Last Updated: December 21st
Filmmaking changed as drastically in the 1990s as in any other decade. Technology advanced as the film world became increasingly digital, and every blockbuster strived to be bigger and cooler than the last. As CGI found its footing, the masses flocked to big-budget spectacles like Titanic and Jurassic Park. But another revolution was unfolding on a smaller scale. We also saw the first films from some of the best indie directors, from Wes Anderson to Quentin Tarantino. It was a dramatic and innovative time for moviemaking.
Below are 15 of the best ’90s movies on Netflix right now, ranked. They range from the ’90s-est ’90s movies that every millennial grew up watching to the influential award winners that are worth discovering or revisiting.
15. Armageddon (1998)
No binge of overblown ’90s action movies would be complete without a sampling from Michael Bay, and Armageddon is one of his best thanks to its lovable ridiculousness and implausibility. As the other “we have to stop the world-ending meteor” movie of 1998 — it arrived a bit after Deep Impact — this is the one that is packed with some of the biggest names of the decade. Despite some of the actors saying that they only did the movie for the paycheck and Bay himself saying he wishes he could redo the error-filled third act, it has a bloated charm to its mess. This is largely due to Steve Buscemi’s appearance, which was contractually obligated in every movie of the ’90s.
14. Basic Instinct (1992)
Netflix’s Love had it right: they really don’t make that certain brand of erotic thrillers from the ’80s and ’90s anymore. But there isn’t a finer example of the sub-genre in its heyday than Basic Instinct. The film isn’t known for much more than its infamous wardrobe malfunction, but beyond that, we’re left with Paul Verhoeven crafting a glitzy pulp story of a brutal detective and the femme fatale who’s got him wrapped around her finger. From its over-the-top product placement to its sleazy, seductive tone, Basic Instinct is like a relic from another time, in the best possible sense.