My Top 10 Favorite Movies of 1993

04 Dec

It has been a while since my last top 10 of a year list. The further back we get, the less strong movies I tend to have seenfrom a given year. I’ve made a conscious effort the last few months of checking out some 1993 offerings to fill out the ranks here. A few have made the cut, and the result is a list of ten films that seem fit to be called among the best of their year.

Before anyone asks: I haven’t seen Schindler’s List.

As usual, this is going by release year as listed on IMDB.

Honorable mentions: Demolition Man, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Sunes sommar, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape


10 – THREE COLORS: BLUE (TROIS COULEURS: BLEU, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

“Now I have only one thing left to do: nothing. I don’t want any belongings, any memories. No friends, no love. Those are all traps.”

The first installment of Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy, this part focusing on the concept of liberty and how it applies to a woman who just lost her husband and daughter in a car accident. It’s thematically gripping, and Juliette Binoche is great in the lead, but what I most remember of the movie is the way it looks: the many ways the color blue is used, the shot of the sugar lump, and a whole lot else. I should get around to watching the rest of the trilogy one of these days.


9 – THE PIANO (Jane Campion)

” ‘Twere good he had God’s patience, for silence affects everyone in the end.”

Period romance dramas is not a genre I tend to flock towards (can a single person “flock”?), but this one I definitely enjoyed, chiefly thanks to the teriffic cast. The film also does a great job of bringing its environments to life, fully enveloping the viewer in its murky New Zealand locations. Strong stuff.


8 – THE FUGITIVE (Andrew Davis)

“Are you suggesting that I killed my wife? Are you saying that I crushed her skull and that I shot her? How dare you!”

It’s hard to imagine a movie like this scoring a Best Picture Oscar nomination today, isn’t it? This is after all a fairly straight-forward action thriller. Nothing truly special about it, other than its rock-solid overall quality. Though perhaps that could be said to be special enough.


7 – GRUMPY OLD MEN (Donald Petrie)

“When I had an ulcer, I was farting razor blades.”

There are not enough comedies about grumpy old men in the world. This one’s hilarious. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau were certainly no strangers to working with one another, and it shows. What great chemistry.


6 – FALLING DOWN (Joel Schumacher)

“Listen fellows, I’ve had a really rare morning…”

Michael Douglas is one of those actors who are fully capable of great performances even when he doesn’t disappear into a role. In most movies, I’m fully aware that it’s Douglas playing his part. In Falling Down, however, he really does become William Foster, disgruntled office worker who finally gets fed up with everything. It’s an entertaining and scathing portrait of the American dream having gone sour, and possibly Joel Schumacher’s finest hour.


5 – JURASSIC PARK (Steven Spielberg)

“We’re gonna make a fortune with this place.”

Back when I was a kid, I naturally loved dinosaurs. Most of my friends did too. There were so many cool dinosaurs to love. Many preferred Tyrannosaurus Rex, but you could also dig the Brontosaurus, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, or what have you. You know which dinosaur nobody had ever even heard of at the time? The Velociraptor. Then Jurassic Park arrived, and all of a sudden everyone went gaga over the raptor. Even to this day, it seems the go-to dino in all walks of life: basketball teams, video game enemies, you name it. Raptors everywhere! But yeah, they were pretty damn badass in Jurassic Park. I’m sure you don’t need me to sell you on this film. Hence the digression.


4 – FEARLESS (Peter Weir)

“You’re safe because we died already.”

Hell, the awesome opening scene alone could have been enough to give Fearless a decent shot at making this list. Fortunately, the rest of the film keeps the good stuff coming. Funny, touching, heartwrenching, and – occasionally – mystifying in the best of ways. A film not quite like any other I’ve seen.



“Now you’ve probably wondered where holidays come from. If you haven’t I’d say it’s time you begun.”

Yes, Selick directed this one. Not Tim Burton. Burton did produce it, though. All sorts of animation require tons of effort, but it’s hard not to be particularly impressed by stop motion animation. Just the thought of moving all these models slight fractions and making sure they look just right all the way through is awe-inspiring. Nightmare Before Christmas also boasts an eye-catching gothic visual style – on that wasn’t quite “typical Tim Burton” yet back in 1993 – a quirky and fun story, memorable characters, and plenty of cool songs. This is Halloween, this is Halloween…


2 – THE REMAINS OF THE DAY (James Ivory)

“In my philosophy, Mr. Benn, a man cannot call himself well-contented until he has done all he can to be of service to his employer.”

