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20 Criminally Underrated Movies From The 1990s

02 October 2013 | Features, Film Lists | by Brian White

underrated 1990s movies

The decade of the 1990s in film involved many significant films: Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, GoodFellas, Groundhog Day, Silence of the Lambs… The list can go on and on. Probably your favorite film is from this decade.

One of the greatest thing about the 1990s is that the CGI was not as developed as now, and directors were still trying to tell a good story instead of showing off the special effects. Another great thing about the decade is the rise of independent cinema, talented directors were able to make good movies with small budget and experiment new things in cinema.

When talking about the 1990s, we just can’t escape the feeling of nostalgia. It makes sense that some movies would be under the radar after their releases since it’s a truly great decade of cinema, we make this list to discover some of these hidden gems with you.


20. Life Is Sweet

life is sweet

This invigorating film from Mike Leigh was his first international sensation. Melancholy and funny by turns, it is an intimate portrait of a working-class family in a suburb just north of London—an irrepressible mum and dad (Alison Steadman and Jim Broadbent) and their night-and-day twins, a bookish good girl and a troubled, ill-tempered layabout (Claire Skinner and Jane Horrocks).

Leigh and his typically brilliant cast create, with extraordinary sensitivity and craft, a vivid, lived-in story of ordinary existence, in which even modest dreams—such as the father’s desire to open a food truck—carry enormous weight.


19. An Angel at My Table

An Angel at My Table

With An Angel at My Table, Academy Award–winning filmmaker Jane Campion brings to the screen the harrowing true-life story of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. The film follows Frame along her inspiring journey, from a poverty-stricken childhood to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and electroshock therapy to, finally, international literary fame.

Beautifully capturing the color and power of the New Zealand landscape, the film earned Campion a sweep of her country’s film awards and the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival.


18. Hard Boiled


Violence as poetry, rendered by a master—brilliant and passionate, John Woo’s Hard Boiled tells the story of jaded detective “Tequila” Yuen (played with controlled fury by Chow Yun-fat). Woo’s dizzying odyssey through the world of Hong Kong Triads, undercover agents, and frenzied police raids culminates unforgettably in the breathless hospital sequence.

More than a cops-and-bad-guys story, Hard Boiled continually startles with its originality and dark humor.


17. Fishing with John

Fishing with John

John Lurie knows absolutely nothing about fishing, but that doesn’t stop him from undertaking the adventure of a lifetime in Fishing with John.

Traveling with his special guests to the most exotic and dangerous places on earth, John Lurie battles sharks with Jim Jarmusch off the tip of Long Island, goes ice fishing with Willem Dafoe at Maine’s northernmost point, braves the Costa Rican jungle with Matt Dillon, takes Tom Waits to Jamaica, and searches for the elusive giant squid with Dennis Hopper in Thailand.

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  • astromiami

    These are some of the most critically acclaimed films of that decade? How are they underrated? You have Oscar winners and films from the Criterion Collection on this list…so where is the lack of recognition for these films??????