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The 41 best '90s movies and where to stream them

A scene from Wayne's World starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey
(Image credit: United Archives GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo)

The 1990s are undergoing a renaissance right now. Beavis and Butt-Head are back on TV, Derry Girls and Yellowjackets both majored in '90s nostalgia and That '90s Show is expected on Netflix sometime in the next year. It's enough to make you dig out your Hypercolor T-shirt, grab your Nevermind MiniDisc and fire up that GameBoy.

Or you could settle down with some of the greatest films ever made, thanks to our list of the best '90s movies. The 1990s were a magnificent era for cinema, serving up big screen thrills on a seemingly endless basis. These were the days before the Golden Age of TV, of course, and before streaming changed the game entirely — so the picture house was where the action was.

The good news is that every single entry in our list of the best '90s movies is available to stream online, so there's no excuse not to settle down with a classic tonight. Party on, dudes. 

Pulp Fiction (1994)

The quintessential '90s movie is also one of the best films of any decade. It's certainly Quentin Tarantino's finest, blending super-cool dialogue with super-dark comedy and super-charged action for an experience that's, well, superb.

Though the sprawling plot jumps around in time and place (and features about a billion characters), it's so assured that it never loses you. And it's not really about plot, anyway — this is a film that's all about moments. And there are plenty of iconic ones here, from Uma Thurman's dance off with John Travolta to the overdose scene, to the Quarter Pounder with Cheese conversation, to the dead-guy-in-the-car and so on. 

Pulp Fiction looks great, has one of the best soundtracks ever, gave us some of the best lines in movies history and had a monumental effect on cinema. Even now, nearly 30 years after it arrived seemingly from nowhere, its brilliance remains every bit as bright as the contents of that suitcase. — Marc McLaren

Genre: Drama/comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Paramount Plus (opens in new tab)

Goodfellas (1990)

If Goodfellas doesn't feel much like a '90s movie, that's because it takes place mostly in the 1960s and '70s. But make no mistake, this is still very much a product of its time, not least because it arrived before The Sopranos changed the TV landscape right at the end of the decade. Back then, Scorsese's masterpiece was the archetypal mob story, somehow managing to upstage even The Godfather thanks to its tight pacing and self-contained story. But while the arrival of The Sopranos may have stolen some of its thunder, it's done nothing to reduce the onscreen brilliance of what may well be Martin Scorsese's greatest film. 

Based on the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, Goodfellas tells the real-life story of mafia informant Henry Hill, played impeccably by the late Ray Liotta. Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino are all at their best in supporting roles — Pesci terrifyingly so — and it's packed with memorable lines. All together now, "As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster…" — MMcL

Genre: Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab) / Netflix (opens in new tab)

Rent it in the U.K.: Prime Video (opens in new tab) / AppleTV (opens in new tab)

Toy Story (1995)

The first full Pixar movie, and the first fully computer-generated feature film to boot, Toy Story is also one of the best animated films period. No, scratch that — it's one of the best films of any kind, as its 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes attests.

This charming (and very funny) tale of toys that come to life when no human is around centers on the rivalry between the sensible cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks) and the brash astronaut Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), but really it's a story about imagination and the wonders of childhood. Hanks and Allen are both brilliant as the dual leads, while the coterie of other toys — including the likes of Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head and John Ratzenberger as a talking piggy bank — make it one of the most characterful movies you'll see. The first two sequels are similarly brilliant, and we defy any parent not to be in floods of tears by the end of Toy Story 3. — MMcL

Genre: Family/comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

Stream it in the U.S. and U.K.: Disney Plus (opens in new tab)

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

The Terminator franchise arguably reached its peak with Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Like Aliens, director James Cameron crafted a sequel that wasn’t simply a rehash of the original. Not only does it tell a gripping science fiction story, but it’s also one of the finest action films ever released. The movie also ushered in the era of big-time computer-generated effects, thanks to the brilliant work of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), who brought the iconic T-1000 cyborg to life. Over 30 years later, Terminator 2 remains an all-time classic. — Tony Polanco

