EW Greatest Movies Ever Made - 1990s

by michaelseaman | created - 26 Aug 2012 | updated - 26 Aug 2012 | Public

From the book published in 1996, based on home viewing.

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1. Pulp Fiction (1994)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama

8.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
94 Metascore

The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis

Votes: 1,487,989 | Gross: $107.93M

2. The Piano (1993)

R | 121 min | Drama, Music, Romance

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
89 Metascore

A mute woman is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Director: Jane Campion | Stars: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin

Votes: 68,954 | Gross: $40.16M

3. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

G | 84 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
95 Metascore

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.

Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise | Stars: Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Jesse Corti, Rex Everhart

Votes: 354,168 | Gross: $218.97M

4. Hoop Dreams (1994)

PG-13 | 170 min | Documentary, Drama, Sport

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
98 Metascore

A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.

Director: Steve James | Stars: William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, Curtis Gates

Votes: 21,022 | Gross: $7.83M

5. The Player (1992)

R | 124 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
86 Metascore

A Hollywood studio executive is being sent death threats by a writer whose script he rejected - but which one?

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg

Votes: 45,971 | Gross: $21.71M

6. Menace II Society (1993)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
76 Metascore

A young street hustler attempts to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto in a quest for a better life.

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes | Stars: Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, June Kyoto Lu, Toshi Toda

Votes: 43,442 | Gross: $27.90M

7. Groundhog Day (1993)

PG | 101 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
72 Metascore

A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky

Votes: 494,636 | Gross: $70.91M

8. Little Women (1994)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Family, Romance

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
87 Metascore

The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.

Director: Gillian Armstrong | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes

Votes: 40,220 | Gross: $50.08M

9. Jurassic Park (1993)

PG-13 | 127 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
68 Metascore

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Votes: 701,827 | Gross: $402.45M

10. Babe (1995)

G | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
83 Metascore

Babe, a pig raised by sheepdogs, learns to herd sheep with a little help from Farmer Hoggett.

Director: Chris Noonan | Stars: James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski, Christine Cavanaugh, Miriam Margolyes

Votes: 102,044 | Gross: $66.60M

11. Brother's Keeper (1992)

R | 104 min | Documentary, Crime, Mystery

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

This documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky details the murder trial of Delbert Ward. Delbert's of a family of 4 brothers (the other 3 being Roscoe, Lyman and William - Bill, for ... See full summary »

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Delbert Ward, Roscoe Ward, Lyman Ward, Walt Geisler

Votes: 3,288 | Gross: $1.31M

12. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
93 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 979,170 | Gross: $96.07M

13. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

R | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.1
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81 Metascore

Over the course of five social occasions, a committed bachelor must consider the notion that he may have discovered love.

Director: Mike Newell | Stars: Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, James Fleet, Simon Callow

Votes: 117,556 | Gross: $52.70M

14. Goodfellas (1990)

R | 146 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

8.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
89 Metascore

The story of Henry Hill and his life in the mob, covering his relationship with his wife Karen Hill and his mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito in the Italian-American crime syndicate.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco

Votes: 819,666 | Gross: $46.84M

15. Crumb (1994)

R | 119 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
93 Metascore

An intimate portrait of the controversial cartoonist and his traumatized family.

Director: Terry Zwigoff | Stars: Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky, Charles Crumb, Maxon Crumb

Votes: 15,510 | Gross: $3.17M

16. Toy Story (1995)

G | 81 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
95 Metascore

A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy's room.

Director: John Lasseter | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney

Votes: 710,716 | Gross: $191.80M

17. Thelma & Louise (1991)

R | 130 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
88 Metascore

Two best friends set out on an adventure, but it soon turns around to a terrifying escape from being hunted by the police, as these two girls escape for the crimes they committed.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen

Votes: 111,972 | Gross: $45.36M

18. La belle noiseuse (1991)

Unrated | 238 min | Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The former famous painter Frenhofer revisits an abandoned project using the girlfriend of a young visiting artist. Questions about truth, life, and artistic limits are explored.

