20 Best New Year’s Eve Movies to Ring in 2020
From classic rom-coms to holiday horror, celebrate the big night with these flicks that ring in the New Year in style.
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Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
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There’s nothing more romantic (and crazy!) then Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones tearing out into the snowy night in nothing but knickers and a sweater to chase down her love interest Mr. Darcy, played by Colin Firth. The couple meets on New Year’s Day and fully annoy each other, but by the time the next holiday rolls around, they’re declaring their love and kissing in the street. Did you know you can actually visit Bridget Jones’s hometown, in addition to these other popular Christmas movie filming locations?
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Annie (Meg Ryan) and Sam (Tom Hanks) will eventually get together—on Valentine’s Day on the top of the Empire State Building. But on New Year’s Eve, they’re far apart. Annie is with Bill Pullman, who is clearly the wrong guy for her, and Sam is having a really sad and lonely fantasy about his deceased wife. She’s played by the lovely Carey Lowell, but the New Year’s scenes prove that it’s time for Sam and Annie to move on and leave the past behind so they can find each other. Find out the best American cities to spend New Year’s Eve with young kids.
The Gold Rush (1925)
Charlie Chaplin’s classic silent-era film has a perfectly melancholy New Year’s Eve scene. He invites the lovely Georgia Hale over for dinner, but she forgets to come. Forlorn, Chaplin performs his famous “bread roll” dance. It’s delightful and charming, but the girl isn’t there to see it. When she never shows, the Little Tramp walks alone into the snowy night just missing her. The couple gets reunited by the end though!
New Year’s Evil (1980)
This pun is just such low-hanging fruit that you knew someone had to make this movie. If you’re one of the people who balks at the idea that horror movies are only for Halloween, this one’s for you. A radio DJ finds herself the target of a deranged killer who calls in to the show to promise that he’ll kill someone new right when the clock strikes midnight in each U.S. time zone.
An Affair to Remember (1957)
New Year’s Eve is the fateful night when Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant share a kiss. But since they’re each promised to other people they delay their romance and instead agree to meet six months later. But then Kerr gets hit by a car on the way to the meet-up. Prepare to cry, but there’s a happy ending because New Year’s Eve kisses always turn out right. Heads up, New Year’s enthusiasts—you may want to avoid making these 19 trendy resolutions.
Holiday Inn (1942)
You’d think this would be a Christmas movie, not a New Year’s Eve movie. And, well, it’s kind of both. The movie musical follows Bing Crosby’s Jim as he tries to open a hotel and theater that’s only open on holidays. New Year’s Eve is the night the inn first opens, and the action continues throughout the whole year—every holiday from Valentine’s Day to Independence Day to George Washington’s birthday gets a scene—before ending on New Year’s Eve again. “Let’s Start the New Year Right” is the final song of the film. So maybe it does deserve the designation of New Year’s Eve movie!
But at the same time, it’s best known for being the first film to include the Christmas classic “White Christmas.” (No, it wasn’t the actual film White Christmas—that wouldn’t come out until 12 years later, after the song’s unexpected massive popularity.) The first film to feature “White Christmas” is one of the pop culture questions everyone gets wrong.
Boogie Nights (1997)
This American classic features stellar performances by Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, and William H. Macy who plays a cameraman heartbroken because his wife won’t stop cheating on him. Set in the 1970s, Boogie Nights traces the emotional life of people in the porn industry. The 1979 New Year’s Eve party scene marks the end of an era. The tragedy that takes place that night lets us know that the eighties are about to get way more complicated, for the characters in the movie, and for the rest of us.
Ghostbusters II (1989)
True, the sequel isn’t nearly as well-known or beloved as the 1984 classic. But with a scene where a crowd of NYE revelers sing “Auld Lang Syne” to help the titular team defeat a baddie that feeds off negativity, how could we not put this on a New Year’s Eve movie list?
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Here’s another one for the crowd that would rather watch a demonic frightening flick than a rom-com on New Year’s Eve. The film takes place over the course of the protagonist’s entire pregnancy, of course, but the New Year’s Eve scene is disturbing and memorable. At her secretly-Satanist neighbors’ NYE party, the pregnant Rosemary (Mia Farrow) tells the in-on-the-haunting doctor about how painful her pregnancy has been. The host of the party toasts “to 1966! To Year One!” before the audience sees Rosemary eating raw meat in the kitchen—more clues that her unborn baby is far from a little angel. You’ll have to watch to see why Rosemary’s Baby makes our list of the 35 scariest movies ever.
OK, it’s not a traditional New Year’s Eve movie, but there’s something of a New Year’s theme to this post-apocalyptic flick. In a climate-change-ravaged version of 2031, survivors live on a train, called the Snowpiercer, that circles the globe. A “new year” starts every time the train completes a revolution. The upper class resides at the front of the train while the common folk slum it in the back—until Chris Evans decides he won’t stand for this system and starts forcing his way to the front. This was an under-the-radar gem, also starring Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris, that ended up garnering great reviews. Watching a movie is all well and good, but you should also consider trying out these lucky New Year’s traditions from around the world to ring in the new year right.