These 10 life changing movies of the 90’s all have some especially compelling message or some other intellectually important element. Most of them are dramas, because serious films usually have more life changing potential. Many movies of the 90’s made a big splash, and it was a major decade for important filmmaking, so this list has some fantastic movies.

  1. “Schindler’s List” -  The life changing potential of some movies is hard to see, but Schindler’s list makes it pretty obvious. This is one of the best movies about the holocaust, and when people watch it, they may be enlightened about history and change the way they view the world.

  2. “Malcolm X” – This is one of the most politically relevant movies of the 90’s. It’s the kind of film that could inspire some people to become activists.

  3. “Pulp Fiction” – This had a life changing impact on people for a different reason than most other movies on this list. It was such a revolutionary movie that it brought in a whole new era of filmmaking. As a result, many people who had previously never considered becoming movie makers where suddenly attracted to the art.

  4. “American History X” – This movie has life changing potential because it shows the dark side of race relations in America. It also has amazing performances, and plenty of style.

  5. “Saving Private Ryan” – For some people, this was a life changing movie because it changed the way they viewed their grandparents. Many young people learned a lot about the horrors WWII veterans went through, and it opened their eyes.

  6. “Boyz ‘N the Hood” – This was one of the best movies to explore the difficulties of inner city poverty, and its effects on teens in the African American community. Many people who watched this film were never able to see America the same way again.

  7. “The Apostle” – This is one of the most powerful and life changing movies about the American evangelical culture. It gave people a new way to look at an American spiritual tradition that was neither wholly flattering, nor wholly condemning. The movie was honest and that was its greatest strength.

  8. “Leaving Las Vegas” – This movie has life changing potential for alcoholics. Very few movies have ever shown the full extent of alcohol's ability to damage someone’s life.

  9. “Philadelphia” – This was one of the first big budget movies about AIDS, and it changed the way America saw the disease. The fact that a huge star like Tom Hanks played in the film helped make it more relevant.

  10. “Clerks” – This was a life changing movie in the same way as pulp fiction because it had such a big impact on the art of filmmaking, which led to all sorts of changes to the media culture overall. This one had a particularly large impact in terms of low budget filmmaking.