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Top 100 Movies Of The 1990's: #60 The Firm

Box Office: $158.3 Million 

Oscar Nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Holly Hunter), Best Score

Oscar Wins: None

MovieRankings.Net: 77/100

Available To Stream: HBO Max

(Before I get into the The Firm, I have to remind all of you that I am an idiot. I know a lot of you already think I am for putting Braveheart at 75 on this list but here is even more evidence to help that cause. Last week, when I submitted Magnolia, I guess I pressed the wrong button and made it nearly impossible to find. So if you are looking for another 90's review to read, here you go.)

It's hard to explain how popular John Grisham was. I lived in the early 1990's and it barely makes sense to me. A novelist that wrote almost entirely legal thrillers became one of the biggest names in entertainment? You could have never picked up a book and you know his movies: The Client, A Time To Kill, The Pelican Brief. There's another John Grisham movie that has yet to appear on this list. Grisham and Michael Crichton may have been the two most dominant writers in entertainment for the decade.

Mix Grisham with the biggest movie star of the 1990's in Tom Cruise and it's almost impossible not to have a massive hit. The Firm was exactly that. It opened at number one in July 1993 and stayed at the top for three weeks against some tough competition. Jurassic Park, In The Line Of Fire (#65), Sleepless In Seattle and Free Willy were all in theaters in that time.

Giphy Images.

This cast is outstanding and makes the movie significantly better than it should be. I have to imagine it's the respect that director Sydney Pollack brought to the set because not only do you have an A-list cast but everyone is throwing fastballs. Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, Hal Holbrook, David Strathairn and obviously Cruise. Pollack was nominated three times for Best Director and had won in 1986 for Out Of Africa. 

The Firm tells the story of Mitch McDeere (Cruise), a recent graduate of Harvard Law School who joins a small firm in Memphis. They seem very prestigious but as Mitch learns more, he sees that the firm may not be what they seem and Mitch and his wife may actually be in danger.

The book does a better job unraveling that mystery because the medium has more legroom. That's not to say the movie doesn't take it's time. It comes in at a lofty 154 minute run time and would have been better served losing at least 20-30 minutes of that. Not every action scene works but then you also great performances like this that get this movie on the list.


This and Magnolia last week make me wish Tom Cruise hadn't turned into almost exclusively an action star. That's not me knocking the Mission Impossible movies or Top Gun: Maverick. Those are awesome films. I just wish he'd also make movies like this again. Maybe the legal thriller genre peaked with Michael Clayton and has died out since then but I'm not talking this specifically. I just wish Tom Cruise would focus on acting again.

This is already the fourth Cruise movie on the list and there are still a couple left. That's obviously not even counting his great performances from the 80's in movies like Rain Man, The Color Of Money or Born On The Fourth of July. He used to be a brilliant actor. I expect a lot of younger readers maybe didn't see this movie but it is streaming on HBO Max. Check it out this weekend and see how talented Cruise truly was. I still want those Mission Impossible movies but I'd love to see him do something like this again too.

60. The Firm

61. Magnolia

62. The Talented Mr. Ripley

63. Tommy Boy

64. The Usual Suspects

65. In The Line Of Fire

66. My Cousin Vinny

67. Awakenings

68. JFK

69. Toy Story

70. Home Alone

71. Jerry Maguire

72. Titanic

73. Billy Madison

74. Apollo 13

75. Braveheart

76. Edward Scissorhands

77. Cape Fear

78. The River Wild

79. What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

80. 12 Monkeys

81. Stir Of Echoes

82. Mission: Impossible

83. Total Recall

84. Quiz Show

85. For Love Of The Game

86. Being John Malkovich

87. Men In Black

88. Scream

89. Alive

90. Three Kings

91. Glengarry Glen Ross

92. Die Hard With A Vengeance

93. The Blair Witch Project

94. Twister

95. Dirty Work

96. Election

97. Tremors

98. Any Given Sunday

99. The Wedding Singer

100. Clerks