The Greatest Movies Of The 1990s, Ranked

By Rick Gonzales | Published

Greatest Movie of the 1990s

What a decade the 1990s was for moviegoers. You had thrills and chills, love and loss, the horrors of war, and a serial killer who loved his fava beans and a nice Chianti when paired with one of his victims. There were big blockbuster movies as well as understated films, but through it all, the decade of the ‘90s delivered the entertainment.

Here are the 10 greatest movies of the 1990s and there are some all-time favorites on this list.

tom hanks forrest gump 2

10. Forrest Gump (1994)

“Run, Forest, run!” Run right onto the list of the greatest movies of the 1990s. This classic stars Tom Hanks in one of his greatest roles as the title character. It follows the slow-witted, big-hearted Forrest Gump from childhood to adulthood and the many adventures he has along the way which conveniently dovetail with history’s biggest moments. Besides Hanks, the film also featured standout performances from Gary Sinise, Robin Wright, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field.

james cameron titanic

9. Titanic (1997)

When you think of blockbusters, a romance film about the sinking of the “unsinkable” may not be the first thing to come to mind. But James Cameron’s Titanic definitely fits the bill. The movie, which sits at number four on the all-time box office grosses list, stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as lovers whose fate is sealed by one of the most tragic events ever to take place on the ocean.

8. Fight Club (1999)

Not everyone is who they claim to be in this 1990s David Fincher film that has the star power of Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter, and the late singer, Meat Loaf. Fight Club was the second of three movies Fincher and Pitt worked together on (Seven being one and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button being the other). Unhappy in his white-collar job, an unnamed Narrator (Norton) forms a fight club that includes Brad Pitt’s soap salesman, Tyler Durden. But like we said, not everything is as it appears.

the matrix

7. The Matrix (1999)

The 1990s ended on a great note at the local cineplexes with both Fight Club (above) and the Wachowski’s The Matrix. Keanu Reeves starred as Neo, a computer programmer/hacker who is pulled into the Matrix to save humanity from being trapped inside. He is aided by Trinity (Carrie Anne-Moss) and Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) as they try to fend off Agent Smith (Hugo Weaver) and his sentient cohorts from keeping all of mankind captive.

6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

If you are able to sit through the first 20 minutes of American soldiers storming Omaha Beach during the Normandy invasion, then you are about to see one of the best movies the 1990s has to offer. Not going to lie, though, those first 20 minutes are rough. Steven Spielberg went above and well beyond in making the beach scene at Normandy make audiences feel like they were truly there with the soldiers. It was brutal and horrific and truly set the tone for an amazing film.

90s movies

5. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Sir Anthony Hopkins chews (no pun intended) up the scenery each time he is on screen as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. Not to be outdone, though, is Ted Levine’s brilliant performance as serial killer, Buffalo Bill. Jodie Foster stars as Agent Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee, who is tasked to enlist Lecter’s help in tracking down the infamous Buffalo Bill. It’s all psychological mind games with a hint of fava beans and a nice Chianti.

pulp fiction

4. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Quentin Tarantino throws a curve at conventional storytelling techniques by presenting his film in chapters and out of order. Thankfully the technique worked for this story, one that stars Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Uma Thurman, and in a career-saving role, John Travolta.

Pulp Fiction follows two career criminals (Jackson and Travolta), a boxer (Willis), a gangster and his wife (Ving Rhames and Thurman), and two bandits (Roth and Amanda Plummer) in four tales of violence and crime that are all connected.

martin scorsese

3. Goodfellas (1990)

With the days of great mafia films of the ‘70s (The Godfather, The Godfather Part II) in the rearview, it was nice to see the genre make a comeback in 1990 with Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. The film was based on the true story of gangster Henry Hill and his dealings with the mob. The film starred Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, and Robert De Niro and instantly became one of the greatest films ever made.

saddest movies

2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

From the mind of horror novelist Stephen King comes a tale of a different kind of horror. The one where a man finds himself sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for murders he did not commit. Based on King’s novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, this fantastic film from the mid-1990s stars Tim Robbins as the innocent man trying to survive a life in prison by any means necessary. Morgan Freeman is also behind bars as his friend Red.

1. Schindler’s List (1993)

Schindler’s List is Steven Spielberg’s second movie from the 1990s to make our list and this one comes in top-rated. As with Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List has many scenes that are difficult to watch as it shows just how Nazi, Germany dealt with the Jewish population in World War II. The brutality of it all, based on the true story, was led by Ralph Fiennes as SS-Untersturmführer Amon Göth while Liam Neeson’s Oskar Schindler does everything in his power to save as many lives as possible.