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The Best Movies of 1998—These Films Are Out of Sight

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Best Movies of 1998

The Best Movies of the 1990s Part 9

My Subjective List of the Best Films of 1998

1998 was a big year for modern tech companies. It was the year that gave us Auto-Tune, and the MP3 player was a controversial new gadget. Apple was making a comeback, and Microsoft became the biggest company in the world, valued at $261bn on the New York Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, Google Inc. was formed on September 4.

1998 was also a time when Britney Spears was the sweetheart of MTV, and the same network kicked off the year with the debut of its late-night, gory Claymation series, Celebrity Deathmatch, which pitted animated pop culture icons against each other. The famous game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? also premiered and it was a time when everyone in the Hip Hop world was shifting alliances with Snoop Dogg exiting Death Row Records and Dr. Dre signing Eminem. Meanwhile, Posh Spice and David Beckham became the new it-couple, Elton John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch premiered off-Broadway.

France won the 1998 World Cup in a controversial match in France against Brazil; Japan hosted the Winter Olympics; the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row sweeping the Washington Capitals. It was also the year Michael Jordan was voted the NBA Finals MVP for the sixth time as he won his sixth and final NBA championship with the Chicago Bulls.

1998 was also a big year for television as 76.3 million people tuned in to watch the finale of Seinfeld; HBO debuted Sex & City and Stone-Cold Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michaels while winning his first WWF World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XIV— an event that is often cited to be the full beginning of the “Attitude Era”.

1998 is also considered as one of the most financially successful years for the film industry with some of the biggest hits released including Armageddon, Saving Private Ryan, Godzilla, Deep Impact, and Mulan.

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 1997 here.

50 Perfect Screenshots from the Best Movies of 1998

****

The Quiet Family

50. The Quiet Family
Director: Jee-woon Kim

A family opens a mountain inn where their first guest commits suicide. Suddenly all their guests befall horrible fates.

No 1998 film

49. No
Director: Robert LePage

is a 1998 Canadian film by director Robert Lepage. It was based on one segment in Lepage’s play Seven Streams of the River Ota.

The title is a pun which reflects the film’s dramatic structure, linking the 1980 Quebec referendum (in which the “no” won) to Japanese Nō theatre.

48. There’s Something About Mary
Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Warning: The guys who did ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Kingpin’ bring you a love story.

A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from high school, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.

Last Night 1998

47. Last Night
Director: Don McKellar

It’s not the end of the world… there’s still six hours left

A group of very different individuals with different ideas of how to face the end come together as the world is expected to end in six hours at the turn of the century.

Vera Chytilová Traps 1998

46. Traps
Director: Vera Chytilová

After two troubled but powerful men rape a young hitchhiker who happens to be a vet, she drugs them and remove their testicles.

Small Soldiers 1998

45. Small Soldiers
Director: Joe Dante

Big Trouble Small Soldiers

When missile technology is used to enhance toy action figures, the toys soon begin to take their battle programming too seriously.

Antz 1998

44. Antz
Directors: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson

See the world from a whole new perspective.

A rather neurotic ant tries to break from his totalitarian society while trying to win the affection of the princess he loves.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

43. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Director: Karan Johar

They’ll make you laugh… they’ll make you cry… they’ll even make you fall in love

During their college years, Anjali was in love with her best-friend Rahul, but he had eyes only for Tina. Years later, Rahul and the now-deceased Tina’s eight-year-old daughter attempts to reunite her father and Anjali.

The Idiots 1998

42. The Idiots
Director: Lars Von Trier

A film by idiots, about idiots, for idiots

The group of people gather at the house in Copenhagen suburb to break all the limitations and to bring out the “inner idiot” in themselves.

Eel movie 1997

41. The Eel
Director: Shôhei Imamura

A businessman kills his adulterous wife and is sent to prison. After the release, he opens a barbershop and meets new people, talking almost to no one except an eel he befriended while in prison.

