10. Life is Beautiful (1997)
Dir. Roberto Benigni
To start of on the films of the 90’s, I’ve gone with this beautiful Italian film that begins in the 1930’s and transitions into World War II and the Holocaust. Roberto Benigni stars a light-hearted father who uses his humor and charm to protect his son from the dangers in their concentration camp. The beautiful score and incredible performances truly shape this film and make it one worth watching.
9. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Dir. Jonathan Demme
Next up we have the first horror film to win best picture at the Academy Awards. Which makes complete sense. This tension filled thriller centers on an FBI Academy student who is brought in to investigate on the serial killer Buffalo Bill. And with the help of iconic supporting characters such as Hannibal Lecter, this film will automatically captivate you.
8. Philadelphia (1993)
Dir. Jonathan Demme
At number eight, we have a film that broke barriers with its subject matter. This films focuses on the AIDS epidemic and the societal effects it has on Tom Hanks’ character. The awe-inspiring performances from both Hanks and Denzel Washington only act as an enhancement on the films part. Demme’s ability to take a despairing topic and use it to inform his audience is absolutely spectacular.
7. The Truman Show (1998)
Dir. Peter Weir
Here, at the seventh slot, we have a film that provided us with a unique glimpse of life. Jim Carrey stars as Truman Burbank, a man whose entire life has actually just been a television show. Carrey’s performance here proved his genuine acting ability and helped shape the film immensely. But of course, the gorgeous visuals applied throughout the film further this notion.
6. Trainspotting (1996)
Dir. Danny Boyle
Next up, we have this Edinburgh set film that helped launch Ewan McGregor’s film career in the U.S. This film centers on a group of friends who also happen to be heroin addicts. Through the entirety of the film, we witness first hand to struggle of giving up on addiction and the resonating effects that are left with each character. The stellar dialogue and insane cinematography make this an absolutely necessary film to see.
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Dir. Quentin Tarantino
Next up we have one of the 90’s most popular films. From the very start of the decade, Tarantino made a name for himself in Reservoir Dogs, but with this film, he furthered his stasis in the film industry. The ingenuity of this film helped Tarantino build on his gritty style. Plus, with a the star-studded cast, with the likes of Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, and more, everything fell into place. This film is arguably one of Tarantino’s most iconic films.
4. Se7en (1995)
Dir. David Fincher
Next, we have the darkest film on this list. Se7en centers on a mysterious serial killer whose motivation follows the seven deadly sins and two detectives, as portrayed by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, who attempt to seek him out. This graphic thriller en-captivates you through its gritty nature and genuine performances. But with the assistance of jaw-dropping cinematography, it’s definitely worth the watch.
3. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Dir. Gus Van Sant
Coming at the third slot is a film that’ll leave you inspired. The story focuses on mathematical genius Will Hunting, who struggles with his identity and social life as the story progresses. The film provides incredible performances from Matt Damon as well as from Robin Williams, who won an Oscar for his role. Followed by a brilliant screenplay and vivid direction, this piece of cinema will most definitely be around for awhile.
2. Schindler’s List (1993)
Dir. Steven Spielberg
Once again, we have a film based during World War II, with glimpses of the horrors brought about by the Holocaust. The plot involves Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a man who attempts to protect his Jewish workers when the massacres become prominent. The artistically sad film beautifully depicts the persecution taking place during this time. With despairing imagery and a haunting score, this film pushes the boundaries of film. Plus, it won Steven Spielberg his first Oscar for best director.
1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Dir. Frank Darabont
And finally, at number one, we have this masterpiece from Frank Darabont. Though this film wasn’t initially a hit, it became widely popular upon its VCR release. The Shawshank Redemption became Darabont’s hit film, and for good reason too. The story of a man wrongfully imprisoned whose narrowing fight to be free is sure to inspire all who watch. With stellar performances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman and an exhilarating score and vast cinematography, this film has placed itself among the best.