1990 Timeline


Let’s get this decade started!  Choose from the links above to jump directly to your area of interest or scroll down the page and enjoy all that 1990 had to offer from current events to music, TV, movies and sports.

The operative word for 1990 was change.  It was a new decade and with it came change across many fronts.  Mandela is released from prison, Gorbachev is elected to lead the Soviet Union, the Hubble Telescope is launched and the World Wide Web is created.  It was a new world on the way to new places.  New technologies and freedoms would change the shape of society worldwide.

Strike a pose, cuz you can’t touch this  . . . year.



• Manuel Noriega surrenders to U.S. forces after acting as dictator of Panama for 5


• Time Inc and Warner Communications, two of the largest media companies in the world

merge to create giant Time Warner.

• Flamboyant political figure and mayor of Washington D.C. Marion Barry is arrested for

possession of crack cocaine in an F.B.I. sting set up in a D.C. hotel room.

• South African freedom fighter and political leader Nelson Mandela is released from

prison after being kept behind bars for 27 due to his tireless work to end apartheid.

• East and West Germany end decades of political separation when they are finally

reunified and Germany is once again a whole country.

• Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as the president of the Soviet Union, ushering in an era of

change that would see the end of Communist Party rule. Gorbachev would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.

• The Hubble Space Telescope, an orbital observatory capable of peering into the

farthest reaches of space, is launched aboard the space shuttle Discovery and begins operation.

• The nation of Iraq invades Kuwait, setting off the events that will culminate in the first

Gulf War. The United States is quick to respond, leading a U.N. coalition force into the region and defeating Iraq to end the occupation.

• Controversial British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher resigns. She is replaced by

Conservative leader John Major, who would lead the country for the next 7 years.

• The World Wide Web is created, along with the first ever web page and web browser.

• The Chunnel, a tunnel linking the island of Great Britain to mainland France, completes

its initial construction phase, with workers from each country meeting underneath the English Channel for the first time.

• Notorious leader of the Gambino crime family John Gotti is arrested and charged with

racketeering, murder and a host of other criminal activities.

• An enormous earthquake, measuring 7.7 on the Richter Scale hits the Philippines,

killing 1,600 people.

• The first McDonald’s restaurant opens in Moscow, becoming for many a symbol of the

nation's new progressive free market ideology.


Nelson Mandela is released from prison after 27 years

Nelson Mandela is release from prison after 27 years

Mikhail Gorbachev is elected president of the Soviet Union

Mikhail Gorbachev is elected president of the Soviet Union

John Gotti, leader of the Gambino crime family, is arrested

John Gotti, leader of the Gambino crime family, is arrested

> back to top


Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor
Vogue – Madonna
Blaze of Glory – Jon Bon Jovi
Enjoy the Silence – Depeche Mode
• Friends in Low Places – Garth Brooks
Groove Is In The Heart – Deee-Lite
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now!)– C+C Music Factory
Love Shack– B-52’s
Rhythm Nation – Janet Jackson
911 Is A Joke – Public Enemy
The Power – Snap!
Hold On – Wilson Phillips
Opposites Attract – Paula Abdul
Step By Step – New Kids On The Block
Black Velvet – Alannah Myles
How Am I Supposed To Live Without You – Michael Bolton
Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow – Alan Jackson
Cradle of Love – Billy Idol
• AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted – Ice Cube
Man In The Box – Alice in Chains
Been Caught Stealing – Jane’s Addiction
Mama Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J
Thunderstruck – AC/DC

Vogue by Madonna

U Can't Touch This by MC HAmmer

> back to top


Mr. Bean 

Mr. Bean (1990-1995)
Lovable British buffoon Rowan Atkinson begins his first run as the bumbling Mr. Bean, who combines physical slapstick humor with absurdly hilarious situations.

Twin Peaks 

Twin Peaks (1990-1991)
A surreal television drama centering around the murder of character Laura Palmer, this ABC program would become a cult hit and help cement the popularity of creator David Lynch as one of the most bizarre minds in American entertainment.

Law & Order 

Law and Order (1990-present)
Destined to become one of the longest running and most popular police and legal dramas in television history, the show debuts on NBC in the fall of 1990.

American's Funniest Home Videos 

America’s Funniest Home Videos (1990-present)
Hosted by comedian Bob Saget, this program that featured mailed-in home videos of people doing dumb stunts or injuring themselves accidentally was a huge hit despite its lowbrow approach.  AFV is still going strong and has changed hosts several times in its 20 years on the air.

Beverly Hills 90210 

Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2000)
The definitive 90’s soap opera centering around the lives of affluent California teens would launch the careers of Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry, Tori Spelling and heartthrob Jason Priestly.


Cheers (1982-1993)
The bar where everybody knows your name was close to the end of its 11 year run but still going strong with audiences across America.

Murphy Brown 

Murphy Brown (1988-1998)
This fresh comedy starring Candice Bergen as a news anchor was just hitting its stride in 1990 and had attracted a wide viewership thanks to sharp writing and intelligent humor.


Roseanne (1988-1997)
On the the other side of the spectrum was Roseanne, a blue-collar sitcom starring comedian Roseanne Barr as a the head of a dysfunctional family. The show tackled many issues that other television programs treated with kid gloves.  Roseanne was nominated for an Emmy every year from 1989 to 1995, with wins in 1992-1994.