Director: Jacques Rivette | Stars: Michel Piccoli, Jane Birkin, Emmanuelle Béart, Marianne Denicourt

Votes: 5,229 | Gross: $0.41M

19. Nixon (1995)

R | 192 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
66 Metascore

A biographical story of former U.S. President Richard Milhous Nixon, from his days as a young boy, to his eventual Presidency, which ended in shame.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Powers Boothe, Ed Harris

Votes: 25,696 | Gross: $13.56M

20. The Crying Game (1992)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
90 Metascore

A British soldier kidnapped by IRA terrorists soon befriends one of his captors, who then becomes drawn into the soldier's world.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson, Forest Whitaker, Miranda Richardson

Votes: 44,627 | Gross: $62.55M

21. Dazed and Confused (1993)

R | 102 min | Comedy

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
78 Metascore

The adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey, Rory Cochrane

Votes: 136,066 | Gross: $7.99M

22. Howards End (1992)

PG | 142 min | Drama, Romance

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
89 Metascore

A businessman thwarts his wife's bequest of an estate to another woman.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter

Votes: 23,489 | Gross: $25.97M

23. Malcolm X (1992)

PG-13 | 202 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
72 Metascore

Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee

Votes: 70,129 | Gross: $48.17M

24. Speed (1994)

R | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
78 Metascore

A young police officer must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph.

Director: Jan de Bont | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton

Votes: 283,515 | Gross: $121.25M

25. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

R | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
76 Metascore

Three trappers protect a British Colonel's daughters in the midst of the French and Indian War.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig

Votes: 125,438 | Gross: $75.51M

26. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
85 Metascore

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,014,198 | Gross: $130.74M

27. Unforgiven (1992)

R | 130 min | Drama, Western

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
85 Metascore

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris

Votes: 310,512 | Gross: $101.16M

28. The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)

R | 121 min | Drama, Romance, Western

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After being thrown out of her home, a young woman decides to disguise herself as a man to survive the ruthless Wild West.

Director: Maggie Greenwald | Stars: Suzy Amis, Bo Hopkins, Ian McKellen, David Chung

Votes: 1,230 | Gross: $0.54M

29. King of the Hill (1993)

PG-13 | 103 min | Drama, History

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
86 Metascore

A young boy struggles on his own in a run-down motel after his parents and younger brother are separated from him in 1930s Depression-era Midwest.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Jesse Bradford, Jeroen Krabbé, Lisa Eichhorn, Karen Allen

Votes: 6,383 | Gross: $1.30M

30. Priest (1994)

R | 98 min | Drama, Romance

7.1
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A homosexual Catholic priest finds out during confessional that a young girl is being sexually abused by her father, and has to decide how to deal with both that secret and his own.

Director: Antonia Bird | Stars: Linus Roache, Tom Wilkinson, Robert Carlyle, Cathy Tyson

Votes: 8,752 | Gross: $4.18M

31. The Vanishing (1988)

Not Rated | 107 min | Mystery, Thriller

7.8
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Rex and Saskia, a young couple in love, are on vacation. They stop at a busy service station and Saskia is abducted. After three years and no sign of Saskia, Rex begins receiving letters from the abductor.

Director: George Sluizer | Stars: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets, Johanna ter Steege, Gwen Eckhaus

Votes: 27,878

EW lists both the original Dutch production and the 1993 Hollywood version, but tells readers to "ignore the dreadful Hollywood remake." So, in a 1990s list, made in the middle of the decade, they used a popular film (at the time) they didn't like to talk about its original superoir, a late 1980s film.

32. A River Runs Through It (1992)

PG | 123 min | Drama

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
68 Metascore

The story about two sons of a stern minister -- one reserved, one rebellious -- growing up in rural Montana while devoted to fly fishing.

Director: Robert Redford | Stars: Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn

Votes: 45,622 | Gross: $43.44M

33. Ed Wood (1994)

R | 127 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
70 Metascore

Ambitious but troubled movie director, Edward D. Wood Jr, tries his best to fulfill his dream, despite his lack of support.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette

Votes: 151,025 | Gross: $5.89M

34. The Usual Suspects (1995)

R | 106 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
77 Metascore

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.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin

Votes: 830,920 | Gross: $23.34M

35. Nobody's Fool (1994)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
86 Metascore

A stubborn man past his prime reflects his life of strict independence and seeks more out of himself.