Ringu 1998

40. Ringu
Director: Hideo Nakata

Will scare the hell out of you!

A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed video tape that is rumored to kill the viewer seven days after watching it.

Following 1998

39. Following
Director: Christopher Nolan

You’re Never Alone.

A young writer who follows strangers for material meets a thief who takes him under his wing.

Mulan 1998

38. Mulan
Directors: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.

To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process.

Ronin 1998

37. Ronin
Director: John Frankenheimer

Loyalty is bought, betrayal is a way of life…

A freelancing former U.S. Intelligence Agent tries to track down a mysterious package that is wanted by the Irish and the Russians.

Pleasantville

36. Pleasantville
Director: Gary Ross

Nothing Is As Simple As Black And White.

Two 1990s teenage siblings find themselves in a 1950s sitcom, where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world.

The Spanish Prisoner 1998

35. The Spanish Prisoner
Director: David Mamet

Who can you trust with a billion dollar idea?

An employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process is tempted to betray it. But there’s more to it than that.

Divorce Iranian Style

34. Divorce Iranian Style
Directors: Kim Longinotto, Ziba Mir-Hosseini

A documentary about real divorce cases in Iran’s tribunals.

Buffalo '66

33. Buffalo ’66
Director: Vincent Gallo

Billy Brown just got out of jail. Now he’s going to serve some real time. He’s going home.

After being released from prison, Billy is set to visit his parents with his wife, whom he does not actually have. This provokes Billy to act out, as he kidnaps a girl and forces her to act as his wife for the visit.

Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål)

32. Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål)
Director: Lukas Moodysson

Two girls. One love.

Two teenage girls in small-town Sweden. Elin is beautiful, popular, and bored with life. Agnes is friendless, sad, and secretly in love with Elin.

Flowers of Shanghai

31. Flowers of Shanghai
Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou

In the “flower houses” (upscale brothels) of Shanghai, various interweaving stories of love, loyalty, and deceit play out subtly.

After Life 1998

30. After Life
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

What is the one memory you would take with you?

After death, people have just one week to choose only a memory to keep for eternity.

Sombre 1998

29. Sombre
Director: Philippe Grandrieux

A sexually frustrated serial killer takes a liking to a woman he comes across.

Late August, Early September 1998

28. Late August, Early September
Director: Olivier Assayas

A story about the transition from late youth to early maturity, the film follows several friends and lovers as they come to make decisions on how to live their lives–getting a job more in harmony with ones ideals, committing to a lover, giving up a lover that no longer loves you: a film about grown-ups growing up.

Beloved 1998

27. Beloved
Director: Jonathan Demme

The past has a life of its own.

Based on the book by Toni Morrison, in which a slave is visited by the spirit of a mysterious young woman

Under the Skin 1998

26. Under the Skin
Director: Carine Adler

Your body betrays your soul.

A woman explores her sexuality to cope with the passing of her mother, leading her to profound revelations about herself and the people closest to her.

Eternity and a Day 1998

25. Eternity and a Day
Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos

Famous writer Alexander is very ill and has little time left to live. He meets a little boy on the street, who is an illegal immigrant from Albania, and goes on a journey with him to take the boy home.

He Got Game 1998

24. He Got Game
Director: Spike Lee

The father, the son and the holy game.

A basketball player’s father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence.

 A Bug’s Life 1998

23. A Bug’s Life
Directors: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton

An epic of miniature proportions.

A misfit ant, looking for “warriors” to save his colony from greedy grasshoppers, recruits a group of bugs that turn out to be an inept circus troupe.

Little Dieter Needs to Fly

22. Little Dieter Needs to Fly
Director: Werner Herzog

German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as a U.S. naval pilot in the Vietnam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Viet Cong, recreating many events for the camera.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

21. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Director: Terry Gilliam

Four Days, Three nights, Two Convertibles, One City

An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades.