Genre: Sci-fi, action

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

What if you took a hard-boiled detective from a '50s crime thriller, but replaced him with a stoner? That’s more or less the premise of the Big Lebowski, which sees Jeff Bridges amble his way through a mystery that begins with a mistaken identity and a micturated-upon rug (which really tied the room together). In between, there’s lots of bowling and standout performances from Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, and even Flea — but it’s John Goodman’s portrayal of the short-tempered Walter who really steals the show and delivers some of the most quotable lines from the movie. The film has gained such a cult following that there’s an annual Lebowski Festival each year. — Mike Prospero

Genre: Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%

Stream it in the U.S.: Peacock (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

Clerks (1994)

The low-budget indie flick that kicked off not just Kevin Smith’s career, but a generation of movies where characters jam pop-culture references into hyperverbose dialogue as a means of conveying their feelings. Dante (Brian O’Halloran) is a convenience-store employee forced into working on his day off, and who passes the time by musing on the mundane with his friend Randall (Jeff Anderson), who works at the video store next door. The movie also unleashes Jay and Silent Bob on the world, a Laurel and Hardy-meet-Rosencrantz and Guildenstern duo who provide comedy and commentary on the happenings at the Quik-Stop. — MP

Genre: Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

Stream it in the U.S.: Paramount Plus (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

Jurassic Park (1993)

The Jurassic Park franchise is one of the most lucrative in Hollywood, but you can argue that the very first entry is the best of them. Based on the Michael Crichton novel of the same name, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park gave us the most believable depiction of dinosaurs we had seen at the time, thanks to the clever use of both CG and practical effects. But aside from realistic-looking dinosaurs, the film has memorable characters we genuinely root for — especially the cynical Doctor Ian Malcolm, who was played to perfection by the always-delightful Jeff Goldblum. Jurassic Park stands as one of the greatest films ever released. — TP

Genre: Action

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

Schindler's List (1993)

In 1993, Steven Spielberg directed two hit films. That's not particularly notable. The fact that those two films were Jurassic Park and Schindler's List, though, just goes to show what an incredible and versatile film-maker he is. About as far from an action-packed monster movie as it's possible to get, Schindler's List is instead a harrowing, three-hour-plus journey into the nightmare of WWII's concentration camps, shot almost entirely in black-and-white. 

Based on the book Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally and telling the true story of German industrialist Oskar Schindler, it won seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director and deserved every one of them. Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley all shine, but really this is Spielberg's movie. It may not be the archetypal Spielberg film, but it will forever be his most important. — MMcL

Genre: Drama

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

Stream it in the U.S.: Starz on Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Netflix (opens in new tab)

Point Break (1991)

If you want a movie loaded with acting talent, directed by an Academy Award winner and produced by James Cameron (yes, that James Cameron) you should watch Point Break. The 1991 “surf noir” movie follows FBI Agents Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) as they hunt down a gang of bank robbers called the “Ex-Presidents.” Along the way, Reeves meets Tyler Endicott and her charismatic ex Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), who drag Reeves into the world of southern California surfing.

It’s tough to wax poetically enough about Kathryn Bigelow’s '90s classic, so you'll have to go see it for yourself. Fortunately, you can watch it right now on HBO Max. Once you’re done, go check out The Fast and The Furious on Peacock, which borrows heavily from Point Break. Please, skip the 2015 remake though. It wasn’t needed, and it wasn’t good. — Malcolm McMillan

Genre: Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes score: 70%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Netflix (opens in new tab) / Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Hoop Dreams (1994)

A stark look at the reality of how difficult it is to become a professional athlete, Hoop Dreams follows William Gates and Arthur Agee, two Black high school students who are considered to be among the best basketball players in Chicago. Hoop Dreams follows the pair over a five-year period and captures all their struggles — athletically, academically, and financially — as they work towards getting a college scholarship and eventually play in the NBA. Not only is it one of the best documentaries of the '90s, it’s one of the best documentaries ever. — MP

