7 great 90-minute movies you should stream right now

Simba and Timon in The Lion King.
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

In an era of epic blockbusters that often span two to three hours or even longer, it’s not easy finding movies that pack a punch despite a short runtime. Audiences looking for movies that are 90 minutes or less can look back at decades of filmmaking and find that there are a few feature films that stand out for being shining examples of how less can be more when it comes to storytelling on the big screen.

From whirlwind romances in films like Before Sunset and Breathless to animated classics like The Lion King and Toy Story, these 90-minute movies prove that great viewing experiences can be achieved in just a short amount of time. Spanning numerous genres across different decades, they are a master class in brevity, pacing, and impact, ensuring that there’s something quick, yet entertaining out there for every kind of viewer.

Zombieland (2009) – 88 minutes

Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone in Zombieland (2009)
Sony Pictures Releasing

Zombieland is a shining example of a zombie comedy done right. Directed by Ruben Fleisher in his theatrical debut, the 2009 film is set in a postapocalyptic America where a strain of mad cow disease has caused most of the population to turn into zombies. Here, four survivors – Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Poor Things star Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) – reluctantly form an alliance so they can all reach a supposed sanctuary that the undead haven’t invaded yet.

The film packs witty banter and a fast-paced plot into its 88-minute runtime, ensuring that there’s a lot of action and a surprising level of character development before the credits roll. Zombieland soars thanks to the fantastic chemistry between the four main actors, whose performances infuse the film with humor and heart. They reprise their roles in a slightly lengthier sequel titled Zombieland: Double Tap, which doesn’t quite live up to the high standard set by the original movie.

Zombieland can be rented or purchased on Amazon Prime Video.

Toy Story (1995) – 81 minutes

Buzz and Woody in Toy Story.
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Viewers got to peer into the secret life of toys in director John Lasseter’s celebrated classic Toy Story. Set in a sunny suburban neighborhood, it revolves around a group of sentient toys led by Woody (Tom Hanks), a pull-string cowboy doll, and the favorite of a young boy named Andy (John Morris). Woody’s world is turned upside down when Andy receives a new space ranger action figure named Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) as a birthday gift. Woody’s jealousy soon leads to the pair being separated from the group. Lost and far from home, where they must work together to find their way back.

Pixar‘s first feature film turned out to be among its best and most important movies, as Toy Story would go on to spawn a thriving franchise that would keep fans coming back for more. The film series is among the greatest in the animation genre, full of highs and lows alongside joyful and bittersweet moments. At just 81 minutes, the first Toy Story is endlessly rewatchable and undoubtedly still holds a special place in fans’ hearts.

Toy Story is streaming on Disney+.

Frances Ha (2012) – 86 minutes

Greta Gerwig peering through a window while holding a cigarette in Frances Ha.
IFC Films

Barbie‘s Greta Gerwig stars as 27-year-old Frances Halladay in director Noah Baumbach’s gorgeous black-and-white film, Frances Ha. The protagonist starts as an aspiring dancer living in New York City with her best friend and roommate Sophie (Mickey Sumner). The duo is incredibly close, but when Sophie decides to move out, they drift apart and Frances is forced to make some hard choices about her own life, even when she feels she doesn’t really know what she’s doing.

Frances Ha is an excellent coming-of-age movie for adults that succeeds largely thanks to its awkward, flawed, and relatable protagonist. Her poignant journey is a necessary reminder that it’s alright to feel lost and uncertain, even when everyone else seems to have things figured out. Gerwig is also impeccably cast as Frances, with the actor imbuing the character with a quirky charm and endearing vulnerability that makes viewers want to root for her all throughout the film’s 86-minute runtime that seems to just fly by.

Frances Ha is streaming on Netflix.

Before Sunset (2004) – 80 minutes

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunset (2004).
Warner Independent Pictures

Set nine years after Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) first met in Vienna in Before Sunrise, Before Sunset is a romantic drama that gives the couple a second chance. Directed by Richard Linklater, the film depicts Jesse, now a successful author on a book tour in Paris, as he unexpectedly reunites with Céline, whom he encounters at a bookstore reading. As they spend the afternoon together, walking and talking through the streets of Paris, they reflect on the paths their lives have taken since Vienna and soon discover the lingering feelings they still have for each other.

Before Sunset‘s quick 80-minute runtime perfectly complements the short period that Jesse and Celine have together, with every moment filled with a growing sense of longing and awareness of time running out. Despite their last meeting being years ago, they don’t miss a beat and fall right into the comfortable rhythm and flowing conversation that made them fall in love in the first place. It’s a bittersweet and beautiful continuation of their story, not to mention one worth revisiting alongside the other entries in the renowned Before trilogy.

Before Sunset can be rented or purchased on Amazon Prime Video.

Breathless (1960) – 87 minutes

Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo walking along a street in Breathless (1960).
Société nouvelle de cinématographie

Director Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless is a seminal French New Wave film centered on the petty criminal Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and his American love interest, Patricia Franchini (Jean Seberg). On the run from the police, Michel seeks refuge with Patricia, with the duo soon forming a romantic, but bizarre connection as they walk around the streets of Paris. When she learns of the murder investigation, Patricia begins to question her own perspective and choices.

The 1960 film was Godard’s first feature-length work and showcased novel elements that would become synonymous with the New Wave. These same aspects would later inspire other filmmakers and become ingrained in cinema, particularly the jump cuts, naturalistic dialogue, natural lighting, and unconventional storytelling. Its dynamic style makes every second of its 87-minute runtime absorbing. Breathless has since been hailed as one of the most important ever movies made and included in prestigious polls and publications, with the film even earning a spot in the Criterion Collection.

Breathless is streaming on Max.

Rashomon (1950) – 88 minutes

Toshirô Mifune and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)
Daiei Film

Rashomon is a groundbreaking Japanese film centered on a single event retold from multiple perspectives. Set in feudal Japan, it shows the aftermath of a violent crime and the series of testimonies extracted from four different characters: a bandit named Tajomaru (Toshiro Mifune), the deceased husband (Masayuki Mori), the wife (Machiko Kyō), and a woodcutter (Takashi Shimura) who stumbled upon the crime scene. As each character recounts their version of the events, viewers are given conflicting testimonies that make it challenging to find the truth.

Renowned director Akira Kurosawa doesn’t waste a second of Rashomon‘s 88-minute runtime, imbuing each moment with suspense and mystery that only escalates with each new character’s perspective. The 1950 Jidaigeki drama used novel storytelling techniques, including its unusual narrative structure and heavy reliance on flashbacks. Rashomon is remembered today as one of the best Japanese movies ever made and is credited with getting critics from around the world to pay more attention to the country’s films.

Rashomon is streaming for free on Tubi.

The Lion King (1994) – 89 minutes

Simba, Pumba, and Timon in The Lion King.
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Hakuna Matata for less than 90 minutes with 1994’s The Lion King. Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, the animated Disney masterpiece tells the coming-of-age story of Simba, a young lion prince destined to rule the Pride Lands. Following a devastating betrayal by Simba’s uncle, Scar (Jeremy Irons), the cub’s father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones), dies, forcing the protagonist to flee out of shame. Lost and alone, Simba befriends two carefree characters, Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella), who keep him company. Soon, a childhood friend tracks Simba down and encourages him to confront his past and fight for his rightful place as king.

With a powerful story based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Lion King portrays one of the most incredible journeys of courage and redemption for audiences of all ages. Pair that with timeless animation and a legendary soundtrack, and it’s not surprising that the ’90s Disney movie endures as a widely beloved classic that fans can revisit over and over again.

The Lion King is streaming on Disney+.