Top 20 of 1996

Breaking the Waves chapter

The 90s were generally good years for film, but I was surprised by how tremendous this year was. The resurgence of indie Americans was in full swing; Dogme 95 was in motion (although the Von Trier film on this list isn’t really Dogme); and there was still quite a bit of foreign cinema going strong. This list also has two of the best and most influential documentaries of the decade.

One addition that might surprise some people is James and the Giant Peach. Many people wrote it off as a standard Roald Dahl animated children’s tale. This was in the era where Pixar was getting all the accolades and other animated films were being overlooked. I discovered it later and consider it to be a gem. I’ve watched it several times and appreciate it more each time. I implore people to check it out if they haven’t seen it.


This year was so strong that a lot of wonderful movies had to be cut, and that always hurts. Some of my last cuts were Citizen Ruth, Drifting Clouds, Flirting with Disaster, Sling Blade, Pusher, and The People vs. Larry Flynt.

1. Breaking the Waves
2. Secrets & Lies
3. Fargo
4. Paradise Lost
5. James and the Giant Peach
6. Trainspotting
7. When We Were Kings
8. La Promesse
9. A Summer’s Tale
10. Mars Attacks!
11. Bottle Rocket
12. Big Night
13. Lone Star
14. Irma Vep
15. The English Patient
16. A Moment of Innocence
17. My Sex Life … Or How I Got Into an Argument
18. Ridicule
19. Hard Eight
20. Shall We Dance.


Posted on February 9, 2015, in Film, Lists. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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