The 1990s were a fascinating time for cinema, and the latter half of the decade saw a significant shift in the industry. The indie scene in the US began to solidify, foreign films started to make a more significant impact, and the overall look and feel of movies began to evolve into what we now recognize as the 21st-century standard. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the top 10 movies of 1996.
10. From Dusk Till Dawn
Quentin Tarantino’s writing prowess shines in this film, which starts as an intimate character drama and quickly devolves into a vampire bar brawl. While the transition between the two genres doesn’t quite work, the snappy dialogue and fast-paced editing make this a great Friday night flick to watch with friends.
This crime dramedy about the lives of drug addicts is both fun and quirky, with more depth than it initially appears to have. Decades later, it remains an essential 90s film.
8. A Moment of Innocence
This slow-burn, foreign-made, anti-Hollywood drama may not be for everyone, but for those who appreciate its subtle pleasures and hidden meanings, it’s a powerful and compelling film that leaves a lasting impression.
7. Happy Gilmore
The 90s were a golden age for comedies, and Happy Gilmore is no exception. With a hilarious premise that combines golf and hockey, this film offers plenty of material for its talented cast to work with.
Based on a true story, this film follows a group of friends who are sent to juvenile detention and systematically abused by the guards. The compelling narrative and excellent cast make this a must-watch.
5. Primal Fear
Edward Norton delivers a career-best performance in this courtroom drama about a troubled choir boy accused of killing a high-ranking Catholic priest. It’s a shame that more people haven’t seen this fantastic film.
Wes Craven’s meta-horror film deconstructs slasher tropes with a razor-sharp script and solid cast. While its sequels may have tarnished its reputation, the original Scream remains a classic.
3. Independence Day
This blockbuster has aged remarkably well, with its model-assisted special effects still holding up today. Independence Day is an earnest, well-crafted film that we could use more of in modern cinema.
Kenneth Branagh’s unabridged adaptation of Shakespeare’s play features an A-list cast and stands as a triumph of the stage-to-screen transition.
The Coen brothers’ Fargo is a masterpiece, with a perfect grasp of its madcap material and a talented cast that brings this slice of Americana to life. It remains the definitive film of their careers.
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