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

1995

Apollo 13 (1995), 140 minutes, D: Ron Howard
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Babe (1995, Australia/US), 91 minutes, D: Chris Noonan
A charming, delightful and intelligent fairy tale based on a book by Dick King-Smith from first-time director Chris Noonan. This was a rare family film to earn an Academy Award Best Picture nomination, utilizing realistic, Oscar-winning computer effects to portray talking animals. The tale told about a young pig who learns to be a sheepherder to avoid being killed for human food. Despite being aimed at mostly young audiences, this sleeper film consistently remained intelligent and even quite dark at times for a children's film. James Cromwell plays Farmer Arthur Hoggett with similar intelligence and wit, and has the best-known line of the film: "That'll do, pig. That'll do" after the title character pig succeeds as a sheepherder. The Australian-made film was a critical and financial success, and earned an amazing seven Oscar nominations, including the aforementioned Best Picture nomination. Followed by a darker, but respectable sequel, Babe: Pig in the City (1998).

Before Sunrise (1995), 101 minutes, D: Richard Linklater
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Braveheart (1995), 177 minutes, D: Mel Gibson
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Casino (1995), 182 minutes, D: Martin Scorsese
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Clueless (1995), 97 minutes, D: Amy Heckerling
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Dead Man Walking (1995), 120 minutes, D: Tim Robbins
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GoldenEye (1995), 130 minutes, D: Martin Campbell
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Heat (1995), 172 minutes, D: Michael Mann
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Kids (1995), 90 minutes, D: Larry Clark
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Leaving Las Vegas (1995), 112 minutes, D: Mike Figgis
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Nixon (1995), 190 minutes, D: Oliver Stone
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Il Postino (The Postman) (1994, 1995, It.), 115 minutes, D: Michael Radford
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Safe (1995), 121 minutes, D: Todd Haynes
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Sense and Sensibility (1995, UK/US), 135 minutes, D: Ang Lee
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Se7en (1995), 127 minutes, D: David Fincher
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Strange Days (1995), 145 minutes, D: Kathryn Bigelow
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Toy Story (1995), 80 minutes, D: John Lasseter
Toy Story (1995) was the first feature length film to be completely animated by computers, by pioneering CGI animation studio Pixar Studios, which had already experimented with quite a few short subject films, most noticebly the Oscar-nominated short Luxo Jr. (1986) (whose characters became the basis for their logo) and Oscar-winning short Tin Toy (1988). The film's amazing computer effects were surpassed only by the intelligent, thoughtful script that had adult themes that both parents and their kids could relate to. Toy Story is a fantasy in which toys are animated, living beings when humans aren't around. Cowboy Woody (voice by Tom Hanks) is the highest ranked bedroom toy (there's also Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as Rex, a meek dinosaur, Jim Varney as Slinky Dog, John Ratzenburger as Hamm the Pig, and Annie Potts as Woody's sweetheart, Bo Peep), because he's the favorite of master Andy. When Andy unwraps a birthday present and a new hi-tech space and action-toy Buzz Lightyear (voice by Tim Allen) appears, Woody fears his top place has been usurped by the new rival. The deluded Buzz believes he's on a mission to save the planet, until the two become trapped in the house of Sid, a sadistic bully in the neighborhood, and they are forced to overcome their differences.

The Usual Suspects (1995), 105 minutes, D: Bryan Singer
A convoluted, darkly comedic film noir, Bryan Singer's intriguing film (his second feature film) is set in a police interrogation room with slow-witted, chatty con-man Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey in a breakthrough role) who has been offered immunity, if he talks and provides testimony. He attempts to convince his captor, tough U.S. Customs Special Agent federal investigator Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) about the enigmatic existence of Keyser Soze, a semi-mythical "devil", and almost supernatural Hungarian crime lord and mastermind. (Legend has it, according to Kint, that Soze was so willfully cold-blooded that when his family was threatened with rape and held hostage by Hungarian rivals, he killed his own family and then their captors and the rest of the mob - and "nobody's ever seen him since.") According to Kint (told in flashback), a group of tough and savvy criminals (the ones on all the film's posters, in an NYPD line-up hauled in after a Queens, NY truck hijacking), including crooked ex-cop Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), explosives specialist Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak), entry man and sniper Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Latino Fred Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), and Kint himself, pulled off a $3 million robbery of emeralds. Soze had also coerced the five thieves to go on a suicide mission to San Pedro harbor to commit a huge $91 million cocaine heist --an act of sabotage against one of Keyser's own competitors in the drug trade. Verbal insists that he and his gang dealt with Soze only through his legal representative, Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite), who pressured them by threatening to kill Keaton's lawyer girlfriend Edie Finneran (Suzy Amis) and castrate McManus' young nephew. The weaselly, limping, club-footed Kint, a survivor of the explosion at the harbor, confesses truths, half-truths, double-crosses, and lies. His recounting, aided by the contents of a bulletin board in the interrogation office, forces the viewer to deduce what is real and what is fictional in the stories he tells, and who Soze really is. The non-linear, puzzling film is sometimes a bit too self-consciously twisted, clever, and predictable, but still a great crime thriller.


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