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100 best 90s movies

  • Ranking the best movies of the 90s

    The 1990s were a magical decade for pop culture. The OJ Simpson trial, gangster rap and “Friends” dominated water cooler conversations, while the Internet was just beginning to grab the attention of the world. While all of this was happening, incredible movies were being released nearly every weekend. Advances in computer-generated imagery gave audiences both the scariest dinosaurs they’d ever seen (“Jurassic Park”) and a heartwarming story of a cowboy and astronaut discovering life outside of the toy box (“Toy Story”).

    To celebrate the incredible cinematic achievements of the decade, Stacker compiled this list that ranks the best movies of the 90s. The rankings were compiled using user ratings from IMDb for movies released between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 1999. Only films with more than 5,000 votes qualified for the list and any ties were broken by the higher number of votes to reflect overall popularity. Click through to discover which obscure Japanese film beat out a James L. Brooks classic and which big movie star made the list multiple times.

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  • #100. The Godfather: Part III

    IMDb rating: 7.6

    IMDb votes: 310,731

    Director: Francis Ford Coppola

    Release year: 1990

    “The Godfather: Parts I & II” are undeniable classics. “The Godfather: Part III” is…a movie. It picks up in the late 1970s and follows Michael Corleone’s quest for absolute power within his mafia family. Nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, the film is also notable for featuring a young Sofia Coppola, the director’s daughter—who went on to become a major director in her own right with films like “Lost in Translation” and “The Virgin Suicides.”

  • #99. Die Hard with a Vengeance

    IMDb rating: 7.6

    IMDb votes: 327,535

    Director: John McTiernan

    Release year: 1995

    The third installment of the “Die Hard” franchise finds wily detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) teaming up with Samuel L. Jackson to stop a federal bank heist, orchestrated by a terrorist played by Jeremy Irons. The film was the second highest-grossing movie of 1995, just behind “Toy Story.”

  • #98. The Cure

    IMDb rating: 7.7

    IMDb votes: 8,302

    Director: Peter Horton

    Release year: 1995

    90s teen heartthrob Brad Renfro stars in this heartwarming tale of a wayward teenager who befriends a boy with AIDS and vows to help him find a cure. Before it was directed by Peter Horton, big-time directors like Steven Spielberg and Sydney Pollack were said to be interested in helming the movie.

  • #97. The Wedding Banquet

    IMDb rating: 7.7

    IMDb votes: 12,070

    Director: Ang Lee

    Release year: 1993

    Taiwanese director Ang Lee found his first major American success in “The Wedding Banquet,” the story of a gay Taiwanese man in Manhattan who agrees to marry a Chinese woman in need of a green card. The film was nominated for Best Foreign Film at both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes.

  • #96. Gettysburg

    IMDb rating: 7.7

    IMDb votes: 23,549

    Director: Ron Maxwell

    Release year: 1993

    Originally intended as a cable TV miniseries—which explains its gigantic 271-minute runtime—“Gettysburg” chronicles the events surrounding the July 1863 Civil War battle. While the historical drama cost $25 million to make, it made back less than half of that at the box office.

  • #95. A Little Princess

    IMDb rating: 7.7

    IMDb votes: 27,883

    Director: Alfonso Cuarón

    Release year: 1995

    Before ascending in the directing world for his work on the “Harry Potter” films, Alfonso Cuarón directed this pseudo-fairytale of a wealthy girl banished to servitude at a New York boarding school when her father is presumed dead in World War I. While it didn’t get the attention it deserved in its release, the film has since found an adoring audience: it currently holds a 97% “fresh” rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

  • #94. The Red Violin

    IMDb rating: 7.7

    IMDb votes: 28,961

    Director: François Girard

    Release year: 1998

    The star of this Canadian drama is the violin in the title, which provides the backbone for all of its owners' stories across multiple centuries and continents. Samuel L. Jackson stars as an appraiser who identifies the legendary violin after it has belonged to families throughout Europe and Asia.

  • #93. Short Cuts

    IMDb rating: 7.7

    IMDb votes: 38,246

    Director: Robert Altman

    Release year: 1993

    Raymond Chandler’s short stories provide the narrative frame for this interwoven tale of disconnection and longing amid an ensemble of characters in Los Angeles. Director Robert Altman was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the film, which featured stars like Julianne Moore, Tim Robbins and Andie MacDowell.

  • #92. The Muppet Christmas Carol

    IMDb rating: 7.7

    IMDb votes: 39,732

    Director: Brian Henson

    Release year: 1992

    Eight years after the success of “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” Jim Henson’s son Brian took over the franchise with this interpretation of Dickens’ beloved tale, “A Christmas Carol.” Michael Caine plays miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, while the Muppets enact most of the other parts. The film was dedicated to Jim Henson, the Muppets’ original creator, who passed away just two years before the film’s release.

  • #91. Fried Green Tomatoes

    IMDb rating: 7.7

    IMDb votes: 58,372

    Director: Jon Avnet

    Release year: 1991

    The title may sound delicious, but this Southern story is a bittersweet tale about a frustrated housewife (Kathy Bates) who befriends an elderly woman (Jessica Tandy) in a nursing home. Tandy’s character shares the story of a now-abandoned town and the tragedies that happened there. The film is based on a 1987 novel by Fannie Flagg.

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