Although the wealth of original content is what sends most of us flocking to Netflix, its deep collection of ’90s movies and TV shows is what keeps us there. And with good reason: among the engrossing documentaries, stoner flicks, and foreign language options are a myriad of old-school classics that should — and will — demand your attention.
We’ve rounded up the crème de la crème to deliver you a list stacked with the best nostalgic screen treats, from comedy classics like American Pie and sci-fi gems including The Fifth Element to surreal dramas such as Twin Peaks.
These are the best ’90s movies and shows on Netflix right now.
The Fifth Element
Director: Luc Besson
Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element is undoubtedly a sci-fi classic, and not just because Milla Jovovich’s Leeloo has provided more than 20 years of risqué Halloween costume inspiration. The narrative follows Bruce Willis as an unwitting cab driver who becomes embroiled in an intergalactic fight against the villainous Zorg (Gary Oldman).
Director: Paul Weitz
Another seminal ’90s movie. What American Pie may lack in class it more than makes up for in comedy — if watching Jason Biggs bone a fruit-filled pastry on a kitchen counter is your idea of a funny time, of course.
The Truman Show
Director: Peter Weir
The narrative of The Truman Show doesn’t feel as far-fetched now as it did when the movie came out more than 20 years ago. Starring Jim Carrey as everyman Truman, the Oscar-nominated drama depicts what happens when a mild-mannered insurance salesman discovers that his entire life is actually a reality TV show and everyone he knows is an actor.
Director: Frank Coraci
So The Waterboy isn’t the best film in the world by a long shot, but it has great nostalgic value for anyone who watched this old-school comic treat first time around. Adam Sandler’s lowly waterboy Bobby Boucher is set for a life of humiliation until his amazing tackling skills are unearthed by a college football coach, who promptly signs him up as his new star player. Bobby’s overbearing mother, however, is less impressed.
Director: Peter Howitt
Ever wondered whether the path your life has taken can be pinned down to one pivotal moment in time? That’s the concept behind Sliding Doors, a movie about London-based Helen (Gwyneth Paltrow), whose love life and career depend on whether or not she catches a train. The film shows both potential outcomes in parallel and, as well as being a fine ’90s romantic drama, gave us the phrase “Sliding Doors moment.”
Director: Gillian Armstrong
Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, and Susan Sarandon make up a stellar cast in this adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 1869 novel about four tight-knit sisters. A ’90s movie favorite for a reason, despite being set during the American Civil War, this charming story brought together a group of young actors synonymous with the decade.
That ’70s Show
Following the antics of a group of teenagers and the mishaps they create at every turn, That ’70s Show is a brilliant, fantastically costumed period sitcom set in the suburbs of Wisconsin. Also, fun fact: starring in this show together is how Aston Kutcher and Mila Kunis met. Naww.
If fellow beloved ’90s film and TV treasures The Craft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a love child, it would look something like Charmed, a TV series based around a household of three witch sisters, each of whom has a special ability. One can stop time, one can move objects with her mind, and the other can see into the future. What’s more, they have this whole “power of three” thing going on, meaning they can combine their powers to fight demons, warlocks, and other unsavory supernatural beings.
Year: 1990-1991, 2017
David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks is less of a TV series and more of a rite of passage for anyone who fancies themselves as whatever the TV equivalent of cinephile is. A telephile? Nevermind. Following FBI special agent Dale Cooper as he seeks to discover who killed small-town high school princess Laura Palmer, we’re introduced to a strange logging town in Washington state and its stranger-yet inhabitants. Sadly, 2017’s even more mind-warping follow-up, Twin Peaks: The Return, isn’t on Netflix at present, but 1990’s season one pretty much invented watercooler TV, so check it out.