Best Movies of 1992

10. RESERVOIR DOGS

Reservoir Dogs

60 LISTS | 3 TOP SPOTS
Quentin Tarantino | 99 mins | Crime/Drama/Thriller
Harvey Keitel | Tim Roth | Michael Madsen | Chris Penn

“Quentin Tarantino arrives on the scene with a dark, comic opera about crooks and honor and bad luck all around. A lot of us called this film the hottest of hot new things; a lot of the rest of us complained the film was much too rough. Why so violent? Because, as Tarantino says, violence is a big theme. Complaining about Reservoir Dogs being violent is like complaining that Picasso was blue — you don’t have to like it, but that’s what it’s about.
I’ve seen the film described as the work of a cinematic show-off, too. But Tarantino has something to show off. He’s a filmmaker in dazzling command, Scorsese with sharper teeth.” – Bill Cosford, Miami Herald

9. A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

A River Runs Through It

62 LISTS | 6 TOP SPOTS
Robert Redford | 123 mins | Drama
Craig Sheffer | Brad Pitt | Tom Skerritt | Brenda Blethyn

“Robert Redford’s adaptation of Norman Maclean’s memoir about a lost West and a lost brother is remarkable: It reveres language but is never wordy; it’s about faith and art, but is never preachy; it’s unapologetically serious, but never humorless. As the fly-fishing Maclean family, Brad Pitt, Tom Skettit and Craig Sheffer are wonderful, on and off the river.” – Joanna Connors, Cleveland Plain Dealer

8. GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS

Glengarry Glen Ross

66 LISTS | 2 TOP SPOTS
James Foley | 100 mins | Crime/Drama/Mystery
Al Pacino | Jack Lemmon | Alec Baldwin | Alan Arkin

“A fierce, angry movie that disturbed many people because of its torrent of bad language, this story by David Mamet focuses on greed and the excess of the ’80s, using a group of men who sell shabby real estate as his agents. Mamet adapted his Broadway success to the screen, adding a character (Alec Baldwin) and a monologue that are gripping in their power, and may even have improved the overall effect. Director James Foley focuses sharply on an excellent cast, and men like Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin and Ed Harris are at the top of their form. Not always easy to watch, but an exceptional motion picture.” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

7. HUSBANDS AND WIVES

Husbands and Wives

75 LISTS | 2 TOP SPOTS
Woody Allen | 108 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Woody Allen | Mia Farrow | Sydney Pollack | Judy Davis

“Sadly, this will go down in history as the Woody Allen-Mia Farrow breakup movie, and was spurned at the box office. Many people complained about the frazzled, frenetic camera work, but they shouldn’t have been distracted from what was one of the most insightful looks at contemporary relationships that has been seen on film.” – David Kronke, Los Angeles Daily News

6. ALADDIN

Aladdin

77 LISTS | 3 TOP SPOTS
Ron Clements and John Musker | 90 mins | Animation/Adventure/Comedy
Scott Weinger | Robin Williams | Linda Larkin | Jonathan Freeman

“Animation is pure moviemaking: not just the photographing of actors but the creation, frame by frame, of a whole new world. Disney’s 31st cartoon feature, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, paints that world in gorgeous colors, populates it with a menagerie of witty characters (including a truly magic carpet) and sets it spinning at Mach speed to half a dozen lively tunes. Robin Williams may forever seem diminished in live-action films after his turn as the ingenious Genie. In the new Golden Age of animation, Aladdin gives reason to celebrate the cinema. This is a magic-lamp movie: rub it and wonders emerge.” – TIME Magazine

5. THE CRYING GAME

The Crying Game

101 LISTS | 17 TOP SPOTS
Neil Jordan | 112 mins | Crime/Drama/Romance
Stephen Rea | Jaye Davidson | Forest Whitaker | Miranda Richardson

“One of the most startling films you will ever see. And because it’s only now in release, that’s all I’ll say about its surprises. Basically it’s a drama that argues that real courage is to be found in fidelity to personal relationships rather that allegiances to violent causes. A soulful IRA terrorist befriends one of his captives, a British soldier, and later that man’s lover. Their personal stories dwarf the cause that brings them together. Directed by the maker of “Mona Lisa,” and a new force in adventurous storytelling.” – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

4. MALCOLM X

Malcolm X

103 LISTS | 7 TOP SPOTS
Spike Lee | 202 mins | Biography/Drama/History
Denzel Washington | Angela Bassett | Delroy Lindo | Spike Lee

“Spike Lee’s biography of the black nationalist leader was one of the great screen biographies, celebrating the sweep of an American life that bottomed out in prison before its hero reinvented himself. The movie made two points that needed making: (1) Malcolm gave voice to painful truths that were impolitic for mainstream leaders to utter; and (2) he was a strong role model who began on the streets and through application of his intelligence, will and courage, became someone who made a difference. Denzel Washington’s performance in the title role makes him a front-runner for the Oscar. Aging more than 20 years in the role, he gave us the entire canvas of a man’s lifetime, from orphan to street hoodlum, from prisoner to self-taught preacher to political leader. Lee’s visual style mirrored these changes. It was lush and romantic in the youthful days in Harlem, stark and antiseptic in prison, sharp-edged and fast-moving afterward. In a time when political currents are moving quickly, Lee is one of the few American filmmakers with the clout and the will to make a controversial film like this. Many of his critics are really responding, I think, to his abrasive public personality. Think anything you like about Lee, but listen to his films and you will find they speak for themselves, clearly and with a fair mind.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

