Popular 90s References That Kids Today Will Never Fully Appreciate

The 90s left behind a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. With the release of countless hit movies and television programs, this righteous decade kept us entertained and wanting more. Luckily we can still watch some of our favorites on repeat and can carry some of the most quotable moments with us for years to come.

Image: The Independent

With yet another decade coming to a close in just a few days, we wanted to take this opportunity to offer a healthy dose of 90s nostalgia. What better way to do so than by revising some of the decades most quotable movie and TV moments? Since the decade came to a close, 90s kids have yet to stop referencing these catchy phrases and quotes and if you ask us, it still hasn’t gotten old.

I’m The Dude, Man

This 1998 crime comedy film has long been deemed a cult favorite. The legendary cast of characters, hilariously awkward predicaments and quotable moments made it a film that defined its decade. Years later and 90s kids are still ironically ordering white Russians, joining competitive bowling leagues and referring to themselves as the dude.

Image: Star Tribune

Let’s face it, every friend group has at least one “dude” in their bunch. The unshaven, unemployed friend who rarely leaves the house without his hoodie or Pendleton sweater. Thankfully films like this one have not only made it socially acceptable but have also given them some of the most quotable lines to echo with pride.

As If!

Clueless, released on the silver screen in 1995, became the epitome of 90s fashion, culture, and teenage lingo. The film has gathered quite a cult following through the years, and the legacy of the charming cast of characters will long be carried on by 90s kids everywhere. The main character, Cher Horowitz is a high school student living the lavish life in her Beverly Hills mansion.

Image: Pop Sugar

She is portrayed as a popular, blonde bombshell who knows her worth and holds her head high amongst her peers. One of the most memorable scenes early on in the film involves a fellow student attempting to pick up Cher, which she responds to with an aggressive “Ugh! As if!” A line that girls everywhere continue to use as an understood expression of rejection.

Not The Mama

In 1991, ABC brought the wonderful world of Dinosaurs to our television screens. The show follows a family of five dinosaurs named the Sinclair family. The Sinclairs were portrayed by puppets designed by the notorious Henson team.

Image: Fandom

They graced our screens until 1994 when the inevitable Ice Age brought their storyline to a close. One of the most memorable characters in the show was the sarcastic and playful Baby Sinclair. His favorite hobbies included hitting his dad on the head with a frying pan and spitting out one of his famous catch-phrases like “I’m the baby,” “Gotta love me,” or the crowd favorite “Not the mama!”

I’m the King of the World

So many amazing things came out of James Cameron’s 1997 film, Titanic. Thanks to this groundbreaking picture, we now have the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to entertain us with hit movie after hit movie. Not to mention we now have Celine Dion’s epic love ballad, “My Heart Will Go On,” to listen to whenever we need a good cry.

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In addition to all that, we can also thank some of the movie’s most iconic scenes for a few of our most 90’s centered catchphrases. We can now seductively exclaim “paint me like one of your French girls,” every time we lie down on our side and can yell out “I’m the king of the world,” whenever we feel on top. Funny enough, this iconic line was actually completely improvised by DiCaprio.

Did I Do Thaaat?

In another ABC hit, Family Matters became part of our lives back in 1989 and remained instilled in our weekly television watching routine until 1997. Audiences of all ages enjoyed watching the daily antics of the Winslow family and their nerdy neighbor, Steve Urkel.

Image: Entertainment Weekly

Urkel became especially stand out for his clumsy ways, loud presence, and memorable catchphrases. Despite his annoyances, fans could not get enough of this kind and love-struck teen, who quickly came to represent the stereotypical nerd for years following. Some of his most iconic phrases included “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” “Whoa, Mama!” and the oh so annoying, “Did I do that.”

This One Time, at Band Camp

Here’s the film that changed the lives of high school band geeks for years since it’s release. And all thanks to one iconic line that literally everyone who has ever picked up an instrument has uttered. American Pie, released in 1999, was the teen comedy film of the decade.

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It’s raunchy humor and the cast of hilariously relatable characters kept audiences laughing and wanting more. The film had 3 sequels, which brought the cast of teens all the way to their nuptials and high school reunion days.

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

This is one film that needs no introduction. The 1994 comedy-drama, Forrest Gump took us through a unique journey through history as we followed the life of the ever so charming Forrest. The world fell in love with this awkwardly charming character time and time again as fans continued to rewatch and memorize some of the film’s most iconic lines.

