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The 45 Best Movies of 1995

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The Best Movies of the 1990s Part 6

My Subjective List of the Best Films of 1995

1995 was the year Amazon sold its first book; eBay debuted on the internet and Starbucks released the frozen Frappuccino. That same year, someone invented the Java computer language, Windows 95 was in every household and Todd McFarlane’s Spawn action figures made action figures cool again. After the colossal failure of the laserdisc player, the announcement was made that DVDs would revolutionize the way we watch movies; meanwhile, Sony entered the North American video game market amidst some strong competition from Nintendo and Sega. It was the year gamers were introduced to Crash Bandicoot and Square released the RPG masterpiece Chrono Trigger, one of the greatest games of all time. On the small screen, the medical drama ER was the highest-rated show, while Seinfeld and Friends came in second and third place for weekly viewership. Around the world, people were learning to dance the Macarena; Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” was the top song of the year and WCW Nitro debuted on TNT, starting what was later dubbed the Monday Night Wars. Meanwhile, in one of the most-watched episodes of television, The Simpsons revealed who pulled the trigger and shot the evil, calculating C. Montgomery Burns— and in real life, the sensational televised trial of O.J. Simpson became the genesis of our reality TV obsession. When the verdict of the eight-month trial was reached, more than 150 million people tuned in to watch the jury’s live final decision.

When it came to movies, 1995 is the year that gave us David Fincher’s Se7en, Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects, and Martin Scorsese’s Casino. The Scottish war drama Braveheart won five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Mel Gibson, who also starred in the film as the real-life freedom fighter William Wallace. Meanwhile, Pixar’s first feature-length film Toy Story was released making it also the first computer-animated film in history and George Miller’s Babe turned a whopping $250 million profit and scored a Best Picture nomination. And yet, with all that name dropping, neither of those films appear at the number one spot down below. What can I say, 1995 was a good year to go to the movies.

A few quick notes before moving ahead:

As with all lists, the choices here are obviously subjective.

Normally, in the past, I would write one capsule review for each film but since I plan on releasing a list for every other year in the decade, I’ve instead decided to simply include one screenshot along with the official plot synopsis courtesy of IMDB.com. Sorry guys, but these lists are time-consuming, and I’ve quickly come to learn that most people don’t bother reading every capsule review either way— so why bother?

That out of the way, here are the 30 best movies of 1993, each represented by one perfect screenshot. You can find my list of the best films of 1994 here.

45 Perfect Screenshots from the Best Movies of 1995

****

45. Die Hard: With a Vengeance

Director: John McTiernan

On a good day he’s a great cop. On a bad day he’s the best there is.

John McClane and a Harlem store owner are targeted by German terrorist Simon Gruber in New York City, where he plans to rob the Federal Reserve Building.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

44. Basketball Diaries

Director: Scott Kalvert

The true story of the death of innocence and the birth of an artist

A teenager finds his dreams of becoming a basketball star threatened after he free falls into the harrowing world of drug addiction.

Le confessionnal 1995 Robert LePage

43. Le confessionnal

Director: Robert Lepage

Hitchcock would have been proud of this.

In the late 1980s, Pierre Lamontagne travels to his hometown in Quebec after his father dies. There, he runs into his adoptive brother, Marc, who desperately wishes to uncover the mysterious identity of his own biological father. They begin to investigate, which leads them back to 1952, with Alfred Hitchcock filming “I Confess” in the area amid a complex scandal involving the Lamontagne family, Marc’s pregnant mother and the Catholic church.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

42. Get Shorty

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

The Mob Is Tough. But It’s Nothing Like Show Business.

A mobster travels to Hollywood to collect a debt, and discovers that the movie business is much the same as his current job.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

41. The Last Supper

Director: Stacy Title

Eat… drink… and be buried…

A group of idealistic, but frustrated, liberals succumb to the temptation of murdering rightwing pundits for their political beliefs.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

40. The Quick and the Dead

Director: Sam Raimi

In this town, you’re either one or the other

A female gunfighter returns to a frontier town where a dueling tournament is being held, which she enters in an effort to avenge her father’s death.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

39. Living in Oblivion

Director: Tom DiCillo

Nick is about to discover the first rule of filmmaking: if at first you don’t succeed… PANIC!

This ultimate tribute to all independent filmmakers takes place during one day on the set of a non-budget movie.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

38. Mute Witness

Director: Anthony Waller

She Can’t Speak. She Can’t Scream. She Can’t Beg For Mercy.

A mute make-up artist working on a slasher movie being shot in Moscow, is locked in the studio after hours. While there, she witnesses a brutal murder, and must escape capture.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

37. Dao (The Blade)

Director: Hark Tsui

After the master of the Sharp Manufacturer saber factory abdicates and appoints On, his least popular worker, as his successor, On, unwilling to lead his surly colleagues, embarks on a quest of revenge to kill the evil, flying, tattooed kung fu master who killed his father.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

36. Devil in a Blue Dress

Director: Carl Franklin

In a world divided by black and white, Easy Rawlins is about to cross the line.

An African-American man is hired to find a woman, and gets mixed up in a murderous political scandal.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

35. Apollo 13

Director: Ron Howard

Failure is not an option.

NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

34. Crimson Tide

Director: Tony Scott

On The Brink Of Nuclear War, Two Men Clash Over The Fate Of The World.

On a U.S. nuclear missile sub, a young First Officer stages a mutiny to prevent his trigger happy Captain from launching his missiles before confirming his orders to do so.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

33. Babe

Director: Chris Noonan

A little pig goes a long way.

