There are a few exceptional years in movie history. 1939 and 1941 are two amazing years, and 1993 had a series of important films, but if there is one year in cinema that changed everything, it was 1994.
1994 is responsible for Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, The Lion King and Clerks.
1994 solidified Disney again as the animation kings, brought Jim Carry’s career to its peak (Dumb & Dumber, Ace Ventura, The Mask), created the modern independent filmmaker (Clerks, Pulp Fiction) and produced arguably three of the greatest films ever made in Shawshank, Pulp Fiction, and Gump.
If anything, the films of 1994 were the most influential since the golden era of the late 30’s and early 40’s (Gone with the Wind, Pinocchio, Citizen Kane).
Kevin Smith taught a whole generation that a film didn’t have to look great to be great. Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction defined the way filmmakers would create pop culture references and stylized violence, and The Lion King was an epic in ways previous Disney films weren’t. Plus, Pulp Fiction has the greatest ending in movie history.
Box Office Changes
Before 1994, Jurassic Park (1993) was the gold standard in $300+ million box office, but 1994 had a record number of $100+ million hits. And Jim Carry is in 3 of the top 20 films. He redefined what a comedy movie star was.
Look at that list...which doesn’t even include The Shawshank Redemption, which would go on in 1995 to become the video rental king. Plus, only 3 sequels are in the top 25 films (Clear and Present Danger, Star Trek, and Naked Gun), reminding us when Hollywood was pumping out original content more often.
The Oscars Influence
1994 was also a year the Oscars helped build the myths of films. Whether it was nominating Shawshank for 7 awards, giving Tom Hanks his second Oscar in a row (1993 he won for Philadelphia), and giving Elton John three nominations for The Lion King and the win for Can You Feel the Love Tonight. The Academy also gave British films For Weddings and a Funneral and The Madness of King George a slew of nominations.
Looking back, 1994 was a great year in cinema, and arguably the greatest of all time. Four certifiable classics and the lasting influence on a whole future generation of filmmakers.
Paul Douglas Moomjean Blog's About What's on His Mind
Blogging allows for me to rant when there is no stage in the moment to talk about what's important and/or funny to me.