30 Best New Year’s Eve Movies You Need to See Before the Ball Drops
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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New Year’s Eve movies
Put the champagne on ice and grab your biggest popcorn bowl! We’ve collected the greatest New Year’s Eve movies to help you ring in the New Year in cinematic style. There’s something for everyone in the family on our list of the best movies to watch on New Year’s Eve. You’ll find rom-coms, comedies, cult hits, and even a few classic family flicks if you’re letting the kids stay up late. We’ve got Hollywood classics from every era, award-winners, blockbusters, and little-known indie gems that will warm your heart and inspire you for the new year!
Director: John Whitesell
One of the most popular movies to watch on New Year’s Eve is this recent Netflix romance. Settle in with this love-hate rom-com that centers on holiday themes and a first date on New Year’s Eve. Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey play two singletons who agree to be each other’s “holidate” for every celebration despite being totally platonic. If you’re in the mood for laughs, check out these New Year’s Eve jokes to try out on your friends and fam.
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown
Director: Sam Jaimes and Bill Melendez
Ring in the New Year with Snoopy and the Peanuts gang! In this sweet animated short film the beloved characters celebrate with a big party—but Charlie Brown is stuck writing a book report. This is one of the best movies to watch on New Year’s Eve with the little ones in your household. And if you’re looking for inspiration, here are New Year’s quotes full of uplift.
I Hate New Year’s
Director: Christin Baker
Spend New Year’s Eve in Nashville with Layne (Dia Frampton), a musician who travels home and finds unexpected love in this sweet, music-inspired romance. Layne’s searching for her ex, but her bestie Cassie (Ashley Argota) just might be ready to make a move. This is one of the best New Year’s Eve movies if you’re looking for a feel-good love story to ring in the fresh start. Serve these lucky New Year’s Eve foods to round out the evening.
Waiting to Exhale
Director: Forest Whitaker
End your year with a bang with this classic ’90s dramedy that begins with New Year’s Eve resolutions and parties and ends the following year with a midnight toast on the beach. Four friends played by Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Whitney Houston, and Lela Rochon spend a year grappling with love and loss, and leaning on the support they get from each other along the way. Why are you supposed to kiss at midnight on New Year’s, anyway?
Director: Todd Haynes
In this stylish love story, Cate Blanchett plays Carol, a woman going through a divorce who falls for a photographer played by Rooney Mara. The two abscond on a road trip over Christmas to avoid the perils of their home lives. On New Year’s Eve, they finally reveal their true feelings only to be thwarted by Carol’s cruel soon-to-be ex-husband. Here are other LGBTQ movies that will warm your heart.
An American in Paris
Director: Vincente Minnelli
In this rollicking musical starring song-and-dance star Gene Kelly, New Year’s Eve is the set-piece for spectacle. Tune in for the stunning costumes and art design in this Best Picture Oscar-winner from the heyday of Hollywood about an artist’s adventures in the city of lights and love. This is one of the greatest musicals as well as one of the best New Year’s Eve movies.
Director: Nancy Meyers
Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet play the two women who swap houses for the holiday season. Winslet’s character heads to a Hollywood manse while Diaz’s relaxes in a charming English cottage. Each finds themselves and true love just in time for the New Year. This feel-good comedy still wins fan-favorite for best New Year’s eve movies to curl up with and watch at home.
Director: Richard Curtis
In this heartwarming time-travel drama, a man with the ability to go back in time uses his powers to finally get New Year’s Eve just right. This is a sweet, uplifting family-centered romance that’s one of the best New Year’s Eve movies to raise your spirits on the big night.
Director: Ryan Coogler
Based on a true story, this heart-ripping drama stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old whose New Year’s Eve outing with friends turns deadly after he’s detained by police. This was director Ryan Coogler’s critically-acclaimed directorial debut—he went on to direct the blockbuster Black Panther and its upcoming sequel.
The Age of Adaline
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Blake Lively stars as a woman born on New Year’s Day in 1908 who remains 29 years old physically due to being revived by lightning after she dies in a car accident. The heroine attends New Year’s Eve parties throughout this whimsical romantic mystery.
New Year’s Eve
Director: Garry Marshall
The quintessential New Year’s Eve movie features big-name stars as folks who race the clock to find love and peace in the Big Apple on the big night. Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel, John Bon Jovi, and others star—the kicker is the sweet friendship between Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron.
When Harry Met Sally
Director: Rob Reiner
One of the most romantic scenes of all time happens when Harry (Billy Crystal) races through the streets of Manhattan to pledge his love to Sally (Meg Ryan) on New Year’s Eve. They finally get together around 12:01 AM while discussing what “Auld Lang Syne” means—a question we can answer!
