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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.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

New Years eve movies openerrd.com, via streaming services (4), Getty Images

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!

If you’re wondering when is New Year’s anyway, we’ve got you covered with New Year’s Eve party ideas, New Year’s Eve games to play, and the best ways for starting your own New Year’s Eve traditions.

HolidateVia Netflix.com (2)

The Holidate

Released: 2020

Rated: TV-MA

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.

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Happy New Year Charlie Brown MovieVia Apple.com

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown

Released: 1986

Rated: G

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.

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I Hate New Years MovieVia Amazon.com

I Hate New Year’s

Released: 2020

Rated: 13+

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.

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Waiting To Exhale MovieVia Hulu.com

Waiting to Exhale

Released: 1995

Rated: R

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?

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Carol Movie Stillvia amazon.com

Carol

Released: 2015

Rated: R

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.

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An American In ParisVia Amazon.com

An American in Paris

Released: 1951

Rated: TV-PG

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.

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The HolidayVia Hulu.com

The Holiday

Released: 2006

Rated: PG-13

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.

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About Time MovieVia Amazon.com

About Time

Released: 2013

Rated: R

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.

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Fruitvale StationVia Amazon.com

Fruitvale Station

Released: 2013

Rated: R

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.

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The Age Of AdelineVia Amazon.com

The Age of Adaline

Released: 2015

Rated: PG-13

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.

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new years eve movievia amazon.com

New Year’s Eve

Released: 2011

Rated: PG-13

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.

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when harry met sally movievia amazon.com

When Harry Met Sally

Released: 1989

Rated: R

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!

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while you were sleeping movie via amazon.com

While You Were Sleeping

Released: 1995

Rated: PG

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.

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The Poseidon AdventureVia Amazon.com

The Poseidon Adventure

Released: 1972

Rated: PG

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!

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Sunset BoulevardVia Amazon.com

Sunset Boulevard

Released: 1950

Rated: PG

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.

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forrest gump movievia merchant

Forrest Gump

Released: 1994

Rated: PG-13

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.

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The Godfather Part II (1974)via amazon.com

The Godfather Part II

Released: 1974

Rated: R

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.

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Oceans 11Via Amazon.com

Ocean’s 11

Released: 1960

Rated: NR

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.

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Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway (2009)via amazon.com

Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway

Released: 2008

Rated: 13+

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.”

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The Apartment (1960) movievia amazon.com

The Apartment

Released: 1960

Rated: 13+

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.

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Trading Places (1983)via amazon.com

Trading Places

Released: 1983

Rated: R

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.

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Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)via amazon.com

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Released: 2001

Rated: R

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.

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Sleepless in Seattle (1993)via amazon.com

Sleepless in Seattle

Released: 1993

Rated: PG

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.

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The Gold RushVia Amazon.com

The Gold Rush

Released: 1925

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!

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New Year's Evil (1980) movievia amazon.com

New Year’s Evil

Released: 1980

Rated: R

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.

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An Affair to Remember (1957)via amazon.com

An Affair to Remember

Released: 1957

Rated: 7+

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.

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Boogie Nights (1997) movievia amazon.com

Boogie Nights

Released: 1997

Rated: R

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.

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Ghostbusters II (1989)via amazon.com

Ghostbusters II

Released: 1989

Rated: PG

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?

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Rosemary's Baby (1968) movievia amazon.com

Rosemary’s Baby

Released: 1968

Rated: R

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.

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Snowpiercer (2013)via amazon.com

Snowpiercer

Released: 2013

Rated: R

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.

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Molly Pennington, PhD
Molly is a writer and professional astrologer with a PhD in Critical and Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She covers the zodiac, books, movies, TV, and culture for RD.com. She loves puns, puzzles, people, the planet Mars, and philosophizing.