10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting

10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting
Image credit: Miramax, PolyGram, Fine Line Features, Artisan Entertainment, Warner Bros., SPE, Fox Searchlight, Paramount Pictures

Here's a collection of underappreciated classics you won't want to miss.

They may not have broken box office records, but totally deserve a watch or even two.

1. The Game (1997)
10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting - image 1Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a wealthy investment banker who receives a mysterious gift from his brother Conrad (Sean Penn) on his 48th birthday. The gift is a "game," an experience that integrates into Nicholas's daily life and turns it upside down. Suddenly, he finds his bank accounts drained, his home vandalized, and even his life endangered.

Nicholas struggles to distinguish the game from reality, and he becomes increasingly desperate to end it, whatever it takes.

2. The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting - image 2A school bus accident in a small town kills 14 children, leaving the community devastated. Mitchell Stephens (Ian Holm), a lawyer, shows up to persuade the grieving parents to file a class-action lawsuit. Mitchell meets various people in the town, like Nicole (Sarah Polley), the only surviving child, and Billy (Bruce Greenwood), a father who lost his children.

Through flashbacks and interactions, we learn about the townspeople's lives leading up to the accident.

3. The Limey (1999)
10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting - image 3Terence Stamp plays Wilson, a British ex-con who travels to Los Angeles after hearing about his daughter's mysterious death. He's convinced that Terry Valentine (Peter Fonda), a record producer and her boyfriend, is involved. Wilson teams up with Eduardo (Luis Guzmán), his daughter's friend, and Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren), an acting coach who knew her.

Wilson's investigation leads him to Valentine's sprawling mansion, where things quickly escalate into a violent showdown.

4. L.A. Confidential (1997)
10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting - image 4Set in 1950s Los Angeles, this film follows three policemen with distinct moral compasses. Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) is by-the-book but ambitious; Bud White (Russell Crowe) is violent but has a strong sense of justice; and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is corrupt and celebrity-hungry.

The murder of a fellow officer sets off an investigation that leads them into a web of corruption, prostitution, and drug dealing, with each of them pursuing the case for their own reasons.

5. Before Sunrise (1995)
10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting - image 5Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is an American who meets Celine (Julie Delpy), a French woman, on a train from Budapest to Vienna. Jesse has a flight back to the U.S. the next day, and he convinces Celine to get off the train with him in Vienna. They walk around the city, visiting cafes, riding a tram, and even attending a play. Slowly but surely, they fall for each other, knowing that they'll likely never meet again after sunrise.

6. The Ice Storm (1997)
10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting - image 6Set over Thanksgiving weekend in 1973, this star-studded film puts a magnifying glass on two dysfunctional Connecticut families: the Hoods and the Carvers.

Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) is having an affair with Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver), while his wife, Elena (Joan Allen), feels trapped in her mundane life. Their children, Wendy (Christina Ricci) and Paul (Tobey Maguire), are exploring their own sexual and emotional landscapes. The families attend a neighborhood "key party," where couples swap partners for the night. Meanwhile, Paul is at a party in New York, trying to win over a girl he likes.

7. Screamers (1995)
10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting - image 7In this sci-fi drama set in 2078 on planet Sirius 6B, a war between a mining company and its workers has resulted in the creation of "screamers," self-replicating killer robots that emit a high-pitched scream before attacking.

Colonel Joseph Hendricksson (Peter Weller) is in charge of a group of soldiers guarding the front lines. When a message arrives suggesting a truce, Hendricksson decides to cross the wasteland to negotiate peace, but soon realizes the screamers have evolved and are posing as humans.

8. Election (1999)
10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting - image 8A high school election is not usually life-or-death, but for Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon), it's serious business. Tracy is an overachiever aiming for the student council presidency. Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), a civics teacher, dislikes Tracy and encourages Paul (Chris Klein), a likable but not-so-bright jock, to run against her.

Things get messier when Paul's sister, Tammy (Jessica Campbell), also joins the race for her own reasons. Campaign posters get ripped, alliances shift, and scandals unfold as the election day draws near.

9. Dead Man (1995)
10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting - image 9Johnny Depp plays William Blake, an accountant from Cleveland who travels to the frontier town of Machine for a promised job, only to find out the position is already filled. Broke and hopeless, he ends up killing a man in self-defense and becomes a fugitive. A Native American named Nobody (Gary Farmer) finds him, believes he's the reincarnation of the poet William Blake, and agrees to help him travel to the spiritual world.

10. Jackie Brown (1997)
10 Underrated Dramas of the 1990s Worth Revisiting - image 10In Quentin Tarantino's criminally underrated drama, Pam Grier plays Jackie Brown, a flight attendant smuggling money for arms dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). When ATF agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) catches her, Jackie sees an opportunity: help the authorities take down Ordell in exchange for her freedom.

Jackie teams up with Max Cherry (Robert Forster), a bail bondsman, to pull off a dangerous double-cross involving a $500,000 payoff.