40 Sneaky Details Hidden In Your Favorite ’90s Movies That You Probably Haven’t Spotted Until Now

Ah, the 1990s. An unforgettable decade that saw some great music, TV shows and movies released that changed our lives forever. Who can forget classics such as Home Alone, The Matrix and Jurassic Park? And though most of us love those films, did you know there are some extraordinary hidden details in them? Yes, there’s a lot more than meets the eye to these fan-favorites.

40. Read between the signs

The Matrix is now regarded as a 1990s classic. The Wachowskis’ mind-bending sci-fi movie hit cinema screens back in 1999 and captivated audiences with its complex, philosophical musings and exhilarating battle sequences. Among that intricate plot is some interesting symbolism, such as the moment when Neo and Morpheus perform an identical maneuver during a fight. In that instant, the dueling duo’s white and black outfits and the tops of their heads combine to create the yin-yang sign. Cool.

39. Sneaky seatbelts

Jurassic Park was undoubtedly one of the movie events of the decade. A story of de-extinct dinos run amok, it was directed by Steven Spielberg and adapted from Michael Crichton’s book. The 1993 movie contained some clever hidden symbolism as well, such as when Dr. Grant attempts to connect his safety belt in the chopper. Grant binds a pair of “female” seatbelts that initially won’t join, pre-empting how the all-female dinosaurs on the island later manage to reproduce.

ADVERTISEMENT

38. Seize the teeth!

Who doesn’t love Mrs. Doubtfire? The 1993 comedy, which stars Robin Williams as a divorced dad posing as an old lady, is a hoot from start to finish. But did you notice that when Doubtfire loses her dentures, she responds, “Carpe Dentum… Seize the teeth”? This is a clever nod to Williams’ 1989 film Dead Poets Society, in which his professor famously tells his students, “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

37. Glenn Close Hook-ed in

ADVERTISEMENT

Hook was released back in 1991, and the Steven Spielberg film boasted a star-studded cast, with Dustin Hoffman playing the title character and Robin Williams appearing as Peter Pan. It also starred Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins and Maggie Smith. But one actor not billed was Glenn Close. Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed, though, that she appeared as a male pirate who’s chucked into the “Boo Box.”

36. Have your cake and eat it

Notting Hill came out in the final year of the 1990s to widespread acclaim. The romantic comedy boasted a pair of likable stars in the shape of bumbling Brit Hugh Grant and American beauty Julia Roberts. But the story of a run-of-the-mill bookstore proprietor who somehow woos a famous Hollywood actress has a sneaky hidden detail. You see, the couple’s wedding cake near the end features a violinist goat on it. And this is a nod to a previously mentioned artwork owned by both the main characters.

ADVERTISEMENT

35. Apple-peeling allegories

ADVERTISEMENT

Sleepless in Seattle is one of the most beloved rom-coms of the 1990s. The film – which starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan – made more than $220 million globally and also received good reviews. And there’s a neat bit of symbolism buried in the movie that you might’ve missed. Remember when Sam mentions to his son that he adored the way his late-wife peeled apples? Well, not long before that, Annie is shown peeling the fruit in that exact fashion. Clever.

34. Popularity pin

Never Been Kissed was a 1990s movie? Well, yes, it actually came out in 1999. The high-school rom-com starred Drew Barrymore and David Arquette. But there’s something in the movie you may well have missed. Early in the flick, Barrymore’s newspaper reporter Josie is seen sporting a pilot pin. Then, later on when Josie’s star rises, if you look closely the other girls all begin sporting the same pins.

ADVERTISEMENT

33. The riddle of the costumes

ADVERTISEMENT

Yes, Batman & Robin wasn’t an artistic success, even though it made a profit at the box office. But the infamous 1997 turkey directed by Joel Schumacher is a fun watch in a sense. That sense being it’s so bad it’s almost good, of course. The movie also has a nice bit of hidden detail in its bloated two-hour runtime. During a scene set in the criminal property locker of Arkham Asylum, the outfits of master criminals Two-Face and the Riddler – who were stopped by the Caped Crusader in the prior film Batman Forever – are visible.

32. A113, what do you mean?

The Pixar films of the 1990s were ahead of their time. We’re talking Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2. And if you look closely in those movies you’ll spot the number A113 appearing in various settings, such as on the back of Andy’s mother’s minivan in Toy Story. So, what does it mean? Well, it was in room A113 at the California Institute of the Arts that numerous artists who worked for Disney and Pixar honed their expertise.