> back to top


Dances With Wolves

Dances With Wolves
Starring Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell and Graham Greene.
Kevin Costner’s western epic would win him an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director, establishing him as one of the most bankable stars of the 1990’s.

Home Alone

Home Alone
Starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Catherine O’Hara.
When Culkin’s 8-year old character is accidentally left home on his own by his vacationing family just before Christmas, he is forced to rely on his wits to defend the house from a pair of goofy burglars.

Pretty Woman

Pretty Woman
Starring Julia Roberts, Richard Gere and Jason Alexander.
This romantic comedy about a hooker with a heart of gold and a businessman finding love in the most unexpected of places launched Julia Roberts’ career into the stratosphere.

The Hunt For Red October

The Hunt For Red October
Starring Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Tim Curry and James Earl Jones
Thrilling Cold War tale about a Russian submarine captain who wants to defect to the United States and the only American in the U.S. Navy who believes him.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Staring Corey Feldman, Elias Koteas and Judith Hoag
This live-action interpretation of the popular comic book and cartoon series spawned a number of sequels and represented the height of Ninja Turtle popularity in the United States.

Kindergarten Cop 

Kindergarten Cop
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller and Pamela Reed
A softer side of frequent tough guy Schwarzenegger was on display in this film where a hard boiled detective infiltrates a kindergarten classroom in order to get close to the son of a fugitive killer.


Starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg
When a woman’s soul mate is murdered, her life is thrown into a deep depression until a chance encounter with a medium allows her to communicate with the spirit of her lover and bring closure to both their romance and the plot that caused his death.

Wild At Heart 

Wild at Heart
Starring Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern and Harry Dean Stanton
A strange, convoluted film that follows the adventures of a couple fleeing from a controlling mother. Directed by David Lynch.

Days of Thunder 

Days of Thunder
Starring Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall and Nicole Kidman
The most enduring film made about NASCAR racing to date, this melodrama also the marks first time that Cruise and Kidman would meet, initiating their long romance away from the silver screen.

Dick Tracy 

Dick Tracy
Starring Madonna, Warren Beatty and Al Pacino
This stylish and visually breathtaking film saw sparks flying between Beatty and Madonna, and gave the reserved Dick Tracy character new life.

Total Recall 

Total Recall
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone and Michael Ironside
The second hit of the year for Arnold saw him travel to Mars and the farthest reaches of his own mind in this sci-fi action flick focused on the themes of identity and reality.


Starring Robin Williams, Robert DeNiro and Penelope Ann Miller
When a doctor’s experimental treatment begins to break through to patients paralyzed by a mysterious medical condition, they emerge into a world denied to them for over 50 years.


Starring Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro
A masterful piece of storytelling from Martin Scorcese, Goodfellas follows the life of a New York City mobster from childhood through to his induction into the witness protection program.

Pump Up The Volume 

Pump Up The Volume
Starring Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis and Mimi Kennedy
When an outsider teen moves to a new high school, he brings his own unique brand of pirate radio with him, shaking both the school and the foundations of the local community itself.


Starring John Goodman, Jeff Daniels and Harley Jane Kozak
A plague of spiders descends upon a small California town in this darkly funny horror film that caused many a teen to develop a brand new fear of arachnids.

Die Hard 2: Die Harder 

Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Starring Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia and William Atherton
Trading the skyscraper of the original film for a snow-bound airport, Willis’ detective character must once again deal with terrorists in the only he knows how – with extreme violence.

Jacob's Ladder 

Jacob’s Ladder
Starring Tim Robbins, Danny Aiello and Elizabeth Pena
This dark horror film had a deep psychological and spiritual side channeled through the character of a Vietnam veteran trying to maintain his fragile grasp on reality.

> back to top


• Derrick Cope wins the Daytona 500 but Dale Earnhardt takes the overall NASCAR

Winston Cup Championship

• The Cincinnati Reds take all four games of the World Series against the Oakland A’s.

• The Edmonton Oilers with their 5th Stanley Cup in 6 years by handily defeating the

Boston Bruins in the playoff finals.

• Arie Luyendyk takes the checkered flag at the Brickyard to win the Indianapolis 500 for

the first time.

• The Detroit Pistons crush the Chicago Bulls in the final game of the playoffs to win their

second straight NBA title.

• Mike Tyson loses his Heavyweight boxing title to James Buster Douglas in a surprising

result that shocks fans of the sport.

• Martina Navratilova takes the Women’s title at Wimbledon for a record nineth time, while

Stefan Edberg reigns as the Men’s champion.

• Unbridled, a very successful thoroughbred wins the Kentucky Derby along with the

Breeder’s Cup Classic.

• Nick Faldo wins the prestigious Masters Tournament in golf but charismatic Australian

Greg Norman walks away with the PGA Tour’s overall money lead.

• The San Francisco 49’s score 55 points – the most ever by a single team in Super Bowl

History – to win Super Bowl XXIV over the Denver Broncos.

• Popular Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna wins his second Formula 1 driver’s championship.


Ron Dibbler celebrates the Cincinati Reds' World Series sweep

Ron Dibbler celebrates the Cincinnati Reds’ World Series sweep

James Buster Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson

James Buster Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson

> back to top


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *