The best year for cinema may be argued, but one thing you can’t deny is that 1996 was a great year for movies. This year truly had everything from classic comedies and heartwarming tales to suspenseful thrillers and intense dramas. Whether you’re a science fiction, romance, or horror fan, there was something for everyone in 1996. In this article, we’ll be looking back at the top films of that year and ranking them according to cultural impact and critical acclaim.
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10 – Mars Attacks!
Coming in at number 10 is the eclectic science fiction comedy “Mars Attacks!”. With a brazen blend of campy dialogue, zany jokes, and outrageous special effects, this movie follows a group of unlikely heroes fighting to save Earth from a Martian invasion. Despite the film’s critical reception, it’s won a devoted fan base over the years and still stands as a cult classic.
9 – The English Patient
The English Patient, directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche, is the kind of classic romance that has stood the test of time. It takes place in the midst of WWII and follows the story of an amnesiac count who is being cared for by an independent-minded nurse. It’s a beautiful story of love, loss, and redemption, and won the 1996 Academy Award for Best Picture.
8 – Scream
The slasher classic “Scream” changed a genre and spawned a franchise. It follows a group of teens who a mysterious killer terrorizes. Its sharp writing and meta-references to other horror films make it a fan favorite. It’s also noteworthy for launching the career of Neve Campbell.
7 – Jerry Maguire
Tom Cruise is magnetic as the titular character in “Jerry Maguire.” This classic romantic comedy follows a sports agent fired from his job and must start anew with the help of one of his loyal clients, played by Renée Zellweger. The film also features an induction to the phrase “Show me the money”!
6 – The Rock
Michael Bay’s “The Rock” is a bombastic 90s action flick starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage. It follows a group of rogue Marines who take over Alcatraz island and threaten to launch chemical weapons unless their demands are met. With its blend of action and comedy, you can’t go wrong here.
5 – Trainspotting
The critically-acclaimed British black comedy “Trainspotting” is a cult classic. It follows a junkie in Edinburgh struggling with his drug addiction. Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, it stars Ewan McGregor in an early role that brought him to international fame.
4 – Fargo
The Coen Brothers’ classic “Fargo” is the brothers at their best. It follows a pregnant detective (played to perfection by Frances McDormand) as she attempts to solve a series of murders in a small Minnesota town. It’s darkly comic, expertly written, and will stay with you long after the credits roll.
3 – Independence Day
Roland Emmerich’s alien invasion epic “Independence Day” is one of the most popular sci-fi films ever. It follows a group of brave freedom fighters fighting to defend Earth from alien forces. It’s thrilling and features a star-studded roster, including Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum.
2 – The Nutty Professor
The 1996 remake of the 1963 classic “The Nutty Professor” stars Eddie Murphy as a nerdy scientist creating a potion that transforms him into a slim, handsome alter-ego. It’s a hilarious comedy that is sure to leave you in stitches.
1 – The Usual Suspects
And number one is Bryan Singer’s 1995 classic “The Usual Suspects.” It follows a group of criminals who are rounded up and interrogated about a mysterious crime. It has a brilliant twist ending and stellar performances, including Kevin Spacey’s iconic portrayal of the cunning Keyser Söze.
When it comes to films, 1996 had something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of romantic comedies, science fiction thrillers, or suspenseful dramas, there’s no doubt that the movies of this year still hold up today. From Mars Attacks! to The Usual Suspects, 1996 had some of the greatest movies to ever grace the silver screen, and these were our top picks.