Search icon


04th Jan 2021

20 much-loved movies that turn 20 years old in 2021

Rory Cashin

We can’t believe some of these movies were released two decades ago!

Ready to feel old?

In the way that 1990 still feels like it was just 20 years ago (it wasn’t), these movies don’t feel like they arrived two decades ago (they did).

They range from huge blockbuster behemoths to some of the most unforgettable entries in cinema, and there will be at least one entry here that will have you gasping to yourself “There is NO WAY this was released 20 years ago!?”

Also, we’re working from the release dates in cinemas, not when they got their world festival premiere or anything like that, just FYI!

Save The Last Dance – January 12

An iconic teen movie for oh so many of us, this had Julia Stiles preparing for a dance audition, with the help of Sean Patrick Harris (remember him?). It was exactly the kind of movie that would take home all of the trophies from the MTV Movie Awards (remember them?), and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Memento – March 16

Before he was getting massive budgets and telling stories that were too complicated for their own good, director Christopher Nolan was delivering twisty-turny plots in a far more compelling manner. Here, we follow short-term amnesiac Guy Pearce try to track down the man who murdered his wife.

Bridget Jones’s Diary – April 13

Yep, somehow, it has been two decades since this landmark romantic comedy hit the big screens. Renee Zellweger would go on to play Jones twice more, but it never got any better than the first time out, thanks to some fantastic support work by Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

Shrek – May 18

Three sequels and a Puss-in-Boots spin-off would follow, but this is where it all began. Mike Myers as a Scottish green ogre, Eddie Murphy as a talking donkey, and Cameron Diaz as a princess with a secret. The visuals haven’t aged magnificently, but it actually is still pretty funny!

Pearl Harbour – May 25

A few years after Titanic, someone in Hollywood wanted another love triangle set against a true-life event, so we got Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Beckinsale all catching feels, right in the middle of WWII and Japan’s big attack. Sounds reasonable enough, except it is directed by the guy behind Armageddon and Bad Boys, so subtlety went right out the window. Still, the actual prolonged attack scene is still spectacular.

Moulin Rouge! – June 1

The musical loved by everyone, including people who hate musicals. Hot off directing Romeo & Juliet, director Baz Luhrmann gives us this eye-popping love story between Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, set in the legendary Parisian club, with everyone from Nirvana to Missy Elliott on the soundtrack.

The Fast and the Furious – June 22

The ninth movie was supposed to arrive in 2020 (now due to arrive in May this year), the sequels have gradually expanded to include nuclear submarines and tanks exploding out of 747s, which is funny considering the original was about stolen DVD players and illegal drag races.

Legally Blonde – July 13

Twenty years later, and fans are still calling for a third movie in this series, despite the sequel being… well… kinda crap. That just goes to show how much love there still is for the original, with Reece Witherspoon proving to everyone (especially her recent ex boyfriend) that she is capable of passing Harvard Law School with flying colours.

The Others – August 10

Unfairly compared to the runaway success of The Sixth Sense, this brilliant horror is actually creepier and more emotionally involving than Shyamalan’s big-twist-dependent scary movie. This is also Nicole Kidman’s other brilliant performance in 2001, and is a one of those performances-in-horror that truly deserved Oscar attention (see also: Toni Collette in Hereditary, Lupita Nyong’o in Us, Florence Pugh in Hereditary, Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man).

Glitter – September 21

Of all of the amazing movies on this list, perhaps none of them have developed such a cult following as this one. The sorta-biopic of Mariah Carey was absolutely panned upon release (understandably), before slowly amassing a huge fanbase over the years for its OTT campness and killer soundtrack (also understandably).

Zoolander – September 28

Released just two weeks after 9/11, Ben Stiller’s comedy about models being used as assassins didn’t land well, but was soon re-evaluated upon home release to become one of the best comedies of the decade.

Training Day – October 5

Denzel Washington won the Oscar for his hugely intimidating performance as a police officer who is more corrupt and crooked than just about any of the criminals he puts behind bars.

Mulholland Drive – October 12

David Lynch’s mind-bending drama/thriller/mystery is considered to be one of his best, dealing with a wannabe actress (Naomi Watts) who befriends the amnesiac survivor of a car accident (Laura Harring)… or at least… that is kind of what it is about. We think.

Donnie Darko – October 26

The movie that introduced the world to Jake Gyllenhaal, playing a teenager tormented by visions of the impending apocalypse, as well as a talking rabbit named Frank. A unique teen-thriller that we would’ve bet good money on being from the mid-90s.

Amelie – November 2

Maybe one of the cutest movies in existence, and one of the most-successful foreign-language movies at the worldwide box office ever. Audrey Tautou plays the titular shy waitress, who decides to secretly improve the lives of her customers and neighbours, all while suffering from intense loneliness herself.

Monsters Inc. – November 2

Arriving after two Toy Story movies and A Bug’s Life, this was really the movie that made everyone sit up and pay attention to Pixar. Two best monster pals (voiced by John Goodman and Billy Crystal) find themselves in deep trouble when a young girl somehow finds her way into their world.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – November 16

Yep, this movie series kicked off twenty years ago this year. No, we can’t believe it either. Philosopher’s Stone is maybe the joint-worst of the franchise (along with Chamber of Secrets), and the lead actors hadn’t quite got to grips with their roles yet, but this is still the movie that introduced us to Alan Rickman as Professor Snape. And that reason alone is enough of a reason for us to love it.

Ocean’s Eleven – December 7

If you amass some of the most attractive people in the world, then of course you’re going to want to watch that movie. If you plonk them into the middle of a cool and intelligent heist movie at Las Vegas, then you’ve got one of the most entertaining movies of the entire decade. Endlessly rewatchable.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – December 19

Truth be told, hopes were not particularly high for this movie before release. A director best known for schlocky horror, a cast of great actors but no real stars (at least not at the time), and all filmed in New Zealand?! Is there even anything to look at down there? Oh, how wrong we were…

Black Hawk Down – December 28

Another intensely stacked cast – Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom, Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, Ewan McGregor, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Sam Shepherd, Tom Sizemore, Jeremy Piven, Ty Burrell, Hugh Dancy, Jason Isaacs, we could go on – star in this incredibly tense war movie from Ridley Scott, telling the story of the US military’s 1993 raid on Mogadishu, and how wrong it all went.

READ NEXT: Disney unveil some of the new adult-aimed content arriving on Disney+ next month