Honestly speaking, the 1990s was a game-changing decade for cinema. This decade saw the rise of ace-filmmakers like David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson. At the same time, already established directors like Tarantino and Spielberg had their best works release during this decade. Films like ‘Schindler’s List’, ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Fight Club’ completely changed the dynamics of cinema.
For millennials, the 90s is very special. After all, we were first introduced to cinema during that period. There are several classics that remain etched in our memories. Netflix certainly knows and understands the importance of the 90s and therefore, it has a superb collection of movies from that period. So if you’re looking forward to rekindling your childhood memories, then yes, we have come up with a special compilation for you. Here’s the list of really good 90s movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now:
25. The Bone Collector (1999)
In ‘The Bone Collector’, Denzel Washington plays Lincoln Rhyme, a quadriplegic cop who has been in a vegetative state following an accident. Amelia is a freshly recruited cop who is on the trail for a series of murders. The killer leaves clues prior to each murder at his previous murder scene, thus challenging Amelia and Rhyme to chase him before he takes down his next victim. Later, Amelia stumbles upon a fictional novel titled ‘The Bone Collector’ and they conclude that the killer is using cues from the novel to execute real-life murders. We soon learn that the killer is a technician who was in charge of maintaining Rhyme’s medical support equipment. His actual name is Marcus, who was convicted on Rhyme’s behest. The film scored average at the box office and was considered a mediocre slasher movie, save Washington and Jolie, who are perfectly fit in their roles.
24. The Mummy (1999)
Although ‘The Mummy’ is one of the prominent action horror movies of the ’90s, the critics always have had mixed feelings about the film. The plot is set in 1290 BC and alternates with the present day, which is set in 1926. High priest Imhotep and Pharaoh’s mistress Anck-su-namun have a love affair and when it is discovered by the Pharaoh himself, Imhotep assassinates him. Anck-su-namun kills herself and in order to resurrect her, Imhotep takes her body to the city of the dead for resurrection, which fails and Imhotep is cursed to be eaten by beetles and buried alive. In the present day, Evelyn is an Egyptologist who receives a map of the city of the dead from her brother. After the Americans discover the book of the dead and Evelyn reads it by mistake, Imhotep awakes from his grave and resolves to fulfill his unfulfilled desire. ‘The Mummy’ boasts of stupendous action and great visuals, but lacks coherence, despite the fact that it is one of the highest grossing movies of its time.
23. Happy Gilmore (1996)
A sports comedy featuring Adam Sandler as the titular Happy Gilmore, the movie is about an ice hockey player who is a slacker and lacks on-ice skills. As his grandma’s house is put on auction by the IRS, for she owes the Government more than $250,000, he tries his luck at golfing using his “slapshot” skills from ice hockey. Soon, he learns various golf etiquettes and “putting” from leading golf coaches and works on his social skills. He later becomes a part of the pro golf tour to win back his grandma’s house. While I am not a fan of Adam Sandler, ‘Happy Gilmore’ still had some funny moments resulting in genuine laughter. Rest everything is passable.
22. Stargate (1994)
A sci-fi adventure film, ‘Stargate’ has a premise surrounding an ancient device which creates a wormhole, thus allowing the person who possesses it to travel anywhere in the world to another portal that is borne by a similar device. After the device’s discovery in 1928, when it is classified as top-secret, it is revealed that the device is Egyptian and has been developed by an alien civilization. Feigning curiosity, Dr Jackson and his team are invited to witness a new world for the first time and they end up in a planet where humans are slaves to Ra, the Sun God and worship him. But as the saying goes, everything comes at a price and they have to pay it.
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21. Meet Joe Black (1998)
Brad Pitt plays the titular Joe Black in this fantasy drama which has media magnate William Parrish at its crux. The movie begins with William, whose life is seemingly perturbed by the arrival of a feisty young man named Joe Black. Apparently, Joe doesn’t seem to be of the mortal world, a fact that attracts him the attention of William’s daughter Susan. For the Parrish family, the so-called romance comes as a shock, and it seems impossible to recover from. ‘Meet Joe Black’ was criticized for its runtime as well as lack of character development, while Anthony Hopkins was praised for his role as William Parrish.
