When we think back to the movies of our childhood, there's a special place in our hearts reserved for their iconic imagery. In the days before the internet and its overload of countless movie teasers, trailers and clips--there weren't that many ways for us to see what was headed to our local theaters.
Instead, we walked through movie theaters before and after seeing a film in order to take in all the posters of coming attractions that decorated their halls and lobbies. And in those days, even more time was wasted pacing up and down the aisles of our local video stores memorizing all the details of VHS covers making mental notes of what we'd rent next.
Some of these posters and movie covers are burned so deep into our memories that we might even recognize them more than the movies themselves. And while gone are the days where we need to remember things like phone numbers or addresses, our brains still hang on tightly to the iconic artwork that hung on our walls and filled shelves full of video tapes.
In the spirit of jogging your mental movie muscles, see if you can identify these 25 movies from the 90s from their posters and cover art!
This poster has what might be the most famous lineup in history
This American neo-noir mystery film from 1995--directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie--has one of the better twists in movie history and (even upon re-watching) is still captivating to this day. The poster depicts the main cast looking all sorts of guilty which is perfect considering every minute of the film building a mystery that keeps audiences guessing till the very end. The movie is also notable for earning Kevin Spacey his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Verbal Kint.
Chris Farley and David Spade's finest work was...
The world lost so much potential comedy when Chris Farley passed away. Despite only appearing in two films as a "comedy team" of sorts, Chris Farley and David Spade made an indelible mark on the world of comedy and comedy duos in general. Their first foray into working together on the big screen was an absolute smash hit and is still one of the most quotable roles that Farley ever did. Though his time in other films and on SNL was memorable--the poster for this film with his innocently goofy smile is how Chris Farley is most likely remembered
Let's face it, most people remember this 1998 movie for the pool kiss
The twists and turns in this late 90s crime thriller are abundant to say the least. The film starred Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, and Denise Richards who all had a hand in a murderous plot unable to trust anyone involved. Despite being a very well constructed criminal caper with murder and double crossing, what most audiences will likely remember is the passionate scene between Campbell and Richards in a steamy Miami pool. Not a bad memory to have but the movie is worth a watch even without it.
What movie was based on an actual NASA space mission?
The only thing crazier than the events in this 1995 film is the fact that it was really accurate to the actual events it's based on. An aborted mission to the moon sees NASA astronauts using every bit of their training to survive on their mission and get home safely. The film starred Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton as NASA astronauts and filmed most of their scenes aboard the NASA module on parabolic "vomit comet" flights to simulate zero gravity.
Years before HBO's Veep, Anna Chlumsky starred in this 1991 film
A film that involves a widower played by Dan Aykroyd running a funeral home, his hypochondriac daughter who's developed an obsession with death, and a dorky neighbor kid with anaphylaxis hardly seems like the makings of a heartwarming coming of age love story. 5 Yet, somehow all of that somehow fits together and tells a touching tale of kids growing up, finding your best friend no matter what other people think, and--unfortunately--dealing with the heartbreaking loss of that friend not long after.
This movie goes well with fava beans and a nice chianti!
There's no doubt that this poster was the first of many off-putting images that the film later brought to the table. This 1991 movie was a horror-thriller film with a healthy dose of criminal mystery that kept audiences on the edges of their seats and its iconic roles resulted in a lasting effect on pop culture. The decades since have brought countless homages to the disturbing interactions between the two main characters. The poster itself features a hidden image by Salvador Dali and Philippe Halsman titled "Voluptas Mors"
A scene in this movie gave new meaning to plastic bags blowing in the wind
1999 gave us another film that's impossible to watch with your parents. Seemingly harmless from most of the trailers, the film itself involved a middle-aged man lusting after a high school girl, a drug dealing next-door neighbor, and characters coming to terms (to some degree) with their own sexuality. The poster shows off what might be the most iconic images in the entire film. Other than the whole plastic bag being "the most beautiful thing in the world"--its rose petals and bare skin that are heavily referenced throughout to denote purity and the forbidden.
