15 Great Films From the 1990s: Film’s (Latest) Golden Age

1. Reservoir Dogs

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Quentin Tarantino’s self-consciously cool movie set the bar for violent, ensemble crime movies.

2. Hoop Dreams

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Hailed by Roger Ebert as the best film of the 1990s, this 1994 documentary follows two inner city high school basketball players as they try to become college athletes on their way to the NBA.

3. Goodfellas

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Regarded by some as the pinnacle of martin Scorsese’s career, GoodFellas had it all — a great cast, great direction and a great soundtrack.

4. The Shawshank Redemption

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Largely forgotten by critics and moviegoing audiences upon its release, Shawshank grew to its position as one of the best loved films of the 1990s thanks to home video.

5. Fargo

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In many ways, the 1990s were the decade of the Coen Brothers. Fargo’s unique take on the crime movie and the fascinating character portrayals still work today.

6. Breaking the Waves

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This stunningly beautiful and violently ugly Lars von Trier piece makes an unreal situation all to real, thanks to its filming within the rules of the Dogme ’95 school.

7. Toy Story 2

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This animated breakthrough not only showed what CGI could really do, but also struck the perfect tone to appeal to children and adults of all ages.

8. Bad Lieutenant

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This Abel Ferrara film features Harvey Keitel as a, well, as a bad lieutenant who tries to reform himself and earn redemption. The tagline – “Gambler. Thief. Killer. Cop” – says it all.

9. Heat

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Marred a bit by Pacino’s overacting, a great soundtrack, amazing shootout and the opportunity to see both Pacino and DeNiro on screen make the Michael Mann LA crime thriller worth watching again and again.

10. Rushmore

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Wes Anderson’s movie about a sligthly obsessed prep school teen’s crush tells a story that is both universal and unique. It also firmly established Anderson’s idiosyncratic style.

11. Crash

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Missed by many audiences due to its NC-17 rating, this film explored a group of people who sexualized the automobile accident. Faithful to both the JG Ballard book and to director David Cronenberg’s vision, Crash is a unique piece of film.

12. Magnolia

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P.T. Anderson’s series of interlocking stories explore life in LA’s San Fernando Valley. Featuring tales of love, death and redemption as well as what might be Tom Cruise’s best performance ever, this film blended the sophistication of a studio film with an indie sensibility.

13. Crumb

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An idiosyncratic documentary following counterculture cartoonist R. Crumb, this film was a labor of love for its director, Terry Zwigoff.

14. The Big Lebowski

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Like The Dude, this film abides and, to its many fans, it is one of the best loved movies of the 1990s. Grab a white Russian or a Sioux City Sarsaparilla to go with your popcorn before you pop it in.

15. Groundhog Day

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More than a romantic comedy, Groundhog Day remains an example of Bill Murray’s acting range.

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