Col Needham's Top 20 Movies from 1990-2010

I'm the founder and CEO of IMDb and here are my favourite movies from the last 20 years. Of course this list needs a little trimming to say the least ...
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1.
Inception (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (148 mins.)
“ My #2 favourite movie of all-time and also a proxy for Chris Nolan's other masterpiece: The Prestige ” - Col Needham
 
2.
Se7en (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives. (127 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ Also a proxy for other great David Fincher movies: Fight Club / The Social Network / Panic Room / The Game / Zodiac. ” - Col Needham
 
3.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption. (154 mins.)
“ Also a proxy for other great QT movies: Kill Bill / Inglourious Basterds ” - Col Needham
 
4.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him. (159 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ An extremely underrated Kubrick film with one of the best last lines in movie history. A massively misunderstood story about love and obsession and where (not) to draw the line. ” - Col Needham
 
5.
Avatar (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home. (162 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
“ Also a proxy for other great James Cameron movies from this period: T2 / True Lies / Titanic ” - Col Needham
 
6.
Magnolia (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley. (188 mins.)
“ Also a proxy for other great PTA movies: Punch Drunk Love / There Will Be Blood ” - Col Needham
 
7.
Contact (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens, who send plans for a mysterious machine. (150 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ One of the most well-written movies ever ” - Col Needham
 
8.
The Matrix (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers. (136 mins.)
“ Fresh and original before the sequels sort of spoiled it (with the exception of the freeway chase sequence in Reloaded). Also a proxy for the Wachowski brothers' other masterpiece, the neo-noir thriller Bound ” - Col Needham
 
9.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry. (142 mins.)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
“ The best Harry Potter book and the best Harry Potter movie and the only one outside the all-time top 25 highest grossing movies. Also a proxy for the other HP movies. ” - Col Needham
 
10.
Atonement (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. (123 mins.)
Director: Joe Wright
“ Another brilliant script with masterful direction by Joe Wright ” - Col Needham
 
11.
Minority Report (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder. (145 mins.)
“ Also a proxy for Steven Spielberg's other great movies from this period: Schindler's List / Jurassic Park / Saving Private Ryan ” - Col Needham
 
12.
Heat (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist, while both sides attempt to find balance between their personal lives with their professional lives. (170 mins.)
Director: Michael Mann
“ Also a proxy for Michael Mann's other great movies from this period: The Last of the Mohicans / The Insider ” - Col Needham
 
13.
Basic Instinct (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A violent, suspended police detective investigates a brutal murder, in which a manipulative and seductive woman could be involved. (127 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
“ A guilty pleasure but who can forget this sexy Hitchcock homage by Paul Verhoeven? ” - Col Needham
 
14.
L.A. Confidential (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice. (138 mins.)
Director: Curtis Hanson
“ It's all in the writing and, here, the casting too! ” - Col Needham
 
15.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. (118 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
“ Thrilling horror and unforgettable characters ” - Col Needham
 
16.
Signs (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come. (106 mins.)
“ Everything is on a slow burn to the amazing final sequence where everything comes together and rewards the viewer who has been paying attention (one of my favourite scenes ever). ” - Col Needham
 
17.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate "Captain" Jack Sparrow to save his love, the governor's daughter, from Jack's former pirate allies, who are now undead. (143 mins.)
Director: Gore Verbinski
“ Amazing fun ” - Col Needham
 
18.
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An abandoned wife is evicted from her house and starts a tragic conflict with her home's new owners. (126 mins.)
Director: Vadim Perelman
“ Another writing masterpiece and a very attractive leading lady ” - Col Needham
 
19.
Michael Clayton (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit. (119 mins.)
Director: Tony Gilroy
“ Yet another writing masterpiece. ” - Col Needham
 
20.
JFK (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A New Orleans DA discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story. (189 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
“ Oliver Stone creates a rich story which leads to the unforgettable assassination recreation courtroom sequence (another all time favourite scene). ” - Col Needham
 
21.
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet. (129 mins.)
Director: Terry Gilliam
 
22.
A Few Good Men (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Neo military lawyer Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder; they contend they were acting under orders. (138 mins.)
Director: Rob Reiner
 
23.
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In November 1984, the Soviet Union's best submarine captain in their newest sub violates orders and heads for the USA. Is he trying to defect or to start a war? (135 mins.)
Director: John McTiernan
 
24.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep. (102 mins.)
 
25.
Unforgiven (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man. (131 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
26.
The English Patient (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair. (162 mins.)
 
27.
27 Dresses (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
After serving as a bridesmaid 27 times, a young woman wrestles with the idea of standing by her sister's side as her sibling marries the man she's secretly in love with. (111 mins.)
Director: Anne Fletcher
 
28.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A Mumbai teen reflects on his upbringing in the slums when he is accused of cheating on the Indian Version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" (120 mins.)
 
