Best Movies of 1993

10. FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE

Farewell My Concubine

59 LISTS | 0 TOP SPOTS
Kaige Chen | 171 mins | Drama/Music/Romance
Leslie Cheung | Fengyi Zhang | Li Gong | Qi Lü

“This operatic epic sweeps like an irresistible tide through 50 years of modern Chinese history; a story of love and jealousy, loyalty and betrayal, war and revolution. It focuses on two men trained, in the most painful way, to be stars of traditional opera, and shows what happens when cataclysmic events change forever a way of life that seemed eternal.” – Harper Barnes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

9. IN THE LINE OF FIRE

In the Line of Fire

59 LISTS | 2 TOP SPOTS
Wolfgang Petersen | 128 mins | Action/Crime/Drama
Clint Eastwood | John Malkovich | Rene Russo | Dylan McDermott

“What does Clint Eastwood do to one-up “Unforgiven”? Within the space of six months, he comes up with two of the more fascinating cinema forays of his career – the first an expertly tooled commercial job directed by another; the second an eccentric self-directed personal project with few concessions made to mass audience expectations.
“In the Line of Fire,” helmed by the heretofore erratic German director, Wolfgang (“Das Boot”) Petersen, inspired Eastwood to his rangiest acting job in years: as an insecure and aging Secret Service man haunted by the past – his failure to save President Kennedy’s life in 1963 – and threatened by his present – the appearance of a sociopath (John Malkovich in top form) who knows the score on those insecurities.” – Dan Craft, Pantagraph

8. THE JOY LUCK CLUB

The Joy Luck Club

60 LISTS | 1 TOP SPOT
Wayne Wang | 139 mins | Drama
Tamlyn Tomita | Rosalind Chao | Kieu Chinh | Tsai Chin

“Am I suffering from Asian flu? I don’t think so. Only in casting is this really an Asian story. The way daughters have a love-hate relationship with their mothers crosses national boundaries as well as generations. Director Wang, a smart choice, does a fine job of coordinating the eight stories, and his camera wisely lingers on the fresh faces of his Asian cast. Together with “Farewell, My Concubine,” “The Story of Qiu Ju,” and “The Wedding Banquet,” this film marks the year that Chinese culture arrived on American screens.” – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

7. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Much Ado About Nothing

71 LISTS | 1 TOP SPOT
Kenneth Branagh | 111 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Kenneth Branagh | Emma Thompson | Keanu Reeves | Kate Beckinsale

“Kenneth Branagh brought Shakespeare to the masses with this high-octane, anything-goes adaptation that even had Michael Keaton turn up looking as if he’d just wandered off the set of “Beetlejuice.”
The romantic comedy was spiritedly staged and marvelously acted by a cast including Branagh, Washington, Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves and Robert Sean Leonard. Branagh, who directed and wrote the adaptation, kept things moving at a quick pace and put a premium on the plot’s foolish shenanigans. Shakespeare snobs, eat your hearts out.” – Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune

6. THE FUGITIVE

The Fugitive

81 LISTS | 1 TOP SPOT
Andrew Davis | 130 mins | Action/Crime/Drama
Harrison Ford | Tommy Lee Jones | Sela Ward | Julianne Moore

“The studios mess up traditional genre filmmaking so often it is a rare pleasure to compliment a job exceedingly well done. Relentlessly directed by Andrew Davis and featuring a thumping rivalry between Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, it leaves an audience just slightly more out of breath than its nearest rival, “In the Line of Fire.” Guys, why can’t we do this more often?” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

5. SHORT CUTS

Short Cuts

97 LISTS | 8 TOP SPOTS
Robert Altman | 188 mins | Comedy/Drama
Andie MacDowell | Julianne Moore | Tim Robbins | Bruce Davison

“Altman’s specialty is the ensemble film, and-along with “M+A+S+H,” “Nashville” and “Tanner ’88”-this is one of his great ones. Several dozen Los Angelenos, almost all of them refashioned from the populace of nine short stories and a poem by the late Raymond Carver, crisscross the freeways and streets of L. A., meeting, merging, or passing each other by-and giving us, in the end, an uncanny look at life’s variety, comedy and richness, life’s bleakness, darkness and pain. As in “M+A+S+H,” helicopters-this time fighting a war on the medfly-are harbingers, but the battles and suicides are far from painless. Detractors say “Short Cuts” is misanthropic, but Altman clearly loves these misbegotten characters, loves life-just like Eugene O’Neill-at its worst as well as best.” – Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

4. THE REMAINS OF THE DAY

The Remains of the Day

97 LISTS | 4 TOP SPOTS
James Ivory | 134 mins | Drama/Romance
Anthony Hopkins | Emma Thompson | John Haycraft | Christopher Reeve

“In this seamless adaptation of the Kazuo Ishigura novel, repressed British butler Anthony Hopkins realizes he may have destroyed his chances of a happy life with housekeeper Emma Thompson. The three-way conflict among Hopkins, Thompson and their aristocratic boss, James Fox, is a veritable Trojan War of implication, irony and anguish.” – Desson Howe, The Washington Post

3. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE

The Age of Innocence

102 LISTS | 17 TOP SPOTS
Martin Scorsese | 139 mins | Drama/Romance
Daniel Day-Lewis | Michelle Pfeiffer | Winona Ryder | Linda Faye Farkas

“Movies, and movie critics, so regularly champion the audacious, the reckless, the most, that an achievement like Martin Scorsese’s with this impeccable adaptation of an Edith Wharton novel may be overlooked. The plot brings together a gentle man (Daniel Day-Lewis) and a worldly woman (Michelle Pfeiffer). But the true subject is reticence, its charms and perils — the mannerly, orderly life that most of us try to live. Tiptoeing through the plush parlors of old Manhattan, the film finds ecstasy in the kissing of a lady’s wrist, and heartbreak in a sigh. This, then, is Scorsese at his most daring: he has composed a tragic opera, sung in whispers.” – TIME Magazine

2. THE PIANO

The Piano

143 LISTS | 35 TOP SPOTS
Jane Campion | 121 mins | Drama/Music/Romance
Holly Hunter | Harvey Keitel | Sam Neill | Anna Paquin

“Is it a coincidence that the filmmaker who spoke this year with the most passionate and hypnotic voice chose as her heroine someone without a voice–a Victorian Scotswoman who remains mute because she believes that no man will hear he anyway? In this haunting drama of love and revenge, director Jane Campion merges the brooding romantic grandeur of a Wuthering Heights with a sexual and emotional nakedness that is bracingly contemporary. As the silent, piano-playing Ada, who journeys to the misty wilderness of colonial New Zealand to join in an arranged marriage, Holly Hunter gives a performance of transporting purity, her looks and gestures expressing a fire-bright will that words could only hint at. For all of Campion’s jagged visual poetry, what’s timeless about The Piano is the way it cuts to the torn heart of women’s experience–the boundless desire for romantic consummation in a world where true love hinges on the power to be heard.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

1. SCHINDLER’S LIST

Schindler's List

152 LISTS | 59 TOP SPOTS
Steven Spielberg | 195 mins | Biography/Drama/History
Liam Neeson | Ralph Fiennes | Ben Kingsley | Caroline Goodall

“Steven Spielberg’s epic film, more than three hours long and shot in black and white that brings the stark feel of actuality to the screen, tells the story of an enigmatic man named Oskar Schindler, who began the Second World War hoping to become a millionaire, and ended it by spending his fortune and risking his life to try to save some 1,100 Jews who worked in his factory.What Schindler did was heroic, but the man himself was not a conventional hero, and the film is subtle and patient in showing how, as Schindler’s motives slowly changed, his grandiose personality remained constant. Spielberg says he waited 10 years to tell this story because he wasn’t sure he was ready. During that time he seems to have internalized it, so that the story isn’t told by depending on his usual skill with narrative and melodrama; it’s told simply by being seen, in powerful and unforgettable images.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Full List:

RTITLEL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
1Schindler's List132523.576%37%541878%33%
2The Piano123313.571%22%461467%26%
3The Age of Innocence90154.052%11%34849%15%
4Short Cuts8163.147%4%37454%7%
5The Remains of the Day7933.846%2%22032%0%
6The Fugitive6415.337%1%20029%0%
7Much Ado About Nothing (1993)5714.533%1%20029%0%
8Farewell My Concubine5404.531%0%24035%0%
9The Joy Luck Club5115.330%1%18026%0%
10In the Line of Fire4726.127%1%17225%4%
11Like Water for Chocolate4125.624%1%16123%2%
12Naked3914.422%1%22032%0%
13Menace II Society3625.221%1%14120%2%
14Philadelphia3515.020%1%14020%0%
15Groundhog Day3316.419%1%17025%0%
16Jurassic Park3305.319%0%11016%0%
17Fearless3014.717%1%13119%2%
18King of the Hill2915.717%1%11016%0%
19In the Name of the Father2905.817%0%16023%0%
20Dazed and Confused2825.616%1%9013%0%
21True Romance2345.913%3%416%2%
22The Nightmare Before Christmas2306.613%0%609%0%
23Blue2323.112%1%14220%4%
24The Secret Garden2105.612%0%8012%0%
25Searching for Bobby Fischer2006.412%0%7010%0%
26A Bronx Tale1916.011%1%609%0%
27Sleepless in Seattle1816.910%1%517%2%
28Dave1804.310%0%7010%0%
29A Perfect World1616.09%1%8112%2%
30Strictly Ballroom1605.59%0%507%0%
31Manhattan Murder Mystery1606.09%0%507%0%
32The Snapper1605.69%0%9013%0%
33The Story of Qiu Ju1505.49%0%9013%0%
34Ruby in Paradise1514.99%1%10014%0%
35Shadowlands1505.18%0%8012%0%
36Six Degrees of Separation1305.97%0%304%0%
37The Long Day Closes1214.77%1%8112%2%
38Gettysburg1204.27%0%406%0%
38The Wedding Banquet1206.17%0%9013%0%
38Carlito's Way1206.47%0%203%0%
38Map of the Human Heart1205.97%0%203%0%
42The Stolen Children1113.06%1%406%0%
43Un Coeur en Hiver1104.76%0%507%0%
44Heaven and Earth1107.06%0%406%0%
45Orlando1003.76%0%304%0%
45What's Love Got to Do With It1006.96%0%406%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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