Director: Robert Benton | Stars: Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, Jessica Tandy, Melanie Griffith

Votes: 15,945 | Gross: $39.49M

36. Fearless (1993)

R | 122 min | Drama, Thriller

7.1
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A man's personality is dramatically changed after surviving a major airline crash.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Isabella Rossellini, Rosie Perez, Tom Hulce

Votes: 18,841 | Gross: $7.00M

37. Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993)

Not Rated | 98 min | Biography, Drama, Music

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A collection of vignettes highlighting different aspects of the life, work, and character of the acclaimed Canadian classical pianist.

Director: François Girard | Stars: Colm Feore, Derek Keurvorst, Katya Ladan, Devon Anderson

Votes: 3,249 | Gross: $1.57M

38. Backbeat (1994)

R | 100 min | Biography, Drama, Music

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A dramatization of the Hamburg, Germany phase of The Beatles' early history.

Director: Iain Softley | Stars: Stephen Dorff, Sheryl Lee, Ian Hart, Gary Bakewell

Votes: 5,094 | Gross: $2.39M

39. Clueless (1995)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Romance

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
68 Metascore

A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil's popularity, but reckons without affairs of the heart getting in the way.

Director: Amy Heckerling | Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd

Votes: 140,309 | Gross: $56.63M

40. Hard Boiled (1992)

R | 128 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A tough-as-nails cop teams up with an undercover agent to shut down a sinister mobster and his crew.

Director: John Woo | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Teresa Mo, Philip Chan

Votes: 41,210

41. Bad Lieutenant (1992)

NC-17 | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
70 Metascore

While investigating a young nun's rape, a corrupt New York City police detective, with a serious drug and gambling addiction, tries to change his ways and find forgiveness.

Director: Abel Ferrara | Stars: Harvey Keitel, Brian McElroy, Frank Acciarito, Peggy Gormley

Votes: 32,228 | Gross: $2.00M

42. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

8.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,437,984 | Gross: $330.25M

43. Clockers (1995)

R | 128 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
71 Metascore

Young drug pushers in the projects of Brooklyn live hard dangerous lives, trapped between their drug bosses and the detectives out to stop them.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, Mekhi Phifer

Votes: 17,859 | Gross: $13.04M

44. Three Colors: Red (1994)

R | 99 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
100 Metascore

A model discovers her neighbor is keen on invading people's privacy.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski | Stars: Irène Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Frédérique Feder, Jean-Pierre Lorit

Votes: 70,555 | Gross: $4.04M

45. Reversal of Fortune (1990)

R | 111 min | Biography, Drama, Mystery

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
93 Metascore

Wealthy Sunny von Bülow lies brain-dead, husband Claus guilty of attempted murder; but he says he's innocent and hires Alan Dershowitz for his appeal.

Director: Barbet Schroeder | Stars: Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Ron Silver, Annabella Sciorra

Votes: 12,307 | Gross: $15.45M

46. Vanya on 42nd Street (1994)

PG | 119 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

New York actors rehearse Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" in a dilapidated theatre.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Wallace Shawn, Phoebe Brand, George Gaynes, Jerry Mayer

Votes: 3,678 | Gross: $1.75M

47. Proof (1991)

R | 86 min | Drama, Romance

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The life of a blind photographer who is looked after by a housekeeper is disrupted by the arrival of an agreeable restaurant worker.

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse | Stars: Hugo Weaving, Geneviève Picot, Russell Crowe, Heather Mitchell

Votes: 5,471 | Gross: $0.52M

48. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

PG | 109 min | Biography, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
89 Metascore

A prepubescent chess prodigy refuses to harden himself in order to become a champion like the famous but unlikable Bobby Fischer.

Director: Steven Zaillian | Stars: Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, Max Pomeranc, Joan Allen

Votes: 25,624 | Gross: $7.27M

49. The Freshman (1990)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Crime

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A NYC film school student accepts a job with a local mobster who resembles a famous cinema godfather and who takes the young man under his wing, after demanding total loyalty.

Director: Andrew Bergman | Stars: Marlon Brando, Matthew Broderick, Bruno Kirby, Penelope Ann Miller

Votes: 16,707 | Gross: $21.46M

50. La Femme Nikita (1990)

R | 117 min | Action, Thriller

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
56 Metascore

Convicted felon Nikita, instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Anne Parillaud, Marc Duret, Patrick Fontana, Alain Lathière

Votes: 59,377 | Gross: $5.02M