Top 10 Movies of 1991

(Updated on February 11, 2012)

Much like 1992, 1991 was a really great year for movies. 6 out of 10 of my Top 10 movies for 1991 are in my Top 100 Movies of all time. And when you look at this list, it has a real variety of genres within it. Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Drama, Comedy, Historical, and even Chic Flick. It’s years like this that I fondly look back on for revisiting movies over and over. At 20 years old now, all 10 of these films have stood the test of time. While they’ve moved around into different positions over the years, this is a pretty firm order for me now. Although it’s tough as always to pick a true #1 when there are other perfect films from the same year, Terminator 2 got the honors. Thelma & Louise could just as easily be #1 for me, but I’ll never forget going to see Terminator 2 in the movie theater on opening day, July 3, 1991. The movie absolutely blew me away with its story, CGI special effects, sound, and just about everything. It still gives me chills to this day and is one of those movies you can watch again and again and still find something new in it each time. And its one of those rare sequels that’s better than the first film…and I mean WAY BETTER in this case.

Terminator 2 was fundamentally groundbreaking cinema from Director James Cameron, much like people feel about Avatar (2009). Nobody had really done something so realistic and so integrated into a movie on a computer like Cameron. Funny enough, I think some of the CGI in T2 still stands out as good as effects done today. I was so totally into T2 in the theater that day, that I couldn’t even break away to go to the restroom to take a pee…even though I needed to REALLY BAD! Now that’s a damn good movie when you can say that. There was simply no “down” time during the film when I felt I could sneak out for a few minutes. I just didn’t want to miss anything. Anyways…enough about my need to pee.

While I don’t think I saw Thelma & Louise in the theater, I fell in love with it at some point that year…probably on VHS tape. When you look at Director Ridley Scott’s body of work now, T&L seems like a bit of an anomaly from his typical action/adventure/sci-fi/war filmography, but it stands out as one of his best films in my opinion. This feminist version of the buddy picture is fantastic in every detail, especially the writing, acting, cinematography, music, and production design. To be honest, I probably watch Thelma & Louise more regularly now as an adult than Terminator 2. This roadtrip story at its core is about two people finding out who they really are when put to the test. And I love a transformative character experience in a movie probably more than anything else. Especially on the road. If you honestly haven’t seen this film because it’s book cover reputation is that it’s a “chic” flick, then man-up and watch one of the great movies of our time from one of the greatest film directors of all time. Someday I’ll actually write a blog review about T&L and explore all of the themes within it. But for now, I’ll let it speak for itself on screen. I will say that the new Blu-ray version of the film is fantastic, bringing the movie back to its original glory, with color, detail, and picture quality that astounds you for a 20-year old movie. It shows how little effort the studios put into other catalog blu-ray releases from that time when you see the care put in to this one.

Three runners-up that almost made this list were Father Of The Bride, K2, and What About Bob?. All 4 star films.

10.  Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country  (4.5 stars)

9.  Doc Hollywood  (5 stars)

8.  The Silence Of The Lambs  (5 stars)

7.  JFK  (5 stars)

6.  Class Action  (5 stars)

5.  Backdraft  (5 stars)

4.  Point Break  (5 stars)

3.  Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves  (5 stars)

2.  Thelma & Louise  (5 stars)

1.  Terminator 2: Judgment Day  (5 stars)

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