The Decade of the ‘90s: Classic Movies

By Haroula Barbounis

The 1990s was a wild time; grunge was in, and one could not be seen without wearing some kind of denim clothing or a butterfly clip. However, the ‘90s should also be known (if it’s not already) for its exceptional range of movies, from staples at Christmas like Home Alone to Star Wars prequels like The Phantom Menace.

  1. Home Alone (1990)

Released in 1990, Home Alone tells the story of big personality Kevin McCallister. Left at home by accident when his family travels for Christmas vacation, he’s having the time of his life, watching inappropriate movies and eating liberal amounts of ice cream. However, he quickly learns that being alone isn’t all bells and whistles. Meanwhile, his family, especially his mother, are mortified that they left him at home and take plane flights back home to get back to him. All while this is happening, two common thieves are planning to rob Kevin’s house, forcing Kevin to defend it. A barrel of laughs, this movie is your new Christmas favorite (if it isn’t already.)

2. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

This tale is absolutely as old as time. Having won two Academy Awards, Beauty and the Beast spins a story of romance, verve, and hope. It all started when a conceited prince gets cursed by an enchantress and is transformed into a hideous beast, doomed to live that way until he can learn to love another and earn her love in return. However, he must do it before the last petal falls on an enchanted rose. Enter Belle, who comes to take her father’s place when he gets captured by the Beast. Although they detest each other at first, a simple act of kindness draws them together, but will they break the curse in time?

3. Aladdin (1992)

In this Disney classic, Aladdin is a street rat that scrounges for food with the help of his pet monkey, Abu. Through a series of chaotic events, he ends up meeting Princess Jasmine of Agrabah and they take a liking to each other. However, Aladdin gets captured by the Royal Guard under false pretenses, getting thrown into the Royal Dungeon. With the help of another prisoner, he manages to escape and is thrust on a mission to retrieve a lamp from the Cave of Wonders. However, Aladdin soon figures out that a genie lives in the lamp, and he will grant three wishes. Naturally, Aladdin wishes to earn Jasmine’s love. But will he succeed?

4. Jurassic Park (1993)

In this adventure, billionaire John Hammond partners with the genetic-engineering company InGen and develops the notion of building a theme park with attractions being actual dinosaurs. Using dinosaur blood from mosquitos encased in amber, InGen is able to create actual clones from the prehistoric raptors. However, before opening the theme park, he invites a few selected people and his grandchildren to preview the park. Regardless, things go horribly wrong when an associate of Hammond’s disables the security system to steal some dinosaur embryos. This in turn causes the dinosaurs to break free from their confinement and roam free the park.

5. Forrest Gump (1994)

While not the smartest man, Forrest Gump is a character of innocence and integrity. Throughout many events in his life, he is given new opportunities and he makes use of all his newfound abilities. Forrest, from running to fighting in the army to rising to fame through ping-pong, uses his endless supply of luck and optimism to navigate even the cruelest experiences of society. Meanwhile, despite his amazing and seemingly fulfilling experiences, what he wants most is to earn the love of his childhood friend Jenny, for whom it was extremely difficult growing up under an abusive father.

6. Toy Story (1995)

Another of the many Disney classics, Toy Story is this genuine heartfelt tale about a boy named Andy and his beloved toys. However, in this story, the usually inanimate toys come to life. Cowboy doll Woody is Andy’s prized possession; his bedroom being living proof, adorned with all the Woody paraphernalia. Nevertheless, after Andy’s birthday party, a new toy comes to town—space ranger Buzz Lightyear. Woody, not thrilled in being pushed out of the spotlight, attempts to sabotage Buzz, ultimately ending in the two of them falling into Sid’s hands, the boy next door who tortures toys. The two toys strive at escaping, but it is proved to be very difficult. And they must escape quick, for Andy is moving to a new house.

7. Mission Impossible (1996)

In this thriller, Tom Cruise stars as Ethan Hunt, a secret agent that is part of the Impossible Missions Force Team, also known as the IMF. After a failed mission that leaves him as the sole survivor, the director of the IMF tells him that a mole has infiltrated the team and that he blames Hunt for the members’ deaths. Knowing he was framed, Ethan spends the duration of the film uncovering clues and discovering the culprit, only to unearth that the conspiracy was much more enormous than he’d thought. Embedded with suspense and plot twists, the first of the six Mission Impossible movies demonstrates to be cinema worth viewing.

8. Titanic (1997)

With 14 Oscar nominations, Titanic was one of the influential cinematic masterpieces at the time. Rose Dewitt-Bukater and Jack Dawson board the lavish ship, her being a rich aristocrat and him a poor artist. Despite their differences in class, they fall in love on the blighted Titanic, regardless of Rose’s upcoming marriage with the haughty Cal Hockley. However, like in practically all Oscar-winning movies, there comes a tragic moment. The Titanic cataclysmically collapses into the dark waters of the Atlantic, bringing grief and despair on an abundance of characters. And nearly 85 years later, we have Rose herself, telling her heart-rending tale and attempting to make peace with her past.

9. Parent Trap (1998)

In this comedic film, separated-at-birth twins Annie and Hallie discover they are related through an entertaining encounter at a summer camp in Maine. Being identical and looking exactly alike, they decide to switch places so one girl would go back to see their father for the first time, and the other would see their mother. The girls also decide they should get their parents back together. However, this plan turns sour when Annie masquerading as Hallie discovers that the girls’ father has a fiancé named Meredith who is only interested in his wealth. Luckily, due to some planning and some hilarious mischief, the girls manage to get Meredith out of the picture. But will they be successful with reuniting their parents?

10. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)

The first prequel after the Star Wars trilogy aired the decade before, this film tackles the affairs of the galaxy long before Luke Skywalker was born on Tatooine. Jedis Qui-Gon-Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent on a secret mission to settle the calamity caused by the Trade Federation. Having blockaded the planet Naboo, the Jedis spend time there trying to sort out the situation, until ultimately they go to seek aid from the Senate. Unfortunately, their ship gets damaged and they make a pitstop at—guess where—Tatooine, where they meet Anakin Skywalker, who has been acknowledged of having a great presence of the Force and can possibly trained. However, before they leave Tatooine, the group is ambushed by a Sith, the Sith being a group that embraces the dark side of the Force. This extremely ominous because the Sith always comes in twos.