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The Best Historical Movies from the '90s 

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated April 2, 2020 5.1k votes 617 voters 18.3k views 47 items

List Rules Vote on your favorite historical films from the 1990s.

What are the best historical movies from the 1990s? This list includes great period pieces such as Schindler's List, The Shawshank Redemption, and Titanic. Historical movies allow audiences to relive a piece of a history that they may never know about otherwise. They become sources of both entertainment and education. 

The movies on this list are the best of the best when it comes to historical films. Which one is the best? Well, that's up to the voters to decide. Vote up your favorite historical movie, and if there isn't one on here that you think deserves a spot, be sure to add it. 

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1
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Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright

Released: 1994

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin ...more

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2
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Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel

Released: 1998

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic drama war film set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat, the film is notable for ...more

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#1 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #6 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

3
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Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins

Released: 1994

Directed by: Frank Darabont

The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and ...more

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#11 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #2 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies The Best 'Shawshank Redemption' Quotes Will Set You Free

4
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Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ed Harris

Released: 1995

Directed by: Ron Howard

Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris. The screenplay by William Broyles, ...more

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#53 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #32 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
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Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas ...more

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#508 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #18 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
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Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates

Released: 1997

Directed by: James Cameron

Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat (Kate Winslet) falls in love with a kind but poor artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) ...more

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#39 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies Weird But True Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Set Of 'Titanic'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
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Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson

Released: 1995

Directed by: Mel Gibson

Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First ...more

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#12 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #53 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
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Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Charles Rocket

Released: 1990

Directed by: Kevin Costner

Dances with Wolves is a 1990 American epic western film directed, produced by, and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells ...more

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#48 of 374 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #170 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
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Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite

Released: 1992

Directed by: Michael Mann

The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 and produced by Morgan Creek Pictures. It was directed by Michael Mann and based on James Fenimore Cooper's novel of the same ...more

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#434 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #52 of 394 The Best Western Movies Ever Madelisted on List of Silent Movies

10
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Val Kilmer, Kurt Russell, Charlton Heston

Released: 1993

Directed by: Kevin Jarre, George P. Cosmatos

Tombstone is a 1993 American western film directed by George P. Cosmatos, written by Kevin Jarre and starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, with Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael ...more

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#84 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #328 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

11
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Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

Released: 1988

Directed by: Alan Parker

Mississippi Burning is a 1988 American thriller film directed by Alan Parker and written by Chris Gerolmo. It was loosely based on the FBI investigation into the incidents involving of three ...more

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#262 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #68 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
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Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon

Released: 1991

Directed by: Oliver Stone

JFK is a 1991 American historical legal-conspiracy thriller film directed by Oliver Stone. It examines the events leading to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and subsequent ...more

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13
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Cate Blanchett, Daniel Craig, Lily Allen

Released: 1998

Directed by: Shekhar Kapur

Elizabeth is a 1998 biographical film written by Michael Hirst, directed by Shekhar Kapur, and starring Cate Blanchett in the title role of Queen Elizabeth I of England, alongside Geoffrey Rush, ...more

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#316 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #351 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
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Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken

Released: 1999

Directed by: Tim Burton

Sleepy Hollow is a 1999 American fantasy horror adventure film directed by Tim Burton. It is a film adaptation loosely inspired by the 1820 short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington ...more

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#181 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #210 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
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Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Julia Ormond

Released: 1994

Directed by: Edward Zwick

Legends of the Fall is a 1994 American epic drama film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, and Henry Thomas. Based on the 1979 novella of ...more

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#321 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #123 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

16
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Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro, James Woods

Released: 1995

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Casino is a 1995 American drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Nicholas Pileggi, who also co-wrote the screenplay for the film with ...more

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#665 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #141 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #269 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies

17
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Brad Pitt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Robert Redford

Released: 1992

Directed by: Robert Redford

A River Runs Through It is a 1992 American film directed by Robert Redford and starring Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn, and Emily Lloyd. It is a period drama based on the ...more

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#316 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
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Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Anna Paquin

Released: 1997

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Amistad is a 1997 historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the true story of the 1839 mutiny aboard the slave ship La Amistad, during which Mende tribesmen taken and managed ...more

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19
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Brad Pitt, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis

Released: 1991

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Thelma & Louise is a 1991 American film, written by Callie Khouri and directed by Ridley Scott. It stars Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise, two friends who embark on a road ...more

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#700 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Making Of 'Thelma & Louise'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
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Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Téa Leoni

Released: 1994

Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan

Wyatt Earp is a 1994 American semi-biographical Western film, written by Dan Gordon and Lawrence Kasdan and directed by Kasdan. It stars Kevin Costner in the title role as lawman Wyatt Earp, and ...more

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#54 of 394 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #258 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

21
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Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper

Released: 1999

Directed by: Joe Johnston

October Sky is a 1999 American biographical film directed by Joe Johnston, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern. It is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's ...more
22
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but chickens double d added Mel Gibson, Christian Bale, Billy Connolly

Released: 1995

Directed by: Eric Goldberg, Mike Gabriel

Pocahontas is a 1995 American animated musical romantic-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 33rd film in the Walt Disney Animated ...more

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#58 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #88 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

23
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George Clooney, John Travolta, Sean Penn

Released: 1998

Directed by: Terrence Malick

The Thin Red Line is a 1998 American ensemble epic film written and directed by Terrence Malick. Based on the novel by James Jones, it tells a fictionalized version of the Battle of Mount ...more

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24
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Winona Ryder, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeffrey Jones

Released: 1996

Directed by: Nicholas Hytner

The Crucible is a 1996 drama film written by Arthur Miller and based on his play of the same name. It was directed by Nicholas Hytner and stars Daniel Day-Lewis as John Proctor, Winona Ryder as ...more

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25
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Sazonana added Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas

Released: 1998

Directed by: Martin Campbell

The Mask of Zorro is a 1998 American swashbuckler film based on the Zorro character created by Johnston McCulley. It was directed by Martin Campbell and stars Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, ...more

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#349 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #157 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #262 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time