Genre: Documentary

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Rent it in the U.K.: AppleTV (opens in new tab)

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Studio Ghibli films aren’t exactly family-friendly but they certainly have that aesthetic to them, not to mention how many of the studio’s movies often feature child protagonists. In contrast, Princess Mononoke is a decidedly adult affair that’s easily Studio Ghibli’s darkest production. Its dazzling animation is impressive even 25 years later and its brilliant performances (both in English and Japanese) make it on par with any live-action film. If you only watch one anime in your life, it needs to be Princess Mononoke. — TP

Genre: Fantasy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Netflix (opens in new tab)

The Truman Show (1998)

The Truman Show casts Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, a seemingly ordinary sales executive living in the sleepy beachside town of Seahaven. However, unbeknownst to him, Truman’s entire life is a television show and his hometown is actually a gigantic soundstage. 

This comedy film’s high-concept premise has started to feel more and more plausible as society's reality TV obsession shows no sign of wavering, but The Truman Show takes what could have been a fairly cynical idea and turns it into a breezy flick brimming with optimism and hope. Just be warned: after watching The Truman Show, you might become convinced that your own life is secretly being broadcast to the world. — Rory Mellon

Genre: Comedy/drama

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Frank Darabont's prison drama was a box office flop that had a second life on the smaller screen to ultimately become one of the best-loved movies of the past 30 years. It's based on a short story by Stephen King, but the horror here is not of the supernatural kind; instead, it's the hopelessness and petty violence endured by the inmates of Shawshank State Penitentiary. 

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is an innocent banker jailed for the murder of his wife and her lover. Once behind bars he befriends the canny old Red (Morgan Freeman) and ultimately makes a life for himself in the most unappealing of locations. The friendship between Andy and Red is beautifully depicted, while everything from the script to the soundtrack is perfectly judged to tug at the heartstrings. It's the kind of movie that stays with you long after you've finished. — MMcL

Genre: Drama

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

One of the most infamous horror movies of all time, The Blair Witch Project was shot on a micro-budget but became a global phenomenon when it released in July 1999. Following three student filmmakers as they investigate the legend of the eponymous spectre, The Blair Witch Project is credited with reviving the found-footage subgenre and is the precursor to 2000s smash hits Paranormal Activity and REC. A horror film so unnerving and believable that many audience members actually mistook it for a documentary, The Blair Witch Project cast a long shadow that is still visible in horror movies to this day. — RM

Genre: Horror

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab) / Hulu (opens in new tab)

Rent it in the U.K.: AppleTV (opens in new tab)

Groundhog Day (1993)

Picking the ultimate Bill Murray movie is a near-impossible task — I mean where do you even start — but Groundhog Day should be high up any shortlist. Murray plays TV weatherman Phil Connors, a sort of uber-Murray character who is by turns sardonic, cynical, bad-tempered, rude, impatient, disinterested, offensive… In short, he's not a happy bunny. 

He's even grumpier once he realizes he's trapped in a time loop that sees him endlessly reliving the Groundhog Day festivities in the small town of Punxsutawney. Well, until he works out how to romance his producer Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell). Murray is on top form in the lead role, while the central concept provides ample opportunities for gags and lifts it well above the average '90s romcom and into genuine classic territory. — MMcL

Genre: Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

Stream it in the U.S.: Hulu (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

Fight Club (1999)

This David Fincher classic barely makes the cut as a '90s movie, but you’ll be glad it did. We know you’re not supposed to talk about Fight Club, but when it came to discussing the best '90s movies it was impossible to leave it off the list.

The beloved adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s book tells the story of an unnamed narrator (Edward Norton), who leads an unfulfilling life crippled by insomnia. He tries anything to get some sleep, including going to a support group and pretending to have whichever disease is the topic of the night. Eventually, he meets Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) and Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who proceed to completely reshape his life.