20. Hercules (1997)
‘Hercules’ begins with Zeus and Hera who have a son on Mount Olympus, whom they name ‘Hercules’. Zeus’ brother Hades is constantly plotting to take on Mount Olympus and a prophecy tells him that only Hercules can be a hindrance between Hades and his mischievous plot. Hades sends Pain and Panic to take Hercules and kill him, but they fail and Hercules ends up into the hands of a farmer couple, who take care of his upbringing, though he is an outcast during his formative years due to his super-strength. When Hercules visits Zeus’ temple for answers, Zeus comes to life and tells him the truth. He also tells him to train like a hero and sends him to Phil, a veteran trainer. Hercules has to face many demons of the dark world before he could confront Hades and thwart his evil designs. The movie was received well both by critics and the audiences and was likened to films like ‘Aladdin’ for its simplistic portrayal.
19. Tarzan (1999)
The tragic old tale of the man versus the wild, ‘Tarzan’ is what we had watched while growing up. The movie begins in 1890 when an English couple along with their infant kid drift ashore after their ship is wrecked in a storm. They have landed in the Congolese coast and using the shipwreck, they build a tree house to stay for a while. The couple is killed by a tiger named Sabor who then tries to kill the infant but is saved by Kala, a female gorilla. Apparently, Kala’s own child was also killed by Sabor, which is why Kala protects the human infant and names him, Tarzan. Years later, when Tarzan is all grown up, another hunting party accompanying a beautiful girl named Jane arrives at the coast and Tarzan falls in love with her. ‘Tarzan’ is a renowned story and its storytelling style is so incredibly engaging. No wonder we found it so appealing when we were kids!
18. The Negotiator (1998)
In ‘The Negotiator’, Samuel Jackson plays Danny Roman, a Chicago Police’s hostage negotiator who is loved by his department and the media for his honesty and moral uprightness and on an even day, he’d partner with subordinate and go for his usual cop duties. When Danny is the prime suspect at a crime scene he’s just arrived and given the victim is none other than his partner who has been murdered and who possessed evidence with respect to some embezzlement in the department, he is asked to return his gun and badge. Later, Danny invades the HQ of Chicago Internal Affairs Division and takes hostage. Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey) is the new hostage negotiator and both the negotiators must better each other with every passing moment in order to win their games. ‘The Negotiator’ is stylish, audacious and gripping — all you can expect from a top 90’s movie.
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17. Cape Fear (1991)
Sam Bowden is a lawyer and Max Cady was his former client, 14 years ago, when Bowden helped Cady out despite the latter being guilty by burying the evidence. Cady has been released from prison and now tracks down Bowden and his family, which includes his wife Leigh and daughter Danielle. Cady’s constant presence near Bowden’s house disturbs the family and they seek legal help. But apparently, Cady had studied law while in jail and comes clean given he knows the loopholes. In the showdown at the end, while Cady is trying to rape Bowden’s wife and daughter, his face is lit by Bowden using lighter fluid and drifts his boat apart amid an imminent thunderstorm, thus killing Cady. Robert De Niro was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his role of Max Cady in the film.
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16. The English Patient (1996)
More often than not, ‘The English Patient’ has been termed as one of the benchmark love stories ever made, although it is set during the second world war and one can’t expect a love story out of it. The movie opens in 1944 Italy when inside a monastery, a French-Canadian nurse Hana is taking care of a semi-conscious man who has been burnt severely following a plane crash. Though the man speaks English, he doesn’t remember who he is and where he came from. Soon, he reveals he was a Hungarian cartographer working for the British Government, who falls in love with a married lady amid resentment from her husband and while eloping, his plane crashed amid German belligerence, which landed him in Italy. A tragic love story, ‘The English Patient’ hasn’t found an equal and won nine Academy Awards, a record at the time.
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15. Quiz Show (1994)
Congressional investigator Richard Goodwin is assigned the investigation of a potentially fixed quiz show. The “Twenty-On” is a successful TV show until contestant Herbie Stempel revealed the game was a fraud. Now, Richard Goodwin must focus his investigation on one of its winners, Charles Van Doren, a popular English instructor at Columbia University. ‘Quiz Show’ has an interesting story about how television works behind the scenes and how money can be powerful. Directed by Robert Redford, it stars Ralph Fiennes and John Turturro.