The film that may have started the public's love affair with Johnny Depp
Hard to believe that a film with so much flair and style has a pretty tame poster. Filmmakers may have just been "hedging" their bets with how it'd turn out but it actually perfectly sums up the main character's gentle nature. The film launched names like Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder into the public eye more than ever before and did so with a rather sweet fairy tale story of the world's most unfortunately assembled man created by Vincent Price.
This movie made Boston accents tolerable since 1997
Perhaps solidifying the stereotype of emotionally stubborn Bostonians forever, this movie was written by New England's favorite acting duo, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The poster for the film is relatively light-hearted considering the subject matter of a brilliant young man working through his own issues in order to get on with his life and do something of substance with it. While he showed his dramatic range in previous films, this one particularly cemented Robin Williams into people's minds as something much more than just a comedic actor.
If you've ever said "I'm right on top of that, Rose!" then you can thank this movie
There are some movie posters that perfectly encapsulate the essence of a film and the one for this 1991 comedy is certainly one of them. It shows star Christina Applegate and the other kids in her character's family (somewhat) gleefully standing over the remains of a caregiver without much care for the crimes they're all about to commit. Yet, for the 90s, it wasn't out of anyone's purview to consider hiding a dead body for a little more summertime freedom.
This film was one of Johnny Depp's first really serious roles
Man, this quiz seems to have it out for Johnny Depp movies. This 1993 drama depicts life of the main character and his poor family dealing with the sometimes crushing banality of life in rural America. It has the distinction of being one of Leonardo DiCaprio's first major film roles that helped him solidify his career as a great actor in Hollywood. It also is one of Johnny Depp's first films where his acting takes center stage instead playing the type of over-the-top characters he's known for.
After this movie, every poster we see could be hiding an escape tunnel
If you're willingly taking this 90s movie quiz there's no way you haven't seen this movie at least a few dozen times even by accident. But as iconic and ever-present the film is on basic cable weekend movie marathons these days--the poster seems relatively unrecognizable in relation to the the events of the film (save for the last few minutes). Not immediately placing the film by the poster's image is a bit ironic considering how important movie posters play a role in the events of the film.
This "found footage" film is still a topic of debate to this day
Moviegoers weren't given much to go on for this 1999 horror film that pretty much started the entire genre of found footage films. When most movie posters try to convey as much information as possible, this one was sparse with information and focused on the isolation of the woods and the downright frightful look in the star's eyes. The poster, and the film it was for, shocked audiences with a rarely seen realism in filmmaking that kept people believing (even to this day) that the events of the film were all actually real.
Bing! Don't you tell us you don't remember this movie because it sure as heckfire remembers you!
Long before the action-packed time loop blockbuster The Edge of Tomorrow, this Bill Murray classic showed audiences what being stuck in the same day would do to a person. Fun fact! An original treatment for the script included the reason for Phil Connors' Punxsutawney time loop. At some point, Murray's character pissed off an ex girlfriend who cursed a watch he had forcing him to re-live the same day over and over. Thankfully, the final film doesn't explain much and just let's audiences enjoy the fun.
This poster seemed to encapsulate the entire trippy feel of the movie
It's quite rare for a movie poster to perfectly nail the motif of an entire film as well as this one does. The psychedelic distortions on the poster/cover art let the viewer know exactly the kind of movie they're getting into. The film was adapted from a Hunter S. Thompson's novel and does the writer's work justice in almost every whacked out and drug-fueled scene. Despite its best effort, the film only grossed about half its budget but has since become a cult classic.
This film was based on a novel by Irvine Welsh.
Every so often a movie comes along that shows the effect addiction has on peoples' lives in an accurate way while still being a compelling drama. This 1996 film starring Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, and Kevin McKidd was just that. Directed by Danny Boyle, the film's depiction of heroin addicts and what they'll do to score their next hit was done in a way that still allows audiences to see their humanity in each of the characters.
This literal head trip has become a cult classic over the years
This trippy journey through the minds of others was Spike Jonze second foray into directing major motion pictures and starred John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, and Catherine Keener. The poster/cover art for the movie says pretty much everything you'd need to know about it in the most subtle of ways. This might be for the best considering the strange twists and turns the film takes that gives audiences a world populated by the same face and a plot to prolong people's lives by taking control of an actor's existence.