While You Were Sleeping
Director: Jon Turteltaub
On Christmas Eve, Lucy (Sandra Bullock) saves the life of her longtime crush, Peter (Peter Gallagher), then gets mistaken for his fiancée by his family. While Peter’s in a coma, she falls for his brother, Jack (Bill Pullman). The comedic tension reaches its peak at a New Year’s Eve party.
The Poseidon Adventure
Director: Ronald Neame
In this infamous ’70s disaster spectacle, a tidal wave hits a cruise ship during the big New Year’s Eve gala. The boat capsizes and that’s when the party really gets rolling. The 2006 remake, Poseidon, also sets the big disaster on a luxury liner on New Year’s Eve!
Director: Billy Wilder
Director Billy Wilder’s classic noir film is an ode to silent Hollywood movies. During the famous New Year’s Eve scene, Joe Gillis (William Holden) discovers a “sad and embarrassing revelation”: that he is the only guest at Norma Desmond’s (Gloria Swanson) extravagant New Year’s Eve party.
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Do you remember the New Year’s Eve scene in this beloved Oscar-winning film? On New Year’s Eve in 1972, Forrest (Tom Hanks) parties in New York City with his war buddy Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise). Forrest ends up unintentionally ruining Dan’s planned romantic encounter, but friendship wins out when Dan loses it after the women they’re with call Forrest stupid.
The Godfather Part II
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
The ultimate betrayal scene in The Godfather film series takes place on New Year’s Eve, when Michael (Al Pacino) confronts another character—the first time the audience learns who is the rat. It’s a major twist in the film as bonds are broken and Michael passes the point of no return.
Director: Lewis Milestone
Oh yes, this is the original Ocean’s 11, not the George Clooney-Brad Pitt version! Cinema buffs know that Frank Sinatra was the first Danny Ocean—he and his Rat Pack buddies decide to rob five Las Vegas casinos in a single night. And that night is New Year’s Eve, 15 years after the gang fought in World War II together.
Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway
Director: Michael John Warren
This excellent filmed stage production includes the song “Happy New Year,” where the gang preps for New Year’s Eve. Renée Elise Goldsberry (of Hamilton) plays Mimi. The action starts around Christmastime and continues into the new year “at the end of the millennium.”
Director: Billy Wilder
In this charming old-Hollywood classic, Shirley MacLaine is having an affair with Jack Lemmon’s skeevy boss but ends up falling in love with nice-guy Lemmon instead after circumstances force them into close quarters. Everything comes together on New Year’s Eve.
Director: John Landis
Merry New Year! Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy hatch a plan to take down the villainous Duke brothers who placed a bet on whether or not a street hustler and a successful stockbroker can trade places. It all comes down to a New Year’s Eve crop report in this popular comedy that depicts classism and racism in corporate America.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Director: Sharon Maguire
Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) and Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) meet on New Year’s Day and annoy each other, but by the next time that holiday rolls around, Bridget is tearing out into the snowy night in nothing but knickers and a sweater to chase Darcy down. Soon, they’re kissing in the street.
Sleepless in Seattle
Director: Nora Ephron
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 the wrong guy, and Sam is having a sad night, but the New Year’s scenes prove that it’s time for Sam and Annie to leave the past behind, so they can finally find each other.
The Gold Rush
Rated: All ages
Director: Charles Chaplin
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, and there’s a happy upturn by the end!
New Year’s Evil
Director: Emmett Alston
If you’re one of the people who loves silly horror movies, this one’s for you. A radio DJ finds herself the target of a deranged killer who calls into the show with the ambitious promise that he’ll kill someone new right when the clock strikes midnight in each U.S. time zone.
An Affair to Remember
Director: Leo McCarey
New Year’s Eve is the fateful night when Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant share a kiss in this classic drama about fated romance. Prepare to cry, but there’s a happy ending because New Year’s Eve kisses always turn out right.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
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 ’80s are about to get way more complicated, for the characters in the movie—and the rest of us.
Director: Ivan Reitman
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?
Director: Roman Polanski
If you prefer frightening flicks over rom-coms on New Year’s Eve, try this pregnancy horror movie. The film takes place over the course of Rosemary’s gestation with a memorable and disturbing New Year’s Eve scene where the host of the party, a secret Satanist, toasts devilry.
Director: Bong Joon Ho
How about a New Year’s themed post-apocalyptic flick? In a climate-change-ravaged version of 2031, survivors live on a train, called the Snowpiercer, that circles the globe with the upper class at the front and the common folk slumming it in the back. A “new year” starts every time the train completes a revolution. Starring Chris Evans as a man who’ll force his way to the front.