3. HOWARDS END

Howards End

135 LISTS | 23 TOP SPOTS
James Ivory | 142 mins | Drama/Romance
Anthony Hopkins | Emma Thompson | Vanessa Redgrave | Helena Bonham Carter

“There’s also more change than immediately might be apparent in the virtually flawless Ismail Merchant-James Ivory “Howards End.” It’s filled with civilized epiphanies and sensual delights as it plays out E. M. Forster’s favorite theme — the human heart’s skill in outmaneuvering lesser, stifling forces. We appreciate the generous and imaginative woman played by Emma Thompson because of the humane energies she’s able to release in the clenched businessman (Anthony Hopkins) she marries. And Vanessa Redgrave’s performance as the most generous character of all is magical to the point of otherworldliness.” – Jay Carr, Boston Globe

2. THE PLAYER

The Player

151 LISTS | 21 TOP SPOTS
Robert Altman | 124 mins | Comedy/Crime/Drama
Tim Robbins | Greta Scacchi | Fred Ward | Whoopi Goldberg

“Long after it seemed his creative juices had run dry, director Robert Altman returned to greatness with this hypnotic Tinseltown satire. Altman has great fun skewering the rituals of today’s moviemaking elite: the pitches and power breakfasts, the mud baths and mineral water, the insular celebrity chic (incarnated by a dazzling galaxy of star cameos). At the same time, he recognizes that modern Hollywood is a place at once vacuous and infinitely mysterious — a fantasyland that is fast running out of dreams, a metaphysical hall of mirrors in which the movies that get made are mere reflections of the status-mad, superstar-crazed culture that surrounds them. Tim Robbins, as the production-executive hero, isn’t just a sleek, murderous cad; he’s a likable cad. As his life is transformed into a ”movie” far more gripping than any of the trash he produces, The Player becomes sublime entertainment, a deadpan comic thriller that, in its ingenious design, its delicate ripples of nastiness and joy, embodies the very moviemaking magic it says has leaked out of Hollywood.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

1. UNFORGIVEN

Unforgiven

152 LISTS | 38 TOP SPOTS
Clint Eastwood | 130 mins | Drama/Western
Clint Eastwood | Gene Hackman | Morgan Freeman | Richard Harris

“Not just the last nail in the coffin of the American western, Clint Eastwood’s authoritative howl of agony may be the last word on the failure of western civilization. Perfecting the form and themes of his earlier cowboy movies, Eastwood lashed out, well, unforgivingly at the violent frontier pathologies that still traumatize our society.” – Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News

Full List:

RFilmL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
1Unforgiven152383.6876%23%691675%21%
2The Player151213.4376%13%661072%13%
3Howards End135234.2968%14%64870%11%
4Malcolm X10375.5452%4%41345%4%
5The Crying Game101174.0650%10%51555%7%
6Aladdin7735.7239%2%30233%3%
7Husbands and Wives7525.9538%1%28130%1%
8Glengarry Glen Ross6625.7733%1%26128%1%
9A River Runs Through It6265.8331%4%29232%3%
10Reservoir Dogs6035.2430%2%28130%1%
11Raise the Red Lantern5215.1226%1%31134%1%
12One False Move5045.8425%2%24326%4%
13A Few Good Men4855.8624%3%13114%1%
14The Last of the Mohicans4506.5523%0%18020%0%
15The Best Intentions3435.2717%2%17218%3%
16Bob Roberts2716.5813%1%9010%0%
17Proof2606.0013%0%12013%0%
18Enchanted April2405.2012%0%11012%0%
19Of Mice and Men2417.3312%1%9110%1%
20Mississippi Masala2307.4412%0%10011%0%
21American Dream2116.0011%1%12113%1%
22A League of Their Own1916.0910%1%607%0%
23Bad Lieutenant1926.369%1%11212%3%
24The Hairdresser's Husband1706.339%0%12013%0%
25Bram Stoker's Dracula1715.339%1%809%0%
26Delicatessen1505.698%0%505%0%
27Passion Fish1526.097%1%617%1%
28The Waterdance1416.757%1%809%0%
29Laws of Gravity1417.637%1%718%1%
30Lorenzo's Oil1405.007%0%708%0%
31A Midnight Clear1306.367%0%708%0%
32Hoffa1325.366%1%515%1%
33Scent of a Woman1226.006%1%515%1%
34Tous les Matins du Monde1216.706%1%505%0%
35Wayne's World1107.296%0%404%0%
35Toto le Heros1105.506%0%9010%0%
37Close to Eden1106.755%0%809%0%
38Flirting1006.885%0%607%0%
39The Hours and Times1003.255%0%607%0%

Lists Included 172 | Top Critics’ Lists Included 69

R Rank
L Total number of lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
AR Average position on ranked top 10 lists
#1 Total number of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year
L% Percentage of total lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
#1% Percentage of mentions where the film was selected as the best film of the year
TCL Number of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1 Number of times that the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL% Percentage of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1% Percentage of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists

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