33 Cult Classic Movies of the '90s Perfect for Family Night

Bethany Quinn | Mar 26, 2019 Movies
33 Cult Classic Movies of the '90s Perfect for Family Night
Image: TriStar/Getty Images

Robin Williams in Jumanji
TriStar/Getty Images

The 1990s brought us many things, including mom jeans, neon, the best of Disney (don't fight us on this), and a slew of Robin Williams classics. It was truly an epic decade. Of course, along with all the fantastic Disney films (again, don't fight us), came a bunch of other incredible awesome movies -- movies that are actually pretty great to watch with the kiddos today. Family-friendly films from the the '90s ran the gamut from everything to animation to live-action films. They also included themes like sports, fantasy, sci-fi and horror. But somehow they were all appropriate enough to watch as kids.

(Ahh, the good old days.)

It seemed that every '90s movie had a better soundtrack than the next. From new classics to old favorites, the songs that accompanied films from this decade were just as iconic. It truly was a fantastic decade for movies.

Now we are sure many millennials will be shocked to realize that 1990 was 29 years ago! That means the films they enjoyed watching themselves they can now watch with their kids, which is one of the greatest joys of parenting if ya ask us. Sitting down with the family for a '90s cult classic may even bring a few LOLs, too. For example, kids may recognize Paul Rudd as Ant Man, but we'll never forget him as one of our '90s heartthrobs from the classic Clueless. Kids today might even roll their eyes at the subpar graphics and cheesy costumes of the Ninja Turtles films from the decade.

Either way, these movies are timeless! Here are 33 cult classics from the '90s that are perfect for family movie night.

  • 'Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead' (1991)


    Rated: PG-13

    This may not be the best movie to watch with little ones, but for teens, there are some pretty good lessons here. For one, when times get tough, step up and do whatever necessary to help the family.

    Also, it never pays to lie to mom.

  • 'Drop Dead Fred' (1991)


    Rated: PG-13

    Imaginary friends are always there for us, perhaps even when they shouldn't be. In this film, Phoebe Cates's character, Lizzie, has an imaginary friend, Fred, that she has to reconcile with saying goodbye to as an adult.

    There are some funny moments and some dark ones, too, that make Drop Dead Fred better for the older kiddos.

  • '3 Ninjas' (1992)


    Rated: PG

    OK, so the plot of this film is totally far-fetched: The FBI enlists three young ninja brothers to help it take down an organized crime ring. But it's good fun -- and totally '90s. We do have to admit the kids have some sweet ninja moves.

  • 'Clueless' (1995)


    Rated: PG-13

    With themes like hooking up and drugs peppered throughout this film, Clueless is better suited for older kids -- although those things might go right over their heads in some instances. Parents will get a kick out of "translating" all of the California slang from the '90s!

    "Ugh, as if!"

  • 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' (1993)


    Rated: PG

    Tim Burton does Christmas in this dark animated tale about the Jack the Pumpkin King who longs for something new to celebrate. Kids will get a kick out of the great songs and lovable, off-beat characters in The Nightmare Before Christmas.

  • 'Problem Child' (1990)


    Rated: PG

    Equal parts disturbing and funny, Problem Child stars the late great John Ritter as Ben, who adopts an orphan named Junior. Things go horribly wrong as Junior terrorizes his new parents, and when he gets kidnapped, Ben steps up to save his kid.

    Hopefully kids won't get any inspiration from Junior when watching this film.

  • 'The Addams Family' (1991)


    Rated: PG-13

    The sets and costumes alone make this a fantastic film to watch with kids. Plus, we're sure they'll get a kick out of all the naughty behavior that's not only tolerated, but encouraged in this classic film.

    "Wednesday, play with your food."

  • 'The Witches' (1990)


    Rated: PG

    The Witches is a film version of the classic Roald Dahl book that definitely has some creepy moments -- so take heed. Anjelica Huston is absolutely terrifying in her "real" form in this movie about a boy who happens upon a group of witches and then gets turned into a mouse.

