The 38 Greatest films of 1996

by gibboanx | created - 02 Aug 2012 | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public
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1. Trainspotting (1996)

R | 93 min | Drama

83 Metascore

Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

Director: Danny Boyle | Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd

Votes: 602,669 | Gross: $16.50M

2. Fargo (1996)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare

Votes: 575,841 | Gross: $24.61M

3. Bound (1996)

R | 109 min | Crime, Romance, Thriller

61 Metascore

Corky, a tough female ex con and her lover Violet concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money and pin the blame on Violet's crooked boyfriend Caesar.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan

Votes: 48,028 | Gross: $3.80M

4. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

R | 108 min | Action, Crime, Horror

48 Metascore

Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in a truck stop populated by vampires, with chaotic results.

Director: Robert Rodriguez | Stars: Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, Juliette Lewis, Quentin Tarantino

Votes: 270,187 | Gross: $25.75M

5. Swingers (1996)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama

71 Metascore

Wannabe actors become regulars in the stylish neo-lounge scene; Trent teaches his friend Mike the unwritten rules of the scene.

Director: Doug Liman | Stars: Vince Vaughn, Heather Graham, Jon Favreau, Ron Livingston

Votes: 72,182 | Gross: $4.51M

6. When We Were Kings (1996)

PG | 88 min | Documentary, Sport

83 Metascore

A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire, "The Rumble in the Jungle," between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.

Director: Leon Gast | Stars: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Don King, James Brown

Votes: 14,148 | Gross: $2.67M

7. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama

79 Metascore

The story of a controversial pornography publisher and how he became a defender of free speech.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Brett Harrelson

Votes: 83,959 | Gross: $20.19M

8. Bottle Rocket (1996)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

66 Metascore

Three friends plan to pull off a simple robbery and go on the run.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Ned Dowd, Shea Fowler

Votes: 65,572 | Gross: $0.56M

9. Jerry Maguire (1996)

R | 139 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

77 Metascore

When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent agent with the only athlete who stays with him and his former secretary.

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger, Kelly Preston

Votes: 227,357 | Gross: $153.95M

10. Mission: Impossible (1996)

PG-13 | 110 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

59 Metascore

An American agent, under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organization.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart, Henry Czerny

Votes: 366,592 | Gross: $180.98M

11. Breaking the Waves (1996)

R | 159 min | Drama

76 Metascore

Oilman Jan is paralyzed in an accident. His wife, who prayed for his return, feels guilty; even more, when Jan urges her to have sex with another.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgård, Katrin Cartlidge, Jean-Marc Barr

Votes: 58,639 | Gross: $4.04M

12. Sleepers (1996)

R | 147 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

49 Metascore

After a prank goes disastrously wrong, a group of boys are sent to a detention center where they are brutalized. Thirteen years later, they get their chance for revenge.

Director: Barry Levinson | Stars: Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt, Jason Patric

Votes: 178,260 | Gross: $49.10M

13. Primal Fear (1996)

R | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

47 Metascore

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

Director: Gregory Hoblit | Stars: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton, John Mahoney

Votes: 169,349 | Gross: $56.12M

14. Sling Blade (1996)

R | 135 min | Drama

84 Metascore

Karl Childers, a simple man hospitalized since his childhood murder of his mother and her lover, is released to start a new life in a small town.

Director: Billy Bob Thornton | Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter

Votes: 83,269 | Gross: $24.48M

15. Scream (1996)

R | 111 min | Horror, Mystery

65 Metascore

A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich

Votes: 269,094 | Gross: $103.05M

16. Happy Gilmore (1996)

PG-13 | 92 min | Comedy, Sport

31 Metascore

A rejected hockey player puts his skills to the golf course to save his grandmother's house.

Director: Dennis Dugan | Stars: Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen, Frances Bay

Votes: 184,597 | Gross: $38.62M

17. Kingpin (1996)

PG-13 | 114 min | Comedy, Sport

43 Metascore

A star bowler whose career was prematurely "cut off" hopes to ride a new prodigy to success and riches.

Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Bill Murray, Vanessa Angel

Votes: 73,086 | Gross: $24.94M

18. Freeway (1996)

R | 102 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

61 Metascore

A twisted take on "Little Red Riding Hood", with a teenage juvenile delinquent on the run from a social worker travelling to her grandmother's house and being hounded by a charming, but sadistic, serial killer and pedophile.

Director: Matthew Bright | Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland, Bokeem Woodbine, Paul Perri

Votes: 25,128 | Gross: $0.30M

19. A Time to Kill (1996)

R | 149 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

54 Metascore

In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his ten-year-old daughter, inciting violent retribution and revenge from the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey

Votes: 122,337 | Gross: $108.77M

20. Shine (1996)

PG-13 | 105 min | Biography, Drama, Music

87 Metascore

Pianist David Helfgott, driven by his father and teachers, has a breakdown. Years later he returns to the piano, to popular if not critical acclaim.

Director: Scott Hicks | Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Justin Braine, Sonia Todd

Votes: 49,281 | Gross: $35.81M

21. Lone Star (1996)

R | 135 min | Drama, Mystery

78 Metascore

When the skeleton of his murdered predecessor is found, Sheriff Sam Deeds unearths many other long-buried secrets in his Texas border town.

