Netflix Shines Light On 1994 As Great Year For Film; What Got Left On Cutting Room Floor

Who says 1994 was a classic year for cinema? Netflix begins today to make that argument, curating a release of 17 films that turned 30 this year. The streamer has its list below. I have mine, and with the exception of the seminal Farrelly Brothers-directed Dumb & Dumber with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, and Luc Besson’s Leon: The Professional, the film that stars Jean Reno and a sinister Gary Oldman and introduced the world to the outsized talent Natalie Portman, and maybe Ron Howard’s The Paper, there’s a lot missing. How about Forrest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Clear and Present Danger, Sicario, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Interview With the Vampire, Speed, Ed Wood, and the other two films in a starmaking year for Jim Carrey, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask. Speed, Once Were Warriors, and Ang Lee’s breakout Eat Drink Man Woman? Netflix is right though; 1994 was a great one for movies, and 2024 won’t see near as many good films.

Staying on the “4s”, 1994 pales in comparison to the seminal year of 1974, which saw the release of such films as: Coppola’s doubleheader of The Godfather Part II and The Conversation, Chinatown, Mel Books’ Blazing Saddles & Young Frankenstein, Tobe Hooper’s classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the 007 pic The Man With The Golden Gun, The Longest Yard – the one with Burt Reynolds – The Taking of Pelham 123, Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Thunderbolt And Lightfoot, Lenny, Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express, the disaster triple bill of Airport 1975, The Towering Inferno & Earthquake, and the Blaxploitation classic Foxy Brown with Pam Grier? Now, that was a year that Hollywood will be hard pressed to duplicate,.

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Here are Netflix’s 1994 choices:


A mechanically gifted but socially inept nerd makes bulletproof skivvies that enable him to take his rightful place in the pantheon of crime fighters.

DIRECTOR: Mike Binder. CAST:  Damon Wayans, David Alan Grier, Jason Alexander, Jon Polito, Robin Givens

INITIAL RELEASE DATE:  August 19, 1994, Sony


Sharp-witted, potty-mouthed, bored out of their minds. Retail clerks Dante and Randal (Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson) are just trying to make it through a day in their lives.

DIRECTOR: Kevin Smith. CAST: Brian O’Halloran, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson, Kevin Smith, Lisa Spoonauer, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Scott Mosier, Scott Schiaffo

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: October 19, 1994, Paramount


A lovesick fool and his rambunctious best friend get caught up in a criminal scheme after they attempt to return a briefcase to its rightful owner.

DIRECTOR: Peter Farrelly. CAST:  Jeff Daniels, Jim Carrey, Lauren Holly

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: December 16, 1994, New Line


A 12-year-old boy living in a dangerous neighborhood hatches a plan to outsmart a group of criminals to protect himself and his sister.

DIRECTOR: Boaz Yakin. CAST: Giancarlo Esposito, N’Bushe Wright, Sean Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson

INITIAL RELEASE DATE:  August 24, 1994, Paramount


Simple mail clerk Norville Barnes falls into good — or bad? — luck when he becomes the CEO of a successful business.

DIRECTOR: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen. CAST: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman, Tim Robbins

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: March 11, 1994, Warner Bros.


After a male fertility doctor loses a research grant, his colleague convinces him to test their wonder drug by implanting himself with an embryo.

DIRECTOR: Ivan Reitman. CAST:Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Emma Thompson

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: November 23, 1994, Universal


A group of pint-sized mischief-makers stir up shenanigans in their small town in this kid-friendly comedy inspired by the classic “Our Gang” series.

DIRECTOR: Penelope Spheeris. CAST: Travis Tedford, Bug Hall, Brittany Ashton Holmes, Kevin Jamal Woods, Zachary Mabry, Ross Bagley, Sam Saletta

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: August 5, 1994, Universal


When his neighbors are killed by a DEA agent, a hired assassin becomes the reluctant guardian of a young girl who begins to follow in his footsteps.

DIRECTOR: Luc Besson. CAST: Gary Oldman, Jean Reno, Natalie Portman

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: November 18, 1994, Sony


After success spoils Cleveland’s division-winning baseball team, owner Roger Dorn signs an arrogant all-star to shake things up from behind the plate.

DIRECTOR: David S. Ward. CAST: Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, David Keith, Dennis Haysbert, Tom Berenger

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: March 30. 1994, Sony


A misfit escapes life by listening to ABBA ditties and dreaming about marriage, but when she leaves her hometown, her fantasy starts to come to life.

DIRECTOR: P. J. Hogan. CAST :Bill Hunter, Daniel Lapaine, Rachel Griffiths, Toni Collette

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: Fall, 1994, Paramount


Thirteen-year-old Vada makes an unforgettable trip from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles, hoping to find out more about the mother she never knew.

DIRECTOR: Howard Zieff. CAST: Anna Chlumsky, Austin O’Brien, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: February 11, 1994, Sony


Mickey and Mallory Knox embark on an interstate crime spree that triggers a violent pursuit and garners high ratings for a tabloid TV star.

DIRECTOR:  Oliver Stone. CAST: Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Sizemore, Woody Harrelson

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: August 26, 1994, Warner Bros


Facing financial strains and pressure from his wife, a newspaper editor must choose between a prestigious new job and a career-defining story.

DIRECTOR: Ron Howard. CAST:Glenn Close, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Randy Quaid, Robert Duvall

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: March 18, 1994, Universal


In this irreverent romantic comedy, a small circle of friends suffering from postcollegiate blues must confront the hard truths of real life.

DIRECTOR: Ben Stiller. CAST: Ben Stiller, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo, Winona Ryder

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: February 18, 1994, Universal


A turbulent vacation turns deadly when two fugitives kidnap a whitewater rafting guide and her family, forcing them down the dangerous river.

DIRECTOR: Curtis Hanson. CAST: David Strathairn, John C. Reilly, Joseph Mazzello, Kevin Bacon,  Meryl Streep, Stephanie Sawyer

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: September 30, 1994, Universal


A sweet mom. A loving wife. A devoted homemaker. Beverly Sutphin embodies suburban perfection except for one tiny flaw: her penchant for murder.

DIRECTOR: John Waters. CAST: Kathleen Turner, Matthew Lillard, Ricki Lake, Sam Waterston

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: April 13, 1994, Universal.


Intrepid Col. William Guile takes on a malevolent warlord who kidnaps a busload of Guile’s Allied Nations relief workers and holds them for ransom.

DIRECTOR: Steven E. de Souza. CAST:Damian Chapa, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kylie Minogue, Ming-Na Wen, Raul Julia, Wes Studi

INITIAL RELEASE DATE: December 23, 2994, Universal

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