The 90s are a legendary time for many people. Society embraced VHS tapes, Nintendo 64 video game consoles, grunge style, and Crystal Pepsi. The 90s were also the beginning of the internet age, as outlined by BuzzFeed, and changed how technology advanced, including the film industry. One genre that became even more prevalent in the 90s is fantasy films. In fact, many of the best fantasy movies ever made were released in the 90s. Films also used more mixed genres and sub-genres such as fantasy adventure or fantasy comedy, which linked to fantastical elements well.
Epic tales of adventure, comical moments in life, amazing talking dragons, love stories with a fantasy twist, technical martial arts, emotional supernatural stories, and dark stop-motion films took over the 90. The movies of the 90s were in a league of their own and brought to life the changes society was going through. Many teens in the 90s didn’t want to grow up, longed for epic love, and took their emotions to a whole new level. Throughout the 90s, the film genre reflected basic ideas society was embracing, a connected lifestyle of change and moments of growth. Let’s take a look at a few of the best fantasy movies of the 1990s.
hook is a 1991 fantasy adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. The film continues the story that began in author JM Barrie’s novel, Peter and Wendy, and focuses on what happened when Peter grew up and forgot his childhood adventures. This movie includes the classic characters of Peter Pan (played by Robin Williams), Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), Tinker Bell (Julia Roberts), Mr. Smee (Bob Hoskins), and Granny Wendy (Maggie Smith). hook received five nominations at the 64th Academy Awards. Since its release, it has gained a strong cult following, including the release of merchandise, video games, action figures, and comic books.
9 Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast has become a classic animated feature film from Walt Disney Animation. The 1991 film is based on the fairy tale of the same name written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Beauty and the Beast tells the story of Belle (Paige O’Hara), a young woman who is imprisoned by a Beast (Robbie Benson,) who is actually a Prince cursed to stay a Beast until he finds true love. Beauty and the Beast was so successful, a live-action version was released in 2017 and is currently available on Disney+.
8 dragon heart
dragon heart is a 1996 fantasy adventure film directed by Rob Cohen that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in both 1996 and 1997. The film tells the story of a dragonslayer named Bowen (Dennis Quaid) who allies with the last remaining Dragon named Draco (Sean Connery) to go up against a tyrannical king named Einon (David Thewlis) who shares part of his heart with Draco.
7 Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat is a 1995 fantasy martial arts film based on the video game franchise of the same name. The movie shows a group of heroes (played by Linden Ashby, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Robin Shou, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto, and Christopher Lambert) who are trying to participate in a tournament to protect the Earth from evil forces. The film received mixed reviews, but spawned four sequels. In 2021, the series was rebooted with a 2021 movie, also called Mortal Kombat.
6 The Borrowers
The Borrowers is a 1997 fantasy comedy film that tells the story of Pete Lender (Bradley Pierce), who thinks the household items that go missing in his home are stolen. Pete eventually learns that people are secretly living in a clock in the house and taking the items. The film also stars John Goodman, Jim Broadbent, Mark Williams, Celia Imrie, Hugh Laurie, Ruby Wax, Flora Newbigin, Tom Felton, and Raymond Pickard. The Borrowers is a great story of why we should care about everyone, even the little guys.
Ghost is an iconic romantic fantasy film released in 1990 that tells the story of a man named Sam (Patrick Swayze), who is killed and sticks around as a ghost to save his wife named Molly (Demi Moore) from the person who murdered him by using a psychic named Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) as a go-between. Ghost earned five nominations at the 63rd Academy Awards, with Goldberg winning for Best Supporting Actress.
4 The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 1993 stop-motion animated dark fantasy musical produced and created by Tim Burton. The story is about Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), the King of Halloween Town, who accidentally stumbles into Christmas Town and becomes overly obsessed with the new holiday. The amazingly talented voice cast also includes Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Ken Page, Paul Reubens, Glenn Shadix, and Ed Ivory. Since its initial release, the movie has garnered a huge cult following, even earning a 91% audience rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
Jumanjic is a 1995 fantasy adventure film based on a picture book by Chris Van Allsburg of the same name. The movie tells the story of a boy named Alan Parrish, who gets trapped in a supernatural board game in 1969 while playing with his friend. Many years later, siblings named Judy and Peter, played by Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce, find the game and begin playing. They release an adult Alan, played by Robin Williams, and an adult Sarah, played by Bonnie Hunt, who must then continue playing the game to reverse all the chaos that has been released because of it. Jumanjic has since had multiple sequels and become a franchise in its own right.
2 The Green Mile
The Green Mile is a 1999 fantasy drama film based on Stephen King’s 1996 novel of the same name. The film, set during the Great Depression, stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb, a Warden Supervisor who works on death row in a prison. Paul witnesses a series of supernatural events after a new convict named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) arrives at the facility. The film’s emotional ending and themes of morals, humility, and the truth are something to behold.
Matilda is a 1996 fantasy comedy film directed by Danny DeVito, who also plays Matilda’s father. The movie is based on the novel by Roald Dahl of the same name. The film tells the story of Matilda, played by Mara Wilson, who develops psychic abilities that allow her to influence the world around her with just her mind. Matilda uses these abilities to deal with her family, who don’t care about her all that much, and the principal of her school, Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris). The film also stars Embeth Davidtz as Matilda’s teacher Miss Honey who ends up caring for Matilda. The movie’s unique childlike quality and treatment of serious topics lend themselves to a wonderful story about how to stand up to the bullies of the world.