Along with My Left Foot, this film made Daniel Day-Lewis a household name.
The only thing more incredible than the long list of great Daniel Day-Lewis films is the fact that he goes completely method in almost every one of them. This means that Day-Lewis does his best to actually live life as the character he's playing and rarely every breaks even when they're not filming. The intensity in his eyes for this 1992 film poster/cover art is but a brief glimpse into the film that made Daniel Day-Lewis a household name for years to come.
This movie proved live-action/animated films can't all be hits.
Where can one begin to talk about this 1992 live action and animation hybrid starring Kim Basinger, Gabriel Byrne and Brad Pitt? The concept behind the film seemed like a good idea but the execution of things didn't really deliver. While other films that mixed animation and live action were big hits, this one quite literally lacked the detail that made the others successful. A main drawback was that the animation and live action just seemed plopped on top of one another with little effort to make the two really interact. Plus, there was the whole relative creepiness of a guy wanting to sleep with a lady he drew.
This horror comedy is the third installment of Sam Raimi's vision
It's strange that horror films can so easily switch to comedies in some respects. And despite how silly this film can get, it's lean into comedy aspects still works for the world that was built. Its poster even pokes fun at how over-the-top the franchise got after the first two films involved various evil demons and a particularly graphic dismemberment of a possessed appendage. Part action, part horror, and all self-aware comedy, this film's poster is perfect for looking so serious while being the furthest thing from it.
This important 90s film taught us the proper way in which one "wheezes the juice"
What do you get when you take one caveman, freeze him for a few thousand years, thaw him out in 90s California, and take him to high school? You get the best darn 90s movie involving those very specific things. Plus more Pauly Shore screen time than anyone would soon ever want. This 1992 comedy was a massive hit and grossed over five times its budget of $7 million. It also has the distinction of being the second film Brendan Fraser ever made.
This film full of underground terrors amazingly spawned five sequels and three TV series
Very rarely does a monster or horror film come along that remains terrifying but is also a fun adventure from beginning to end. This 1990 monster flick may have taken some liberties in the poster but it perfectly invokes the terror (and imagery) of 1975's Jaws. In fact, considering this a sort of "Jaws on land" is pretty fitting since it mirrors a good chunk of the events of the 1975 film. And while it lacks a mayor with the coolest anchor suit jacket in the world, it makes up for it with having Kevin Bacon in almost every single scene.
You'd be crazy not to love this comedy set at Lake Winnipesaukee
It's impossible to pick a single favorite Bill Murray movie but this 1991 comedy directed by Frank Oz and co-starring Richard Dreyfuss has got to be in most people's top 10s. Murray played a manic patient with severe boundary issues who charms his way into Dreyfuss' character's summer vacation. Roles become reversed when it seems that--despite the problems Murray's character has--it's Dreyfuss' that has the real issues. The film is a testament to pairing Bill Murray up with talented co-stars and trusting that they'll give a memorable performance.
The CGI in this movie wowed audiences for much of this 1992 horror comedy
We're not kidding. This 1992 film brought special effects in movies to a whole new level. It starred Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, and Goldie Hawn dealing with the effects of--let's say--modern zombification. The rather brutal undead aspects in the film (considering the star-studded cast) were completed by none other than Industrial Light & Magic. The effects of a broken neck and a shotgun blast through a torso may look a little dated now but are still phenomenal considering it's a film that was made nearly 30 years ago.
What a drag! This movie was based on another movie that was based on a play!
Though it's an over-the-top comedy starring Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, and Dianne Wiest--this 1996 comedy exposed countless people to the homosexuality, same-sex parents, and the lifestyle of drag clubs all in a neat two hours. And while it's true some of the portrayals in the film are a bit insensitive and tone-deaf by 2017 standards--it still showed a stable, successful, and loving same-sex home at a time where a lot of people thought such a thing was impossible. Plus, it the film also had the phenomenal comic performance of Hank Azaria's housekeeper character, Agador Spartacus.