The 1990s saw the insurgency of many new crops of directors who changed the grammar of filmmaking and bent the conventional genres of films. While the television stuck to formulaic pieces, the audience witnessed some of the classics that gave wings to the careers of directors and actors. Directors like Quentin Tarantino, Todd Haynes, and others gave some of the best debut features in that decade.
The new-age directors and some of the veterans gave the audience some of the most memorable characters that became both timeless and iconic. Be it the femme fatale that Uma Thurman played in ‘Pulp Fiction’ or the timid yet powerful portrayal of Forrest Gump by Tom Hanks. While some actors are still active and some have become archaic, the audience is still living with them through their characters vicariously.
10) Jim Carrey As Stanley Ipkiss/The Mask
If someone popularized physical comedy, it was Jim Carrey. The comedy extraordinaire appeared to have aced all characters in films like ‘Dumb and Dumber’, ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, and others.
However, playing The Mask in the 1994 film with the same moniker made him the household name he is. The film was purely entertaining, and it was also the second-highest-grossing cartoon film for a while. Jim recently did voice work for the highest-grossing film of 2022, ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’.
9) Macaulay Culkin As Kevin McCallister
30 years ago, an eight-year-old child created a sensation by fighting robbers in the 1990s in ‘Home Alone’. That kid was Macaulay Culkin, who played Kevin McCallister in the Christmas classic. The decade also gave us some of the most iconic child characters, including Shirley Temple. Now, Macaulay is all set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the ‘Home Alone’ franchise.
8) Johnny Depp As Edward Scissorhands
Tim Burton’s gothic tale is about an eccentric scientist who creates a man with scissor hands. However, after the scientist’s death, Edward Scissorhands is taken in by a suburban family. At first, the neighborhood is fascinated by him, but the solitary man gets shunned by the neighbors when he gets dragged into a crime he did not commit.
It is one of the best characters of Johnny Depp and a better film by Tim Burton. Recently, Johnny Depp was seen at the Cannes Film Festival for ‘Jeanne du Barry’ in which he plays Louis XV.
7) Arnold Schwarzenegger As Terminator
In 1984, James Cameron’s dystopian drama was saved by the suave Arnold Schwarzenegger, who plays the uber-cool cyborg assassin. It launched James’ career and gave a boost to Arnold’s career. Apart from the franchise, Arnold appeared in a few films, but as he aged, his screen appearance reduced, with the latest project being the Netflix series on his life titled ‘Arnold’.
6) Denzel Washington As Malcolm X
As the Civil Rights Movement came to an end, Malcolm X emerged as a radical leader who went through a drastic change in his life and political ideologies. In 1992, he joined hands with Spike Lee to deliver one of the most iconic characters in his filmography, for which he received an Oscar nomination. Recently, he starred in the third installment of ‘The Equalizer’ trilogy.
5) Sir Anthony Hopkins As Hannibal Lecter
‘The Silence of the Lambs’ bent the horror genre forever, and Jonathan Demme mounted an iconic film that is considered a classic. Along with the film, Jonathan gave Sir Anthony Hopkins one of the most memorable characters of his career, Hannibal Lecter. He was despicable and grotesque. Today, Mr. Hopkins is 86 years old, and he is still active, featuring in ‘One Life’ based on the life of Nicholas Winton.
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4) Brad Pitt As Tyler Durden
In today’s world, a character like Tyler Durden will be despised for the portrayal of a toxic man who is leading a pack, helping them vent out their anger and anxiety in the most unconventional way. However, Brad Pitt convincingly played the macho Tyler Durden in ‘Fight Club, making him look suave and, to some extent, empathetic.
3) Tom Hanks As Forrest Gump
It is one of the many iconic characters that Tom Hanks played. He brought sadness and innocence to this man, who is not very intelligent yet very empathetic and lovable. Gump took us through some of the pivotal moments in the history of America, but Tom infused the energy of an innocent, optimistic man.
2) Tim Robbins As Andy Dufresne
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman gave us a taste of freedom by taking us on a journey with their characters, Andy Dufresne and Ellis Redding. It was Tim who brought the ease, confidence, and performative eyes of Andy Dufresne to life. Andy, who murdered his wife and her lover, takes Ellis under his wings and takes him out of the dread that a man may live after being imprisoned and then freed.
1) Uma Thurman As Mia Wallace
A cult classic from the director extraordinaire Quentin Tarantino, ‘Pulp Fiction’ gave us the iconic duo of John Travolta as Vincent Vega and Samuel Jackson as Jules Winnifield. However, Uma Thurman, Quentin’s forever muse, stole the show with her femme fatale and seductress, Mia Wallace. She was stellar as Mia, playing the iconic overdose scene.
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