Norton, Bonham Carter and Pitt won’t be the only familiar faces. Meat Loaf plays Robert Paulsen, a man suffering from testicular cancer, while a young Jared Leto even makes an appearance. This movie is gripping once it gets going, and is definitely not a film for the whole family. Go rent it from Amazon or Apple if you’re looking for something that is truly different from most movies released today. — MMcM

Genre: Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%

Rent it in the U.S.: Prime Video (opens in new tab) / AppleTV (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Prime Video (opens in new tab) / Netflix (opens in new tab) / Disney Plus (opens in new tab)

Seven (1995)

The '90s was the decade where David Fincher exploded onto the directing scene, and while his first effort, Alien 3, was hampered by studio meddling, his follow-up remains his magnum opus to this day. 

Seven is arguably the most compelling thriller ever made, anchored by Fincher’s masterful directing and stellar performances from its leads, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. The film focuses on two ill-matched detectives on the hunt for a killer using the seven deadly sins as a motive, and what starts out as a horrifically violent case only gets more depraved as the body count climbs higher. 

Notorious for its gut-punch ending that still reverberates through cinema to this day, Seven is unquestionably bleak but it’s also unrelentingly thrilling in a way few movies have ever managed to match. — RM

Genre: Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%

Stream it in the U.S. and U.K.: Netflix (opens in new tab)

Heat (1995)

When it first came out, Heat was hyped as the first movie where Robert De Niro and Al Pacino shared a scene together, but this crime drama is much more than that. Roughly based on a true story, De Niro plays a professional thief and Pacino the cop trying to catch him. The two develop a mutual respect for each other, as they’re very similar even though they’re on opposite sides of the law. Directed by Michael Mann, Heat also features perhaps the best bank heist/shootout that has ever been captured on film. It’s an unforgettable, incredibly rewatchable scene. — MP

Genre: Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

Stream it in the U.S.: Starz via Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Prime Video (opens in new tab) / Netflix (opens in new tab)

Wayne’s World (1992)

One measure of a movie’s popularity is how many quotes from it are still repeated today. And while “Schwing!” isn’t quite as common parlance as it used to be, it’s hard to understate how often it — and other lines from Wayne’s World — was spoken in the '90s. (The movie also sparked a renaissance for Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, too). One of the few successful movies to come out of a Saturday Night Live sketch, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are both excellent as buddies who struggle to maintain their friendship as their cable-access TV show hits the big time. The movie also stars Tia Carrere and Rob Lowe, with a great cameo from Alice Cooper. Party on, man! — MP

Genre: Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%

Rent it in the U.S.: Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Paramount Plus (opens in new tab) / Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Richard Linklater's coming-of-age dramedy is a paean to the 1970s, but its breakout cast roots it firmly in the '90s: Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey… they're all here, and all excel as high-school students approaching the end of term and focused mainly on those staples of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. The incoming freshman, meanwhile, are more concerned with avoiding the annual hazing ceremony. It's a classic Linklater film in that not much happens, and it's all the better for it; with its witty dialogue, well-drawn characters and powerful sense of time and place, this is a must-watch. — MMcL  

Genre: Comedy/drama

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Stream it in the U.S.: Peacock (opens in new tab)

Rent it in the U.K.: Prime Video (opens in new tab) / AppleTV (opens in new tab)

Scream (1996)

By the '90s, the slasher movies that had dominated the preceding two decades were becoming increasingly stale and formulaic. Enter Scream: a darkly comedic satire of the genre. Helmed by Wes Craven, the man partially responsible for the surge in the popularity of slasher flicks via his Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Scream blends winking references to genre cliches with surprisingly effective chills. Oh, and it also boasts a twist ending that feels both logical and very much earned.  