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14. Mulan (1998)
Mulan is a free-spirited outcast, clumsy and unable to follow rules or traditions. Nevertheless, she has a kind heart and wants to defend her family honour, while still being true to herself. She joins the army in order to protect her father but also to prove her own self-worth. With incredible characters and talented actors, ‘Mulan’ quickly became a Disney classic about female empowerment.
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13. The Crow (1994)
A very few of us know that ‘The Crow’ is a superhero flick at the outset. The film follows the narrative of Eric Draven, who has been assaulted and killed while his fiancee was raped on Devil’s night. The next day, a crow taps on Eric’s grave and Eric rises from his grave to find out that he now has super healing abilities. Guided by the same crow, he heads out to avenge the murderers who raped and killed his wife and eventually him as well. Once he completes his quest, he returns to his grave to be with his wife, Shelly. ‘The Crow’ is a critically acclaimed flick and has been termed stylish, stunning and visually appealing.
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12. As Good As It Gets (1997)
Often rated among the top 500 Greatest Movies Ever Made, ‘As Good As It Gets’ also had a unique distinction of accomplishing the Academy Awards for Best Actor and Actress, for Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, a rare happenstance which previously occurred with ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. The movie follows Melvin, a novelist who has obsessive-compulsive disorder and prefers staying aloof and alienated and has a pathological fear of germs, because of which he carries his own utensils to eat at the restaurant he goes to. Carol is a single mother who has to take care of her terminally ill son, who serves food to Melvin at the restaurant. After his neighbor Simon is assaulted and hospitalized, Melvin has to break his limits to help his neighbor out, while his equations with Carol keep dwindling until the end. ‘As Good As It Gets’ is a feel-good venture that will definitely make your day.
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11. The Boondock Saints (1999)
In the name of God, two Irish-American twin brothers Connor and Murphy turn into mafia vigilantes and go on a gun trotting spree to eliminate the crime syndicates from the city of Boston. The movie begins on St Patrick’s Day when a brawl happens in a pub, leading to the murder of two Russians by the twins. The twins then turn themselves to the police but no charges are pressed on the account of self-defence. Apparently, the duo receives a “calling” from God himself in the night which they spend in a lock-up and they resolve to rid Boston of all criminals and gangs to let the innocents flourish. But their resolution is not without the necessary sacrifices. ‘The Boondock Saints’ is a violent crime thriller that derives its inspiration from the likes of ‘Reservoir Dogs’. Is it worthwhile? Well, there’s only one way to find out.
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10. Dance With Wolves (1990)
One of the most defining Western movies ever made, which influenced the movie-making on the western sub-genre in a groundbreaking way, ‘Dance With Wolves’ is the telltale of Lt. John Dunbar, a soldier of the American Civil War, who has been decisive in bringing about a thumping victory for the side he fought for. As a reward, he is offered a choice of posts, to which he chooses the frontier or the wild west and he is sent to an abandoned fort which is miles away as a result. He befriends the native Americans (called Sioux Indians) and begins questioning the purpose why White people are in their lands, occupying them and deforesting them for their own good. In an ‘Avatar’ style, he eventually mingles with and becomes one of the tribesmen after falling in love with a wolf. ‘Dance With Wolves’ is a must-watch frontier movie that you can stream on Netflix right away.
9. The Sixth Sense (1999)
This classic drama by M. Night Shyamalan revolves around Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist, who accepts the challenge to treat a young boy who sees dead people. As their relationship evolves, Malcolm Crowe starts to believe that the child is actually seeing ghosts. ‘The Sixth Sense’ not only pays attention to detail but also reflects upon difficult subjects like death, love, commitment, and grief. Furthermore, it has an incredible execution and brilliant performances by Bruce Willies and Haley Joel Osment. It is easy to understand why this movie stayed with so many people after watching it.