The Hole 1998

20. The Hole
Director: Ming-liang Tsai

A search for intimacy in a world of disaster.

While never-ending rain and a strange disease spread by cockroaches ravage Taiwan, a plumber makes a hole between two apartments and the inhabitants of each form a unique connection, enacted in musical numbers.

Le dîner de cons 1998

19. Le dîner de cons (The Dinner Game)
Director: Francis Veber

A feast for the senseless.

A few friends have a weekly fools’ dinner, where each brings a fool along. Pierre finds a champion fool for next dinner. Surprise.

18. The Last Days of Disco
Director: Whit Stillman

History is made at night.

Story of two female Manhattan book editors fresh out of college, both finding love and themselves while frequenting the local disco.

17. Babe: Pig in the City
Director: George Miller

In the heart of the city, a pig with heart.

Babe, fresh from his victory in the sheepherding contest, returns to Farmer Hoggett’s farm, but after Farmer Hoggett is injured and unable to work, Babe has to go to the big city to save the farm.

Pi 1998 movie

16. Pi
Director: Darren Aronofsky

There will be no order, only chaos

A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature.

American History X 1998

15. American History X
Director: Tony Kaye

His father taught him to hate. His friends taught him rage. His enemies gave him hope.

A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.

Happiness 1998

14. Happiness
Director: Todd Solondz

The lives of several individuals intertwine as they go about their lives in their own unique ways, engaging in acts society as a whole might find disturbing in a desperate search for human connection.

A Simple Plan 1998

13. A Simple Plan
Director: Sam Raimi

Sometimes good people do evil things.

Three blue-collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash and make a plan to keep their find from the authorities, but it isn’t long before complications and mistrust weave their way into the plan.

 Life Is Beautiful

12. Life Is Beautiful
Director: Roberto Benigni

An unforgettable fable that proves love, family and imagination conquer all.

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

11. Run Lola Run
Director: Tom Tykwer

After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.

The Pressure is Rising, The Adrenaline is Rushing, The Clock is Ticking

I Stand Alone (Seul contre tous)

10. I Stand Alone (Seul contre tous)
Director: Gaspar Noé

In the bowels of France

A horse meat butcher’s life and mind begins to breakdown as he lashes out against various factions of society while attempting to reconnect with his estranged daughter.

Dark City

9. Dark City
Director: Alex Proyas

A world where the night never ends. Where man has no past. And humanity has no future

A man struggles with memories of his past, which includes a wife he cannot remember, and a nightmarish world, no one else seems to be waking up from.

Rushmore 1998

8. Rushmore
Director: Wes Anderson

Love. Expulsion. Revolution.

The extracurricular king of Rushmore Preparatory School is put on academic probation.

The Big Lebowski

7. The Big Lebowski
Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

They figured he was a lazy, time-wasting slacker. They were right.

Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

The Celebration 1998

6. The Celebration
Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Every family has a secret.

At Helge’s 60th birthday party, some unpleasant family truths are revealed.

Truman Show

5. The Truman Show
Director: Peter Weir

All the world’s a stage…

An insurance salesman discovers his whole life is actually a reality TV show.

Black Cat, White Cat, 1998

4. Black Cat, White Cat
Director: Emir Kusturica

Matko and his son Zare live on the banks of the Danube river and get by through hustling and basically doing anything to make a living. In order to pay off a business debt Matko agrees to marry off Zare to the sister of a local gangster.

Saving Private Ryan 1998

3. Saving Private Ryan
Director: Steven Spielberg

There was only one man left in the family, and the mission was to save him.

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Out of Sight 1998

2. Out of Sight
Director: Steven Soderbergh

In the bowels of France

Opposites attract.

A career bank robber breaks out of jail, and shares a moment of mutual attraction with a U.S. Marshal he has kidnapped.

Thin Red Line 1998

1. The Thin Red Line
Director: Terrence Malick

Every man fights his own war.

Adaptation of James Jones’ autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.

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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