put a spell on you' at a late-night Halloween party!'
Light-hearted spooks for both the young and old, it's just (in my humble opinion) the best Halloween movie!
A Trailer & A Highlight
More Awesome Films from the 1990s
Forrest Gump (1994)
Well if there's one movie that is guaranteed to make me cry, it's this one. And if you don't cry, you must have a heart made of cold, cold stone! It is certainly a well-loved movie that is considered a classic, and even won 6 Academy Awards.
Tom Hanks (my favorite actor and all-round swell guy) takes the lead as Forrest Gump, and many people say it is the best movie of his career. Forrest is a simple man who achieves many different and extraordinary things in his life, although tragedy is scattered throughout. He faces heartbreak and the death of his friends, and he faces it all with a calm demeanor and a pure heart. Get the tissues ready!
The strong visual imagery that is present throughout the movie is Forrest sitting on a bench (as shown on the front of the DVD) as he recounts his life story to strangers who are waiting for the bus. It's a memorable and creative way to tell the story, especially as this means that everything is seen through the eyes of Forrest.
From a young age, Forrest realised he could run very fast, and this opens many doors for him and gets him out of trouble in his life. Despite being slow-witted, Forrest ends up having many amazing successes including becoming a sports star and a war hero, and his story also crosses over with important points of American history.
Running alongside the story of endless success is a love story, and unfortunately Forrest's childhood sweetheart goes on to have a sad life, and it's this part that will get you sobbing into your popcorn!
But as Forrest says, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
Forrest Gump Trailer
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The Sixth Sense may seem like a tame horror film these days but it was the first scary film I ever watched and it gave me the heebie jeebies (and still does)! Full of mystery and drama - and with one of the best end twists in movie history - this film is a true classic. You will really feel the hairs stand up on the back of your neck all of the way through, and I suggest you don't watch it whilst you are alone :)
Bruce Willis stars in a type of role you don't often see him in now he is an action hero, and Haley Joel Osment plays opposite him. Bruce Willis plays Malcolm, a child psychologist, and Haley Joel Osment plays a kid named Cole who is picked on for being different, and his difference soon comes to light with his uttering of the famous line "I see dead people".
Seeing dead people, as you can imagine, isn't too much fun, and you soon get to experience the chilling reality of what it means for Cole; from meeting a girl who has been poisoned, to seeing someone face-to-face who has died in a traffic accident. You won't want to be alone in the dark after seeing this movie!
Cole's mum is very worried about her son and so Malcolm comes to visit to see if he can help Cole. They end up speaking regularly and together they figure out what the dead people want. But not before there are a few shocking encounters and plenty of suspense. This movie is so well made that even if you don't normally enjoy horror films (like me), you will still appreciate this film for the excellent acting and screenplay. It's a horror film with heart, which is quite a rarity.
The Sixth Sense Trailer
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
This movie is the most 'grown-up' on the list, and is one that I'm sure is on many people's favorites list. When it first was in the cinema it didn't get that warm of a reception, with mixd revviews, but it has grown over time to be a classic. It came out when I was a young child so I didn't see it for the first time until a few years ago, and I would definitely say that all adults should watch it at some point.
With Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman taking the leads (and with a great supporting cast), the script was in safe hands. I can't say it's the happiest film I've ever seen - in fact it's pretty brutal and depressing in parts - but it's such a brilliant story, so well acted, and the ending is uplifting, so even a die-hard fan of 'happy-clappy' films like myself will watch it over and over without getting bored.
Tim Robbins plays a man named...who is arrested for the murder of his wife and her lover...despite being innocent. He is a clever, sensible and bookish type who finds himself thrown into the harsh prison system full of brutality, violence and injustice - committed by the prison wardens as well as his fellow inmates.
He makes a few friends including ...(Morgan Freeman) who recognises his intelligence and mild manner as being something that makes him stand out from the rest. Over time...tries to improve the state of the prison and introduce facilities to help prisoners get an education whilst serving time, and he gets on the right side of the wardens by putting his accounting skills to use and sorting out their taxes for them. This gives him a level of trust within the prison, and allows him to very slowly engineer a way to escape his situation. This culminates in a brilliantly clever ending which will make you smile and will really make you appreciate your freedom.
Shawshank Redemption Trailer
Honorable Mentions Go To...
Some more of my favorites include: Pocahontas, Toy Story, Lion King, Edward Scissorhands, Babe, Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Bodyguard, Antz, You've Got Mail, Mulan, Bean: The Movie, The Secret Garden, Groundhog Day, Sister Act, The Parent Trap, Armageddon, Liar Liar, Ace Ventura, Dr Dolittle, The Witches, Rush Hour, Ghost, Jumanji and Small Soldiers.
Father Of The Bride 1& 2 (1991 & 1995)
The two 'Father of the Bride' movies are much-loved in our home, and are both classic family films that I think would appeal to the majority of people. My family and I always watch them whenever they appear on the TV schedule - usually at Christmas - and I have always stated that if I somehow become mega-rich, I want to live in the beautiful house in this movie!
Steve Martin is perfectly suited to to this sweet comedy, as he stars as the exasperated and despairing 'Father of the Bride' as his daughter gets engaged and begins planning their huge luxury wedding in the family home. The sequel focusses on babies rather than weddings, and this ensures equal amounts of hilarity and sentimentality as in the first movie.
The legends that are Steve Martin, Diane Keaton and Martin Short play their parts extremely well, with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton playing the father (George Banks) and mother (Nina Banks) of the bride, and Martin playing Franck ("Fronk") the kooky, camp-as-Christmas wedding planner who sends George up-the-wall!
I think the sequel is just as good as the original movie (which is a rarity) and both are heart-warming classics. The first movie details the wedding of the daughter, Annie, and sees George having to deal with letting Annie go off into the world without him (awww) - I particularly like the sentimental father-daughter basketball scene in the back garden. The second movie sees George have a bit of a mid-life crisis and the main theme is pregnancy, with Franck coming back as a nursery designer.
I highly recommend both movies to you for a cozy night-in :-)
Trailers For Both Films
I am a huge fan of Disney movies so it was extremely difficult to choose just the one for my list; Beauty & The Beast, Hercules and Aladdin are my top 3 of all time, and they were all released in the 90s (a stellar decade for Disney). I went for Aladdin in the end because: Jafar is a comically sinister villain, the movie setting (Agrabah in the Middle East) is so unlike other Disney movies, and because I love the Genie (voiced by Robin Williams). I also still have an Abu monkey toy (at age 25!)
This DVD is actually a special edition so contains a few extras including a thrilling carpet ride journey, deleted scenes and songs, commentary, pop-up trivia, lyrics, a wishing game, a world tour by the Genie and an extended look behind-the-scenes of the animation.
Robin Williams is the king of voices and both his variety of accents and his energetic performance as the Genie has got to be his best ever. Emerging from a magical lamp which Aladdin finds in a cave, he unleashes a funny musical masterpiece before granting Aladdin 3 wishes. Having already met the lovely Jasmine (who he didn't know was a Princess) at a street market, Aladdin has his heart set on marrying her. Alas, he is but a poor boy living on the streets, so he uses his wishes to impress her.
Unfortunately for Aladdin, the evil (and amusing) Jafar tries to thwart him at every turn because he wants to marry Jasmine for the power, and on top of that it turns out that Jasmine isn't very impressed with all that gold, fancy clothes and arrogance. Girls, eh?! But of course it all turns out well in the end, although I'm always sad when the Genie says goodbye :(
In conclusion, Aladdin is just movie gold.