The Lord of the Rings trilogy used to be the only time where I preferred the film to the book, despite having read the book first. Used to. The Remains of the Day definitely joined the rank when I saw it last month – and it’s a top contender for my Best Film Seen This Year award come New Year. It is a real heartbreaker, beautifully staged, and fantastically acted. A helpful reminder that when one considers the best actors of all time, one should not overlook Anthony Hopkins. Time and time again he disappears into roles, not by altering his appearance in any significant way but by transforming his very being. Co-star Emma Thompson is right there with him, too. I dare you not be moved by the “what are you reading” scene. Or by the handshake.


1 – GROUNDHOG DAY (Harold Ramis)

“This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.”

Barring childhood silliness, Groundhog Day was the first film I ever considered my favorite where I felt that my opinion had some degree of merit to it. Do you know what I mean? Where I actually thought, pondered and considered, and came to the conclusion that there is no other movie in the world that I like better than this one. That was back in my teens, and while it’s not quite my all-time favorite anymore, it’s still playing in the top league at least. Bill Murray is at his snarkiest here, and though the whole point of the film is his softening up, there is always a certain edge to everything he says. The premise itself is a fun one, and every possible bit of top-notch comedy is produced from it. Funny, inspiring – in the best sense of the word – and universal in its appeal and message. Groundhog Day is a comedy classic.

What are you favorite films of 1993? What do you think of the movies on this list?


Posted by on 4 December, 2012 in Lists, Top 10 of a year


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23 responses to “My Top 10 Favorite Movies of 1993

  1. vinnieh

    4 December, 2012 at 15:26

    Great post, I still need to watch Three colors Blue.

    • Emil

      4 December, 2012 at 17:40

      That’s probably a good idea. It’s not for everyone, but everyone could stand to give it a shot, at least.

  2. Movies - Noir

    4 December, 2012 at 16:18

    I’ve seen all of them, but Remains of the Day was back when it came so I don’t remember anything from it. As you might know, The Fugitive is my #1 from this year. But Groundhog Day is a close 2nd (on a good day it’s the other way around). Schindler’s List is #3 on that list, so you ‘should’ really see it :)

    Otherwise, no real surprises. I didn’t really like The Piano to be honest. Three Colors: Blue was the one I liked the most in the trilogy, but it didn’t make my top ten from the year.

    • Emil

      4 December, 2012 at 17:45

      Yeah, I remember The Fugitive topping your list. It’s nowhere near Groundhog Day in my book, but then I’m ridiculously devoted to Groundhog Day, so that’s to be expected. :)

      I’ll get around to Schindler’s List one of these days. I know everyone loves it, and I’m sure it’s great and all. It just hasn’t happened yet.

      This list did turn out to be a bit “the usual suspects”-ish. Grumpy Old Men is probably the oddball of the ten if there is one. I was almost tempted to shove Sunes Sommar into the #10 spot just for fun, but I managed to restrain myself…

  3. Jandy

    4 December, 2012 at 17:01

    Our lists have quite a bit in common for this year, though predictably with different placements –

    10. The Piano
    9. Groundhog Day
    8. The Nightmare Before Christmas
    7. Three Colors: Blue
    6. The Fugitive
    5. The Remains of the Day
    4. Schindler’s List
    3. Much Ado About Nothing
    2. True Romance
    1. Jurassic Park

    I think it’s a fairly populist list from me, frankly. :) And I’m okay with that! Falling Down is hovering pretty close outside the Top Ten, as well. It’s one of Jonathan’s favorite movies – I think it’s in his Top Ten of all time, according to Flickchart.

    Red is my favorite of the Three Colors trilogy (it’s near my all-time Top 100); White is my least favorite, but yeah, you should still watch the rest of them. In order, because even though they’re not related plot-wise, Red has a bit at the end that calls back to the other two and brings them together thematically. Now I want to rewatch all of them. :)

    I’ve been watching Downton Abbey on Netflix/Amazon, and there are whole swaths of it that remind me SO MUCH of Remains of the Day. I should rewatch that soonish, too. I put off watching it for a long time, because it doesn’t sound that interesting just in the synopsis, but it’s pretty incredible.

    • Emil

      4 December, 2012 at 17:53

      That is quite some overlap between our respective lists, aye. The order for me here is quite fluid. The top three or so are where I feel they should be, but the rest could move around on a day-to-day basis. I really should revisit Jurassic Park and Falling Down at some point, as it’s been a while since last time.

      Three Colors White is at top priority on my rental queue, along with a bunch of other films. With luck, I could end up with it before the year is over.