ADVERTISEMENT

31. Flower lady baby

ADVERTISEMENT

“Tom Hanks. Meg Ryan… They get mail and stuff!” proclaimed Joey Tribbiani as he headed off to the cinema to watch You’ve Got Mail during an episode of Friends. That’s a pretty good summary of the 1998 rom-com, to be honest. But did you notice a crafty bit of hidden detail in the movie? Well, at the start of the film, Ryan’s Kathleen purchases flowers from a heavily pregnant attendant. When she walks past the same florist later on, if you look closely you’ll spot message in the store reading: “It’s a girl.”

30. Titanic horse hint

The gargantuan 1997 hit Titanic about the doomed passenger liner is one of the most successful of all time, bagging 11 Oscars and coining over $2 billion to date. And James Cameron’s film has a sneaky hidden detail in it. At one point, Kate Winslet’s Rose is taken aback when Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack jokes that she “rides a horse like a man,” meaning not side-saddle. And during the movie’s finale, an image of her riding that way is shown.

ADVERTISEMENT

29. Haven’t we seen that picture somewhere before?

ADVERTISEMENT

Whitney Houston crossed over from the music world to star in the 1992 movie The Bodyguard. The romantic thriller was a commercial success, pulling in in excess of $400 million at the box office. The more eagle-eyed viewers among us may have noticed how the photographs that Houston’s Rachel autographs in one scene are actually from one of the the late singer’s singles, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All.”

28. Yacht does it all mean?

The 1998 remake of The Parent Trap introduced a young Lindsay Lohan to the world. The popular rom-com also has a surprising piece of symbolism in it. If you look closely, the yacht that Hallie and Annie hire for their parents is emblazoned with the word “Halcyon.” So? Well, the definition of Halcyon is “denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.” Clever.

ADVERTISEMENT

27. Author-ized painting

ADVERTISEMENT

Helmed by Danny DeVito, the 1996 fantasy comedy Matilda was adapted from Roald Dahl’s book. The reviews were generally good, but the movie didn’t manage to break even at the box office. Anyway, the film has a cool hidden detail in it that you might not have spotted. The painting of Miss Honey’s dad is actually a depiction of Dahl himself.

26. His eyes tell the story

Beauty and The Beast came out in 1991 and was a huge success for the Disney studio that made it. Its titular characters are a prince who’s been turned into a monster because of his arrogance and the smart woman he incarcerates before falling in love with her. In the movie, when Gaston is plunges from the castle to his death, if you look quickly or pause, you’ll notice that his eyes contain skulls.

ADVERTISEMENT

25. Toolbox trivia

ADVERTISEMENT

The very first Pixar movie, Toy Story, was a huge hit with critics and audiences alike upon its 1995 release. The landmark, completely computer-animated comedy follows the travails of rival toys Woody and Buzz Lightyear, as they aim to be reunited with their owner Andy. Tom Hanks voiced Woody and Tim Allen Buzz. And Pixar threw in a reference to the latter’s Home Improvement show. Yes, the branding emblazoned on a box on Woody’s cage belongs to Binford Tools.

24. Firework fun

Sticking with Toy Story for a moment, there’s another cool hidden detail in the mega-hit movie. So, what exactly is it? Well, remember when Andy’s evil, toy-destroying next-door neighbor Sid buys a rocket called the Big One? Take a look at the name of the company on the box: ILL EAGLE Fireworks Inc. Funny, huh?

ADVERTISEMENT

23. Disney hit slam dunked

ADVERTISEMENT

Space Jam was the movie in which basketball collided with Looney Tunes, with surprisingly enjoyable results. Well, at least the live-action animated comedy wasn’t the disaster it could have been, and Michael Jordan shone. There’s an amusing aside in the film as well. When coming up with a name for their team to defeat the aliens, Daffy Duck proposes “The Ducks.” But Bugs Bunny retorts, “What kind of Mickey Mouse team would call themselves ‘The Ducks’?” This, of course, was a sly dig at the movie The Mighty Ducks.

22. Wes that you, Mr. Craven?

Scream gave a major shot in the arm to the horror genre when it was released back in 1996. This tongue-in-cheek slasher flick raked in more than $170 million globally, and critics generally liked it, too. The movie was also very aware of its place in horror film history, referencing numerous cliches and plots from the likes of Friday the 13th and Halloween. And if you weren’t hiding behind the sofa or obscuring your vision with clasped hands, you may have noticed that director Wes Craven makes a brief appearance – dressed in Freddy Krueger’s clothes.

