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Film time tunnel: 1990, or the last time England reached the semi-finals


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1990 was a massive year globally. It featured the reunification of Germany, the breakup of Yugoslavia, the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and the resignation of Margaret Thatcher as UK Prime Minister.

Gascoigne crying 1990 world cup

It was also the last time England were in the World Cup semi-finals, and that match in itself has become iconic, featuring Paul Gascoigne’s legendary tears and, alongside the 1966 triumph, has become the match fans have looked back on most fondly in the 28 years since. 

But it was also a phenomenal year for film. With England facing Croatia this Wednesday evening, here’s a few classics to get you in the 1990 mood – in the hope that things won’t end in tears this time!

1. Pretty Woman

The iconic rom-com pairing of Richard Gere and Julia Roberts began here, to be revisited in the 1999 Runaway Bride. Here, Gere plays a wealthy businessman who hires Roberts’ prostitute to accompany him to several events. It’s essentially Cinderella set in early-90s LA, with added sexual innuendo. 

2. Home Alone 

Macaulay Culkin was the break-out star of this film, playing Kevin McAllister, an 8-year-old accidentally left behind when his family go away for Christmas. The ingenuity of a small child to not only survive on his own, but defend the house from burglars remains hilarious to this day, and whilst you might think it’s a Christmas film, there’s no season that’s wrong for comedy. 

3. Ghost 

A film which fuses romance, comedy and brutal murder might not seem like box-office material, but when it stars Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, pretty much anything can be forgiven. The special effects are very of their time, but the performances remain strong and I dare you not to have a little tear in your eye by the end. 

4. Edward Scissorhands 

Back when being a Johnny Depp fan was less problematic, he played the tragic title role: an artificial man with scissors for hands. His romance with Kim moved off-screen when Depp and Winona Ryder dated, leading to that infamous tattoo. It’s also the first time Depp worked with director Tim Burton, a collaborative partnership which has endured throughout the years. 

5. Kindergarten Cop

Before he was Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger swung between action-films (Total Recall was also released in 1990) and slightly strange comedies like this one. Playing a police officer who must go undercover as a kindergarten teacher, Schwarzenegger received mixed reviews, but it’s an entertaining romp nevertheless. 

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