The film’s legendary opening proves that Scream isn’t afraid to be scary, not to mention subvert expectations, but its characters being acutely aware of horror film conventions gives Scream its defining edge. It’s also fondly remembered for its quintessentially '90s cast, including the likes of Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard and David Arquette. Perhaps the biggest testament to Scream’s enduring appeals is the fact that its fourth sequel was released just this year — and that Scream 6 is already scheduled for 2023. — RM

Genre: Horror

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%

Stream it in the U.S.: Paramount Plus (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab) / Paramount Plus (opens in new tab)

Independence Day (1996)

Independence Day is the very definition of a summer blockbuster. Its central alien invasion story had been told many times before, but never with this much fanfare. The marketing for this film, which wisely used shots of alien ships hovering over famous world landmarks, made it feel like an actual global event. Independence Day is full of '90s tropes which serve to make it an overall enjoyable experience. You don’t see genuinely fun movies like this anymore. Independence Day is endlessly rewatchable. — TP

Genre: Sci-fi/action

Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%

Stream it in the U.S.: Hulu (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Disney Plus (opens in new tab)

Trainspotting (1996)

A British sensation, Trainspotting made a star of Ewan McGregor, gave Danny Boyle a Hollywood calling card and created one of the most terrifying characters ever in the form of Robert Carlyle's psychotic Begbie. Oh, and it also managed to be both outrageously funny and unbearably sad. That it did all this while adapting what seemed like an unfilmable Scottish novel about a group of heroin addicts is all the more remarkable. It's iconic from start to finish, while its soundtrack has to be one of the greatest of all time. A simply magnificent piece of film-making. — McMcL 

Genre: Drama/comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Stream it in the U.S.: Starz via Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: BritBox (opens in new tab)

The Matrix (1999)

What can we say about The Matrix that hasn’t already been stated? The film single-handedly kicked off a new era of action films that dominated the 2000s. You can thank The Matrix for the deluge of movies starring black leather-clad protagonists who dispensed their foes in slow-motion action sequences. The Matrix uses the classic Hero’s Journey template to tell a story heavily influenced by anime and cyberpunk. Though it’s tempting to say this film is more style than substance, it actually poses a lot of interesting philosophical questions about the nature of man and of reality. It’s arguably the best entry in the franchise. — TP

Genre: Sci-fi/action

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Quentin Tarantino’s debut feature-length film has established itself as a cult classic since its 1992 release, and with good reason: It features the hallmarks of many great Tarantino films. Chief among these are non-linear storytelling, a great soundtrack, lots of violence and plenty of darkly comic moments, not least the film's opening, in which Mr. Brown (played by Tarantino himself) rants about Madonna’s Like a Virgin.

It's awash with iconic scenes that have become pop-culture touchstones — the iconic ending alone must have been imitated about 100 times — and packs a stellar cast including Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen. It even sets the groundwork for Tarantino’s connected universe: Madsen’s Mr. Blonde is actually Vic Vega, the brother of John Travolta’s Vincent Vega that we go on to meet in Pulp Fiction. Watch it now on HBO Max, then go check out Reservation Dogs, a series we love that borrows its name from this '90s classic. — MMcM

Genre: Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Prime Video (opens in new tab)

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

Trey Parker and Matt Stone didn't mess around with the South Park movie — it was about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face and all the better for it. You want bad language? It earned a Guinness World Record for "Most Swearing in an Animated Movie" (399 profanities, including 32 f-words in one song alone). You want offensive humor? Here's Sadam Hussain and Satan hanging out together in Hell. You want Cartman at his absolute worst? You most certainly get it here. But if it was designed to shock, it also had something important to say about censorship and moral panics — a point it made by, well, trying to create one. Still one of the best ever examples of a TV show successfully conquering the big screen. — MMcL 

Genre: Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%

Stream it in the U.S.: Paramount Plus (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Clueless (1995)

