The 15 Best New Year’s and New Year’s Eve Movies, Ranked

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The 15 Best New Year’s and New Year’s Eve Movies, Ranked

Dec 31, 2018


Columbia Pictures

On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve there’s no better way to conserve your energy for the upcoming night than by sitting on the couch watching a movie. Then, the next day, when you’re hungover from a night of partying, all you’ll have the power to do is hit play on a streaming service. So, in the spirit of celebrating from the comfort of your couch, we put together a list of the best movies that are about New Year’s Eve/Day or are simply New Year’s Eve/Day-adjacent. Enjoy! And drink lots of water.


When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

Rent/Buy: Amazon iTunes

Probably the greatest romantic comedy of all time, When Harry Met Sally… defined the genre for a generation to come. The dialogue is whip smart; New York shines; Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal charm and delight. The New Year’s connection comes at the end during a New Year’s Eve party.


Trading Places (1983)

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Two brothers who run a commodities brokerage in Philadelphia try some light social engineering when they switch the identities of their employee, Louis Winthorpe III, played by Dan Aykroyd, and a hustler, Billy Ray Valentine, played by Eddie Murphy. Jamie Lee Curtis is there to help them sort it out and get even. This classic comedy is really a holiday movie, because it takes place between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, with one of the movie’s most crucial scenes taking place at a New Year’s Eve party aboard a train.


The Apartment (1960)

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Jack Lemmon is a young man on the make who lets his company’s executives use his apartment for extra-marital affairs. After an office Christmas party, he finds his boss’s mistress, a young woman played by Shirley MacLaine, whom he knows from the office, at his apartment, where she’s tried to overdose on pills. They strike up a complicated relationship with multiple entanglements, both professional and personal. It’s a remarkable movie (and a Best Picture winner) that ends on New Year’s Eve.


Godfather II (1974)

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It’s at a New Year’s Eve party in Cuba that Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone plants the kiss of death on Fredo and tells him: “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart.”


Snowpiercer (2013)

Rent/Buy: Amazon iTunes

It’s 2031, and an attempt to thwart climate change has turned the planet into an uninhabitable icebox. The only humans left, presumably, are aboard a train that goes around the world in an endless loop. An underclass exposed to brutal conditions lives in the back of the train while the upper classes, which enjoy a lavish lifestyle, occupy the front—until Chris Evans leads a revolt that happens to take place on the day the rich folks celebrate New Year’s Eve, also known as one trip around the planet. This isn’t just a good New Year’s movie; it’s one of the best dystopian thrillers in recent years.


The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

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The ’70s were a golden age for disaster films, and not just for the high stakes either. The Gene Hackman-led drama about a luxury cruise liner that capsizes during a New Year’s Eve party is pure adrenaline.


Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

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In this romantic comedy, Renee Zellweger’s Bridget Jones keeps a diary for a year of romantic adventures (and misadventures). The movie begins and ends on New Year’s Eve, and it’s delightful as hell.


An Affair to Remember (1957)

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A weepy romance classic featuring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr begins on New Year’s Eve, where the two main characters, engaged to others, promise to meet up in six months atop the Empire State Building. (If you decide to watch this one, considering following it up with Sleepless in Seattle, which references the movie.)


Ghostbusters II (1989)

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It’s a far cry from Ghostbusters, but when the movie came out in 1989—five years after the first one—audiences delighted in seeing Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston back in action. The movie reaches its conclusion on New Year’s Eve, with a chorus of New Yorkers singing “Auld Lang Syne” in an attempt to defeat an evil spirit terrorizing the city.


Highball (1997)

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The writer and director of this film—in which a group of friends meet at three different parties: on Halloween, a birthday, and New Year’s Eve—is Noah Baumbach, who’s made Kicking and Screaming, The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, and others. It’s one of his earliest films—it’s rough and feels as low budget as it is— but the movie captures the rhythms and dialogue of young adults simply hanging out.


Ocean’s 11 (1960)

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For a time in the 1960s, the Rat Pack could have released a two-hour film of themselves sleeping and it would’ve made money. Ocean’s 11, which inspired the 2000 remake, is better than that—the team’s 1964 effort, Robin and the 7 Hoods, is not—but it’s not a great film. This is a fun movie, however, with some of the 20th century’s greatest performers clearly having a great time (especially, you can tell, when the cameras aren’t rolling).


Four Rooms (1995)

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A bellhop goes into four different rooms on New Year’s Eve, and each room becomes its own short film, with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez each directing one. The stories themselves are based loosely on Roald Dahl’s adult fiction.


200 Cigarettes (1999)

This movie is not available to stream.

In this 1999 comedy, a group of people make their way to a New Year’s Eve party in New York in 1981. The best part of the movie—which features an ensemble cast, including both Affleck brothers, Paul Rudd, Kate Hudson, Gaby Hoffmann, and Christina Ricci—is the setting: New York in the early ‘80s. That’s worth the price of admission.


Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! (1986)

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Charlie Brown frets over a book report, a New Year’s Eve party, and a red-headed girl. And unlike A Charlie Brown Christmas, in the end, nothing turns out well for Charlie Brown in this 30-minute special.


New Year’s Eve (2011)

Rent/Buy: Amazon iTunes

In the pantheon of Gary Marshall films, it may not be his best, but there’s something about ending the year with a feel good movie that features an ensemble cast.

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