33 Blockbuster Films That Shaped '90s Pop Culture

Admit it. We all remember the scene when Jack Dawson yelled, “I’m the king of the world!”

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)

Favorite Line:  "Neo, sooner or later you're going to realize just as I did that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path." -Morpheus

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.

Titanic (1997)

Favorite Line: “I’m the king of the world!” –Jack Dawson

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)

Favorite Line: “I invented Post-Its!” –Romy White

A pair of ditzy friends faked their way through a high school reunion. Relatable for anyone who’s ever had to beef up her life to impress old friends or enemies (but claiming to invent the Post-It is pushing it to say the least).

Home Alone (1990)

Favorite Line: “Will you please tell Santa that instead of presents this year, I just want my family back.” –Kevin McCallister

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 favorite by families and HBO alike.


Pulp Fiction (1994)

Favorite Line: “And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!" –Jules quoting the bible

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)

Favorite Line: “We pray of thee! We invoke thee! Manon, fill me!” –Nancy Downs

Veering away from the typical troubles of high school life, The Craft boldly glamorized the practice of witch craft.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Favorite Line: "Most people never get to see how brilliant they can be. They don’t find teachers that believe in them. They get convinced they’re stupid." -Tom

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 recognize his potential.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Favorite Line: “But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.” –Kat Stratford

Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were but wee teens in this Shakespeare-inspired film. 

Romeo + Juliet

Favorite Line: "My only love sprung from my only hate!" -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)

Favorite Line: “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.” –Mufasa

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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.

Clueless (1995)

Favorite Line: “May I please remind you that it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty.” –Cher Horowitz

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)

Favorite Line: "It's Hebrew, it's from the Talmud. It says, "Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire." -Itzhak Stern

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)

Favorite Line: Edward: “So what happens after he climbs up and rescues her?”

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)

Favorite Line: “People are afraid of me because I am different.” –Edward

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)

Favorite Line: “Show me the money!” –Rod Tidwell

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)

Favorite Line: “The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about fight club.” –Tyler Durden

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)

Favorite Line: “Who's chasing you? Nobody. Get it! There's your answer.” –George

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)

Favorite Line: “I see dead people.” –Cole Sear

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)

Favorite Line: “It will be really easy to stop seeing him, because... I'm not.” –Kathleen Kelly

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)

Favorite Line: “Mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.’” –Forrest

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)

Favorite Line: “I feel just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. You know, except the whole hooker thing.” –Laney Boggs

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 

Favorite Line: "Same old sh*t, different day." -Red

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

Favorite Line: “It’s like our time together is just ours. It’s our own creation. It must be like I’m in your dream and you’re in mine or something.” –Celine


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.


Favorite Line: “It may become a generational affair. Questions passed from father to son, mother to daughter. But someday, somewhere, someone may find out the damned Truth. We better.” –Jim Garrison

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)

Favorite Line: “I wish I could help you but I’d rather stand here and record.”—Michael Williams

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.

Trainspotting (1998)

Favorite Line: “The streets are awash with drugs you can have for unhappiness and pain, and we took them all.” –Mark Renton

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.


Rushmore (1998)

Favorite Line: “My top schools where I want to apply to are Oxford and the Sorbonne. But my safety's Harvard.” –Max Fischer

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)

Favorite Line: “The right guy, he’s out there. I’m just not gonna go kiss a whole bunch of losers to get him.” –Josie Geller

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)

Favorite Line: Viola: Tell me how you love her, Will.

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)

Favorite Line: “When you're 12, without effort, you live in the moment.” –Samantha Albertson

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)

Favorite Line: “They were most dangerous when they had a camera in their hands. They had a camera in their hands a lot.” –Marshall Stouffer


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)

Favorite Line: "I'm usually a lover, not a fighter. But in your case, I'm willing to make an exception." -Alfalfa

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.”

Matilda (1994)

Favorite Line: “All grownups get scared, just like children.”Miss Honey

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.

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