10 Best ’90s Action-Adventure Movies That Defined The Decade
The 90s had some of the best adventure movies that made so many people happy. Fans had plenty of fun movies to choose from, but there were some adventure movies that made an impact and defined the decade. The reason action-adventure movies work so well is that there’s something for everyone – there’s always a wide range of emotions in these movies, it can range from humor to the very moving and even sometimes frightening.
That’s the joy of this genre, the fact that it can have it all and make the viewer feel so much at once. Adventure movies bring so much to the table, and they’re always fun to watch whenever they need a pick-me-up. The 90s spanned all genres, but action-adventure films were a real staple of the decade and brought some major players to the fore.
Jurassic Park (1993) – Aired on HBO Max
Movies have always depicted dinosaurs in different ways, but they never really looked realistic until Steven SpielbergJurassic Park. The 90s had film crews using practical animatronics and effects that looked realistic, even looking back today.
There were massive upgrades over each decade, but there was just something a little more refined about the look of these creatures. The film almost fell into slow-burn thriller territory due to the tension Spielberg brought to the interacting dinosaurs and humans. It’s a fun ride and fans have enjoyed the franchise ever since.
Hook (1991) – Stream on Hulu Premium
Of all the Peter Pan versions there, To hang up has to be the best live-action. This is another Spielberg classic that has an old Peter Pan (Robin Williams) returns to Neverland when he learns that Captain James Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps children. When Peter Pan returns, he must regain his youthful spirit to save the children. Such a fresh perspective on an old tale made everyone fall in love with it. Robin Williams.
Peter Pan is someone both adults and children can relate to, and Williams is the perfect balance between the two. It was also fun for fans to see another side of Hoffman, who got to have fun in the role. They both had great chemistry, but the concept itself made it a memorable ’90s movie.
The Mummy (1999) – Rent on Prime Video and Apple TV+
The Mummy gave Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz lifelong fans who would still support them after this movie. This adventure film defined the genre and was a huge draw in the 90s. It’s similar to what IndianaJones made in the 80s. Of course it’s a little scarier because of what the story involves and it’s so entertaining.
Fans wanted to study ancient lore and mythology after this movie, and the love they had for it sparked a sequel as well. That casting did something special, and it couldn’t have had an impact until the ’90s when those practical effects brought so much life to the action scenes, and Brendan Fraserwas a gold leader.
Independence Day (1996) – Stream on Hulu and Prime Video
In the 90s Will Smith was the talk of the town, and it went from TV to music to movies in one swift motion. Everyone knew who he was and he was able to build a career. When independence day hit theaters, the way audiences viewed action movies changed. Of course, this can also be classed as a disaster movie, but it also brought in the fun elements of adventure.
Anything about aliens invading Earth is a surefire way to bring any sci-fi fan to the movies. It’s also a 4th of July classic because of President J. Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman) amazing speech. The movie still holds up because of its suspense and the fact that aliens will always be cool, regardless of the decade.
Armageddon (1998) – Stream on Fubo
It seems like every time the world is about to end, it seems to make for an engrossing adventure movie. Director Michael Bay started making really strong movies like Armageddon. After discovering that an asteroid the size of Texas is about to obliterate Earth in less than a month, NASA recruits a small team of deep drillers to save the planet.
It sounds like an underdog story, but the action is what makes this movie so entertaining to watch. Bay, once knew how to construct the craziest action scenes in a way that didn’t look messy. The most obscure adventure films make the actors have fun and the audience can see the pleasure on their faces while watching the film.
Jumanji (1995) – Stream on Hulu
One of the best adventure movies of the 90s was Jumanji. And even, Robin Williams owned the decade and brought so much joy to everyone’s life. Watching this movie as a child is different from watching it as an adult because of the change in perspective.
Having two kids find a magical board game and bringing out an old man, who is so detached from civilization, can make any kid wonder if their board games could do the same. It’s such a cool concept and when Sony decided to revamp and modernize it was all about video games, 90s kids were able to enjoy the update while still feeling nostalgic for the original movie.
Space Jam (1996) – Aired on HBO Max
When the Looney Tunes made their screen debut in an action movie with space jam, it was something special. It was fun because Michael Jordan who was such a big name in the NBA and MLB made his way to starring in one of the most beloved films of the 90s. The Tune Squad became popular and the merchandise was everywhere.
On top of thatLooney Tunes: back in action also brought the tunes back with Brendan Fraser. If fans need a nostalgia shot, this is the one that defined the 90s because of basketball and Michael Jordan himself. It was also a nice addition to have Bill Murray come in and have fun with the Tunes too.
The Mask of Zorro (1998) – Stream on Prime Video
When certain actors have great on-screen chemistry, it changes the way the characters make an impact. In The Mask of Zorro, Catherine Zeta Jones and Antonio Banderas were both in their prime and looked fantastic together. Above all, Zorro’s story has always been fun, but adding the two into the mix with high-level tension and nasty fight scenes just made it better.
Many fans can watch this movie again and again due to how it unfolds. The action scenes were so well crafted and the banter between the two made fans connect with these characters. It looks like such a classic looking back on it now, and it defined the decade.
Titanic (1997) – Stream on Netflix
Even though Titanic is moving and ends on a sad note, it is always filled with wonder. Director james cameron was able to capture the same feeling that all of these people had the first time they boarded the ship. It was a whole new journey filled with all their hopes and dreams just inches away from them. Many wanted a pleasant trip, others wanted an escape, and some even found love.
There was something for everyone in this movie, and that’s what makes it such a great adventure movie. Besides the fact that it was the reigning box office champion for Paramount, reaching that billion dollars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet captured the hearts of audiences everywhere with their romance. He became a phenomenon within days and made his mark in 1997.
Total Recall (1990) – Aired on HBO Max
Like other notable action stars, Arnold Schwarzenegger had a big decade. He was one of the hardest working actors, playing role after role. And Total recall became a huge success due to the freshness of the concept. Having an action-adventure film exploring memories and other worlds was interesting, and the twist that came with it made it a lot of fun. Douglas Quaid is probably one of the best Schwarzeneggers roles due to performance stratification.
Director Paul Verhoeven made a classic based on how wonderfully crafted this story was, especially for an adventure film. The majority of adventure movies are entertaining because of the strength of the story, and the 90s brought the best of the best.