The ’90s brought us butterfly hair clips, flip phones, and Reptar—but most importantly, some of the best movies. Ever.
These films are filled with some of the most iconic moments of all time. They’re relevant as ever because our nostalgic brains are screaming for a way to make us feel like we’re still living in a time when life was simpler. It’s the reason why some (Clueless and Mrs. Doubtfire) are getting musicals, they’re constantly being reworked, and they’re making us pray that there will be a sequel sometime in the future.
But to pick a best feels like when your parents told you they love all their kids equally and there’s no favorite, right? (Hey, Ag, we both know who it is). The Pop Insider staff agreed it was an impossible task to pick just one, so we came up with the absolute best ’90s movies you should watch below (our honorable mention list is loooooooong). You’re welcome.
Marissa DiBartolo: Clueless (1995)
As if I would pick another movie. We all have this movie to thank for my unhealthy obsession with Paul Rudd. And fuzzy pencils and hair scrunchies. May we never forget: You’re just a virgin who can’t drive.
Ali Mierzejewski: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
This movie is, first and foremost, a perfect cornucopia of Shakespeare references, in addition to being based on The Taming of the Shrew. Second, the casting/character situation is flawless. Kat is a feminist icon (“I guess, in this society, being male and an asshole makes you worthy of our time.”). If you tell me that you don’t have that poem memorized, YOU ARE A LIAR. Joey Donner is the perfect ’90s teen movie villain (and Jason from The Bachelor look alike). Walter Stratford is a dad among dads (the pregnant belly!), and Allison Janney as Ms. Perky, the erotic-novel-writing guidance counselor is clutch casting. Above ALL else, Heath Ledger. That scene where he sings “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” while dodging the security guards in the stadium is the definition of ICONIC and changed me. I was going to pick an uplifting quote about being yourself and knowing your worth from this movie, but I found so many that I can’t choose a favorite, so I’ll leave you with this: “Don’t let anyone, ever, make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.”
Jackie Breyer: Jurassic Park (1993)
If you aren’t obsessed with dinosaurs, you can stop reading this and we can’t be friends. I get chills any time I watch that “Welcome to Jurassic Park” scene where the brachiosaurus first appears. So beautiful. Such docile creatures. Can’t you just hear that theme song? But Jurassic Park showed us what a glorious, glorious disaster it would be if we brought dinosaurs back to life in the present day. These magnificent creatures roamed the Earth millions of years ago, and yet our “brilliant” scientists never fail to underestimate the carnivores. And let us never forget that no matter what extravagant remix dinosaurs they conjure up with their fancy science, the T. rex will always be queen.
(If we could please just have one sequel where Jurassic Park is a successful tourist destination I would watch that, too.)
Maddie Michalik (Hey, that’s me!): Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Of course, it goes without saying that the all-time greatest Robin Williams is the heart and soul of this movie. All of his impressions here are especially perfect. This movie drives you to feel all of the emotions, from bursting out laughing to sobbing at the end (I know it’s not just me here, people!). There are so many iconic moments, from the random dance scene where Mrs. Doubtfire vacuum cleans to Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and the pie face “Hellloooooo” moment—in which I still quote to this day. I have so many fond memories watching this movie over and over again as a kid. All my love to you, poppet.
Jackie Cucco: Jawbreaker (1999)
First of all, jawbreakers as a candy were a ’90s staple. They would last for weeks at a time, and teens would carry them around in Ziploc baggies to pop out in the high school hallway to show off what color layer they were up to. If you licked them for too long, your tongue would bleed. And apparently, you could also choke on them, inspiring the plot of this fabulously dark movie when the popular squad kidnaps their best friend one morning before class, locks her in a trunk, and gags her with a jawbreaker to surprise her on her 17th birthday. It was like the original Mean Girls with better outfits, more vicious frenemies, and queen bees that were like Satan in heels. Oh, and murder. Some of the sweetest candies are sour as death inside.
Joe Ibraham: Space Jam (1996)
Ball is life and so was this movie when I was five. A perfect blend of animation and live-action, Space Jam was most definitely a staple of my childhood. Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan in the same flick? Sign me up. The soundtrack is also 6x certified Platinum, so yeah.
Madeleine Buckley: Pretty Woman (1990)
This movie got the decade started, right?! You can never get sick of rewatching the unlikely love story unfold between prostitute Vivian and super-rich businessman Edward. The movie is full of iconic scenes, from Edward snapping the necklace box to Vivian telling off the Rodeo Drive sales clerk to the fire escape scene where we all learned that the princess rescues the knight right back. It’s got lovable characters (seriously, who wouldn’t want to be Vivian’s best friend?) and a perfect mix of sweet, funny, and real moments that make it a top-notch ’90s rom-com. Not watching this movie would be a big mistake. Big. Huge.
Miranda Siwak: You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Back in the rom-com heyday, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were the ultimate dream team. Their second film together, You’ve Got Mail, is peak ‘90s in the Nora Ephron flick with AOL and chat rooms. Based on the 1940s TheShop Around the Corner, this 1998 version tells the story of business rivals who become online anonymous pen pals, which of course, flourishes into love. The film is chock full of adorable meet-cutes fit for any romantic comedy. It has long been one of my favorites, and honestly, it had me at books and bookstores—especially the way Kathleen described books and reading in that emotional moment in FOX Books when she shares her favorite children’s book in “Ballet Shoes.” As a lifelong avid reader, I loved seeing how beautifully she spoke about her passion for reading, which is something I’ve always felt as well. Also, who didn’t swoon over Kathleen saying, “I wanted it to be you so badly” when she discovered Joe was her pen pal all along? The truth is, I still get misty-eyed thinking about that romantic ending. Should you watch it? The answer is undoubtedly Y-E-S.
Jordan White: Pulp Fiction (1994)
It’s the only reason Americans know what a Quarter Pounder with Cheese is called in Paris, where Samuel L. Jackson sealed his fate as a certified Badass MF, that John Travolta can pull off wearing a bolo tie with a suit, why Zed is dead, that no one will ever dance the twist like Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega, and finally learning what the pappa tomato said to the baby tomato. Quinten Tarantino made mob wives, hitmen, gangsters, and low-level criminals sexy again.