16 '90s Heartthrobs in the Roles That Made Us Fall in Love With Them

16 '90s Heartthrobs in the Roles That Made Us Fall in Love With Them

paul rudd, alicia silverstoneThey say you never forget your first love, and the same can be said of your first movie star crush -- or crushes, as the case may be. And there's nothing like remembering your favorite stars in the roles that launched a thousand Algebra class daydreams to make you feel like a hormonally supercharged tween again, which is why we're looking back at when some of our favorite '90s heartthrobs played characters who won our hearts for life!

Click through our slideshow to see if any of the actors from the movie posters on your childhood bedroom walls made the cut -- then hit up Netflix for some nostalgia-driven binge-watching. You will thank us later. We promise.


Image via Paramount Pictures

  • Keanu Reeves in 'Point Break'

    keanu reeves
    Image via Twentieth Century Fox

    Keanu Reeves has played many iconic characters -- a teenage time traveler, a dimension-bending hacker -- but to girls who came of age in the '90s, he'll always be effortlessly cool undercover cop/surfer Johnny Utah in Point Break (1991), who turned wearing a wetsuit into a freaking art form. 

  • Ethan Hawke in 'Reality Bites'

    ethan hawke
    Image via Universal Studios

    Two words: Troy. Dyer. The quintessential misunderstood bad boy with a heart of gold (and the soul of a poet!), Ethan Hawke's character in Reality Bites (1994) was Winona Ryder's destiny, you guys. (Although, honestly? In retrospect, Ben Stiller would have been a way more sensible choice.)

  • Brad Pitt in 'Legends of the Fall'

    brad pitt
    Image via TriStar Pictures

    In Legends of the Fall (1994), Brad Pitt played a golden-maned angel from Heaven who fell to Earth so he could look hot riding horses. (Note: Not actually the plot, but who can remember anything besides that hair?! And, he is still a hottie ... with any haircut!)

    More from CafeMom: '90s Teen Heartthrobs Who Look Awful Now (PHOTOS)

  • Johnny Depp in 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape'

    johnny depp
    Image via Paramount Pictures

    Okay, so Johnny Depp hasn't allegedly been living up to his teen idol status lately. So we'd prefer to think of him as the tormented hero with the face of -- well, with the face of Johnny Depp, in the excellently acted but truthfully sorta depressing What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) -- costarring fellow '90s heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio!

  • Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Titanic'

    leonardo dicaprio
    Image via Paramount PIctures

    Speaking of Leo ... long before Leo won the Oscar for beating up a CGI bear, he was the king of our worlds in Titanic (1997). How could you let go, Rose?? HOW COULD YOU LET GO?!

  • Christian Slater in 'Untamed Heart'

    christian slater
    Image via Amazon

    An unabashedly over-the-top sob fest, Untamed Heart (1993) will have a place in our untamed hearts forever thanks to Christian Slater's sensitive, largely silent portrayal of a sickly (but hot!) recluse who teaches Marisa Tomei how to love again. 

    More from CafeMom: 10 Favorite '90s Heartthrobs Then & Now -- See How Much They've Changed! (PHOTOS)

  • Daniel Day Lewis in 'The Last of the Mohicans'


    Where have you been for the last 24 years? 'Cause we've been standing under a waterfall waiting for Daniel Day-Lewis to come running through the forest and find us. If there's one thing we can say for Last of the Mohicans (1992), it made us pay way more attention in American History class.

  • Will Smith in 'Independence Day'


    Sure, there's a brand-new Independence Day installment out, but we'll take the 1996 original with Will Smith as an alien-punching hotshot any day of the week. Those arms, though!!

  • Mark Wahlberg in 'Fear'


    The movie that made Mark Wahlberg go from "Donnie's little brother" to "New Kids on the Who?!," Fear (1996) also made us look at roller coaster rides in a totally different way. Like, for the rest of our lives.

    More from CafeMom: 18 Romantic Lyrics From '90s Love Songs That Still Make Us Swoon

  • Paul Rudd in 'Clueless'

    paul rudd
    Image via Paramount

    Sure, everybody loves Paul Rudd now, but he was a total Baldwin to us way back when he was Alicia Silverstone's ex-stepbrother/love interest in Clueless (1995). (And he seriously hasn't changed. Not one bit.)


  • Matt Damon in 'Good Will Hunting'

    matt damon
    Image via Miramax

    When then-wunderkind Matt Damon burst onto the scene in 1997 with Good Will Hunting, we were more than ready. The part where he cried?! Come on! We like them apples just fine, Matt Damon. We like them just fine.

  • Ryan Phillippe in 'Cruel Intentions'

    ryan phillippe
    Image via Amazon

    As the scheming, sexually manipulative Sebastian in Cruel Intentions (1999), Ryan Phillippe was the guy no girl could stay away from for long (including real-life love Reese Witherspoon). So what if he was a player? True love transformed him. Just like we knew it would!

    More from CafeMom: 10 Heartthrobs From the '90s Who Fell Off the Hollywood Radar (PHOTOS)

  • Ben Affleck in 'Chasing Amy'


    As nerdy/lovable Holden in Chasing Amy (1997), Ben Affleck wasn't the best boyfriend ever. But neither were our boyfriends, so that was sort of comforting, especially because Holden totally meant well. 

  • Wesley Snipes in 'Blade'


    Little known fact: Blade (1998) was originally titled Come & Watch Wesley Snipes Wearing No Shirt for a Couple of Hours. (Not technically a fact, but it could have been)

  • Tom Cruise in 'Jerry Maguire'

    tom cruise
    Image via TriStar Pictures

    How much did we love Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire (1996)? So much that to this very day, just picturing the "you complete me" scene makes us forget about the couch jumping thing. (At least for a few minutes.)

    More from CafeMom: 14 Dope Items From the '90s That Are Still 'All That' for Adults Today

  • River Phoenix in 'My Own Private Idaho'

    river phoenix
    Image via Amazon

    River Phoenix's heartthrob days were cut tragically short, but we'll never forget him as narcoleptic hustler Mike in My Own Private Idaho (1991). Extra points for equally drool-worthy costar Keanu Reeves!

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