The 50 Best Movies of the '90s

17. Point Break (1991)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Lori Petty, John C. McGinley

Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow is now known for the contemporary military thrillers The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, but those recent Academy Award darlings aren't the most interesting things about Ms. Bigelow. For genre fans, her diversified, unclassifiable earlier catalog is what'll forever endear her in their hearts. For horror lovers, there's Bigelow's underrated vampire flick Near Dark, and for action movie buffs, there's the immortal Point Break, the best movie to ever marry cop drama with surfer criminals and Richard Nixon masks.

As a look into the alternative lifestyle of Southern California surf culture, Point Break feels equal parts authentic and hammy, which is part of its sun-soaked charm. Fortunately, Bigelow had more on her mind than just hanging ten—at its core, Point Break is two hours' worth of bro-mantic, sharply edited, no-holds-barred cinematic adrenaline, with epic shootouts, high-concept heists, and Keanu Reeves kicking ass as a dude named Johnny Utah. Whoa, indeed. MB

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