29.
Clueless (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil's popularity, but reckons without affairs of the heart getting in the way. (97 mins.)
Director: Amy Heckerling
 
30.
Speed (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young police officer must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph. (116 mins.)
Director: Jan de Bont
 
31.
The Firm (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A young lawyer joins a prestigious law firm only to discover that it has a sinister dark side. (154 mins.)
Director: Sydney Pollack
 
32.
Inside Man (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A police detective, a bank robber, and a high-power broker enter high-stakes negotiations after the criminal's brilliant heist spirals into a hostage situation. (129 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
33.
Miller's Crossing (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties. (115 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
34.
The Others (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted. (101 mins.)
 
35.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor. (103 mins.)
Director: Shane Black
 
36.
Notting Hill (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The life of a simple bookshop owner changes when he meets the most famous film star in the world. (124 mins.)
Director: Roger Michell
 
37.
The Grifters (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A small-time conman has torn loyalties between his estranged mother and new girlfriend--both of whom are high-stakes grifters with their own angles to play. (110 mins.)
Director: Stephen Frears
 
38.
Dead Again (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An amnesiac and a private eye find they might have a past life connection. (107 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
 
39.
Grand Canyon (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Grand Canyon revolved around six residents from different backgrounds whose lives intertwine in modern-day Los Angeles... (134 mins.)
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
 
40.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency. (142 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
 
41.
Black Swan (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity. (108 mins.)
 
42.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets. (127 mins.)
Director: Baz Luhrmann
 
43.
The Hot Spot (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
When the drifter Harry Madox reaches a small town in Texas, he gets a job as used car salesman with... (130 mins.)
Director: Dennis Hopper
 
44.
In the Line of Fire (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn't save Kennedy, but he's determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president. (128 mins.)
 
45.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup. (106 mins.)
Director: Bryan Singer
 
46.
Total Recall (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real - or does he? (113 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
 
47.
Out of Sight (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A career bank robber breaks out of jail, and shares a moment of mutual attraction with a U.S. Marshal he has kidnapped. (123 mins.)
 
48.
Sex and Lucia (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Various lives converge on an isolated island, all connected by an author whose novel has become inextricably entwined with his own life. (128 mins.)
Director: Julio Medem
 
49.
A Little Princess (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A young girl is relegated to servitude at a boarding school when her father goes missing and is presumed dead. (97 mins.)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
 
50.
Vanilla Sky (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover. (136 mins.)
Director: Cameron Crowe
 
51.
The Lake House (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A lonely doctor, who once occupied an unusual lakeside house, begins exchanging love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late. (99 mins.)
 
52.
Match Point (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
At a turning point in his life, a former tennis pro falls for an actress who happens to be dating his friend and soon-to-be brother-in-law. (124 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
 
53.
Breaking the Waves (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Oilman Jan is paralyzed in an accident. His wife, who prayed for his return, feels guilty; even more, when Jan urges her to have sex with another. (159 mins.)
Director: Lars Von Trier
 
54.
Kick-Ass (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a superhero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so. (117 mins.)
Director: Matthew Vaughn
 
55.
Dark City (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun. (100 mins.)
Director: Alex Proyas
 
56.
Fearless (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A man's personality is dramatically changed after surviving a major airline crash. (122 mins.)
Director: Peter Weir
 
57.
Wild at Heart (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mom has hired to kill Sailor. (125 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
58.
Donnie Darko (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident. (113 mins.)
Director: Richard Kelly
 
59.
Flightplan (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A bereaved woman and her daughter are flying home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet, the child vanishes, and nobody will admit she was ever on the plane. (98 mins.)
 
60.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality. (147 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
61.
Cape Fear (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a fourteen-year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him. (128 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
62.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
High school student Nick O'Leary, member of the Queercore band The Jerk Offs, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg when she asks him to be her boyfriend for five minutes. (90 mins.)
Director: Peter Sollett
 
63.
Very Bad Things (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A prostitute is killed during a bachelor party and the attendees turn on each other as the wedding approaches. (100 mins.)
Director: Peter Berg
 
64.
Timecrimes (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences. (92 mins.)
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
 
65.
Freaky Friday (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
An overworked mother and her daughter do not get along. When they switch bodies, each is forced to adapt to the other's life for one freaky Friday. (97 mins.)
Director: Mark Waters
 
66.
Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Two dim-witted, inseparable friends hit the road for their ten-year high school reunion and concoct an elaborate lie about their lives in order to impress their classmates. (92 mins.)
Director: David Mirkin
 
67.
Groundhog Day (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again. (101 mins.)
Director: Harold Ramis
 
68.
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A laconic, chain-smoking barber blackmails his wife's boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning, but his plan goes terribly wrong. (116 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
69.
Random Hearts (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
A police sergeant and a congresswoman both lose their spouses in a plane crash, and they soon discover that their spouses were having an affair with each other. (133 mins.)
Director: Sydney Pollack