The 40 (or so) Best Films in the Past 20 Years

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1.
Dances with Wolves (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Lt. John Dunbar, exiled to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military. (181 mins.)
Director: Kevin Costner
 
2.
Ghost (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
After a young man is murdered, his spirit stays behind to warn his lover of impending danger, with the help of a reluctant psychic. (127 mins.)
Director: Jerry Zucker
 
3.
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
 
4.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young woman whose father has been imprisoned by a terrifying beast offers herself in his place, unaware that her captor is actually a prince, physically altered by a magic spell. (84 mins.)
 
5.
Aladdin (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
When a street urchin vies for the love of a beautiful princess, he uses a genie's magic power to make himself off as a prince in order to marry her. (90 mins.)
 
6.
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
 
7.
The Fugitive (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Dr. Richard Kimble, unjustly accused of murdering his wife, must find the real killer while being the target of a nationwide manhunt lead by a seasoned US Marshall. (130 mins.)
Director: Andrew Davis
 
8.
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
 
9.
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.)
 
10.
Forrest Gump (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
While not intelligent, Forrest Gump has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him. (142 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
 
11.
The Lion King (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Lion cub and future king Simba searches for his identity. His eagerness to please others and penchant for testing his boundaries sometimes gets him into trouble. (88 mins.)
 
12.
Braveheart (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, Sir William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England. (178 mins.)
Director: Mel Gibson
 
13.
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
 
14.
Scream (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game. (111 mins.)
Director: Wes Craven
 
15.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent agent with the only athlete who stays with him and his former secretary. (139 mins.)
Director: Cameron Crowe
 
16.
The Fifth Element (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In the colorful future, a cab driver unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr Zorg at bay. (126 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
 
17.
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
 
18.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action. (169 mins.)
 
19.
A Bug's Life (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A misfit ant, looking for "warriors" to save his colony from greedy grasshoppers, recruits a group of bugs that turn out to be an inept circus troupe. (95 mins.)
 
20.
American Beauty (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend. (122 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
 
21.
Fight Club (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more. (139 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
 
22.
Gladiator (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an emperor's corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge. (155 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
 
23.
Almost Famous (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies them on their concert tour. (122 mins.)
Director: Cameron Crowe
 
24.
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
 
25.
Black Hawk Down (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis. (144 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
 
26.
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.)
 
27.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron's new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard. (179 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
 
28.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring. (201 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
 
29.
Finding Nemo (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home. (100 mins.)
 
30.
Seabiscuit (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
True story of the undersized Depression-era racehorse whose victories lifted not only the spirits of the team behind it but also those of their nation. (140 mins.)
Director: Gary Ross
 
31.
The Incredibles (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world. (115 mins.)
Director: Brad Bird
 
32.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius. (127 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
 
33.
King Kong (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A movie crew, travelling to a mysterious island to shoot their picture, encounter a furious gorilla, taking their leading actress and forming a special relationship with her, protecting her at all costs. (187 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
 
34.
Munich (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day. (164 mins.)
 
35.
The Departed (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston. (151 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
36.
The Prestige (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Two stage magicians engage in competitive one-upmanship in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion. (130 mins.)
 
37.
Ratatouille (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A rat who can cook makes an unusual alliance with a young kitchen worker at a famous restaurant. (111 mins.)
 
38.
I Am Legend (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure. (101 mins.)
 
39.
The Dark Knight (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
When the menace known as the Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice. (152 mins.)
 
40.
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.)
 
41.
Up (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway. (96 mins.)
 
42.
District 9 (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology. (112 mins.)
Director: Neill Blomkamp
 
43.
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.)
 
44.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it's up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren't abandoned and to return home. (103 mins.)
Director: Lee Unkrich