September 12, 2014 Presents... Decades: our top 10 films of the 1990s
by James

by James Forryan

hmv London; 12/09/2014


"Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, Presents... Decades: our top 10 films of the 1990s

To celebrate the special offers happening in hmv stores across the country, each week we'll be picking our top 10 films from each decade. Today we’re picking our faves from the 1990s…

All the below films are included in the in-store offers - check with your local hmv for details

Groundhog Day

10. Groundhog Day


When Harold Ramis sadly passed away earlier this year he left behind a legacy of funny, heartwarming and thought-provoking films, none more so than Groundhog Day. Its bizarre concept of a man being trapped in a moment in time, forced to live the same day over and over again, is a fairly simple one, but thanks to a hilarious performance by Bill Murray in the lead role, as well as Ramis' direction, it turned into one of the decade's most original and best-loved films and introduced the world to the weather-predicting mammal known as Punxsutawney Phil. Not to be missed.

Being John Malkovich

9. Being John Malkovich


Of all the films on this list – and perhaps from the entire decade – the concept for Spike Jonze's film, straight from the mind of writer Charlie Kaufmann, is undoubtedly one of the most unusual. Starring John Cusack as a struggling puppet master who resolves to look for regular employment, the film sees the marionette-loving oddball taking a job for a strange new boss and discovering a portal in his odd new office that takes him inside the head of actor John Malkovich, who appears as himself. Things get even weirder when Malokovich discovers what is happening and enters the portal himself, leading to what is surely one of the weirdest meta moments ever to appear in a cinema, and one that is as terrifying as it is funny. There really is nothing quite like this film and it has to rank as one of the most original films of the entire decade.

Schindler's List

8. Schindler's List


Steven Spielberg's beautifully shot film earned Liam Neeson an Oscar for Best Actor, and quite rightly. Based on the exploits of Oskar Schindler, the German munitions factory owner who protected hundreds of Jewish workers from the clutches of the Nazis during WWII, Spielberg's film is both harrowing and heartwarming in its depiction of the persecution suffered by the Jews at the hands of German soldiers during the Holocaust, but also an inspiring tale of one man's determination to make a difference and see justice done, saving many Jewish lives in the process. Its not for the easily upset, but we'd highly recommend it all the same.

The Silence of the Lambs

7. The Silence of the Lambs


Although Brian Cox had already starred as an earlier incarnation of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins really made the role his own in Jonathan Demme's film and turned the cannibalistic psychologist into one of cinema's most infamous villains. Also starring Jodie Foster in the role of FBI agent Clerise Starling, who utilises Lecter's considerable knowledge to help discover the identity of a brutal serial killer known as Buffalo Bill, Silence of the Lambs is one of the most chilling thrillers of the 1990s.

6. Fargo


Ethan and Joel Coen have directed a long list of imaginative films that includes A Serious Man, No Country For Old Men and The Big Lebowski, but perhaps their finest moment in their careers to date is Fargo. Starring Frances McDormand as the heavily pregnant sheriff trying to solve a mysterious murder case, Fargo landed the Coen brothers a range of awards including an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Funny, enthralling and brilliantly acted, Fargo is one of the 90s best movies and has gone on to inspire an entire TV series based on its story. If you've never gotten around to watching it, we can't recommend this film highly enough.

The Usual Suspects

5. The Usual Suspects


Featuring one of the best plot twists of the decade – if not of all time – Bryan Singer's film stars Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Pollak and Stephen Baldwin as five crooks who find themselves part of a police line-up, only to discover that they are being manipulated by a mysterious and feared crime boss known as Kaiser Soze. They are told they have all stolen from Mr. Soze by his lawyer, Mr. Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite), and tasked with repaying their debt by carrying out a dangerous job for him. Smart, slick and packed with tension, as well as some great performances, The Usual Suspects was an easy choice for our list.

The Truman Show

4. The Truman Show


Although not in any way a horror film, the concept for Peter Weir's film starring Jim Carey is, in our opinion, one of the most terrifying you're likely to come across. The Truman Show tells the story of a child born into a life of global television stardom, without his knowledge, in the ultimate culmination of the burgeoning reality TV trend that was just beginning to take hold during the late 90s. When he begins to notice strange happenings around his idyllic hometown of Newhaven – a construct of the world's largest television production set – he discovers the truth about the world he lives in and resolves to escape to freedom. A brilliantly original idea that is perfectly executed, it's one of our favourite 90s films.


3. Goodfellas


Such is the standing of Martin Scorcese's film, based on the memoirs of gangster-turned-informant Henry Hill, that it is routinely compared to Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece The Godfather in discussions over which is the greatest gangster film of all time. Featuring an impressive cast that includes Ray Liotta in the role of Hill alongside regular Scorcese collaborators Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, Goodfellas is arguably the director's finest achievement.

Fight Club

2. Fight Club


Adapted from Chuck Palahniuk's novel of the same name, David Fincher's film starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter became one of the decade's most iconic movies. Recounting the tale of a man in the midst of a nervous breakdown, the film's clever narrative sees Norton's protagonist developing a split personality and founding a worldwide network of underground fight clubs before the film's climactic scene that sees Tyler Durden levelling a bank headquarters with dynamite while he watches from a nearby skyscraper. Smart, funny and featuring some great performances from Pitt and Norton, it's a firm favourite for us.

Pulp Fiction

1. Pulp Fiction


While Reservoir Dogs was the film that launched the career of Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction cemented his reputation as one of Hollywood's most gifted and unique directors. One area in which Tarantino has always excelled is casting, and Pulp Fiction is no exception, with an enviable roster that includes Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Walken and Bruce Wills, among many others. The film's cleverly woven narrative is aided by some fantastic performances from its talented cast, more than a few memorable quotes and a carefully assembled soundtrack that has become almost as iconic in its own right as the film itself. At equal turns hilarious and brutal, Pulp Fiction is deservedly regarded as one of the best films the 90s has to offer.