Entertainment
863 voters

The Best Movies of 1996

Updated September 4, 2020 13.8k votes 863 voters 25.6k 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.
Photo:
...more
  • The Rock1
    161
    75

    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

    More The Rock 

    Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'The Rock'#288 of 549 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

  • Scream2
    221
    123

    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

    More Scream 

    According To This Theory, Dewey Is The Serial Killer Mastermind In 'Scream'#41 of 722 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

  • Independence Day3
    223
    132

    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

    More Independence Day 

    13 Things That Prove Pacific Rim And Independence Day Are The Exact Same Movie#10 of 49 The Very Best Movies About Hackers

  • Mission: Impossible4
    171
    84

    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

    More Mission: Impossible 

    #35 of 50 The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked#9 of 117 The Best Movies Based on TV Shows

  • Happy Gilmore5
    194
    114

    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

    More Happy Gilmore 

    'Happy Gilmore' Is Secretly A Drama About Dealing With Loss And Grief#13 of 151 The Most Rewatchable Comedy Movies

  • Twister6
    176
    96

    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

    More Twister 

    #21 of 24 Movies You Loved As A Child That Just Don't Hold Up#2 of 317 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

  • Fargo7
    202
    133

    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

    More Fargo 

    Small Details, Trivia, And Interesting Tidbits About 'Fargo' That Made Us Say 'You Betcha!'#196 of 246 The Best Rainy Day Movies

  • From Dusk till Dawn8
    137
    74

    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

    More From Dusk till Dawn 

    #37 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies#38 of 541 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

  • Sling Blade9
    108
    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

    More Sling Blade 

    #151 of 277 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry#40 of 126 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time

  • Jerry Maguire10
    167
    134

    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

    More Jerry Maguire 

    #446 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#33 of 126 The Greatest Date Movies Of All Time

  • A Time to Kill11
    104
    71

    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

    More A Time to Kill 

    #28 of 247 The Best Whodunit Movies#4 of 27 Actual Lawyers Explain Which Legal Movies They Like The Best

  • Sleepers12
    85
    52

    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

    More Sleepers 

    #14 of 36 30+ Great Movies About Juvenile Delinquents#21 of 23 The Very Best Courtroom Thriller Movies

  • Kingpin13
    107
    76

    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

    More Kingpin 

    #121 of 261 The Best Ensemble Movies#59 of 60 The Best Movies to Curl Up And Watch When You're Sick

  • The Craft14
    111
    70

    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

    More The Craft 

    Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'The Craft'#19 of 84 Great Movies That Take Place in Autumn

  • Trainspotting15
    150
    128

    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

    More Trainspotting 

    #428 of 913 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#400 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

  • Black Sheep16
    97
    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

    More Black Sheep 

    #13 of 14 14 Times Actors Reunited On Screen But Couldn't Recapture The Magic#6 of 26 The Greatest Man Child Movies

  • The Nutty Professor17
    124
    92

    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

    More The Nutty Professor 

    #73 of 665 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked#14 of 144 The Funniest Black Movies Ever Made

  • Ransom18
    108
    81

    Ransom

    Mel Gibson, Liev Schreiber

    Released1996

    Directed byRon Howard

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

    More Ransom 

    #6 of 101 The Best Kidnapping & Hostage Movies Of All Time, Ranked#29 of 105 The Greatest Movie Remakes of All Time

  • Mars Attacks!19
    118
    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. Earth is...  more

    More Mars Attacks! 

    ‘Mars Attacks!’ Was Tim Burton’s Ultimate Unregulated Experiment And It’s Stranger Than You Remember#32 of 62 The Funniest Movies About Politics

  • The Cable Guy20
    110
    89

    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

    More The Cable Guy 

    #268 of 291 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time#3 of 27 The Best Judd Apatow Movies

  • 101 Dalmatians21
    106
    70

    101 Dalmatians

    Hugh Laurie, Glenn Close

    Released1996

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

    More 101 Dalmatians 

    The Live Action 101 Dalmatians Is The Most Insane Fever Dream Of A Movie#14 of 109 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies

  • Jingle All the Way22
    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

    More Jingle All the Way 

    'Jingle All The Way' Is Actually A Crushing Satire, But You Only Remember It As A Dumb Holiday Movie#150 of 252 The Funniest '90s Movies

  • Fear23
    90
    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

    More Fear 

    #171 of 200 The Best Teen Romance Movies#10 of 15 15 Movies Where The Relationship Gaslighting Is The Real Horror

  • Primal Fear24
    116
    107

    Primal Fear

    Edward Norton, Richard Gere

    Released1996

    Directed byGregory Hoblit

    Primal Fear is a 1996 American neo-noir thriller film, based on William Diehl's 1993 novel of...  more

    More Primal Fear 

    #15 of 230 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#212 of 369 The Best Movies Based On Books

  • Romeo + Juliet25
    112
    98

    Romeo + Juliet

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Rudd

    Released1996

    Directed byBaz Luhrmann

    Romeo + Juliet is a 1996 American romantic drama film adaptation of William Shakespeare's...  more

    More Romeo + Juliet 

    #358 of 781 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#178 of 372 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime