Best of 1993

Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and Jane Campion’s The Piano battled for the top spot in 1993.  In Patrick McGilligan and Mark Rowland’s wonderful poll, The Piano edged out Schindler’s List by landing on 86 of the 107 lists.

However, Schindler’s List took the top spot in my analysis, which included 76 critics’ top 10 lists, because it was placed at the top of more lists than The Piano.

Below are the results of the 76 lists that I have found.  The results of Mark Rowland and Patrick McGilligan’s final poll are included afterwards.

20. True Romance (9 lists; 2 top spots)


“If shoot-’em-up, gobble-’em-down movies like The Fugitive and Jurassic Park are rated PG-13 these days, what does an R-rated action adventure look like? Like True Romance: violent to a fault, glam to the max.” – Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

19. The Secret Garden (10 lists)


“While drawing superb performances from her young leads, Holland has masterfully contrasted the garden — a place where melodic robins seem almost conversant — with the dread of Misselthwaite.” – Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times

17. In the Name of the Father (12 lists)


“In the Name of the Father is a model of this kind of engaged, enraged filmmaking, a politically charged Fugitive that uses one of the most celebrated cases of recent British history to steamroller an audience with the power of rousing, polemical cinema.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

17. Like Water For Chocolate (12 lists)


“The food scenes in this Mexican fable are just as sumptuous and appetizing as those in Denmark’s Oscar-winning Babette’s Feast, excpet they have an extra-erotic and surreal appeal due to masterful cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki and Steve Bernstein” – Emanuel Levy,

16. Philadelphia (13 lists)


“[An] extremely well-made message picture about tolerance, justice and discrimination is pitched at mainstream audiences, befitting its position as the first major Hollywood film to directly tackle the disease.” – Todd McCarthy, Variety

14. Dazed and Confused (14 lists; 1 top spot)


“Once every decade or so, a movie captures the hormone-drenched, fashion- crazed, pop-song-driven rituals of American youth culture with such loving authenticity that it comes to seem a kind of anthem.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

14. In the Line of Fire (14 lists; 1 top spot)


“The movie has a clear, simple thriller logic that’s far more satisfying than the static variations-on-a-massacre construction of Eastwood’s Dirty Harry pictures and spaghetti Westerns.” – Terrence Rafferty, New Yorker

12. King of the Hill (15 lists)


“The film does a lovely job of juxtaposing the sharp contrasts in Aaron’s life, and in marveling at the fact that he survives as buoyantly as he does.” – Janet Maslin, New York Times

12. Much Ado About Nothing (15 lists)


“[Branagh] has found his way to the play’s profound yet populist heart, rediscovering Shakespeare’s vision of romantic fulfillment – celebration with an underlying tug of sadness – for an era that believes itself all too wise to the ways of love.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

10. Menace II Society (16 lists)


“Anyone who views this film thoughtfully must ask why our society makes guns easier to obtain and use than does any other country in the civilized world. And that is only the most obvious of the many questions the film inspires.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

10. Naked (16 lists)


“Mike Leigh’s Naked is a great one — a film of brutal impact, withering wit and humanity. It deserves one of the highest accolades movies can receive: Seeing it shakes you up, changes your vision.” – Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

8. Groundhog Day (19 lists)


“Groundhog Day may not be the funniest collaboration between Bill Murray and director Harold Ramis… Yet this gentle, small-scale effort is easily the most endearing film of both men’s careers, a sweet and amusing surprise package.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

8. The Joy Luck Club (19 lists)


“Four different actresses play the aunties in their youth, which sometimes keeps us struggling to keep the stories straight. That we do is a tribute to the power of Tan’s theme about the miscommunication that separates one generation from another.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

6. Farewell My Concubine (21 lists)


“The scenes in the Peking Opera School, where boys are caned for doing wrong or right, are no less horrifying than the later tableaus of public humiliation at the hands of the Maoists.” – Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

6. The Fugitive (21 lists)


“It’s a pleasure to find a thriller fulfilling its duties with such gusto: the emotions ring solid, the script finds time to relax into backchat, and for once the stunts look like acts of desperation rather than shows of prowess.” – Anthony Lane, New Yorker

5. The Remains of the Day (27 lists)


“Here’s a film for adults. It’s also about time to recognize that Mr. Ivory is one of our finest directors, something that critics tend to overlook because most of his films have been literary adaptations.” – Vincent Canby, New York Times

4. Short Cuts (33 lists; 4 top spots)


“It’s a funny/scary vision, with a manic edge — which is why, when you come down from the high of the filmmaking, you may be left with the taste of ashes in your mouth. Altman’s artistry can make you happy even when his art offers cold comfort.” – David Ansen, Newsweek

3. The Age of Innocence (40 lists; 12 top spots)


“Mr. Scorsese has made a big, intelligent movie that functions as if it were a window on a world he had just discovered, and about which he can’t wait to spread the news.” – Vincent Canby, New York Times

2. The Piano (49 lists; 13 top spots)


“Sweetie and An Angel at My Table have taught us to expect startling as well as beautiful things from Jane Campion, and this assured and provocative third feature (1993) offers yet another lush parable.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

1. Schindler’s List (49 lists; 17 top spots)


“With seemingly effortless grace and skill, Schindler’s List balances fear and exaltation, humor and horror, love and death. It evokes, superbly, a time of savagery and grief, and the inexplicable, stunning compassion that rises within and against it.” – Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

Mark Rowland and Patrick McGilligan Poll:

18. Jurassic Park (18 lists), 17. Ruby in Paradise (19), 15. Fearless (20), 15. Philadelphia (20),  13. Groundhog Day (21), 13. King of the Hill (21), 12. The Joy Luck Club (25), 11. Menace II Society (26), 9. In the Line of Fire (29), 9. Like Water for Chocolate (29), 8. Farewell My Concubine (36), 7. The Fugitive (38), 6. Much Ado About Nothing (39), 5. The Remains of the Day (53), 4. The Age of Innocence (54), 3. Short Cuts (57), 2. Schindler’s List (76), 1. The Piano (86)