6 '90s Movies You Can't Watch Anywhere Now
These acclaimed films from a huge decade for movies have all but fallen off the map.
Streaming is great when you want to be presented with seemingly infinite choices for what to watch. But it's not always as reliable when you want to watch something specific. Whether due to issues with the music rights or indifference by the studios that own them, many beloved older films can't be found on Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming service. Read on for six beloved movies from the '90s that aren't available on streaming and may even be AWOL on DVD.
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Pump Up the Volume (1990)
Christian Slater became a hero of disillusioned Gen-X teens everywhere with his turn as Mark Hunter, a high school kid with hot-blooded opinions who becomes a folk hero thanks to his pirate radio show, broadcast from his parents' basement. (Today, he'd just start his own podcast.) Pump Up the Volume's awesome soundtrack is practically a character in the film, but, per Slater himself, music rights issues have made the film harder to see, keeping it off of streaming and digital rental services for years. Though a few eagle-eyed fans briefly spotted it on HBO Max in 2022, it has since gone off the air once again.
Jungle Fever (1992)
This 1992 Spike Lee joint explores the rise and fall of a relationship between a upper-middle class Black architect (Wesley Snipes) and his Italian-American secretary (Annabella Sciorra) in a gentrifying New York City, touching on hot-button themes like race relations, the politics of interracial romance, and the crack epidemic. Though Jungle Fever received strong reviews and featured breakout early roles for Samuel L. Jackson and Halle Berry, the film is one of the lesser-seen in Lee's canon. Unfortunately, it's currently out of print on DVD and can't be found on streaming services.
Super Mario Bros. (1993)
The first ever video-game-to-live-action-film adaptation, 1993's Super Mario Bros. endured a legendarily troubled production. Married co-directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, best known for creating the '80s cult sensation Max Headroom, had a dystopian vision for the Mushroom Kingdom that resembles the sunny atmosphere of the games not at all. And leads Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo found the production so chaotic they reportedly wound up coming to the set drunk every day. Nintendo was so aghast at the final result that it took them 30 years to make another Mario movie—which might also explain why you can't find the original on any streaming service. (Though if you have the means, you can import a special edition Blu-ray from the U.K. that includes a documentary exploring its tortured production.)
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Director Larry Clark's sordid mid-'90s drama Kids is a no-holds-barred delve into the grimy, sordid lives of a bunch of wayward New York City teens. Despite strong performances from a cast of unknowns—including a very young Chloë Sevigny—and encouraging box office returns, it mostly garnered controversy, with some labeling its focus on drug use and the overt sexuality of its underage characters as tantamount to child exploitation. Though time has sanded off the edges somewhat, you still can't find this indie film landmark on streaming, and even the DVDs are import-only.
Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
This occasionally crude but sharply written satire of beauty pageants flopped in theaters upon original release, but Drop Dead Gorgeous has garnered a cult following in the decades since. Kirsten Dunst plays a clean-cut teen who hopes winning a pageant will help further her dream of becoming the next Diane Sawyer, but she's not prepared for the lengths her competition—including Denise Richards as a ruthless veteran of the circuit—will go to to come out on top. Though the film was previously available on Hulu for its 20th anniversary, it has since gone missing from the runway. The DVDs are only available used, and you can't find it on streaming.
This religious satire is director Kevin Smith's cleverest and most ambitious film, telling the tale of two rebel angels (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, fresh off their Oscar win for Good Will Hunting) angling to get back into heaven by any means necessary. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to see these days. According to Smith, the film dropped out of circulation on DVD and streaming because the rights are held by the disgraced, imprisoned former film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and the director isn't interested in seeing him profit from its rerelease—even saying that the idea of buying the rights back felt "very dirty."