These 90s movies will thrill you, excite you, move you, have you teary-eyed, crack you up and leave you feeling sentimental. Take us back!
It’s no secret that here at Honeycombers Hong Kong, we’re TV and movie junkies. We love reviewing television shows like Miss Sherlock, re-watching classic Hong Kong movies and hitting up the best movie theatres in the city to see the latest blockbusters. Recently we’ve been feeling a little sentimental with our screen choices, so we’ve compiled a list of must-watch 90s movies – these are the English and Cantonese classics you need to know!
90s movies that you have to watch
Fight Back to School (1991)
It’s almost impossible for any movie junkie not to have heard of Hong Kong film legend Stephen Chow. Take a trip back in time to the very early 90s, when Chow’s career in the Cantonese movie industry was just beginning to skyrocket. The icon plays a young talented police officer who, because of his boyish appearance, is sent undercover to a high school to investigate a case of stolen arms. Fight Back to School is a light hearted comedy which will take you back to the roots of Chow’s comedy career and have you in stitches. one of our fave 90s movies for sure.
Dazed & Confused (1993)
You’ve got this movie to blame for the disturbing yet extremely quotable line from Matthew McConaughey’s character: “That’s what I love about high school girls, man, I get older and they stay the same age.” Set in the 1970s, Dazed & Confused is another coming of age movie that follows a group of high school students on the last day of school. Get ready for flared jeans, a lot of denim, tucked shirts with belts, underage drinking and some doobies.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The inspiration behind many Halloween costumes, Pulp Fiction is a quirky crime movie written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson play two cold-blooded hitmen who have a knack for philosophical discussions and conversations. Throw in various other storylines like a gangster boss, his wife (played by Uma Thurman), a struggling boxer (played by Bruce Willis) and eccentric small time armed robbers and you’ve got a cult classic 90s movie filled with memorable dancing scenes and Tarantino idiosyncrasies.
Chungking Express (1994)
This list of must-watch 90s movies would not be credible without the mention of this Wong Kar Wai classic. Chungking Express is a movie divided into two sections, each half following a Hong Kong policeman who is love sick over a previous relationship and encountering a new woman in their lives. This movie will leave you feeling warm, nostalgic and honestly… a little strange (but in a good way). We can also guarantee that you won’t be able to get The Mamas & Papas – California Dreamin’ and Dreams cover by Faye Wong out of your head!
Empire Records (1995)
This coming of age drama follows a group of young employees at an independent music store, Empire Records. After finding out that the store is about to be sold to a large music store chain, the group band together to try and stop it. This must-watch 90s movie is filled with eccentric characters, embarrassing and relatable teen moments (warning – there will be a few), and scenes that will well up those tear ducts. Plus it features a sexy as hell Rex Manning, a young Liv Tyler, a killer soundtrack and unforgettable fashion moments. DEFINITELY one of our fave 90s movies.
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Shout out to all those 90s teens out there who are still looking for love behind a fish tank. Leonardo DiCaprio may have finally won his well-deserved Oscar in the recent decade, but we all knew he was already a star with his performance in the 1996 remake of Romeo + Juliet. Set in the modern age, while still retaining Shakespearean English dialogue, the 90s heart-throb stars alongside Claire Danes in the telling of one of the most famous love stories of all time. Just remember to prepare the chocolate ice cream and tissues!
Comrades: Almost a Love Story (1996)
This love story stars iconic Hong Kong movie actress Maggie Cheung as Li Qiao and Hong Kong singing legend Leon Lai as Xiao Jun. Li Qiao and Xiao Jun are both Chinese mainlanders who have migrated to Hong Kong in search of making a living. Due to the loneliness of the living in a new city, Li Qiao and Xiao Jun become close and eventually fall in love. However their happiness is not long lived, as they are soon separated due to life circumstances and their differences in directions in life. Watch as these two lovers are torn apart but always seem to be drawn back together.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
When it comes to 90s movies that were hitmakers, you need look no further. Tom Cruise will show you the money in this classic, as he plays an arrogant sports agent – Jerry Maguire, who ends up being fired and as a result of that starts his own sports management firm. He eventually falls for a woman named Dorothy Boyd, played by Renee Zellweger, a single mother who helps him with his venture. Watch as Maguire struggles with balancing his work life with his relationship with Dorothy, and prepare for one of the best love line movie deliveries – you’ll see that he really did have her at hello.
Young and Dangerous (1996)
In the early 80s and 90s, Hong Kong was notorious for its hidden-in-plain-sight underground culture, which was respectively reflected in its many films about young triad members. Based on a popular Hong Kong manga comic, Young and Dangerous is a movie series that follows Ho Nam – a promising young triad member with a heart of gold, and his best friends navigating a life of crime. The series helped shoot the career of Ekin Cheng who starred in the leading role to instant stardom, and was so beloved that it was also remade in 2013.
Happy Together (1997)
Yes, we know, there’s already a Wong Kar Wai movie on this must-watch 90s movies list… but Happy Together is a beautiful tale about a turbulent relationship between lovers Po Wing and Yiu Fai, played respectively by arguable two of the biggest Hong Kong screen icons, late Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung. The story is set during the pre-handover of Hong Kong, and in the fiery heat of Argentina. Happy Together won Wong Kar Wai Best Director at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and will always be remembered for the intimate dance scenes between the two lovers in their small humble apartment.