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10 Best 1990s Movies That Achieved Fame in 2023, But Eventually Faded Away

10 Best 1990s Movies That Achieved Fame in 2023, But Eventually Faded Away

The world of cinema has a peculiar way of letting once famous blockbusters slip into the shadows as time goes by. Despite their initial hype and buzz, these movies eventually reach a point where they become forgotten.

This trend is particularly noticeable when looking at the films from the 1990s. In those days, things were different. A star-studded cast and an intriguing plot were all it took to guarantee a successful run at the box office for a few weekends.

There were some truly massive hits during that decade. Featuring Hollywood’s biggest names like Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Kevin Costner, and Sharon Stone, these films still have their loyal fans. However, they didn’t leave the same lasting impact on our culture as movies like Jurassic Park, Titanic, and Saving Private Ryan did.

Furthermore, these films had a hard time attracting younger viewers. While a few of them were honestly not great, most of them were actually quite successful. This makes them a worthwhile watch for those who have yet to experience them. Who knows, they might just make a comeback and reclaim their status as major players in the film world!

1. Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes is a movie that took a unique path to becoming a cult favorite. Despite being a hit in 1991, it later gained a smaller but passionate following. The story revolves around two friends, Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison, and their lives in a small Alabama restaurant during the 1920s.

During its release, the film generated a lot of Oscar buzz, leading to a best supporting actress nomination for Jessica Tandy and a best adapted screenplay nomination. While these nominations helped boost ticket sales, Fried Green Tomatoes didn’t win any awards and missed out on a best picture nomination, which is often considered crucial.

Over time, Fried Green Tomatoes has found its place as a beloved film among a specific demographic. Many rightfully see it as one of the quintessential female-driven movies of the decade. However, younger viewers haven’t seemed to connect with it as much.

It’s interesting to note that Fried Green Tomatoes has a unique aspect to it. It is a heartfelt movie that also includes a subplot involving cannibalism, which adds a touch of peculiarity to the overall story.

2. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula
In 1992, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, created quite a buzz. This big-budget adaptation of the classic novel featured renowned actors Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves in leading roles, while Gary Oldman portrayed a captivating Dracula.

Although the movie did well at the box office, it didn’t quite reach the blockbuster status that was anticipated. Similarly, the reviews were positive but not overwhelmingly enthusiastic. The general consensus was that Bram Stoker’s Dracula offered an interesting and visually stunning interpretation of the source material, but it didn’t redefine the character. This perception has likely affected how people view the film. With numerous Dracula movies to choose from, fans of the character may be slower to embrace this version compared to the iconic 1931 Bela Lugosi or the 1979 Frank Langella adaptations.

3. Mr. Holland’s Opus

Mr. Holland's Opus
The main character in Mr. Holland’s Opus is a high school band director – a profession rarely depicted onscreen. Richard Dreyfuss portrays Glenn Holland, the central character, and the film follows his career over several years, during which he becomes a source of inspiration for numerous students. Critics warmly received the movie, and Dreyfuss was even nominated for an Oscar as best actor. While it didn’t dominate the box office, it managed to stay afloat week after week, thanks to positive word of mouth.

Despite the constant influx of new high school musicians, Mr. Holland’s Opus didn’t become a timeless hit that resonated across generations. Other popular films from 1996, such as Jerry Maguire, Independence Day, and Scream, have left a lasting impact on pop culture.

This movie may be remembered by those who watched it during its release or shortly afterward on VHS, but it remains relatively unknown among those born after 2000. Part of the reason could be attributed to the unapologetic sentimentality of the story, which may come across as old-fashioned in today’s context. Nonetheless, the film possesses a genuine heartfelt quality, speaking to anyone who has ever played in a high school band.

4. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, which hit theaters in January 1992, surprised everyone by becoming a sleeper hit, grossing a whopping $88 million domestically. This unexpected success is even more remarkable considering the movie lacked big-name stars and was released during a typically slow month for new releases. However, it had one major advantage going for it – an irresistible premise.

Rebecca De Mornay took on the role of Mrs. Mott/Peyton Flanders, a mentally unstable woman who worked as a nanny for Claire and Michael Bartel, played by Annabella Sciorra and Matt McCoy. Mott held Claire responsible for her own miscarriage and sought revenge by trying to turn Claire’s husband and children against her.

The movie was skillfully directed by Curtis Hanson, who would later go on to direct acclaimed films such as L.A. Confidential and 8 Mile. Initially, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle had a decent opening, earning $7.6 million. However, its popularity steadily grew over the following three weekends. It’s important to note that the buzz surrounding movies like this tends to fade with time. What was once a must-see sensation in 1992 has now become a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by new audiences.

5. Maverick

In 1994, Maverick was a big hit, even though many viewers were too young to remember the TV show it was based on. Mel Gibson portrayed Bret Maverick, a skilled gambler aiming to score big in a high-stakes poker game. To gather the necessary funds, he resorted to swindling some of his fellow players. Jodie Foster co-starred as con artist Annabelle Bransford, while James Garner, who portrayed Maverick on TV, played Marshal Zane Cooper.

