AV Club's The 50 best films of the ’90s

Few talk about the ’90s as a filmmaking renaissance on par with the late ’60s and early ’70s, but for many of the film critics at The A.V. Club, it was the decade when we were coming of age as cinephiles and writers, and we remember it with considerable affection. Those ’70s warhorses like Martin Scorsese and Robert Altman posted some of the strongest work of their careers, and an exciting new generation of filmmakers—Quentin Tarantino, Joel and Ethan Coen, Wong Kar-Wai, Olivier Assayas, David Fincher, and Wes Anderson among them—were staking out territory of their own. Presented over three days—with two 20-film lists, then a separate one for the top 10—our Top 50 survey was conducted in an effort to reflect group consensus and individual passion, with the disclaimer that all such lists have a degree of arbitrariness that can’t be avoided. (On Thursday, we’ll run a supplemental list of orphans, also-rans, and personal favorites that will undoubtedly be quirkier.) One more note before digging in: Filmmakers who had a particularly good decade were often divided against themselves in the voting. Which Coen brothers movie is the strongest? Which color from Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy shone the brightest? Peel slowly and see…

  • Goodfellas

    1

  • Pulp Fiction

    2

  • Toy Story 2

    3

  • Dazed and Confused

    4

  • Chungking Express

    5

  • Out of Sight

    6

  • Reservoir Dogs

    7

  • Unforgiven

    8

  • Rushmore

    9

  • Being John Malkovich

    10

  • Barton Fink

    11

  • Miller's Crossing

    12

  • Boogie Nights

    13

  • Hoop Dreams

    14

  • Groundhog Day

    15

  • The Big Lebowski

    16

  • Safe

    17

  • Schindler's List

    18

  • Exotica

    19

  • Three Colors: Red

    20

  • Fargo

    21

  • The Sweet Hereafter

    22

  • Carlito's Way

    23

  • Crumb

    24

  • Fight Club

    25

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    26

  • Short Cuts

    27

  • Election

    28

  • Irma Vep

    29

  • The Thin Red Line

    30

  • Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

    31

  • Close-Up

    32

  • The Matrix

    33

  • Se7en

    34

  • Naked

    35

  • L.A. Confidential

    36

  • Glengarry Glen Ross

    37

  • Fast, Cheap & Out of Control

    38

  • The Blair Witch Project

    39

  • Trainspotting

    40

  • Raise the Red Lantern

    41

  • All About My Mother

    42

  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    43

  • Metropolitan

    44

  • The Limey

    45

  • Heavenly Creatures

    46

  • Starship Troopers

    47

  • Ed Wood

    48

  • American Movie

    49

  • Dead Man

    50