  • 'Gremlins 2: The New Batch' (1990)


    Rated: PG-13

    In this sequel, the Gremlins take over a New York City skyscraper. Kids will love the old-timey effects and cute creatures who turn into monsters when they come in contact with water. Parents will love the comedic lines that are sprinkled in.

  • 'The Lion King' (1994)


    Rated: G

    Even if kids haven't seen this classic Disney film, they like can sing a song or two from it. Gear up for the live-action Lion King release later this year (Beyonce!) by watching the original animated version. With Simba, Lala, Timon, and Pumba, the night will be full of fun and laughter.

  • 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1992)


    Rated: PG-13

    The original Buffy! We just love this movie for the underlying theme of female empowerment. Buffy is kick-butt gal who takes down evil vampires with the help of a hotter than ever Luke Perry (ugh, rest in peace). We also love the cameos from some of our fave actors -- like Hilary Swank and even Ben Affleck.

  • 'Toy Story' (1995)


    Rated: G

    Woody and Buzz go head-to-head in the first film of this beloved series. We get introduced to a cast of characters that will be part of our lives and pop culture for years to come. Toy Story 4 is hitting theaters later in 2019, and both kids and adults couldn't be more excited.

  • 'Cool Runnings' (1993)


    Rated: PG

    Four Jamaican men start an Olympic bobsled team, and while they don't win a medal (spoiler alert), they win the hearts of people everywhere. Led by their coach John Candy, this story has heart and is the epitome of a "feel-good film!"

  • 'Hook' (1991)


    Rated: PG

    What if Peter Pan grew up to become an adult and forgot all about Neverland and who he was? Well that's just what happens in this film that stars Robin Williams as Pan and Dustin Hoffman as Hook.

    Plus we get to see how Peter Pan's kids turn out ... totally cool!

  • 'Now and Then' (1995)


    Rated: PG-13

    With the most epic soundtrack and an equally epic cast, this movie follows four friends as they go from tweens to adults and look back on one amazing summer they had together. It's a true coming-of-age film that stars Demi Moore, Melanie Griffith, and Rosie O'Donnell.

  • 'Hocus Pocus' (1993)


    Rated: PG

    This Halloween cult classic stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as a trio of sisters who come back from the dead when they're accidentally summoned by a high school boy. They put a "spell" on the parents in order to suck the souls from the little children in the town. Get ready for some good fun and of course a song or two from the talented cast of Hocus Pocus.

  • 'Sister Act 2: Back in The Habit' (1993)


    Rated: PG

    Whoopi Goldberg is back as Sister Mary Clarence in this movie sequel, this time to help a failing high school. She works her magic and gets the kids to start a choir. With the vocal talents of a young Lauryn Hill, the choir soars to the top, but not without a few bumps in the road, of course.

  • 'Space Jam' (1997)


    Rated: PG

    Michael Jordan shows off his acting chops alongside our favorite Looney Tunes characters who he must help win an epic basketball game. This film really stands the test of time and is even getting an upgrade with LeBron James we hear -- although we're wondering how the reboot will match the awesomeness of the original.

  • 'The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter' (1990)


    Rated: PG

    Jonathan Brandis stars as a young boy who gets lost in the fantastic world of his book. In the second movie, young Bastian returns to the world he saved from destruction only to find that it's being tested again, this time by an evil sorceress.

  • 'Last Action Hero' (1993)


    Rated: PG-13

    This movie is every young kid's dream come true. Young Danny receives a magic ticket that transports him to the "real" world of his favorite action hero. The concept of the film is really cool but does contain some more mature themes, so it's probably better suited for teens and tweens. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Jack Slater, the larger-than-life action hero in the classic '90s film.

  • 'Lady Bugs' (1992)


    Rated: PG-13

    Rodney Dangerfield at his finest.

    In an attempt to climb the corporate ladder, Dangerfield's character agrees to coach his boss's daughter's all-girl soccer team. The film is pretty wacky at times, and while much of it may go over kid's heads, it's still great fun nonetheless.

