The 1990s brought us many memorable films, from comedies to thrillers. Some of the most nostalgia-inducing films of the decade include "Clueless" (1995), which is known for its decade-appropriate fashions and quotable lines. "Space Jam" (1996) is also filled with '90s references and athletes that were especially big a few decades ago. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
The 1990s were a great decade for cinema, bringing us a variety of movies that can seemingly transport us back to when they were filmed. Here are some of the best films to watch if you want to feel nostalgic about the '90s. "Clueless" (1995) has so many memorable fashions and quotes.
There is arguably no film more '90s than Amy Heckerling's "Clueless." Starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, and Brittany Murphy, "Clueless" is a unique take on the Jane Austen novel "Emma." In the film, wealthy and popular teen Cher Horowitz (Silverstone) helps a nerdy student become popular only to later realize how misguided her intentions were. Complete with iconic clothing, an undeniably '90s soundtrack, and an array of notable slang, this nostalgic masterpiece truly encapsulates the spirit of the era. "10 Things I Hate About You" (1999) features high-school struggles many can still relate to today.
An adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," "10 Things I Hate About You" is a romantic teen comedy that portrays high school in the '90s. The teens in this film aren't quite rich like the characters in "Clueless," but they battle the same issues that many high-school students faced during the decade. Starring Julia Stiles, Gabrielle Union, and Heath Ledger, the film has it all — a bit of grunge fashion, an iconic musical sequence, and just the right amount of '90s angst. Read More: 100 of the best songs from the '90s "You've Got Mail" (1998) has just about every element of a '90s film.
"You've Got Mail" is an homage to a time when the internet was a relatively new thing and email was a topic worthy of writing an entire film around. In the movie, business rivals Joe (Tom Hanks) and Kathleen (Meg Ryan) unknowingly fall in love while being each other's online pen pal. From the unmistakable sound of dial-up internet to the iconic AOL voice saying, "Welcome!" and "You've Got Mail," the film captures the nostalgia of '90s technology like no other. "Home Alone" (1990) is potentially a film you still watch every December.
If you grew up in the '90s, there's a pretty great chance you watched "Home Alone" just about every holiday season. In this Christmas classic, Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister, a mischievous (if not bratty) child who is mistakenly left alone while his family goes off to Europe for the holidays. From its dated plot that would never hold up in modern times to its retro-looking sweater wardrobes, this film will surely make you nostalgic for childhood and for the less tech-savvy times of the '90s. Read More: 10 things you didn't know about 'Home Alone' "Waiting to Exhale" (1995) highlights the incredible prowess of female R&B artists of the '90s.
Starring Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon, "Waiting to Exhale" is a film about the importance of female friendships and empowerment. "Waiting to Exhale" is widely considered to be one of the movies that pioneered a generation of mainstream films with black casts. It also proved that audiences would not only watch, but also love and relate to more diverse films. The film's soundtrack is also full of '90s classics, including Whitney Houston's "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," Brandy's "Sittin' Up in My Room," and Mary J. Blige's' "Not Gon' Cry." "Reality Bites" (1994) captured post-grad life in the 1990s.
A cult classic, "Reality Bites" captured the cultural zeitgeist of Generation X. The film stars Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller, and Janeane Garofalo as they battle the trials and tribulations of life, work, and love. All in all, Reality Bites tackles plenty of real-world issues while also offering a taste of grunge fashions from the decade. "Space Jam" (1996) is filled with '90s references and athletes.
Although the plot of this film is a bit out there (we're talking outer space), there's something totally nostalgic about re-watching this 1996 flick. The film tells the fictional story of what NBA legend Michael Jordan was doing during his two-year hiatus from basketball in the early '90s. It also features a star-studded cast of Looney Tunes characters and NBA players who were especially big in the 1990s. Plus, it has a soundtrack that was so popular it went Platinum six times. Read More: 10 fun facts you didn't know about your favorite '90s cartoons "Scream" (1996) is a cult classic for a reason.
The 1990s marked a revitalization of the horror genre and "Scream" has often been cited as the movie that sparked the resurgence of love and appreciation for slasher films. "Scream" is the first installment in a slew of films that follow the life of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) as she and her friends escape Ghostface, a killer whose identity shifts and changes depending on who wears the mask. The cult-classic is notably meta and tongue-in-cheek, making it decidedly different from the horror films that came before it — it also set the tone for the rest of the franchise. "She's All That" (1999) is a treasure trove of '90s icons.
From its soundtrack of '90s hits to its all-star cast decked in fashions that were trendy at the time, "She's All That" is a nostalgia-inducing adaptation of "Pygmalion." Starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook, the film is about Zach (Prinze Jr.) who is challenged by a friend to court the school nerd Laney (Cook) and turn her into the prom queen in six weeks. But after Laney's transformation (removing her glasses and changing her hair), Zach begins to fall in love with her — and high-school hijinks ensue. Read More: How 21 of your favorite '90s celebrities have changed over the last 20 years "Drive Me Crazy" (1999) has a soundtrack that'll take you back a few decades.
The 1999 film, which stars Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier, is about neighbors who pretend to date one another to make their exes jealous only to find they're actually in love with each other. "Drive Me Crazy" is loaded with retro fashions and hairstyles, plus it boasts an iconic soundtrack with unforgettable '90s hits like Britney Spears' "You Drive Me Crazy," The Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way," and Barenaked Ladies' "It's All Been Done." The stars of the film even appeared alongside Britney Spears herself in the music video for the titular single. "Mrs. Doubtfire" (1993) is like a hilarious walk down memory lane.
This famed 1993 film stars Robin Williams and Sally Field as a couple going through divorce and a custody battle for their three children. In order to spend more time with his kids, Robin Williams' character, Daniel Hillard, dresses up as a woman who he calls Mrs. Doubtfire and gets hired as his ex-wife's nanny and housekeeper. "Mrs. Doubtfire" is considered to be one of the funniest films from the 1990s, and its cast includes plenty of stars who were especially popular at the time like Mara Wilson, Matthew Lawrence, and Pierce Brosnan. "Independence Day" (1996) features lots of old-school technology.
Starring Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, "Independence Day" is an action flick about the battle against aliens who are planning to destroy Earth on the Fourth of July. "Independence Day" not only signaled the resurgence of sci-fi in the late '90s, but also marked a turning point as the film industry began to lean into the disaster-movie genre. It also featured many trademarks from the decade, including massive cell phones and the very large and now-dated Apple PowerBook 5300. "Empire Records" (1995) is filled with grunge fashions from the decade.
In "Empire Records," viewers follow a group of employees as they try to save their independent record store from becoming part of a big chain. The film stars actors like Renée Zellweger, Liv Tyler, and Anthony LaPaglia. Even if the record-store setting isn't enough to give you some nostalgia-inducing vibes, the film also features plenty of grunge fashions from the decade that will surely take you back. Read More:
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