Last Updated: July 7th
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 an dramatic and innovative time for moviemaking.
Below are 15 of the best ’90s movies on Netflix right now. 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.
As in the average slasher film before Scream, innocent high schooler Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is targeted by a psycho killer. But a key difference separates Scream the average slasher movie. It knows the rules, and both uses this self-awareness to comment on horror tropes and to mess with viewers’ expectations. The characters reference and establish plot devices of the very sort of movie in which they exist. Directed by Wes Craven from a script by Kevin Williamson, Scream is a little more reserved with its tongue-and-cheek humor than its sequels, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t bloody good fun.
The Iron Giant (1999)
It’s a tale as old as time: Boy meets giant robot. Boy befriends giant robot. Government tries to find and destroy iron giant. Who didn’t face problems like that in their youth? Set in a post-Sputnik 1957, Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant centers on the sci-fi obsessed Hogarth Hughes as he protects his new pet/BFF/unstoppable killing machine (voiced by a then-relatively unknown Vin Diesel). The story captures the fear and paranoia of the space race and makes it palatable for kids who’ve never heard “duck and cover” before. It was a truly scary time in U.S. history, and just imagine how worse it would be if a huge metal man showed up out of nowhere. It’s a fun, touching story filled with funny moments and gorgeous animation.