  • 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze' (1991)


    Rated: PG

    There have been many, many updates to our favorite turtles over the last few years, but there's just something about this version that we love. Sure the costumes are tacky and the acting is so-so, but the face-off between Shredder and the turtles in this film is just so good.

    Plus we get an awesome song from Vanilla Ice! "Go ninja go ninja go!"

  • 'Matilda' (1996)


    Rated: PG

    Another Roald Dahl classic gets the movie treatment, this time with the help of Danny Devito. Young Matilda is too smart for her horrible family and finds a connection with an equally special teacher, Ms. Honey. Together they free themselves of their abusive family members and start a family of their own.

    This film really is just too sweet!

  • 'Mrs. Doubtfire' (1996)


    Rated: PG-13

    Robin Williams stars as a dad so desperate to spend time with his children, he dresses up as an older woman nanny just to do so. There are laughs in Mrs. Doubtfire but most importantly, love. Moms may find themselves rolling their eyes along with Sally Field's character, but the kids will certainly think the film is funny.

  • 'Babe' (1995)


    Rated: G

    This adorable film is about a pig named Babe (aw!) who learns to herd sheep. This heartwarming tale shows how strong the love between a human and an animal can be -- and the joy of discovering an unlikely hero. Families might find themselves planning their next trip to a local farm after watching.

  • 'The Sandlot' (1993)


    Rated: PG

    "You're killing me smalls!" This movie will hit ya right in the feels for its on point tribute to simpler times. It stars a group of boys whose joy is playing baseball in a sandlot and hanging with each other during one very memorable summer. It's a story of friendship and loyalty and gives a bit of an inside look at the crazy world of a young boy's life.

  • 'Jumanji' (1995)


    Rated: PG

    Another Robin Williams classic! This book spawned a modern-day remake, but the original is really where it's at. A "haunted" board game travels through time and must be played by the original players for it to finish. There are laughs, gasps, cheers, and a few monkeys!

  • 'Look Who's Talking, Too' (1990)


    Rated: PG-13

    Mikey gets a little sister in the follow-up to the first popular film. Bruce Willis and Roseanne Barr lend their voices to the tiny characters, and John Travolta and Kirstie Alley star as their parents. Family dynamics are tested in this hilarious film about the love of family.

  • 'Casper' (1995)


    Rated: PG

    Bill Pullman plays a paranormal expert who moves into an abandoned house with his daughter, played by Christina Ricci. They discover three mean ghosts and a Casper, the friendly one. Together they help to rid the house of the mean ghosts, and a true friendship is formed between Casper and the young girl.

  • '101 Dalmatians' (1996)


    Rated: G

    Pongo and Perdita, two sweet Dalmatians, must save their puppies who were kidnapped by the evil Cruella De Vil, played by Glen Close. Cruella wants to make a fur coat out of the puppies, which is a pretty gruesome thought -- but good thing the movie is more focused on the adorable pups and their amazing survival than the mean old lady.

  • 'The Parent Trap' (1998)


    Rated: PG 

    Something about a young, innocent Lindsay Lohan just makes us so sad. This film truly shows her unique talent at such a young age as she plays two twins separated at birth -- and she totally nails the British accent. The sweet film shows the power of sisterhood, even after a long separation.

  • 'Free Willy' (1993)


    Rated: PG

    This lovable movie is about a troublesome boy who befriends a killer whale. They form a strong bond, and the boy is able to teach the whale tricks no trainer has been able to. But that doesn't stop the aquarium owner's plans for getting rid of the whale, Willy. The boy risks everything to free his friend in a pretty amazing final scene!

  • 'Stuart Little' (1999)


    Rated: PG

    A family adopts a sweet mouse named Stuart, voiced by Michael J. Fox, but the family cat is none too pleased at his arrival -- and they square off in a literal cat and mouse chase. Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie costar in this sweet family film.

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