Some of our favorite films from 1996 are celebrating a pretty big milestone in 2021! Wonderwall.com is taking a look at some of the movies turning 25 this year, starting with "Happy Gilmore," which was released on Feb. 16, 1996. The Adam Sandler-penned film also starred the comedian, who plays a former hockey player-turned-reluctant golfer, and included a hilarious and memorable cameo from Bob Barker (seen here). It went on to make an impressive $41.2 million at the box office despite only costing $12 million to make. Keep reading to see more movies turning 25 in 2021…
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"Mission: Impossible," the first film in the wildly popular series that's still going strong 25 years later, came out on May 21, 1996. The Tom Cruise-led action-spy flick chronicled the exploits of Ethan Hunt and his undercover missions and went on to become the third highest grossing movie that year.
"The First Wives Club" saw Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler team up as divorcees seeking revenge on their exes — who all left them for younger women. The film, which hit theaters 25 years ago in September, was a surprise hit that became the 10th highest grossing movie that year and later developed somewhat of a cult following.
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"That Thing You Do!" turns 25 this year! Yep, the musical movie starring Tom Hanks, Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Johnathon Schaech and Steve Zahn was originally released in October 1996. The flick centers around the fictional '60s band The Wonders and their rise to and subsequent fall from fame. Aside from being a hit at the box office, the film also launched a hit song, "That Thing You Do!" — and it even scored Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.
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A slasher-flick franchise first debuted 25 years ago this year? "Scream." Yep, the first installment in this horror series debuted in December 1996 and starred Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette (plus Drew Barrymore in a memorable role). It helped usher in a new era of horror flicks and eventually spawned three more sequels plus a fourth set for release in 2022.
The dark comedy "The Cable Guy" also turns 25 this year. Starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick, this film based on — you guessed it, a quirky cable guy — ended up being a box office hit after its June release. Though critics didn't adore the movie, which was directed by Ben Stiller and produced by Judd Apatow, it did eventually gain a cult following thanks to its odd premise.
"The Nutty Professor" certainly brought the laughs back in 1996! The flick celebrates its 25th anniversary on June 28. Eddie Murphy played Sherman Klump, a university professor who tries his own experimental weight-loss pharmaceutical, in the movie that turned out to be the fifth highest grossing film of the year domestically. It spawned a 2000 sequel, "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps."
Leonardo DiCaprio certified his heartthrob status in 1996 with "Romeo + Juliet." The film, which came out that November, was a hit with critics and audiences alike. Leo played lovestruck Romeo while Claire Danes starred as Juliet in filmmaker Baz Luhrmann's take on the star-crossed lovers.
Michael Bay directed "The Rock," which hit theaters in June 1996. The film starring Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris centered around a team that breaks into Alcatraz prison on an island in the San Francisco Bay. It earned $335 million and went on to become the fourth highest grossing film of that year.
"Independence Day" — the top grossing film of 1996 — celebrates its 25th anniversary on July 2! The action flick starred Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman in an epic tale about what happens when Earth is attacked by extraterrestrials. Aside from being a box office success, it also won an Academy Award for best visual effects.
"Fargo" first hit the big screen in March 1996, so it joins the ranks of films turning 25 in 2021. The film, which was a dark comedy and crime-drama hybrid, starred Frances McDormand and William H. Macy, and was written, produced and directed by the Coen brothers, who won an Academy Award for the screenplay. They also later produced a "Fargo" TV series for FX beginning in 2014. The movie earned Frances an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for best actress the following year.
"Jerry Maguire" will mark its 25th anniversary in December. The romantic comedy-slash-drama-slash-sports-flick hybrid became a pop culture phenomenon following its release, giving us many quotable lines like "You had me at hello" and "Show me the money!" Not only did it score big at the box office (to the tune of $273 million worldwide), but it also earned its stars some big awards: Tom Cruise took home a best actor in a comedy Golden Globe and Cuba Gooding Jr. won an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for best supporting actor.
Welcome to the "Space Jam"! This 1996 live-action comedy enlisted sports legend Michael Jordan, who teamed up with Bugs Bunny to win a basketball match against aliens. Yep, that was the plot of this '96 hit, which debuted in theaters in November and, despite mixed reviews, earned $230 million at the worldwide box office.
1996 served up a pretty good rom-com with "One Fine Day." The George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer romance, which came out that December, centered around two single working parents. The song from the film, "For the First Time," earned an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Grammy nomination.
"The Birdcage" saw Robin Williams and Nathan Lane play life partners — one of whom owns a drag club at which the other performs. The comedy was a big hit with audiences, eventually becoming the seventh highest grossing film of 1996 after its March release. It earned an Academy Award nod for best production design.
Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson and Matthew McConaughey teamed up for 1996's "A Time to Kill." The drama, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in July, is based on the 1989 John Grisham novel of the same name. It was both a commercial hit (the eighth highest grossing film of the year domestically) and a critical success, with Samuel earning a Golden Globe for best supporting actor.
Who could forget cows being swept up in a tornado? 1996's "Twister" hit theaters on May 10, 1996, and became an iconic disaster flick that scored the second highest box office take of the year. Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton starred in the film about storm chasers trying to do research in Oklahoma.
War drama "The English Patient" debuted in November 1996 and starred Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe and Kristin Scott Thomas. The romantic tale, which was set in northern Italy during World War II, received rave reviews. It earned 12 Academy Award nominations and won nine Oscars including for best picture and best supporting actress for Juliette.
"The Craft" came out in May 1996. Despite receiving mixed reviews, it ended up being a surprise success not only at the time of its release but as the years went on and it became a cult hit. The film starred Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and Rachel True as high schoolers who start dabbling in witchcraft.
"A Thin Line Between Love and Hate" starred Martin Lawrence, Lynn Whitfield, Regina King and Bobby Brown and came out in April 1996. The comedy — which sees Martin's character, a lady's man, targeted by a former girlfriend — ended up doing well at the box office despite mostly bad reviews.
The live-action Disney flick "101 Dalmatians" hit theaters in November 1996 and quickly earned big bucks at the domestic box office to become the ninth highest grossing movie of the year. Glenn Close, who starred as iconic villain Cruella de Vil, earned a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a comedy for her work. It led to a sequel — "102 Dalmatians" — that was released in 2000.
Denzel Washington and the late Whitney Houston starred in "The Preacher's Wife," a comedy drama that first hit theaters in December 1996. The movie, which was based on a novel of the same name, earned two Oscar nominations and rave reviews from critics.
Robin Williams starred in the 1996 film "Jack" as a boy with a condition that makes him age four times faster than normal. The film was released in August and did well with audiences and critics. Fun fact: A young Jennifer Lopez played his teacher in the film.
The beloved kids film "Matilda" turns 25 this year. The 1996 comedy based on a Roald Dahl novel starred Mara Wilson as a child genius. Danny DeVito directed and starred alongside Mara and his wife, Rhea Perlman. Critics loved the film, with many praising the way it adhered to the original book.
"Dunston Checks In" turns 25 this year! Yep, the family comedy about an orangutan named Dunston who's trained to be a thief hit theaters in January 1996. Jason Alexander, Faye Dunaway and Rupert Everett all have roles in this funny flick, which received mainly negative reviews.