The ‘90s was the decade for teen movies, but Clueless stood out from the schoolyard crowd for its modern take on the Jane Austen novel Emma. Wealthy, stylish, popular Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) takes “tragically unhip” new student Tai (Brittany Murphy) under her wing to give her a makeover — or as the youth these days would say a glow-up. It works, perhaps too well. When Tai develops a crush on Cher’s ex-stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd), Cher realizes that she’s been utterly clueless about her own feelings for him and the real motivations behind her superficial altruism. The movie was an instant sensation when it was released in 1995 and has continued to endure as a cinematic classic, thanks to the highly quotable lines and trend-setting fashion. — Kelly Woo

Genre: Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%

Stream it in the U.S.: Paramount Plus (opens in new tab) / Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab) / Paramount Plus (opens in new tab) / Netflix (opens in new tab)

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)

Obviously Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me isn't David Lynch's best film; that would be Blue Velvet, or Mulholland Drive. And obviously it's not the best entry in the Twin Peaks universe (take your pick from any season 1 or season 3 episode). But it is far, far better than critics at the time gave it credit for. That's understandable — because if you're not a fan of Lynch's seminal TV show, then very little about this would have made any sense at all at the time; this was not your typical TV spin-off. But equally, if you are a fan of the show — which you should be, because it's arguably the high point of human culture — then it's an essential piece in the most compelling jigsaw ever. Oh, and it has David Bowie in it. Extra points for that alone. — MMcL 

Genre: We have no idea

Rotten Tomatoes score: 64%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Unavailable

Unforgiven (1992)

Clint Eastwood’s elegy to the genre that defined him, Unforgiven is an anti-western western, where the good guys aren’t so good and the bad guys aren’t so bad. Two long-retired gunfighters (Eastwood and Morgan Freeman) sign on for one more killing job, which isn’t as black and white as they originally thought. The first half of the movie drags a little, but it really picks up towards the end, as Eastwood butts heads with the town sheriff (Gene Hackman delivering yet another strong performance). Unforgiven also features Richard Harris as an English gunfighter and Freeman as Eastwood’s former riding partner in a sparse, but standout film. — MP

Genre: Western

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Rent it in the U.K.: Prime Video (opens in new tab) / AppleTV (opens in new tab)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Despite being in the movie for less than 15 minutes, Anthony Hopkins’ turn as the psychiatrist/cannibal/Chianti enthusiast Hannibal Lecter devours every scene he’s in. While The Silence of the Lambs is great in its own right — Jodie Foster’s Clarice is both tough and vulnerable as she tracks down a serial killer — Hopkins is the greatest movie villain with the least screen time since Darth Vader in Star Wars. — MP

Genre: Horror/thriller

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

Stream it in the U.S.: Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: MGM via Prime Video (opens in new tab)

American Pie (1999)

If the quality of a movie can be measured by the number of imitations it spawns, then American Pie deserves to go down in cinema history. The forefather of the teen comedy craze that extended long into the 2000s, American Pie may be rather tasteless — but it’s got its heart in the right place (for the most part). Often remembered for its legendary soundtrack, as well as the careers it launched including Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan and Tara Reid, watching American Pie is practically a rite of passage for high school students to this day. Just make sure to avoid the sequels: aside from American Pie 2, they are all pretty awful. — RM

Genre: Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 61%

Stream it in the U.S.: Peacock (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Starz via Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Reality Bites (1994)

A quintessential Generation X film, Reality Bites is a masterful portrait of the mid-’90s grunge era directed by one of their own, Ben Stiller. Disenchanted twentysomething creative types pontificate about the evils of selling out to greedy corporations, all while chain smoking, drinking and hooking up. Yet, their college days are behind them and now they must figure out how to adult. Ideals are great, but jobs pay the bills. As aspiring documentarian Lelaina (Winona Ryder) discovers, even pursuing your artistic dream comes with a price. So much about Reality Bites is iconic, from the cast including Ethan Hawke and Janeane Garafolo to the plaid-and-florals fashion to the soundtrack filled with hits like Lisa Loeb’s “Stay (I Missed You).” While the movie captures the specifics of GenX, its coming-of-age story is universal enough to apply to future generations. — KW

Genre: Drama

Rotten Tomatoes score: 64%

Stream it in the U.S.: Peacock (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

A Few Good Men (1992)

If you’ve ever had someone ever tell you that “you can’t handle the truth,” you’ve had someone quote A Few Good Men at you.