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8. The Truman Show (1998)
Perhaps Jim Carrey’s second best movie, the first being ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, ‘The Truman Show’ revolves around Truman Burbank who isn’t aware of the fact that he’s the lead actor and the only star of a globally aired reality show which is watched by millions of people at any given point of time. Basically, all his activities and chores are recorded and transmitted across the world as a part of the reality show. He works as an insurance salesman in his “world”, which is nothing but a humongous dome with all the worldly facilities within it, to remove any speck of doubt. His wife, best friends and the people he interacts with are all actors in an elaborate setup. Soon, Truman starts doubting things and sets sail to the “end of the world” on a boat despite being warned not to do so. Eventually, the boat breaches the wall of the dome and he comes out to the actual world.
7. Heat (1995)
In Los Angeles, a gang of armed thieves are hitting serious targets – major banks, vaults, and armoured cars. One of their operations, an armoured-car robbery, goes bad and the armoured-car guards are murdered by the gunmen, putting LAPD homicide detective Vince Hanna on the trail of the thieves. ‘Heat’ is nearly three hours long and packed with mind-blowing visuals. Besides being adrenaline filled, the film is an epic tale with complex characters. One of the most interesting aspects of the movie is how similar the lives of the cop and thief are.
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6. L. A. Confidential (1997)
In ‘L.A. Confidential’, we follow three L.A. cops as they investigate a series of murders in 1950. Each one of them has a different method to deal with the investigation. However, we soon discover that there may be a lot more to it than what meets the eye. ‘L.A. Confidential’ is an entertaining detective movie with a stellar cast that includes Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, among others. The film not only tells a good story and develops its characters deeply, but it also keeps you captivated until the very end with several gripping scenes. Be prepared to be surprised and shocked!
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5. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Will Hunting is a janitor at the MIT and he grew up amid a tough neighbourhood in South Boston. Just for fun, he solves complex mathematical problems, to the astonishment of the professors of MIT. The professor commences a lookout for him, only to find that Will has landed in jail for assaulting a policeman. The professor vows to work with Will and gets him psychiatric help while a reluctant Will doesn’t like the idea. The professor enlists the help of a psychiatrist friend Sean who had a troubled childhood himself and who associates with Will on an emotional level. Will also falls in love with Skylar, a pre-med student, while at his psychotherapy sessions. Written by Matt Damon himself along with Ben Affleck, the duo won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, while Robin Williams won for Best Supporting Actor.
4. Seven (1995)
This David Fincher classic is about the desperate hunt of two homicide detectives for a serial killer who justifies his crimes as absolution for the world’s ignorance of the Seven Deadly Sins. ‘Se7en’ takes us through the journey of the detectives and the murderer through a series of incredible twists. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman fiercely display their acting prowess. Furthermore, David Fincher’s timeless directing captures a gothic, suspenseful and disturbing reality that will leave you shocked and begging for more.
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3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Arguably one of the greatest films of all time, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ is based on a Thomas Harris’ novel and tells the story of Dr Hannibal Lecter, a notorious psychopath. The movie opens with FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) who has been assigned to interview Dr Hannibal Lecter. Sterling needs Lecter’s insights to capture another serial killer named Buffalo Bill, who skins the corpses of his victims. Lecter agrees to help Clarice on one precondition that he be transferred away from the jailor Chilton, whom he dislikes. Meanwhile, Buffalo Bill has kidnapped a senator’s daughter and Clarice must up her game with Lecter and get all that she could. ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ is the recipient of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Director, Best Actress (Jodie Foster), and Best Adapted Screenplay.
2. Schindler’s List (1993)
‘Schindler’s List’ is about the wealthy businessman Oskar Schindler, who spends his fortune and risks his life to save the lives of 1,100 Jewish men and women in German-occupied Poland. Winner of seven Oscars. It’s a film that instills hope and it reminds us that a few good people do exist in this world. ‘Schindler’s List’ is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.
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1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Often regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made, ‘Pulp Fiction’ is a saga of four unrelated people and how their lives become entwined in a way they could have never imagined. Jules and Vincent are hit men and take up con gigs. In one such assignment, they are on their way to retrieve a suitcase from Wallace, a gangster. A few days later, when Wallace, Vincent and his wife Mia are out of town, Butch Coolidge, a veteran boxer, is paid heavily to lose a fight. Butch crosses Wallace and kills the opponent instead. A wild shootout ensues, leading to a Mexican standoff and Jules and Vincent emerging victorious in the end.
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