Director: John Sayles | Stars: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peña, Stephen Mendillo, Stephen J. Lang

Votes: 26,607 | Gross: $13.27M

22. Mars Attacks! (1996)

PG-13 | 106 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

52 Metascore

Earth is invaded by Martians with unbeatable weapons and a cruel sense of humor.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Annette Bening

Votes: 200,567 | Gross: $37.77M

23. Secrets & Lies (1996)

R | 136 min | Drama

91 Metascore

A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is an underprivileged white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed.

Director: Mike Leigh | Stars: Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Phyllis Logan, Claire Rushbrook

Votes: 34,510 | Gross: $13.42M

24. The Cable Guy (1996)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Thriller

56 Metascore

A lonely and mentally disturbed cable guy raised on television just wants a new friend, but his target, a designer, rejects him, with bad consequences.

Director: Ben Stiller | Stars: Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick, Leslie Mann, Jack Black

Votes: 144,338 | Gross: $60.24M

25. The Frighteners (1996)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

52 Metascore

After a tragic car accident that kills his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people. However, when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin

Votes: 78,319 | Gross: $16.76M

26. The Birdcage (1996)

R | 117 min | Comedy

72 Metascore

A gay cabaret owner and his drag queen companion agree to put up a false straight front so that their son can introduce them to his fiancée's right-wing moralistic parents.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest

Votes: 74,757 | Gross: $124.06M

27. Independence Day (1996)

PG-13 | 145 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind's best weapon is the will to survive.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell

Votes: 504,858 | Gross: $306.17M

28. Twister (I) (1996)

Approved | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

68 Metascore

Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes.

Director: Jan de Bont | Stars: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Cary Elwes, Jami Gertz

Votes: 165,348 | Gross: $241.72M

29. The Rock (1996)

R | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

58 Metascore

A mild-mannered chemist and an ex-con must lead the counterstrike when a rogue group of military men, led by a renegade general, threaten a nerve gas attack from Alcatraz against San Francisco.

Director: Michael Bay | Stars: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, John Spencer

Votes: 298,204 | Gross: $134.07M

30. Matilda (1996)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

72 Metascore

Story of a wonderful little girl, who happens to be a genius, and her wonderful teacher vs. the worst parents ever and the worst school principal imaginable.

Director: Danny DeVito | Stars: Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Mara Wilson, Embeth Davidtz

Votes: 115,959 | Gross: $33.08M

31. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

PG-13 | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

71 Metascore

The Borg travel back in time intent on preventing Earth's first contact with an alien species. Captain Picard and his crew pursue them to ensure that Zefram Cochrane makes his maiden flight reaching warp speed.

Director: Jonathan Frakes | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton

Votes: 112,319 | Gross: $92.00M

32. Escape from L.A. (1996)

R | 101 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

54 Metascore

Snake Plissken is once again called in by the United States government to recover a potential doomsday device from Los Angeles, now an autonomous island where undesirables are deported.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Stacy Keach, Peter Fonda

Votes: 65,767 | Gross: $25.48M

33. Flirting with Disaster (1996)

R | 92 min | Comedy

81 Metascore

A young man, his wife, and his incompetent case worker travel across country to find his birth parents.

Director: David O. Russell | Stars: Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Téa Leoni, Mary Tyler Moore

Votes: 16,936 | Gross: $14.89M

34. Basquiat (1996)

R | 107 min | Biography, Drama

65 Metascore

The brief life of Jean Michel Basquiat, a world renowned New York street artist struggling with fame, drugs and his identity.

Director: Julian Schnabel | Stars: Jeffrey Wright, Michael Wincott, Benicio Del Toro, Claire Forlani

Votes: 18,555 | Gross: $2.96M

35. The English Patient (1996)

R | 162 min | Drama, Romance, War

87 Metascore

At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.

Director: Anthony Minghella | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristin Scott Thomas

Votes: 169,059 | Gross: $78.65M

36. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

R | 121 min | Action, Crime, Drama

44 Metascore

A woman suffering from amnesia begins to recover her memories after trouble from her past finds her again.

Director: Renny Harlin | Stars: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Yvonne Zima, Craig Bierko

Votes: 68,806 | Gross: $33.33M

37. The Whole Wide World (1996)

PG | 111 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

In Texas in the 1930s, young schoolteacher Novalyne Price meets a handsome, eccentric, interesting young man named Robert Howard. He's a successful writer - of the pulp stories of 'Conan ... See full summary »

Director: Dan Ireland | Stars: Vincent D'Onofrio, Renée Zellweger, Ann Wedgeworth, Harve Presnell

Votes: 3,248 | Gross: $0.14M

38. Big Night (1996)

R | 109 min | Drama, Romance

80 Metascore

New Jersey, 1950s. Two brothers run an Italian restaurant. Business is not going well as a rival Italian restaurant is out-competing them. In a final effort to save the restaurant, the brothers plan to put on an evening of incredible food.

Directors: Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci | Stars: Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci, Marc Anthony, Larry Block

Votes: 15,784 | Gross: $11.88M



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