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

Apollo 13 (1995), 140 minutes, D: Ron Howard

Babe (1995, Australia/US), 91 minutes, D: Chris Noonan
A charming, delightful and intelligent fairy tale, a comic allegory, was based on a kid's book by British author Dick King-Smith, from first-time director Chris Noonan. This Australian-made "sleeper" was a critical and financial success - a rare family film to earn an Academy Award Best Picture nomination (from a total of an amazing seven Oscar nominations), utilizing realistic, Oscar-winning computer effects (animatronics, puppets and CGI) to portray talking animals. Despite being aimed at mostly young audiences, this film consistently remained intelligent but sometimes quite dark for a children's film. The tale was told in storybook fashion (with chapters introduced by a trio of singing mice) - about how young pink piglet Babe, raised by sheepdogs and daring to be different (and challenging his "proper place" in life), learned to herd sheep to avoid being killed for human food.
James Cromwell played goodhearted farmer Arthur Hoggett who had the best-known line of the film: "That'll do, pig. That'll do" - after Babe succeeded as a championship-winning 'sheepdog.' Followed by a darker, but respectable sequel, Babe: Pig in the City (1998).

Before Sunrise (1995), 101 minutes, D: Richard Linklater

Braveheart (1995), 177 minutes, D: Mel Gibson

The Bridges of Madison County (1995), 135 minutes, D: Clint Eastwood

Casino (1995), 182 minutes, D: Martin Scorsese

Clueless (1995), 97 minutes, D: Amy Heckerling

Dead Man Walking (1995), 120 minutes, D: Tim Robbins

GoldenEye (1995), 130 minutes, D: Martin Campbell

Heat (1995), 172 minutes, D: Michael Mann

Kids (1995), 90 minutes, D: Larry Clark

Leaving Las Vegas (1995), 112 minutes, D: Mike Figgis

Nixon (1995), 190 minutes, D: Oliver Stone

Pocahontas (1995), 81/84 minutes, D: Disney Studio

Safe (1995), 121 minutes, D: Todd Haynes

Sense and Sensibility (1995, UK/US), 135 minutes, D: Ang Lee

Se7en (1995), 127 minutes, D: David Fincher

Strange Days (1995), 145 minutes, D: Kathryn Bigelow

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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