We’ve all seen the “only 90s kids will remember this” memes on the internet, mocking people who talk about the 90s as if it was, like, the best decade ever. However, what can’t be denied is that some of the greatest films of all time came out during the 90s.
Here are seven must-watch blockbusters from the decade that brought us Spice Girls, grunge fashion, Beanie Babies, and Tamagotchis.
A winner of 11 Oscars at the 70th annual Academy Awards, Titanic follows the tragic love story of Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) on the so-called “unsinkable” ship. Jack’s at the bottom of the social ladder, and Rose is an unhappy society girl trapped in an unwanted situation (she’s on her way to the United States to marry her rich fiancé). The two meet when Rose contemplates jumping off the ship, and is talked down from the edge (literally) by Jack. What follows is an epic, whirlwind romance marred by class divides, a clash of cultures and, of course, the inevitable collision with the iceberg that sunk the actual Titanic.
Jurassic Park (1993)
Steven Spielberg’s massive blockbuster Jurassic Park is a true classic in almost every sense of the word. Based on the 1990 novel of the same name, the film explores what would happen if scientists managed to bring back dinosaurs from extinction. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) builds a theme park to house his cloned dinosaurs and invites a bunch of dino experts to see it before he opens it to the public. Chaos, of course, ensues and the experts (Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum) find themselves on the run when, after a major power breakdown, the dinosaurs escape and start hunting the humans down.
Schindler’s List (1993)
This period drama film reveals what one man, Oskar Schindler, did during the second world war to save the lives of more than 1,000 mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust. Based on a true story, Schindler’s List follows Schindler’s (Liam Neeson) efforts to hire as many Jews as he could to work in his factory. Though at first he does this because Jewish workers are cheaper to hire than Germans, his focus eventually turns to saving as many lives as possible. Schindler’s List is often included in “best of” lists when it comes to naming the greatest movies of all time.
Toy Story (1995)
Have you ever wondered what your toys do when you’re not around? In Toy Story, cowboy doll Woody (Tom Hanks) and his fellow toy friends live happily with Andy, but there’s a problem when the boy receives a space ranger action figure for his birthday. Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) quickly replaces Woody as Andy’s favourite toy, and Woody becomes very jealous. However, the two toys are forced to work together to find their way back to their owner when they fall out of a car during a fight. Their adventure ends when both are captured by Andy’s toy-destroying neighbour, Sid. Will they be able to escape Sid’s clutches?
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The fight against the rogue artificial intelligence Skynet continues as the robots set their sights on 10-year-old John Connor (Edward Furlong), the leader of the human resistance in the future. In a brilliant twist, the antagonist from the first film, T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), is back, this time as the good guy, playing an obsolete model sent back in time to protect the Connors from a hi-tech, shape-shifting T-1000 Terminator. What really makes this sequel shine is the father-son dynamic between man and machine as the stoic T-800 model slowly learns what it means to make human connections.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Based on the 1986 novel of the same name, the film follows a man with an IQ of 75 on his epic journey through life. Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) may be slow-witted, but he is kind-hearted and good-natured. Forrest witnesses some of the most defining moments of the late 20th century as he ages – from joining the Vietnam war, to meeting former US presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, and witnessing the Watergate scandal. None of this matters to Forrest, who focuses on personal events he truly cares about – like meeting his best friend Bubba in the US army, helping his friend, Lieutenant Dan, overcome his war injuries, and falling in love with his childhood friend Jenny.
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Starring Tom Cruise in what is arguably his best movie, Mission: Impossible follows agent Ethan Hunt as he embarks on a, well, mission to clear his name after he is accused of murdering his entire team when an assignment goes horribly wrong. Now a fugitive on the run, Ethan must find a way to sneak into a heavily guarded CIA building to retrieve a confidential file that will prove his innocence, or risk being killed himself. The iconic dangling rope scene is still one of the best action sequences of all time today.