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The most well-known of these lines is one that can be used in almost every situation of our daily lives. “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” A line that is both meaningful, true and all the more impactful when uttered by Gump to a total stranger.

Oh, Behave!

The Austin Powers film series also had its fair share of trendy one-liners. The womanizing international man of mystery always seemed to have the right words to say both when winning over the ladies and when defeating his nemesis, Dr. Evil.

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Since 1997, upon the release of the first film, fans young and old have dressed as, imitated, and repeatedly quoted the series’ cast of quirky characters. One line that gets repeatedly used to this day is the flirty and frisky line “Oh, Behave.” Something Powers never actually managed to do.

Yada, Yada, Yada

The day this iconic catchphrase made its way to the mainstream was on April 24, 1997, when Jerry Seinfeld and his friends spent an entire episode focusing on its implications. This particular episode (the 19th of its eighth season) is one of the most famous of the popular NBC sitcom, Seinfeld.

Image: Cinema Blend

It has since been overused by millions of fans who had conveniently found the perfect way to skip the less favorable parts of their stories. While the show did not invent the phrase itself, it certainly redefined it… Yada, yada, yada… and the rest is history

Alrighty Then!

After first meeting Ace Ventura back in 1994, he quickly became the crazy, hyperactive pet detective that we didn’t know we needed in our lives. In both the first film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and the sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, there is one catchphrase that Ventura always comes back to.

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Whether he’s excited, happy, stressed, angry, or even when he’s deep in meditation, “Alrighty then,” always seemed to get his point across. Many have adopted this iconic line and it continues to be suitable for every given situation.

How Rude!

Now, this is a show that needs no introduction. Full House won us all over time and time again as we watched D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle grow up under the watchful eye of their three guardians Danny, Jesse, and Joey. The beloved sitcom first aired in 1987 and continued to grace our screens until 1995.

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The sassiest of the three children, middle child Stephanie had a catchphrase of her own that millions of young kids watching have since adopted. As the politest way to tell someone off for being a jerk, “How Rude!” will forever be the most adorable thing to come out of a child’s mouth.

You’re Killin me, Smalls

Since its release in 1993, The Sandlot has become a beloved cult classic that every 90s kid loves to reference. Thanks to this film, which follows a cast of young baseball players during the summer of 1962, we all now have the perfect way to express frustration towards strangers and loved ones alike.

Image: E! News

The line, “You’re killing me smalls,” was used in the film after a confusion involving a s’more…It has since turned into a commonly used term to express polite frustration by both young kids and adults.

Show Me the Money!

The 1996 romantic comedy, Jerry Maguire had us all shedding tears of sadness, laughter, and relief. The emotional roller coaster of a movie pulled at our heartstrings and had something for every type of movie lover. One of the most satisfying moments in the film is also what gave us one of its most iconic lines.

Image: Washington Post

Who can forget when our main protagonists Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise and Rod Tidwell, played by Cuba Gooding Jr. are caught yelling “Show me the money!” back and forth to each other. This line has been used to pump up money makers from all walks of life ever since.


Here’s one for all you Disney channel lovers out there. Back in the 90’s, nothing beat the weekly life lessons that we got from our favorite teacher, Mr. George Feeny. Boy Meets World, which first aired on the ABC network in 1993 and on the Disney Channel in 1997 was a crowd favorite fully stacked with a lovably charismatic cast of characters.

Image: ABC Photo Archives

All of which benefited from the wise words of Feeny. Feeny’s ex-student and neighbor, Eric Matthews was especially prone to calling on him as a mentor. This happened so often that he even had a special Feeny call that he kept alive throughout all seven seasons of the show.

You Can’t Handle the Truth

No courtroom scene has leveled up to the epic exchange seen in the 1992 court drama film, A Few Good Men. While the film itself is a drama, the line has taken a comedic turn over the years. It has inspired countless parodies as well as some pretty hilarious memes.

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Not only that but it has also given people the perfect line to spit out every time they are avoiding telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Want our advice? You should probably keep this one out of any real courtrooms, as fitting as the reference might be.

I’ll Have What She’s Having

Here’s the scene that changed the New York City deli game for decades that followed. When Harry Met Sally, released in 1989 somehow managed to make a Manhattan establishment named Katz’s Delicatessen into the most awkwardly sensual scene in cinema history.