Based on a 1989 Aaron Sorkin play (Sorkin also wrote the screenplay), this movie takes star-studded to a new level: it stars Tom Cruise as Lt. Daniel Kaffee, Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan Jessup, Demi Moore as Lt. Commander Joanne Galloway and Kevin Bacon as Capt. Jack Ross. Not enough star power? Well, what if we add Kiefer Sutherland as Lt. Jonathan Kendrick, Kevin Pollak as Lt. Sam Weinberg and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Cpl. Carl Hammaker.

Seriously, this courtroom drama is loaded with talent, but it also lives up to the hype. It was nominated for four Academy Awards — including Best Picture. It is also heavily influenced by the fact that it was a play; despite the military setting for this movie, there’s no action to be found. What you do find, is some of the best dialogue ever to grace the silver screen, including what may be one of the greatest climatic scenes ever. — MMcM

Genre: Drama

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%

Buy it in the U.S.: Prime Video (opens in new tab) / AppleTV (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab) / Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Casino (1995)

When it came out, Casino was seen by some as a sort of Goodfellas 2 — a similar rise-and-fall Mafia movie starring some of the same actors (Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, to name two) whose characters shared a similar fate. But Casino, which takes place in the late '70s Las Vegas, also has at its core a love triangle with Sharon Stone, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance. Casino might not be one of top 5 movies by Martin Scorsese, but it’s definitely in the conversation. — MP

Genre: Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%

Stream it in the U.S.: Peacock (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Unavailable

Before Sunrise (1995)

Richard Linklater’s indie romance pioneer begins with a “meet cute” between strangers on a train and ends with a lingering question mark. On the Eurail to Vienna, American backpacker Jesse (Ethan Hawke) strikes up a conversation with French university student Céline (Julie Delpy) and it ends up lasting all night. He convinces her to disembark with him and they spend hours strolling around the city and discussing everything from music to past relationships to reincarnation. They drink wine, they flirt, they kiss, they talk some more. And that’s it — there’s no thrills beyond the beautiful sights of Vienna and their palpable, intoxicating chemistry. At the end, Jesse must catch a flight back home and Céline her train, both promising to meet at the same place in six months. Will they or won’t they? The existence of two more movies in what may be the unlikeliest of film franchises is pretty revealing. But Céline and Jesse’s story is about the journey, not the destination. — KW

Genre: Drama

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

Stream it in the U.S.: The Criterion Channel (opens in new tab) (or rent on Prime Video (opens in new tab) / AppleTV (opens in new tab))

Rent it in the U.K.: Prime Video (opens in new tab) / AppleTV (opens in new tab)

L.A. Confidential (1997)

An homage — and reimagining — of classic film noir, L.A. Confidential follows an overeager young detective in the LAPD (Guy Pearce) as he uncovers a criminal plot that threads its way all over the city of angels. This movie has an all-star cast, including James Cromwell, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, and the now-disgraced Kevin Spacey. Like any good '50s film, there’s tons of intrigue and twists and turns to keep you guessing, as well as some really sharp dialogue. — MP

Genre: Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%

Stream it in the U.S.: Starz via Roku (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Prime Video (opens in new tab) / Netflix (opens in new tab)

Election (1999)

The brilliant black comedy from director Alexander Payne is almost eerily prescient in its portrayal of an ambitious female politician weighed down by “unlikability.” Reese Witherspoon gives a commanding performance as Tracy Flick, a type-A overachieving teen running for school president. Her campaign is sabotaged by civics teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), who resents Tracy’s role in getting his friend fired (which, by the way, was more than warranted, because that teacher was having sex with Tracy, his underage student). McAllister encourages a popular football player to run against Tracy, but when she seems poised to win the race anyway, he takes matters into his own hands. Payne’s satire poked sharply at American politics and culture in 1999; more than two decades later, it’s almost even more relevant and insightful. — KW

