Posted by: Alan | May 31, 2010

The Top 50 Films of 1990-1999

Here’s how it works!

Our staff and our readers were asked to send me a list of their 25 favorite Films of the 1990s (1990-1999). 39 ballots were received, and the movies were ranked on a point system allowing 25 points for a #1 choice, 24 for a #2, and all the way down to 1 point for #25. The points were added up, and what follows are the selections.

Tiebreakers work like such: If two movies have equal pointage (and neither got a number 1 vote), the movie that appeared on the most lists ranks higher. If those characters appeared on the same amount of lists, I went with whatever ranked highest on the individual list. A character that was someone’s #4 beats another person’s #6, for example. And then if they still were tied I just picked one so shut up.

We will be posting 10 films a day for the entire week, culminating in the top 10 being revealed on Friday.

The countdown begins now!

“This is the city of angels — and you haven’t got any wings.”

50. L.A. Confidential – (1997) – 59 points
(4 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Fuzzy Dunlop)

A solid noir-style mystery with an outstanding cast, including Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger, and Danny DeVito. It’s a gripping story filled with twists and turns and very unique direction by Curtis Hanson.


“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”

49. Mulan – (1998) – 60 points
(4 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Greg S)

Ask anyone about when they think the Disney ‘Golden Age’ ended, and you’ll hear many differing opinions. Mulan is one of the many on the cusp of the transition period between ‘great animated movies’ and ‘kiddy schlock’ so it definitely has its detractors. But the story combined with great characters (even Mushu, one of the few comic relief sidekicks I can stand) and catchy music makes it stand out.


One of Disney’s last great musicals, the scale and scope of the story is what makes Mulan one of the greatest animated films of the 90’s.


“You cannot alter your fate, my prince. However, you can rise to meet it if you choose.”

48. Princess Mononoke – (1997) – 63 points
(4 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #4 – Illinois Smith)

In a (western) world dominated by Disney and Pixar, Miyazaki still remains the most unique voice in film animation. And this was quite possibly the first major release of his that garnered attention from western audiences (no doubt aided by the casting of several big name voice actors for the english dub, including Minnie Driver, Billy Crudup and Billy Bob Thornton). It’s visually beautiful, and has a very ecological driven story set in a fantastical world.


“Every man dies. Not every man truly lives.”

47. Braveheart – (1995) – 63 points
(5 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #4 – Drew)

Say what you will about Mel Gibson, but the man knows story structure (south park, 2007). Though not his directorial debut (that honor goes to the forgettable ‘The Man Without a Face in 1993), most people regard it as his greatest achievement and it earned him the Academy Award for Best Director. This epic story of William Wallace is grand in scope and inspirational in theme.


“Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself.”

46. Good Will Hunting – (1997) – 64 points
(6 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #7 – Jen)

The film that launched the careers of both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck remains their best work. This movie is great if only for the relationship between Will and Sean (Robin Williams, who won the oscar for his performance), which is done believably and effectively. It’s wonderful to just listen to the two banter and talk about life, and learning much from each other. The breakdown of Damon’s character is one of my favorite moments in film, and the soundtrack helped one of my favorite artists, Elliott Smith, garner attention from both the public and the academy.


“Keep the change, ya filthy animal.”

45. Home Alone – (1990) – 76 points
(8 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #5 – Red Paratroopa)

Perhaps the most memorable, quotable, and evocative films on the list, Home Alone is a film surely everyone raised in the 90’s has seen and loved. With yet another great cast (again including O’Hara, one of my favorite actresses), this film is etched in our minds as one of the most iconic and fun Christmas films of all time.


“Eyes, look your last! Arms, take your last embrace!”

44. Romeo + Juliet – (1996) – 78 points
(5 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Adam B)

I love everything about this film. I think Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of the world which the protagonists inhabit is spot on, reflecting some themes and tones of Shakespeare’s original play; youthful vigor, thoughtless pace, and vulgar indulgence. He makes a story we’ve heard a thousand times into something exciting and new, helped out by a perfect cast and a brilliant soundtrack. Luhrmann managed to bring a dated script into the 20th century in a relevant and purposeful way, unlike many adaptations that tried to do the same (see: Hamlet 2000). The film is colorful and dirty, with Catholic imagery saturated in Hollywood pop-culture, neon lights and crucifixes. It’s such a bizarre and interesting premise, the film can’t help but succeed.


“No women, no kids. That’s the rules.”

43. Léon – (1994) – 88 points
(8 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Jim)éon_(film)

Léon (also known as The Professional and Léon: The Professional) is a French English-language 1994 action film written and directed by French director Luc Besson. It stars Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and a young Natalie Portman in her feature film debut.

The film was well-received critically and commercially. On Rotten Tomatoes the film is “certified fresh” with an aggregate rating of 74% based on 38 reviews.


“That’s what I like about these high school girls; I get older, they stay the same age.”

42. Dazed and Confused – (1993) – 89 points
(7 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #4 – Marian)

Dazed and Confused is a 1993 coming of age comedy film written and directed by Richard Linklater. The film’s large ensemble cast featured a number of future stars, including Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Parker Posey, Anthony Rapp, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams, Nicky Katt, and Rory Cochrane. The film depicts a group of teenagers during the last day of school in 1976.

The film grossed less than $8 million at the U.S. box office, but in recent years has achieved cult film status. Quentin Tarantino included it on his list of the 10 greatest films of all time in the 2002 Sight and Sound. It also ranked third on Entertainment Weekly magazine’s list of the 50 Best High School Movies. The magazine also ranked it 10th on their “Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years” list.

The title of the film is derived from the Led Zeppelin song of the same name. Linklater approached surviving members of the band for permission to use their songs in the film, but, while Jimmy Page agreed,Robert Plant refused.


“Oh, wouldn’t it be great if I was crazy? Then the world would be okay.”

41. 12 Monkeys – (1995) – 89 points
(7 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Patrick, Wat)

12 Monkeys is a 1995 science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by the French short film La Jetée (1962), and starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, and Christopher Plummer.

After Universal Studios acquired the rights to remake La Jetée as a full-length film, David and Janet Peoples were hired to write the script. Under Terry Gilliam’s direction, Universal granted the filmmakers a $29.5 million budget, and filming lasted from February to May 1995. The film was shot mostly in Philadelphia and Baltimore, where the story was set.

The film was released to critical praise and grossed approximately $168 million worldwide. Brad Pitt was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and won a Golden Globe for his performance. The film also won and was nominated for various categories at the Saturn Awards.



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