13 Movies Released 20 Years Ago That Are Proof The Summer Of 1996 Was The Best For Cinema

When you think about it, 1996 doesn't feel like that long ago, right? Despite the jam-packed 20 years between then and now, 1996 was a big year for television and film. For a majority of us millennials, it was a year stuffed with some of our most cherished formative memories. Us youngsters were just starting to go to the movies (with our parents, of course) or maybe we were ditching middle school to sneak into the movies for a cinematic break from life. So, it comes as no surprise to us nostalgia-seekers that, when we look back at 1996, it was a truly spectacular summer for films. Looking back, it seemed like there was a film coming out nearly every week from that we are still now turning to for quote material, memorable GIF material and programming into our binge sessions.

What is it about these films that makes them so definitive? Well, it was a summer that managed to strike the right balance between action and comedy, fantasy and drama. While each of the films of the summer of '96 managed to capture our imaginations, they also became the films that would define for us millennials the films we would gravitate towards in the coming years. Let's take a look back at the brilliant films we were watching in the summer of '96:

1. Independence Day

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Sure, the sequel may be fast approaching its July release date but nothing beats the original. Who was better suited to save the planet besides Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum?

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2. Mission: Impossible

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This film adaptation of the popular '60s TV show provided a ton of iconic moments and music that got burned into our brains. Along with Independence Day, Mission: Impossible can be credited as heralding in a new era and standard for the summer blockbuster.

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3. Trainspotting

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A career-best performance from Ewan McGregor made Trainspotting instantly iconic. This pulpy, raw look at a bunch of Glasgow youths was the movie you snuck into cinemas to see.

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4. Matilda

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How can we ever forget about Matilda? The magic, Mara Wilson, the chocolate cake moment, Lavender flying around the school...what's not to love? This movie totally defined our childhoods.

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5. Emma

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There's nothing quite as special as watching Gwyneth Paltrow play an Austen heroine. Long before she was in Shakespeare in Love, Paltrow was busy pairing up her bestie and being an independent woman.

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6. Twister

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You might think a tornado is the least awesome of all the natural disaster scenarios. Then you saw Twister and your life was forever changed. Who wouldn't want to walk on the wild side with Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, and Philip Seymour Hoffman?

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7. The Craft

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OMG, this movie. This. Movie. Was. Epic. That's all I can say. How many of us walked out of theaters in 1996 and strongly considered what it would take to convince your friends to call the corners?

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8. Harriet The Spy

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Michelle Trachtenberg was all over our radar in the '90s. As Harriet, she went through some major growing pains that us millennial kids to relate to. Even better, Harriet and bestie Janie inspired us to try out secret foot tattoos and brush up on our spy methods.

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9. Kazaam

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You had me as "Shaq is a genie," but you sold me on, "Shaq is a genie who raps."

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10. THe Nutty Professor

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Definitely one of Eddie Murphy's kookier roles, The Nutty Professor took some of the action heft out of the summer '96 line-up in a side-splitting way.

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11. James And The Giant Peach

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Talk about heart-breaking beauty! This might have been your first or second exposure to Roald Dahl books-turned-films, as was the case for me. James's journey inside that peach gave me serious ideas for future summer vacations (sans creepy-crawly friends tagging along).

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12. The Cable Guy

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Jim Carrey was king in the '90s. It seemed like everywhere you turned, there he was ready to crack wise. The Cable Guy was one of his most crazed roles but it gifted us with a very epic version of "White Rabbit" we've been trying to emulate ever since we saw it.

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13. Jack

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Forget about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Jack is the only film about a guy who ages weirdly that is worth keeping close to your heart. Showcasing the best of Robin Williams' sweet and zany acting abilities, Jack was one of those films that could make you laugh and cry in the same moment.

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Ahhh, what a bittersweet trip down memory lane? If anything, I think I know exactly what films I'll be binging yet again next weekend.

Images: Buena Vista Pictures (1); Giphy (13)