Part of the beauty of the 90s is that it was a simpler time. iPads didn’t exist, the internet still ran through the telephone line, and VHS reigned supreme as the standard movie format. The 90s were also an interesting time where movie studios weren’t pumping out sequel after sequel yet. This simple fact allowed every kid in the 90s to watch the same 10 movies at some point in his or her young life.
Some of these movies were bad, some were awesome, but pretty much everyone encountered them at some point. Disney was the main production studio, but a few others sneaked their way in there too.
1. THE NEVERENDING STORY
The classic story of Atreyu, the Empress, and Falkor, this movie inspired, hyped, and destroyed every kid’s emotions in its 2 hour and 10 minute duration. From the lowest lows of the horse dying in the bog, to the happiness of conquest over the Nothing...this movie is a roller coaster in the truest sense of the word. By the way, did you know that this movie is actually German?
2. A WEIRD CALISTHENICS WORKOUT TAPE
The mid 90s were a strange time in personal fitness. For whatever reason, every house had a tape
on calisthenics. There was always a woman with big hair on the cover, and she wore leggings, a unitard, and sweatbands. Every. Time.
This movie taught us about love, understanding, heartache, and the indomitable human spirit. It also made us look at gravy dishes differently for the rest of our lives. We would look at the oblong and silver dish at Thanksgiving always wondering if a genie lived inside. Alas, no genie ever did, but after Robin Williams’s incredible performance, a real genie would have been a disappointment anyway.
4. THE LAND BEFORE TIME
What a brutal film
. A group of ragtag dinosaurs fight for survival in an unforgiving prehistoric land. Who wasn’t traumatized by the slaughtering of the main character’s mother in the first scene? Goodness, it was like Bambi but worse. As an aside, have you ever checked out the production credits? Talk about a loaded collaboration.
5. THE LION KING
Another soul crushing movie veiled as a kids’ film, the Lion King was a staple in any 90s home. From the catchy soundtrack to the mushy love story, it doesn’t get any more Disney than this movie. Jonathan Taylor Thomas (JTT) made every girl swoon while simultaneously frustrating every boy in class. Also, Whoopie Goldberg is low-key overlooked for her voice performance in this film.
A Spielberg classic. Phone home. What else needs to be said?
7. BATMAN RETURNS
The second of the two Batman films directed by Tim Burton, this gritty superhero flick features Danny Devito, Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, and more. It was dark yet campy, serious yet humorous. This was the original superhero film, and everyone had it at home.
Peter Pan turned live action, Robin Williams is an adult that all us kids
used to love. The whimsical visuals matched the happy-go-lucky nature of Never Never Land. The best part of the movie? Easily the Lost Boys and their fearless leader Rufio. Rufio. Rufio. Ru-fi-oooooooooooo.
9. THE LITTLE MERMAID
Every girl loved The Little Mermaid. Even though this movie tilts towards the feminine, this VHS
still lived in every home – even if all of the kids were boys. There was something about a Crab, Flounder, and an evil Octopus lady that was able to break the gender boundary and appeal to even the most manly of boys.
10. THE SANDLOT
The Quintessential 90s movie, the Sandlot, represented everything we loved about the 90s as projected through the lens of the 1950s. Everybody that watched it wanted a pair of PF Flyers, and when you hear the word “forever,” you still say it with exaggeratedly pursed lips – just like Squints.