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The Best Movies of 1996

Updated September 4, 2020 12.9k votes 820 voters 24.3k views131 items

List RulesOnly movies released 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
    Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    166
    76

    Mission: Impossible

    Tom Cruise, Jon Voight

    Released1996

    Directed byBrian De Palma

    Mission: Impossible is a 1996 American action spy film directed by Brian De Palma, based on... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    Scream is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    222
    117

    Scream

    Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan

    Released1996

    Directed byWes Craven

    Scream is a 1996 American slasher film written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Independence Day is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    222
    128

    Independence Day

    Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1996

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

    Independence Day is a 1996 American science fiction disaster film co-written and directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Happy Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    193
    113

    Happy Gilmore

    Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller

    Released1996

    Directed byDennis Dugan

    Happy Gilmore is a 1996 sports comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan and produced by Robert... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    The Rock is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    152
    71

    The Rock

    Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery

    Released1996

    Directed byMichael Bay

    The Rock is a 1996 action film that primarily takes place on Alcatraz Island and in the San... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Fargo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    194
    132

    Fargo

    Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy

    Released1996

    Directed byEthan Coen, Joel Coen

    Fargo is a 1996 American neo-noir dark comedy crime film written, produced, edited, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Twister is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    167
    94

    Twister

    Helen Hunt, Philip Seymour Hoffman

    Released1996

    Directed byJan de Bont

    Twister is a 1996 American disaster drama film starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt as storm... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    From Dusk till Dawn is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    134
    73

    From Dusk till Dawn

    Salma Hayek, George Clooney

    Released1996

    Directed byRobert Rodriguez, Sarah Kelly

    From Dusk till Dawn is a 1996 American horror-crime thriller film directed by Robert Rodriguez... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Sling Blade is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    104
    74

    Sling Blade

    Robert Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton

    Released1996

    Directed byBilly Bob Thornton

    Sling Blade is a 1996 American drama film set in rural Arkansas, written and directed by Billy... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Kingpin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    110
    74

    Kingpin

    Bill Murray, Woody Harrelson

    Released1996

    Directed byPeter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly

    Kingpin is a 1996 American sport comedy film directed by the Farrelly brothers and starring... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Jerry Maguire is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    164
    135

    Jerry Maguire

    Tom Cruise, Lucy Liu

    Released1996

    Directed byCameron Crowe

    Jerry Maguire is a 1996 American romantic comedy-drama sports film written, produced and... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    A Time to Kill is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    104
    73

    A Time to Kill

    Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey

    Released1996

    Directed byJoel Schumacher

    This film is a 1996 drama film adaptation of John Grisham's 1989 novel of the same name,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    The Craft is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    110
    68

    The Craft

    Neve Campbell, Robin Tunney

    Released1996

    Directed byAndrew Fleming

    The Craft is a 1996 American supernatural thriller film directed by Andrew Fleming. A group of... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Trainspotting is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    148
    129

    Trainspotting

    Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle

    Released1996

    Directed byDanny Boyle

    Trainspotting is a 1996 British comedy drama film directed by Danny Boyle, and starring Ewan... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Black Sheep is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    96
    66

    Black Sheep

    Julie Benz, Gary Busey

    Released1996

    Directed byPenelope Spheeris

    Black Sheep is a 1996 comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris, written by Fred Wolf and... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Mars Attacks! is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    119
    89

    Mars Attacks!

    Natalie Portman, Jack Nicholson

    Released1996

    Directed byTim Burton

    Mars Attacks! is a 1996 American comic science fiction film directed by Tim Burton and written... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    The Nutty Professor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    121
    94

    The Nutty Professor

    Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith

    Released1996

    Directed byTom Shadyac

    The Nutty Professor is a 1996 American slapstick science-fiction comedy film directed by Tom... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Sleepers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    80
    53

    Sleepers

    Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro

    Released1996

    Directed byBarry Levinson

    Sleepers is a 1996 American legal drama film written, produced, and directed by Barry... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Space Jam is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    161
    141

    Space Jam

    Michael Jordan, Bill Murray

    Released1996

    Directed byJoe Pytka

    Space Jam is a 1996 American live-action/animated sports family/comedy film starring... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    That Thing You Do! is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    84
    65

    That Thing You Do!

    Charlize Theron, Tom Hanks

    Released1996

    Directed byTom Hanks

    That Thing You Do! is a 1996 American musical comedy drama film written, directed by, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    The Cable Guy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    108
    90

    The Cable Guy

    Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller

    Released1996

    Directed byBen Stiller

    The Cable Guy is a 1996 American thriller dark comedy film directed by Ben Stiller, who also... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Fear is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    89
    67

    Fear

    Reese Witherspoon, Alyssa Milano

    Released1996

    Directed byJames Foley

    Fear is a 1996 American thriller drama film directed by James Foley. It was written by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Jingle All the Way is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    92
    68

    Jingle All the Way

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Big Show

    Released1996

    Directed byBrian Levant

    Jingle All the Way is a 1996 American Christmas family comedy film directed by Brian Levant... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    101 Dalmatians is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    107
    71

    101 Dalmatians

    Hugh Laurie, Glenn Close

    Released1996

    101 Dalmatians is a 1996 family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed... more on Wikipedia

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  • 25
    Ransom is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies of 1996
    101
    86

    Ransom

    Mel Gibson, Liev Schreiber

    Released1996

    Directed byRon Howard

    Ransom is a 1996 American thriller film written by Richard Price & Alexander Ignon and... more on Wikipedia

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