Best of 1993

Had it received a wide release before February of 1994, Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List would have undoubtedly topped the critics’ charts in 1993.  Even with its limited release, it was placed on 76 of the 107 critics’ top 10 lists in 1993.

Yet, that was not enough to take the number one spot, as Jane Campion’s masterpiece, The Piano, landed on 86 lists.

1993 marked the last year that Mark Rowland and Patrick McGilligan conducted their annual poll and these results are directly from their wonderful poll.  McGilligan was so kind to give me permission to post the results and I’m very thankful for all of their work on these polls.

McGilligan has had numerous acclaimed books published, which I recommend that you all consider purchasing.

18. Jurassic Park (18 lists)


“The 3-D process adds not just dimension but depth – a technological extension of cinematographer Gregg Toland’s deep-focus innovations in The Grapes of Wrath and Citizen Kane. The change in perspective creates greater intensity.” – Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

17. Ruby in Paradise (19 lists)


“Nunez’s best film to date–The nominal plot is less important than the sharp observation of how a young woman in crisis (Ashley Judd at the top of her form) deals with life’s inevitable frustrations until she reaches inner quietness.” – Emanuel Levy,

15. Fearless (20 lists)


“Bridges turns in another in what has become an astoundingly long list of brilliant performances. Using the simplest means imaginable, he steps into a role as nonchalantly as he might slip into his trousers.” – Hal Hinson, Washington Post

15. Philadelphia (20 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

13. Groundhog Day (21 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

13. King of the Hill (21 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. The Joy Luck Club (25 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

11. Menace II Society (26 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

9. In the Line of Fire (29 lists)


“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

9. Like Water For Chocolate (29 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,

8. Farewell My Concubine (36 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

7. The Fugitive (38 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

6. Much Ado About Nothing (39 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

5. The Remains of the Day (53 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. The Age of Innocence (54 lists)


“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

3. Short Cuts (57 lists)


“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

2. Schindler’s List (76 lists)


“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

1. The Piano (86 lists)


“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