Posted by: Alan | May 31, 2010

The Top 50 Films of 1990-1999

“Perfect timing, Abu. As usual!”

30. Aladdin – (1992) – 142 points
(10 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Kaleb)

My first memory of this movie was seeing it in theatres with my parents and being afraid that my dog was going to run away if we were gone too long. Aside from that, I remember being mesmorized by the story of a forbidden love between a “street rat” and a princess. And with all Disney movies our generation grew up with – the film featured fantastic, catchy songs and beautiful animation. It’s still a cartoon that I can enjoy from beginning to end.


Disney made a string of absolute masterpieces in the late 80’s through the early 90’s and this movie was a big part of that. Featuring great songs and a traditional Disney story filled with magic, true love and good vs. evil as well as an iconic voice performance from Robin Williams as the genie. One of Disney’s greatest animated efforts definitely.


“Tell me, Clarice – have the lambs stopped screaming?”

29. The Silence of the Lambs – (1991) – 143 points
(13 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #4 – Ife)

A young FBI trainee gets a chance to question the notorious serial killer Hannibal Lecter in hopes that he can shed some light on the identity of another killer known as Buffalo Bill in time for the FBI to save his latest victim. I’ve already written about this movie once for this site, and I have no problem singing its praises again. Everything in the film is just right from the incredibly atmospheric score to the tense direction to the amazing performances. It’s all great.


“Hogarth, you stay… I go… no following.”

28. The Iron Giant – (1999) – 145 points
(8 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #2 – Red Paratroopa, Fuzzy Dunlop)

“Don’t stand in the way of my actualization as a man.”

27. Being John Malkovich – (1999) – 148 points
(14 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #3 – Ed)

Charlie Kaufman’s first big hit, and the film that got me to notice him. This existential film is one of the strangest plots you can imagine – about a portal leading into the head of actor John Malkovich – and yet it’s also one of the most interesting films I’ve ever seen. Director Spike Jonze takes Kaufman’s script and makes it all make sense, at least in the world of the film. I’ve never been so anxious to see what would happen next than I was when Malkovich himself entered his own portal for the first time – and I was not disappointed.


“You’re the ruler of the universe. Try to show a little taste!”

26. Ed Wood – (1994) – 158 points
(10 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #3 – fingerhands, Red Paratroopa)

Probably Tim Burton’s greatest film and the one that gets overlooked in his canon most often because it doesn’t exactly follow his infuriatingly predictable thematic elements and tiresome visual style. The film follows the short hollywood career of the so-called “Worst Director Ever” from his humble origins to, well, his even humbler ending. Ed Wood is quirky, smart, well-made and a genuinely great film.


This is a close second to my favorite Depp/Burton collaborations. After watching several of Wood’s movies and interviews, I can honestly say that Johhny Depp hit the nail straight on the head with his performance. The film is also packed with fantastic performances from Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Vincent D’Onofrio. Zany, creepy, and comical – it’s anything you would expect from a Tim Burton flick.


“She’ll never see me as anything…but a monster. It’s hopeless.”

25. Beauty and the Beast – (1991) – 162 points
(11 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #1 – Mally)

The quintessential Disney film. Here they get everything right. A poor French girl who longs for more than her simple life gets imprisoned in an enchanted castle and slowly finds the good in her captor, a beast who was formerly a great prince, and allows him to find the good in himself. Along with some outstanding supporting characters and great songs, it’s no wonder this movie has become a classic.


“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance.”

24. The Lion King – (1994) – 167 points
(14 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #1 – Greg S)

The Lion King is a 1994 American animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation. Released to theaters on June 15, 1994 by Walt Disney Pictures, it is the 32nd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics. The story, which was influenced by the Bible stories of Joseph and Moses and the William Shakespeare play Hamlet, takes place in a kingdom of anthropomorphic animals in Africa. The film was the highest grossing animated film of all time until the release of Finding Nemo (a Disney/Pixar computer-animated film). The Lion King still holds the record as the highest grossing traditionally animated film in history and belongs to an era known as the Disney Renaissance.

The Lion King is the highest grossing 2D animated film of all time in the United States, and received positive reviews from critics, who praised the film for its music and story. During its release in 1994, the film grossed more than $783 million worldwide, becoming the most successful film released that year, and it is currently the twenty-ninth highest-grossing feature film.


“She had got the cancer and died on a Tuesday. I bought her a new hat with little flowers on it. And that’s all I have to say about that.”

23. Forrest Gump – (1994) – 174 points
(16 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #2 – Jill, Mally, Emily W)

The unlikely story of this simpleton’s life unfolds as he recounts his past to several strangers he meets at a bus stop. Tom Hanks gives a wonderfully charming performance and although I don’t think this movie deserved all the acclaim and awards it received on the year of its release, I still believe it is a really good film and it boasts Hanks’ only performance that perfectly combines his great comedic talents along with his dramatic ones.


“He’s a perversion of nature. Why, isn’t that exciting?”

22. Edward Scissorhands – (1990) – 175 points
(14 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #2 – Spoodles)

My favorite film collaboration between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. It never ceases to break my heart. When Winona Ryder (as Kim) asks Edward to “hold her” and he responds with “I can’t,” I tear up like a kid with a scraped knee. Alienated from the suburbs his mansion overlooks, Edward must soon adjust his life after being taken in by a local Avon lady. Utterly gentle and compassionate, Edward eventually realizes life was much less complicated shut off from the world.


“I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”

21. The Matrix – (1999) – 177 points
(14 of 39 lists. Highest ranking #2 – Neil J)

Credited as the first DVD I ever purchased. I first saw this movie in the 7th grade and the moment I was done watching it, I hit rewind on the VCR to watch it again. This movie blew open doors and paved the way for a generation of film and filmmakers to come. I have lost count how many times I have seen this film and I can truthfully admit that I never, ever get bored with it. We’re all rebels against technology and this movie really does help us “free our minds.”


What if the world you know was a lie? What if machines created it for you and we were all living in the distant future and were their slaves??? What then!!!?? Well then all we would need is Keanu Reeves apparently. But seriously though, when this movie was first released it was probably the greatest thing I had ever seen in my whole life, and because I loved it so much as a child I can look past the atrocious sequels and remember how original and magical this movie seemed to me when I saw it for the first time.



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