33 Blockbuster Films That Shaped '90s Pop Culture
We can name hundreds of '90s movies that influenced the Hollywood blockbusters that we see today but here are a few iconic titles that we will never forget.
The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix was a mind-blowing sci-fi hit that many would argue was ahead of its time. When Morpheus offered Neo the choice between the blue pill and the red pill, the movie became more than just a work of fiction, it became a philosophical film.
Probably the romance movie of the decade (admit it, we've all seen it). It was not only the beginning of the Leo and Kate friendship that’s still going strong today, but it also introduced a Celine Dion hit that will forever be close to our hearts (even if we may not ever admit it).
Romy & Michele's High School Reunion (1997)
A pair of ditzy friends
Home Alone (1990)
Nothing will beat this original ‘90s classic of a child getting left behind by his family during the holidays. The film, which was Macaulay Culkin’s biggest role ever, remains to be a Christmas
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The most memorable, if not the best, Quentin Tarantino film to date. Till today, the cult motion picture still gets referenced frequently.
The Craft (1996)
Veering away from the typical troubles of high school life, The Craft boldly
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Will Hunting, a custodian in M.I.T., possessed a great mathematical ability but also a self-sabotaging personality. With the help of a college professor and a therapist played by the late Robin Williams, Will began to
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were but wee teens in this Shakespeare-inspired film.
Romeo + Juliet
Yes, another Shakespeare-inspired film starring Leonardo DiCaprio in his second hit on this list. Baz Luhrmann’s big screen adaptation of the classic was to be a movie icon of its own.
The Lion King (1994)
One of Disney's most successful films to date. We can't wait to see how they pull off the live-action version slated to be released in the coming years.
Loosely based on the Jane Austen classic, Emma, Clueless was the quintessential movie of our high school years, complete with a ditzy star and the romantic interest she never knew she had.
Schindler's List (1993)
There’s power in every scene of his Steven Spielberg-produced and directed period film. The story revolved around Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved thousands of Polish-Jewish people by having them work in his factories during the chaotic times of World War I.
Pretty Woman (1990)
Vivian: “She rescues him right back.”
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere dominated the rom-com scenes during their prime and it was only during two instances that they starred in a film together. Pretty Woman was that first occurrence—nine years later, it was Runaway Bride—and it’s become the rom-com that all the other movies love to reference.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
It might have scared you when you were a child but this Tim Burton-directed film is worth revisiting in your adulthood.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
One of the final exchanges when Jerry and Dorothy eloquently revealed their feelings for each other (“You complete me,” “You had me at hello”) still makes our hearts melt.
Fight Club (1999)
Based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel of the same name, Flight Club explored the life of an unnamed insomniac who formed an underground fight club with a charismatic soap maker. Despite its popularity, the film failed to meet the studio’s expectations when it was first released.
My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)
A food critic was bent on winning the heart of her best friend days before he was about to marry another woman. Another title that helped cement Julia Robert’s role as rom-com queen is My Best Friend’s Wedding.
Sixth Sense (1999)
Apart from raking in Academy Award nominations and ranking as the second highest grossing film of 1999 (It beat The Matrix and trailed just behind Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace), The Sixth Sense also introduced the genius of M. Night Shyamalan to the world.
You've Got Mail (1998)
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks were definitely one of the most favorite pairings in Hollywood in the '90s. You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle are proof.
Forrest Gump (1994)
One of Tom Hank’s most memorable roles to date, Forrest Gump was an American slice of life film where the titular character met so different personalities in the past that it was able to weave a tale of history, courtesy of some CGI animation. At the same time, the life of Forrest and how he obtained his wealth became an example of how a pleasing personality can take you far in life.
She’s All That (1999)
It was the teen transformation movie to launch all the teen transformation movies to come after it. Freddie Prinze Jr. starred as the typical high school jock who took on the challenge of making the resident high school geek prom queen. They fell for each other, of course.
The Shawshank Redemption
This American drama tackled the politics and power play inside the Shawshank State Penitentiary. Its plot heavily focused on how one man endured his time in prison and later how he managed to escape. It was a heavy movie but it did have a happy ending.
Before Sunrise launched the popular trilogy of movies that focused on a couple, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who spent a passionate night together in Vienna and then met again nine years later (Before Sunset) and then another nine years later (Before Midnight). Points for novelty go to director Richard Linklater. Applause is also in order for the scriptwriters who produced a very raw and real dialogue.
Before the chilling Jackie, there was the 1991 thriller JFK that expounded on the events following the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy. Unlike the 2017 version that starred Natalie Portman, we got more information on the investigation that followed the murder in a whodunit angle.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
You can thank—or blame—this 1999 psychological horror film for introducing the shaky, documentary-type of footage in horror films. It might not be as scary as the films we have today but it was a standout for its time.
Viewers are thrown into the chaotic world of five British drug addicts. At the time of its release, it was the fourth highest grossing British film in history. A sequel was released just earlier this year.
Wes Anderson has gifted us with much cinematic gold but perhaps it all started with Rushmore. In this 1998 comedy, an ambitious student tried to win the heart of a first-grade teacher but his much older friend fell for her, too.
Never Been Kissed (1999)
It was a classic fish-out-of-water scenario: An investigative junior reporter went undercover as a high school student and initially found it difficult to fit in. Expectedly, she also fell in love with her teacher.
Shakespeare In Love (1998)
William Shakespeare: Like a sickness and its cure together.
There are a number of Shakespeare-inspired movies on this list and others that have released through the years, but not very many about The Bard himself. It was refreshing to see the literary genius behind all those classics enter a fictional love affair with the stunning Viola de Lesseps, played by a young Gwyneth Paltrow.
Now And Then (1995)
This coming-of-age film alternated between the events of the present and flashbacks to the 1970s, when four childhood friends all lived in the suburban hometown of Shelby, Indiana.
Wild America (1997)
Starring ‘90s ‘It’ Boys Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Devon Sawa, with Scott Bairstow, this adventure film was the ultimate camp trip set in the summer of 1967.
Little Rascals (1996)
The lovable crew led by Alfalfa and Spanky could be a child-friendly equivalent of The Three Stooges. The Little Rascals brought us back to the time when we thought the opposite sex had “cooties.”
To this day, the image of the Bruce Bogtrotter devouring that giant cake at Miss Trunchbull’s command still haunts us and gives us stomachaches. The story of Roald Dahl’s Matilda has been told time and time again but this movie adaptation is still a must-watch for kids of all ages.