ADVERTISEMENT

21. See you later, alligator

ADVERTISEMENT

Happy Gilmore is a rarity of sorts, in the sense that it’s an Adam Sandler vehicle that doesn’t totally suck. Anyway, the 1996 ice-hockey-player-turned-golfer comedy has a neat little bit of symbolism in it that you might well have missed. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the character Chubbs wears a Lacoste shirt, replete with the French fashion company’s famous alligator logo. What does this mean? Well, an alligator attack cost Chubbs one of his hands, and he eventually dies of a cardiac arrest after seeing an alligator’s head.

20. Sewage pipe symbolism

The Shawshank Redemption should need little or no introduction. The prison drama’s one of the most beloved movies of all time, after all. But there’s a neat piece of detail you may have missed in the movie. At one point, Morgan Freeman’s Red calls Andy Dufresne’s hopes of freedom and moving to Zihuantanejo a “pipe dream.” Of course, the Tim Robbins-portrayed Dufresne would eventually escape the jail through… a sewage pipe.

ADVERTISEMENT

19. Puntastic plaything

ADVERTISEMENT

Toy Story has cropped up a few times already, as the movie is crammed with hidden details, jokes and Easter eggs. Another one you might have missed – and that hopefully went over your kids’ heads, too – is a visual gag strictly for the parents. If you look closely at Sid’s toys you will see one is a pair of woman’s legs with a hook attached to it. A hook-er, if you will. Oh Pixar, you naughty so and sos.

18. A night at the opera

Remember the movie Pretty Woman? Of course you do. Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, fall in love etc. Well, there’s a neat hidden detail in the famous rom-com. Early in the film, Gere’s Edward takes Roberts’ Vivian to an opera performance. They go to see La Traviata, which fittingly is an opera centered around a lady of the night who gets together with a rich guy – pretty much the exact plot of the motion picture itself.

ADVERTISEMENT

17. Tooth trivia

ADVERTISEMENT

Richie Rich told the story of the world’s wealthiest man’s son, the titular character played by Macaulay Culkin. The 1994 movie wasn’t exactly a great success but still made $37m domestically. And the film has a curious hidden detail in it. Early on, Richie produces a drawing of a classmate who’s missing a tooth. Then, in the finale, a face on the family mountain has a yawning gap in its teeth.

16. Crossover crab

Disney’s Aladdin came out back in 1992, and the tale of an Arabian man who stumbles upon a magic lamp was a big success. The animated classic also has some hidden details you may have missed in it. At one point in the movie, the Robin Williams-voiced genie’s magic produces Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid when looking at his cookbook. Cool.

ADVERTISEMENT

15. Cunningly placed Parisians

ADVERTISEMENT

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is another Disney film that contains clever nods to the studio’s past. Yes, the 1996 animated drama – which was based on the famous novel by Victor Hugo – threw in a number of blink and you’ll miss them allusions to bygone films. During a Paris-set street scene, if you look closely you’ll spot pig on a stake clearly resembling Pumbaa from The Lion King, The Beauty and the Beast’s Belle wandering around, and someone carrying the magic carpet seen in Aladdin.

14. Triplet travails

What more can you say about The Matrix? The 1999 sci-fi movie has been discussed to death, after all. Well, there’s something about the red-dress scene that may surprise you. That section features numerous triplets and twins. And to clearly illustrate the story’s point that programmers were able to replicate figures, the film’s directors employed dozens of triplets and twins.

ADVERTISEMENT

13. Specs shadowy secret

ADVERTISEMENT

Batman Returns came out in the summer of 1992 to critical acclaim. The Tim Burton-directed movie followed Michael Keaton’s caped crusader in his attempts to stop the deranged plans of Danny DeVito’s Penguin. You may or may not have noticed this neat little detail. In a scene involving Selena Kyle, you can see that the shadow above her glasses foretells her forthcoming incarnation of Catwoman.

12. Constellation capers

Hercules arrived in cinemas in 1997 to a good reception from the critics overall. The Disney fantasy musical was inspired by the mythological Greek hero Heracles, son of Zeus. The movie makes an interesting pop culture nod as well, to Marilyn Monroe of all people. In one of the songs describing Hercules’ brave feats, our hero flies towards the stars. His trajectory lifts one of the Muses and her skirt flows up, in the famous Monroe manner.