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It also led to one of the most memorable lines “I’ll have what she’s having.” Fortunately for fans far and wide, Katz Deli is an actual place. Naturally, anyone and everyone who comes visit has uttered the iconic line as they place their order.

Now That’s What I Call High-Quality H2O

No movie has taught us to appreciate a nice cold cup of water more than the 1998 sports comedy, The Waterboy. The ’90s gifted us with a great collection of Adam Sandler movies, each introducing an equally oddball character or two.

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As the strangest of underdog stories, Waterboy was hands down a crowd favorite full of memorable moments. Nothing was more endearing than Bobby Boucher’s true admiration for all things water. Luckily he’s passed some of that passion for hydration to viewers who love to echo his appreciation for “high-quality H2O.”

Keep the Change Ya Filthy Animal

This reference is one of the most meta of the decade. If you recall in the 1990 holiday classic, Home Alone, the young Kevin McCallister is seen indulging in a hearty helping of ice cream while watching a gangster movie, Angels with Filthy Souls.

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While it might seem that this movie is a classic sure to be recognized by older viewers, as it turns out, this clip was created especially for that one scene in the film. And the particularly gangster line heard in the black and white film, which McCallister later echos when fighting off the bad guys, would later become the most memorable movie lines of all time.

All Right, All Right, All Right

Academy Award-winning actor, Matthew McConaughey has been carrying around this catchphrase since the beginning of his career over 20 years ago. He first uttered those iconic three words in 1993 with his coming of age comedy Dazed and Confused.

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McConaughey was only 24 at the time. He has since repeated the phrase in several interviews and acceptance speeches and fans have joined him in echoing the phrase in his honor. The actor revealed that he got the phrase from Doors frontman Jim Morrison who says “all right, all right, all right, all right” in-between two songs.

Forget About It

As Brasco explains in the 1997 crime drama film, Donnie Brasco, the term “forget about it” can literally mean anything; To paraphrase, “If you agree with someone…’ Forget about it!’ But then, if you disagree… ‘Forget about it!’ But then, it’s also like if something’s the greatest thing in the world… ‘Forget about it!’ But it’s also like saying ‘Go to h***!’ too…Sometimes it just means “Forget about it.”

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Confused? Well, join the club! Regardless, if you understand the all-inclusive meaning of the phrase or not, audiences have accepted it with open arms. Truth be told, “forget about it” only carries its influential weight if you say it with that catchy New Yorker accent.

Houston, We Have a Problem

While this iconic line has real origins from the actual Apollo 13 space mission, it was the 1995 space docudrama that catapulted the phrase to pop-culture fame. Nowadays, any “problem,” big or small can constitute uttering these words.

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According to the real-life manuscript, the actual words uttered by Apollo 13 astronaut John Swigert were “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” However, the film decided to reword the phrase to make it more catchy and seamless. It seems they did a pretty good job, considering how often the term is used today back down on earth.

We Were on a Break!

Of course, the argument of the decade made it to this list of memorable quotes; “we were on a break.” A line used both in and out of context time and time again since it was first proclaimed by Friends character, Ross Geller in 1997.

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Whether you were on team Ross or team Rachel as they spent seasons maneuvering around their undying love, fans could not help but echo Ross in his assertive defense. The famous line is one of the most recurring throughout the series and fans everywhere continue to bring it back to this day.

Phone Home

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial might have made his way back home, but his legacy has stayed with us back down on earth. The line “E.T. phone home” is considered one of the top movie quotes in history, even making its way to number 15 on “AFI’s 100 Movie Quotes” list.

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Kids who grew up watching this 1982 classic have found the most creative ways to repeat the line over and over again. While the film was released in the ’80s, uttering this phrase while eating Reece’s pieces might just be the most 90’s thing you can do.

We’re Not Worthy!

Nothing says 90s throwback like a good quality Wayne’s World reference. Released in 1992, this comedy film had the honor of introducing Mike Meyers to the big screen. As the highest-grossing film based on a Saturday Night Live skit, Wayne’s World had a huge effect on its decade’s pop culture.

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One of its many memorable quotes occurs when Wayne and Garth are seen meeting rock legend, Alice Cooper backstage. Once Cooper asks them to “hang out” the dup bow down and chant “We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy, we’re scum.” A chant that has been used to express similar sentiment ever since.