The decision to bring Gibson and Foster together was a stroke of genius, as both actors were riding high in their careers at the time. Adding Garner to the mix was a clever example of stunt casting. Maverick received mostly positive reviews, with critics acknowledging that it provided enjoyable entertainment, even if it lacked depth.

However, Gibson’s reputation took a major hit in the following years due to a series of personal controversies, such as making racist comments and facing allegations of domestic violence. Consequently, his star power has significantly diminished since the 1990s, which may explain why Maverick doesn’t receive much attention these days. While films like Lethal Weapon still have a dedicated fan base, much of Gibson’s other work fails to resonate with younger audiences who primarily associate him with his problematic behavior.

6. The Bodyguard

The Bodyguard
In 1992, Kevin Costner was a highly popular actor, having starred in a string of successful films such as Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Dances with Wolves, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and JFK. At the same time, Whitney Houston was the world’s biggest recording artist, selling millions of records and consistently producing hit songs. The two talented individuals teamed up for The Bodyguard, which unsurprisingly became a massive success.

However, something peculiar happened in the following two decades. While everyone still remembers the film’s soundtrack, particularly the chart-topping “I Will Always Love You,” not much is recalled about the actual story itself, except for the basic premise that Costner’s character is a former Secret Service agent hired to protect a pop star from a stalker. The movie received poor reviews, and its legacy reflects that. When viewed outside of its time, when Costner and Houston were at the peak of their fame, The Bodyguard is generally remembered in a broad sense, rather than for any specific details.

7. Flatliners

Flatliners struck at that moment in 1990 when a group of young actors had all hit it big around the same time. The thriller about medical students playing with death and revival brought together Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, and William Baldwin. It was like a horror version of St. Elmo’s Fire.

However, the fortunes of the cast quickly changed after the film’s release. Roberts managed to maintain her A-list status, but Bacon found himself taking on more character roles. Sutherland’s career took a hit with a string of unsuccessful films, and Baldwin never achieved the same level of success as his brother Alec. Unfortunately, this decline in the cast’s careers had a negative impact on Flatliners’ reputation, making it seem like a less significant ensemble film from that era.

In 2017, when the movie was remade, it failed to generate any interest, resulting in a box office flop. It seemed that no one cared about revisiting this story, perhaps due to the lack of excitement surrounding the original cast’s careers

8. In the Line of Fire

In the Line of Fire
Clint Eastwood, a well-known actor, often portrayed cops in various movies, most notably in the Dirty Harry series. However, his role as a Secret Service agent in In the Line of Fire felt somewhat different. What made it even more intriguing was the fact that his character carried guilt over not being able to save President John F. Kennedy. This combination of actor and role was simply perfect. The movie, featuring John Malkovich as the antagonist, became a hit during the summer of 1993.

In the Line of Fire was released at a time when Eastwood was undergoing a gradual career transition. Just a year prior, he had won an Oscar for his work in Unforgiven and was starting to shift towards more substantial and less action-oriented projects, both as an actor and director. Films like The Bridges of Madison County, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby were on the horizon. As Eastwood’s reputation as a major filmmaker continued to grow, his earlier popcorn-style movies seemed to lose their prominence in discussions about cinema, although they still had their devoted fans.

9. The Firm

The Firm
John Grisham was a highly popular author in the 1990s. His bestselling novel, The Firm, was a cause for celebration when it was adapted into a film. The fact that Tom Cruise took on the leading role of Mitch McDeere, a young lawyer entangled in a massive conspiracy at a legal firm, added to the excitement. The movie received positive reviews and was a significant success.

Although The Firm is still recognized as a noteworthy film, it has somewhat been overshadowed since its release. Grisham continues to sell books, but he is no longer the literary force he once was in 1993. On the other hand, Cruise has gone on to star in massive blockbusters that have become part of the cultural zeitgeist, such as Jerry Maguire, Top Gun: Maverick, and the Mission: Impossible series. When you think of Cruise, it’s likely these films come to mind rather than The Firm.

10. Ransom

Ransom tells the gripping tale of Tom Mullen, a wealthy airline owner, whose son Sean is taken by kidnappers. These criminals demand a hefty sum of $2 million for Sean’s safe return. Despite the warnings and advice from those around him, Mullen makes a bold move by appearing on national television to announce that he will give the money to anyone who can help catch the culprits. This sets the stage for a thrilling cat-and-mouse game, culminating in Gibson’s memorable line, ‘Give me back my son!’

Back in 1996, audiences were thrilled to witness a big star like Gibson tackle such a high-concept drama. The movie attracted a lot of attention as viewers eagerly anticipated seeing Gibson face off against the kidnappers. Since then, many films have borrowed the Ransom formula, with Liam Neeson’s Taken series being a notable example. While the concept may not feel as fresh today due to the abundance of copycats, Gibson’s intense performance and Ron Howard’s skillful direction still manage to deliver plenty of excitement. In fact, Ransom surpasses most of its imitators, making it a film that is definitely worth revisiting or even watching for the first time.

Emma Isabella
Emma Isabella
Emma is a regular contributor to WhatsNewNetflix. She likes delving into the world of Netflix TV shows as well as studying films, especially comedies.


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