Growing up in the 90s, I remember surrounding myself with VHS tapes of my favourite movies. I’d dress up and pretend I was a character in the movie as I watched it with my stuffed toy collection, and quartered peanut butter sandwiches.
It was a marvellous childhood, hence why there are a few movies I can’t watch without blubbering with overwhelming nostalgia.
I avoided the classics such as Disney’s Lady & the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty, or Matilda because while they are certainly magical I’m sure they were every little girl’s favourite during the 90s. So here are a few hidden treasures that you might have forgotten about:
The Secret Garden (1993)
Dickon: “The animals tell me all their secrets.”
Mary: [Pointing to the robin] “He wouldn’t tell you my secret, would he?”
Dickon: “About what, Miss Mary?”
Mary: “A garden. I’ve stolen a garden.”
An absolute favourite of mine, probably in part to the resemblance between me and the stroppy little girl in the film (according to my mum). But it also included a lot of animals (including ponies), which I adored. I was also intrigued by the mansion the girl lived in and all the hidden locked rooms… and secret gardens.
Black Beauty (1991)
“The story of my life is the story of the people in it. I haven’t always been as lucky as I am, in this delicious place with grass, and water, and sunshine. Mine is a story of trust and betrayal, and learning to trust again. I remember everything.”
The best horse film of all time. It’s not too cheesy, it’s not unrealistic. It’s about how tough a horse’s life was in the 1800s, and how nice their owners would be is purely down to chance as animals have no say in their fate. A beautiful film, but will likely leave you in tears. I liked how it had the same actor in it as in The Secret Garden – Andrew Knott. I guess he was one of few young boys around who could ride and act?
A Little Princess (1995)
“I am a princess. All girls are! Even if they live in tiny old attics, even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young, they’re still princesses – all of us! Didn’t your father ever tell you that? Didn’t he?”
This became harder to watch the older I got because I didn’t understand it entirely when I was younger. It’s a heart-wrenching story about Sara – a little girl whose father is away at war. She is sent to an all-girls boarding school but is treated poorly and finds comfort in the other girls while she wishes desperately for her father to come home. (PS. Just looked into the actress who plays Sara – didn’t realise she hails from one of America’s richest families, according to Forbes magazine… Suddenly feels a little less magical now.)
FairyTale: A True Story (1997)
“Never try to fool children. They expect nothing and therefore see everything.”
Being an avid believer in fairies throughout my early childhood, I looked to this film as proof of their existence. While I have since discovered that this ‘true story’ was based upon two children who lied to the fragile people of post-war England, this film is still magical. (Featuring a young Bill Nighy.)
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
Chance: “I can do better! Just give me a second chance!”
Shadow: “That was your second chance, Chance!”
Chance: “Then give me a third chance!”
Two dogs and a cat make their way across the country in search of their owners who left them behind. This cosy American family movie follows Chance, Sassy and Shadow on an emotional journey that will leave you in tears every time. It’s funny to know the faces behind the actors who voiced them now (including Michael J. Fox and Forrest Gump’s mother).