ADVERTISEMENT

11. Enduring burger chain

ADVERTISEMENT

Pulp Fiction was easily one of the best American movies of the 1990s. Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece wowed both critics and audiences with its witty dialogue, clever plot and fine acting from the likes of Uma Thurman, John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson. But you may not have noticed that the Big Kahuna Burger franchise that’s famously referenced in Pulp Fiction appeared in the 1996 movie From Dusk Till Dawn, too, which was also written by Tarantino.

10. Tea for Tarzan

Tarzan was the final film in the so-called Disney Renaissance period, and it hit cinemas in 1999. The animated movie did well with critics and earned a not-too-shabby $448 million at the box office. Like many Disney movies, there are some sneaky cross-references thrown in. In Tarzan this comes in the shape of Jane’s tea set, which is Chip and Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast.

ADVERTISEMENT

9. Cased Covenant

ADVERTISEMENT

Kids and adults across America loved Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and its sequel Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. The early 1990s sci-fi tinged comedies that starred Rick Moranis were fun for all the family. But did you notice this neat detail in the latter movie? If you look at the warehouse scene in which the shrinking device is present, you’ll see the Ark of the Covenant is labeled and boxed up nearby.

8. License-plate recognition

Swingers was something of an unexpected hit in 1996. Featuring Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, the low-budget comedy centered on two out-of-work Los Angeles actors and made stars of its leads. The film also sneaked in a hidden pop culture reference, in the form of a license plate. Yes, Trent’s car has the code THX 1138 on it, which is a nod to a duplicate one in 1973’s American Graffiti and ultimately Star Wars supremo George Lucas’ debut feature of the same name.

ADVERTISEMENT

7. Like mother like daughter

ADVERTISEMENT

Halloween: H20 continues the story of its famous 1978 predecessor Halloween, exactly 20 years on. The terrifying Mike Myers comes back, as does Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode. And the horror movie makes a respectful nod to the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Psycho. That arrives in the shape of its star Janet Leigh, Curtis’ real life mom, who uses the same vehicle she did in the 1960 classic.

6. Witch gender are you?

The acclaimed 1990 black comedy The Witches was based on the 1980s Roald Dahl novel. The cult favorite – which stars Anjelica Huston and Rowan Atkinson, among others – tells the tale of evil witches posing as normal women, and how a young child allied with his grandma halt their dastardly plots. There’s an interesting hidden detail in the movie, too. If you look closely during the conference sequence, you’ll notice that many of the shaven-headed witches are in fact males.

ADVERTISEMENT

5. Carpet conundrum

ADVERTISEMENT

Toy Story has appeared on this list several times already. And with good reason. So here’s another hidden detail you might have missed in the 1995 Pixar classic. In fact, unless you have a photographic memory of carpets in movies, you almost certainly will have. In evil Sid’s house, the carpeting matches that of the abandoned Overlook hotel in The Shining. Apparently Pixar director Lee Unkrich is a big fan of the Stanley Kubrick horror classic.

4. Star Wars icons Hook up

Steven Spielberg’s Hook’s a fun movie for both kids and adults. The Peter Pan story also has some really cool hidden details in it. One occurs at the start of the film and is another star-studded cameo. Yes, on the bridge we see a couple who’re getting amorous. And if you look closely, it’s Star Wars head honcho George Lucas and Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher.

ADVERTISEMENT

3. Slot-machine silliness

ADVERTISEMENT

The Nightmare Before Christmas isn’t exactly a classic holiday movie. But the creepy 1993 classic – which was dreamed up and produced by Tim Burton – is still a hoot. A neat detail you might well have missed involves the slot machines. Look closely and you can see that they’re one-armed bandits. But instead of having the usual number seven on them, they have the more appropriately spooky 13.

2. Hat doff to Clint

The third and final installment in the hugely popular franchise, Back to the Future Part III wasn’t averse to chucking in the odd hidden detail or two. For instance, there are several references to Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood in it. In 1955 the Michael J Fox-portrayed Marty states, “Clint Eastwood would’ve never worn anything like this.” And if you look to the side of him, you’ll notice there’s a poster on the wall for Revenge of the Creature – the big-screen debut of the veteran actor.

ADVERTISEMENT

1. Predictive pin

ADVERTISEMENT

Is there a better Christmas movie than Home Alone? Well, if there is, we certainly haven’t seen it. Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern all put in masterful comedic performances. Speaking of Pesci, if you look carefully at his police chief character Harry at the start, you’ll notice he’s wearing a gun pendant on his tie. This seems to be a subtle foreshadowing of what’s about to happen.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT