20 Movies You Can't Even Believe Are 20 Years Old

'Jurassic Park,' 'Free Willy,' 'Rudy' and more

Laura Dern, Joseph Mazzello and Sam Neill in 'Jurassic Park'
Universal/Getty Images
July 9, 2013 9:30 AM ET

Do you still quote Dazed and Confused? Or roll your eyes whenever someone mentions Sleepless in Seattle? We hate to break it to you, but both films turn 20 this year. You may remember '93 like it was yesterday, but humor us anyway with this welcome trip down memory lane.

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Jurassic Park
Remember the jaw-dropping awe you felt when you first watched Michael Crichton's prehistoric visions come to life on the big screen? This Steven Spielberg-directed movie was a game-changer with its use of computer-generated imagery (its held up well, too). We also have Park to thank for putting the velociraptor on the map. Crichton passed away in 2008, but his legacy lives on with two sequels, a 3-D re-release of the original and talks of a fourth installment in 2015.

Mrs. Doubtfire
It has indeed been two decades since Robin Williams donned some frumpy frocks and set his breasts ablaze to play estranged father-turned-nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire. While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, it was the second-highest-grossing film of the year – behind Jurassic Park – and won an Oscar – yes, an Oscar – for Best Makeup. Men in drag certainly wasn't new to Hollywood (see: Some Like It Hot, Tootsie), but the flick's $440 million haul opened the floodgates for a seemingly endless stream of cross-dressing comedies, both good and bad – from To Wong Foo and The Birdcage (also starring Williams) to Madea and Big Momma's House. Believe it or not, a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel may soon be added to that list.

Groundhog Day
Ever get the feeling you're experiencing déjà vu? You know, like you've already been reminded that it's not 1993 anymore? At least you're not Phil Connors (Bill Murray), who re-lives Groundhog Day over and over and over again. What seemed like a silly premise that saw moderate success at the box office has grown into a beloved cult classic that's moved into the cultural lexicon and become one of Murray's most memorable roles. It was written, directed and produced by Murray's Ghostbusters co-star Harold Ramis, who originally wanted Tom Hanks to play the role.

Free Willy
Ah, the tale of a boy and his killer whale. Who can forget this film's famous finale – of the captive black-and-white whale leaping out of the water, miraculously clearing a peninsula of rocks to reach the freedom of the deep blue sea – or Michael Jackson's close association with the flick, for which his hit single, "Will You Be There," was the theme song. The movie was loosely based on Keiko the Orca's real-life saga, and there was much controversy surrounding his on-screen use and continued captivity after being featured in the film and its sequels (though an animatronic whale was eventually used). Sadly, "Willy" died in 2003 at the age of 27, and the documentary Keiko: The Untold Story was released in 2010.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
It's an enchanting amalgam of a horror film, a musical and a love story, smashing Halloween and Christmas themes together under the mad-genius guidance of Tim Burton, the spidery "Pumpkin King" character Jack Skellington and flesh-and-blood composer Danny Elfman – you either get it or you don't. At the time, Rolling Stone's Peter Travers called it "74 minutes of timeless movie magic" that "explodes the notion that animation is kid stuff." And indeed, the genre has skyrocketed since then with across-the-board blockbusters like Toy Story, WALL-E and Wreck-It Ralph. Over the years Nightmare has grown into a generation-defying cult hit, leaving Burton to shut down the idea of a computer-animated sequel proposed by Disney. May Jack and Sally rest in peace.

This biographical sports drama follows the title character as he chases his dream of playing football at the University of Notre Dame. It stars Sean Astin as the five-foot-six Rudy, exactly eight years after the actor's big-screen debut in The Goonies and eight years before The Lord of the Rings trilogy began. But of perhaps even greater significance, the movie captures the very beginning of the 20-year bromance between Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. Hard to believe it's already been 17 years since the two became part of Hollywood's elite with 1996's Swingers. Or that the real-life Rudy is 64 years young these days.

Cue coyote howl, clomping cowboy boots and epic 'staches, 'cause justice is coming. So said the movie posters, anyway. This loosely biographical western stands as a veritable who's-who of hunks and manly men, past, present and future: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Charlton Heston, Jason Priestley, Billy Bob Thornton, Billy Zane, John Corbett, Terry O'Quinn. . . you get the point. 20 years is an eternity in popular culture, so here's some reference points: Kilmer made women swoon, Heston was seven years away from his "cold, dead hands" speech, and neither Sex & the City (Corbett) nor Lost (O'Quinn) would exist for another five and 11 years, respectively.

The Fugitive
This adaptation of the 1960s TV series of the same name was box-office gold, earning seven Oscar nominations (including Tommy Lee Jones' first and only win to date). Harrison was a nimble 51 when the action-thriller was released, a solid 10 years out from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. It was part of Ford's tour-de-force as an aging action star outside of his Han Solo/Indiana Jones characters, starting with 1992's Patriot Games and effectively ending with Six Days, Seven Nights in 1998. Now in his 70s, Ford is rumored to be reprising his role in updated versions of Star Wars.

Dazed and Confused
We doubt Richard Linklater knew what kind of celebrity pay dirt he hit while filming this throwback, coming-of-age stoner comedy – or did he? The slow-burn, blink-and-you-missed-it-in-theaters cult fave features Hollywood titans Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck and an uncredited Renee Zellweger in some of their very first roles. (They were literal nobodies when the film debuted.) Instead, the movie banked on stars like Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams and Milla Jovovich, who have all but essentially disappeared into the night. The title is derived from the 1969 Led Zeppelin song of the same name and prominently features Alice Cooper's 1972 single "School's Out." Since it's set in the summer of '76, aren't we really looking at a 37-year gap here? Don't bring us down, man.

A Bronx Tale
As the directorial debut of Robert De Niro, A Bronx Tale won lots of critical acclaim but brought in few bucks at the box office, grossing just $17 million domestically. Yet the coming-of-age crime drama, set in the turbulent New York of the 1960s, left a lasting impression. It was based on the childhood of De Niro's co-star Chazz Palminteri, who adapted the screenplay from his one-man, off-Broadway show of the same name. (The show was revived on Broadway in 2007 and was followed by a national tour.) There was a 13-year gap between De Niro-directed films, his only other directing credit so far being 2006's The Good Shepherd, starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie, which did exponentially better with a $100 million worldwide haul.

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