Genre: Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Stream it in the U.S.: Prime Video (opens in new tab) / Paramount Plus (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Paramount Plus (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab)

Titanic (1997)

Somehow, it’s become uncool to love Titanic. Fine, consider me “tragically unhip” (see the Clueless entry) because I consider it a masterpiece of cinema. Titanic became one of the biggest and most acclaimed movies after director James Cameron bet the farm on a sweeping historical/romantic epic based on the infamous real-life 1912 sinking of the massive ship. Everything about the movie impresses, from the scale of the sets to the intricate costumes to the then-cutting-edge special effects. What truly captivated viewers around the world, though, was the doomed love story so beautifully portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Jack is a poor artist; Rose is an upper-class socialite. They form the connection of a lifetime at the most tragic possible time. Titanic may not challenge your intellect, but it will tug, squeeze and eventually break your heart. Don’t worry — it will go on. — KW

Genre: Drama

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%

Stream it in the U.S.: Netflix (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Disney Plus (opens in new tab)

Dumb & Dumber (1994)

The breakout hit from the Farrelly brothers — who would go on to direct There’s Something About Mary and Kingpin — stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as two loveable but clueless guys who embark on a cross-country road trip to return a briefcase to its owner (Lauren Holly). One of the funniest movies from the '90s, it features comedy in all its forms — gross-out humor, slapstick, and even long drawn-out jokes that take more than a few scenes to pay off. If you don’t find yourself laughing at this movie, you should check yourself for a pulse. — MP

Genre: Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab) / Netflix (opens in new tab)

Rent it in the U.K.: AppleTV (opens in new tab) / Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

There have been many great war films released over the decades, but Saving Private Ryan is possibly the finest ever put to celluloid. Its intro depicting the Omaha Beach assault during the Normandy landings of 1944 remains one of the most intense and visceral scenes in all of cinema. What follows is a somber tale of U.S. Army soldiers venturing across war-torn Europe in search of the titular Private Ryan. The film didn’t romanticize war and starkly showed how conflict affects both citizens and soldiers alike. Saving Private Ryan isn’t a “fun” movie but it’s extremely engaging. — TP

Genre: Action

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

Stream it in the U.S.: Paramount Plus (opens in new tab)

Stream it in the U.K.: Sky (opens in new tab) / Now Cinema (opens in new tab) / Netflix (opens in new tab)

Total Recall (1990)

Arnold Schwarzenegger ruled the box office in the 1980s and continued his winning streak into the early '90s with the iconic Total Recall. Though mostly an over-the-top action film, themes centering around one’s perception of reality kept it from devolving into schlock. With that said, director Paul Verhoeven delivered one of the most violent films of his career — truly capitalizing on the R rating. With harrowing action scenes, solid practical effects, and an overall rousing adventure story, Total Recall is the total package. — TP

Genre: Sci-fi/action

Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%

Stream it in the U.S.: HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Rent it in the U.K.: Prime Video (opens in new tab)

As Editor in Chief (U.K.) on Tom’s Guide, Marc oversees all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage, and is also responsible for the site’s U.K.-focused output. He previously edited the tech website Stuff and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, games, TVs, cameras and much more. He also spent years on a music magazine, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun, and on a car magazine. An avid photographer, Marc likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). When he gets time, he also enjoys gaming (console and mobile), cycling and attempting to watch as much sport as any human can. He's also fallen in love with Wordle over the past six months and is the author of our today's Wordle answer column, in which he supplies hints and strategy tips for the mega-popular word game. Given he's completed every single Wordle so far and only lost once, and analyzed every Wordle answer in search of patterns, he's well qualified to help you safeguard your streak.

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