Greatest Films of the 1990s
Greatest Films of the 1990s

Greatest Films of the 1990s
1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999


Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description

Avalon (1990), 128 minutes, D: Barry Levinson

Awakenings (1990), 121 minutes, D: Penny Marshall

Cyrano de Bergerac (1990, Fr.), 137 minutes, D: Jean-Paul Rappeneau

Dances With Wolves (1990), 181 minutes, D: Kevin Costner

Edward Scissorhands (1990), 100 minutes, D: Tim Burton
Tim Burton's original modern-day fairy tale (and part tearjerker and dark suburban comedy) opened with an old lady telling a bedtime story to her grand-daughter about where snow came from. Mild-mannered Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) was the unfinished artificial creation of a deceased mad inventor (Vincent Price), outfitted with razor sharp shears for hands. A critique of garish 50's suburban life was made when fish-out-of-water Edward was adopted to live in the pastel-colored home of Peg (Dianne Wiest), an Avon representative. His artistic abilities included sculpting ice angels, tossing salads, giving haircuts, and clipping poodles and hedges. In this Beauty and the Beast allegory, his love for pretty blonde teenager Kim (Winona Ryder) wasn't reciprocated until she realized his unique beauty. And in the somber climax, she saved him from a hostile Frankenstein-like mob, to return and live as an outcast in the Munsters-like mansion on the hill - and to create the town's snow.

Ghost (1990), 122 minutes, D: Jerry Zucker

The Godfather, Part III (1990), 161 minutes, D: Francis Ford Coppola
See Godfather series.

GoodFellas (1990), 146 minutes, D: Martin Scorsese
Based on Nicholas Pileggi's non-fiction book Wiseguys - a definitive and stylish, violent gangster film, with a soundtrack that chronicles the passage of time through three decades of crime (the 50s to the 70s) in the life of a mid-level, aspiring mobster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). Raised on the streets of a Brooklyn neighborhood, he marries Karen (Lorraine Bracco) and slowly advances up and climbs the Mafioso ladder. With superb performances by Joe Pesci as meanly psychotic wiseguy Tommy DeVito, and Robert DeNiro as paranoid James Conway. In the end as his life unravels, after dealing narcotics and becoming hooked, Hill protects himself and his wife by testifying and becoming part of the federal witness protection program - and being left in anonymous, suburbanized exile.

The Grifters (1990), 114 minutes, D: Stephen Frears

Home Alone (1990), 98 minutes, D: Chris Columbus

The Hunt for Red October (1990), 134 minutes, D: John McTiernan
See series of Jack Ryan films.

Jacob's Ladder (1990), 115 minutes, D: Adrian Lyne

Journey of Hope (1990, Switz./Turkey/UK) (aka Reise der Hoffnung, or Umuda yolculuk), 110 minutes, D: Xavier Koller

Ju Dou (1990, China/Jp.), 95 minutes, D: Yimou Zhang

King of New York (1990, US/It.), 103 minutes, D: Abel Ferrara

Miller's Crossing (1990), 115 minutes, D: Joel Coen

Misery (1990), 107 minutes, D: Rob Reiner

Pretty Woman (1990), 119 minutes, D: Garry Marshall

Reversal of Fortune (1990, US/Jp./UK), 120 minutes, D: Barbet Schroeder

Total Recall (1990), 113 minutes, D: Paul Verhoeven
Dutch director Paul Verhoeven's adrenalized, escapist, mind-bending version of Phillip K. Dick's VR allegory starred Arnold as Douglas Quaid, a futuristic construction worker dissatisfied with his ordinary life, and experiencing recurring dreams of living on Mars with a pretty brunette. He hired the Rekall travel agency to take a fantasy 'virtual' vacation (with memory implants) to the red planet. He was then faced with an existential identity crisis when he discovered forgotten memories - Was his alter-ego a double agent on Mars named Hauser or not? Was his whole life "just a dream"? The hyperactive action (on both Earth and the red planet of Mars) was non-stop and excessively-violent with a high body count, as Hauser/Quaid searched for the reason why he was being hunted. After learning that his beautiful but treacherous blonde wife Lori (Sharon Stone) was aligned with the enemy (led by the villainous Mars colony governor Vilos Cohaagen (Ronny Cox)), he delivered a crowd-pleasing "Consider that a divorce" as he mercilessly shot her in the head. The spectacular special F/X included a giant alien artifact machine, a deformed terrorist Resistance revolutionary named Kuato, and a 3-breasted mutant bar prostitute.

Wild at Heart (1990), 126 minutes, D: David Lynch

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