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The Best Movies of 1996 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated October 30, 2019 13.8k votes 798 voters 23.5k views 131 items

List Rules Movies that were in theaters in 1996

A list of the best movies of 1996, from classics like Romeo & Juliet to dramas like Jerry Maguire. The '90s were a decade where Hollywood thrived. In were new stars and big blockbusters and 1996 was no exception. Some the best movies of this year are some of the best teen, coming of age, adventure, comedies and dramas in history. The films on here are very memorable and had audiences on the edges of their seats, and still pack a punch so many years after they were first released. You shouldn't be too surprised by the movies listed on here.

As stated before, some of the best movies of the decade were released in 1996. Who could forget Fargo, Mission: Impossible with Tom Cruise, and of course, Scream starring Neve Campbell and David Arquette. And let's not forget about The Rock with Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris.

The best movies of 1996 featured some of the biggest stars in the movie business. Whether it was the aforementioned stars continuing their success or the breakout performances featured in Swingers, or established stars like Mel Gibson in Ransom.

Some of the best movies of all time were released in 1996. This is the ultimate list of the best movies of 1996, which shouldn't feature the best movies of 1995. Vote and re-rank this list according to how you think the best movies of that year should be reflected. If you notice that there's a movie from this year that should be on this list but is missing, feel free to add it.
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1
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy, Frances McDormand

Released: 1996

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Fargo is a 1996 American neo-noir dark comedy crime film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It stars Frances McDormand as a pregnant Minnesota police chief who ...more

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2
Scream is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan, Courteney Cox

Released: 1996

Directed by: Wes Craven

Scream is a 1996 American slasher film written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven. The film stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Drew Barrymore, and David Arquette. Released on ...more

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3
Jerry Maguire is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Tom Cruise, Lucy Liu, Renée Zellweger

Released: 1996

Directed by: Cameron Crowe

Jerry Maguire is a 1996 American romantic comedy-drama sports film written, produced and directed by Cameron Crowe, and stars Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Renée Zellweger. It was ...more

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#667 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #275 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Happy Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Julie Bowen

Released: 1996

Directed by: Dennis Dugan

Happy Gilmore is a 1996 sports comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan and produced by Robert Simonds. It stars Adam Sandler as the title character, an unsuccessful ice hockey player who discovers ...more

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5
Trainspotting is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller

Released: 1996

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Trainspotting is a 1996 British comedy drama film directed by Danny Boyle, and starring Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly Macdonald. Based on ...more

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6
Independence Day is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox

Released: 1996

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

Independence Day is a 1996 American science fiction disaster film co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich. The film stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, ...more

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7
The Rock is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris

Released: 1996

Directed by: Michael Bay

The Rock is a 1996 action film that primarily takes place on Alcatraz Island and in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was directed by Michael Bay, produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and ...more

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8
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave

Released: 1996

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Mission: Impossible is a 1996 American action spy film directed by Brian De Palma, based on the 1960s television series. IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) must uncover the mole who has framed

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9
Twister is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Helen Hunt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Paxton

Released: 1996

Directed by: Jan de Bont

Twister is a 1996 American disaster drama film starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt as storm chasers researching tornadoes. It was directed by Jan de Bont from a screenplay by Michael Crichton ...more

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10
Space Jam is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, Larry Bird

Released: 1996

Directed by: Joe Pytka

Space Jam is a 1996 American live-action/animated sports family/comedy film starring basketball player Michael Jordan and featuring the Looney Tunes characters. The film was produced by Ivan ...more

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11
From Dusk till Dawn is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Salma Hayek, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino

Released: 1996

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez, Sarah Kelly

From Dusk till Dawn is a 1996 American horror-crime thriller film directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. It stars George Clooney, Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and Juliette ...more

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12
Sling Blade is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Robert Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton, John Ritter

Released: 1996

Directed by: Billy Bob Thornton

Sling Blade is a 1996 American drama film set in rural Arkansas, written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, who also stars in the lead role. It tells the story of a man named Karl Childers with ...more

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13
A Time to Kill is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey

Released: 1996

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

This film is a 1996 drama film adaptation of John Grisham's 1989 novel of the same name, directed by Joel Schumacher. Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey ...more

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14
Primal Fear is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney

Released: 1996

Directed by: Gregory Hoblit

Primal Fear is a 1996 American neo-noir thriller film, based on William Diehl's 1993 novel of the same name and directed by Gregory Hoblit. The film tells the story of Chicago defense attorney ...more

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15
Kingpin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Bill Murray, Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid

Released: 1996

Directed by: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly

Kingpin is a 1996 American sport comedy film directed by the Farrelly brothers and starring Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel, and Bill Murray. It was filmed in and around Pittsburgh, ...more

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16
Romeo + Juliet is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Rudd, Brian Dennehy

Released: 1996

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann

Romeo + Juliet is a 1996 American romantic drama film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It was directed by Baz Luhrmann. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in ...more

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17
The People vs. Larry Fly... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Woody Harrelson

Released: 1996

Directed by: Miloš Forman

The People vs. Larry Flynt is a 1996 American biographical drama film directed by Miloš Forman and starring Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, and Edward Norton. It chronicles the rise of magazine ...more

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18
The Nutty Professor is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith, Dave Chappelle

Released: 1996

Directed by: Tom Shadyac

The Nutty Professor is a 1996 American slapstick science-fiction comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac, and a remake of the 1963 film, which starred Jerry Lewis. Grossly overweight yet ...more

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19
Mars Attacks! is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Natalie Portman, Jack Nicholson, Sarah Jessica Parker

Released: 1996

Directed by: Tim Burton

Mars Attacks! is a 1996 American comic science fiction film directed by Tim Burton and written by Jonathan Gems. Based on the cult trading card series of the same name, the film features an ...more

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20
The Craft is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Neve Campbell, Robin Tunney, Christine Taylor

Released: 1996

Directed by: Andrew Fleming

The Craft is a 1996 American supernatural thriller film directed by Andrew Fleming. A group of four teenage girls (Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Rachel True) pursue witchcraft and ...more

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21
Black Sheep is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Julie Benz, Gary Busey, David Spade

Released: 1996

Directed by: Penelope Spheeris

Black Sheep is a 1996 comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris, written by Fred Wolf and starring Chris Farley and David Spade. The film portrays a political contest in which a candidate for ...more

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22
Sleepers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
looksharp added Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman

Released: 1996

Directed by: Barry Levinson

Sleepers is a 1996 American legal drama film written, produced, and directed by Barry Levinson, and based on Lorenzo Carcaterra's 1995 novel of the same name.

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23
The Cable Guy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, Jack Black

Released: 1996

Directed by: Ben Stiller

The Cable Guy is a 1996 American thriller dark comedy film directed by Ben Stiller, who also co-stars in the film, and starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick. The film was released in the ...more

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24
That Thing You Do! is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Charlize Theron, Tom Hanks, Liv Tyler

Released: 1996

Directed by: Tom Hanks

That Thing You Do! is a 1996 American musical comedy drama film written, directed by, and co-starring Tom Hanks. Set in the summer of 1964, the movie tells the story of the quick rise and fall ...more

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25
Fear is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
Reese Witherspoon, Alyssa Milano, Mark Wahlberg

Released: 1996

Directed by: James Foley

Fear is a 1996 American thriller drama film directed by James Foley. It was written by Christopher Crowe, who created the TV series B.L. Stryker, The Watcher, B.J. and the Bear and Seven Days. ...more

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