Babe, a pig raised by sheepdogs, learns to herd sheep with a little help from Farmer Hoggett.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

32. Kids

Director: Larry Clark

A day in the life of a group of teens as they travel around New York City skating, drinking, smoking and deflowering virgins.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

31. Cyclo

Director: Anh Hung Tran

A young man who struggles through life by earning some money with his bicycle-taxi in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city) gets contact to a group of criminals. They introduce him to the mafia-world of drugs and crime.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

30. Maborosi

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

A young woman’s husband apparently commits suicide without warning or reason, leaving behind his wife and infant.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

29. The Doom Generation

Gregg Araki

Sex. Mayhem. Whatever.

Jordan White and Amy Blue, two troubled teens, pick up an adolescent drifter, Xavier Red. Together, the threesome embark on a sex and violence-filled journey through an America of psychos and quickiemarts.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

28. Showgirls

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Beyond your wildest dreams. Beyond your wildest fantasies.

Nomi, a young drifter, arrives in Las Vegas to become a dancer and soon sets about clawing and pushing her way to become the top of the Vegas showgirls.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

27. Day of the Beast

Director: Álex de la Iglesia

When Saints become sinners, no one is safe!

Bent on committing as many sins as possible to avert the birth of the beast, a Catholic priest teams up with a Black Metal aficionado and an Italian connoisseur of the occult. Now, he must become an unrelenting sinner. Is there still hope?

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

26. Sense and Sensibility

Director: Ang Lee

Lose your heart and come to your senses.

Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the title opposites.

25. Desperado

Director: Robert Rodriguez

When the smoke clears, it just means he’s reloading.

Former musician and gunslinger El Mariach arrives at a small Mexican border town after being away for a long time. His past quickly catches up with him and he soon gets entangled with the local drug kingpin Bucho and his gang.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

24. Leaving Las Vegas

Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his alcoholism, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

23. Kicking and Screaming

Director: Noah Baumbach

Anxiety loves company.

A bunch of guys hang around their college for months after graduation, continuing a life much like the one before graduation.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

22. The Bridges of Madison County

Director: Clint Eastwood

Photographer Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) for four days in the 1960s.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

21. Fallen Angels

Director: Kar-Wai Wong

This Hong Kong-set crime drama follows the lives of a hitman, hoping to get out of the business, and his elusive female partner.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

20. The Addiction

Director: Abel Ferrara

The dark is their sunlight. What makes them different is what keeps them alive.

A New York philosophy grad student turns into a vampire after getting bitten by one, and then tries to come to terms with her new lifestyle and frequent craving for human blood.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

19. Ghost in the Shell

Director: Mamoru Oshii

It’s found its voice… now it needs a body.

A cyborg policewoman and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

18. Toy Story

Director: John Lasseter

Hang on for the comedy that goes to infinity and beyond!

A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy’s room.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

17. To Die For

Director: Gus Van Sant

She knew what it took to get to the top… a lot of heart and a little head.

A beautiful but naïve aspiring television personality films a documentary on teenagers with a darker ulterior motive.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

16. Clueless

Director: Amy Heckerling

Sex. Clothes. Popularity. Whatever.

A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil’s popularity, but reckons without affairs of the heart getting in the way.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

15. Strange Days

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

An extreme taste of reality.

A former cop turned street-hustler accidentally uncovers a conspiracy in Los Angeles in 1999.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

14. The White Balloon

Director: Jafar Panahi

Several people try to help a little girl to find the money her mom gave her to buy a goldfish with.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

13. La cérémonie

Director: Claude Chabrol

A newly hired maid for a rich countryside family befriends a post-office clerk who encourages her to rebel against her employers.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

12. Braveheart

Director: Mel Gibson

Every man dies, not every man really lives.

When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

11. Clockers

Director: Spike Lee

When there’s murder on the streets, everyone is a suspect.

Young drug pushers in the projects of Brooklyn live hard dangerous lives, trapped between their drug bosses and the detectives out to stop them.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

10. City of Lost Children

Directors: Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Some people follow their dreams. Others steal them.

A scientist in a surrealist society kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

9. Before Sunrise

Director: Richard Linklater

Jump on and live a Eurorail journey you will never forget!

A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

8. Heat

Director: Michael Mann

A Los Angeles Crime Saga

A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

7. The Usual Suspects

Director: Bryan Singer

Five Criminals . One Line Up . No Coincidence

A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

6. 12 Monkeys

Director: Terry Gilliam

The future is history.

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

5. Casino

Director: Martin Scorsese

Luck has nothing to do with the games they play.

A tale of greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a casino executive, compete against each other over a gambling empire, and over a fast living and fast loving socialite.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

4. Se7en

Director: David Fincher

Seven deadly sins. Seven ways to die.

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

3. Safe

Director: Todd Haynes

In the 21st century nobody will be…Safe.

An affluent and unexceptional homemaker in the suburbs develops multiple chemical sensitivity.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

2. Underground

Director: Emir Kusturica

Let the wild life of politics begin.

A group of Serbian socialists prepares for the war in a surreal underground filled by parties, tragedies, love and hate.

The 45 Best Movies of 1995

1. La Haine

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

Three Young Friends… One Last Chance.

24 hours in the lives of three young men in the French suburbs the day after a violent riot.

****

This article is part of an ongoing series. The other entries are coming later this week.

1990 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999

Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and Tilt Magazine. Host of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast and the Sordid Cinema Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound on Sight. Former host of several other podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead shows, as well as Sound On Sight. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

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