      “Fortunately”, Downton Abbey isn’t available on Swedish Netflix. I’m always weary of getting caught up in TV series, because then I’ll just be frustrated when there aren’t any new episodes available. Movies have spoilt me. I avoid TV as much as I can these days. Although Downton Abbey does sound intriguing based on your description…

      • Jandy

        4 December, 2012 at 17:59

        Yeah, running out of episodes of TV is always irritating, and I’m getting close with Downton. Netflix here has Series 1 and Amazon has Series 2, but Series 3 doesn’t start airing in the US until January, so I’m trying to hold out on the last few eps of S2. Then the wait for S4 will be excruciating. Anyway, I’m liking it more than I expected to – my tolerance for period pieces isn’t what it used to be and I held out against watching it for a long time, but it’s a lot of fun. Have you seen Altman’s Gosford Park? Downton is basically a cross between that and Remains of the Day – large ensemble cast comprising nobility, servants, and work-class townsfolk, and how those roles start shifting in the years leading up to World War I.

        • Emil

          4 December, 2012 at 19:15

          Haven’t checked out Gosford Park yet, no. I want to, though. The cast is most impressive. I might give Downton a go once it wraps up its run.

  4. david

    5 December, 2012 at 09:16

    This is a sensational list,Emil.My top 3 of 1993 would be Three Colors Blue,The Remains of the Day and Schindler’s list.

    Have you seen other James Ivory films? I also love his Howard Ends and A Room with a View,both are adapted by the novels of E.M. Foster.

    • Emil

      5 December, 2012 at 09:30

      I haven’t seen anything else by Ivory, no. The Remains of the Day makes me want to, though. I’ll make sure to check out the ones you mentioned. Thanks for the tips!

  5. Alex Withrow

    5 December, 2012 at 23:38

    Solid list man. Falling Down… people don’t talk about that movie enough. Love it.

    I really dig all of your picks, a few I’d add:

    Short Cuts
    In the Name of the Father
    True Romance

    And especially Mike Leigh’s Naked, a ferocious, bleak masterwork.

  6. Emil

    6 December, 2012 at 10:27

    Falling Down tends to be brought up when people talk about Joel Schumacher. Often in the context of “Look, he used to make GOOD movies before Batman!”. It deserves better than that.

    Philadelphia never quite grabbed me the way I wanted it to. That opera music scene kind of killed it for me. It’s a fine movie, and you could make a case for it being an important one for a couple of reasons, but I don’t love it. True Romance is another one I like but don’t see the big deal about, although I really do owe that one a rewatch.

    The other three you mentioned are still unseen by me, although this will change at some point. I’ve yet to see a Mike Leigh film I didn’t like, so I’m hoping to explore more of his filmography. Naked and Vera Drake are probably next in line.

    Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. Nostra

    6 December, 2012 at 15:11

    Really amazing year with some of my favorite movies in there, Groundhog Day, Grumpy Old Men and Falling Down.

    • Emil

      6 December, 2012 at 18:54

      Always nice to see some more love for Grumpy Old Men. A damn funny movie, that one.

      • Nostra

        7 December, 2012 at 08:42

        Yeah, love both of them and the father is so funny, especially when they show the outtakes :)

        • Emil

          7 December, 2012 at 09:39

          That’s a useful reminder that there’s a sequel I still need to check out…

          • Nostra

            7 December, 2012 at 09:58

            You haven’t seen it yet? You really need to then :)

  8. sati

    9 December, 2012 at 16:39

    Great list! Glad to see Falling Down here, it’s such a great film and Douglas delivers one of his finest performances there.

    • Emil

      9 December, 2012 at 20:57

      Falling Down is one of my favorite Douglas performances too, yeah. It’s up there with Wall Street, Fatal Attraction and Wonder Boys.

      • sati

        14 December, 2012 at 17:18

        Oh, glad you liked Wonder Boys – it’s such a charming and warm movie and the performances were all around great.

        • Emil

          14 December, 2012 at 18:02

          I fully agree. Lovely movie.

  9. Imogen

    19 August, 2013 at 03:28

    I couldn’t agree more. Our tastes are extraordinarily similar (based on all of your lists!), so of course, all I can say is, “Excellent choices!” Thank you for introducing me to so many excellent films – I am now working my way through the ones I hadn’t watched, and they have been great recommendations. :)

  10. cjodell12

    6 February, 2014 at 19:28

    My Top 10 films of 1993 (plus awards I would have given it):
    1. Schindler’s List (Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Original Score)
    2. The Piano (Actress, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score)
    3. The Fugitive
    4. In the Name of the Father
    5. Much Ado About Nothing
    6. Jurassic Park (Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects)
    7. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Animated Feature)
    8. Gettysburg
    9. In the Line of Fire
    10. Farewell My Concubine (Foreign Film)


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