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21 Terrific New Year’s Eve Movies


Whether midnight on December 31 finds you on the dance floor, asleep in the bed, or somewhere in between, we’ve got what you need to ring in the new year as cinematically as a star like you deserves. Put on a little New Year’s mood music (perhaps Taylor Swift, U2, Death Cab for Cutie, ABBA, Dan Fogelberg, or of course, Queen Mariah Carey), and find the movie to manifest the fabulous 2023 you desire.

From rom-coms to dramas to scary movies, there’s a New Year’s film for every movie fan. Shondaland has curated a list of the top 21 New Year’s Eve movies to help you ring in the new year right. Cheers to 2023!


The Gold Rush (1925)

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The plot of this classic Charlie Chaplin comedy — you’ve seen his iconic “bread rolls dance” somewhere — turns on a fateful New Year’s Eve date. Plus, the fact that it’s a silent film means you can flex your own creativity and throw on anything for the score — or provide your own, you golden-throated songbird!

The Poseidon Adventure (1972) / Poseidon (2006)

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The Poseidon Adventure (1972) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

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Whether you go with the Oscar-winning original or the Golden Raspberry-nominated remake, nothing can dampen the thrills of seeing New Year’s Eve partygoers attempt to escape an overturned ocean liner. (Trigger warning for The Dutchess superfans: Fergie doesn’t make it, although her death scene is very G-L-A-M-O-R–O-U-S, yeah.)

Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (1976)

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Rudolph’s Shiny New Year Trailer

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Everyone loves the classic original Rudolph special and how it tells the classic story of the red-nosed reindeer immortalized in his theme song. So, it stands to reason everyone would also love this sequel where Rudolph has to save big-eared Baby New Year by traveling through various time islands and encountering a clock-camel and the American bicentennial and much more unexpected hijinks.

New Year’s Evil (1980)

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New Year’s Evil Official Trailer #1 (1980) HD

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Who says the horror has to end with Halloween, or even Christmas, for that matter? Cue up this problematic slasher film where a killer fittingly named “Evil” makes a resolution to kill one “naughty girl” in every time zone. It’s up to Blaze, a new wave DJ, to stop him, unless she — and we, the viewers — get too distracted by that impressively rockin’ theme song.

Terror Train (1980)

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Terror Train (1980) ORIGINAL TRAILER [HD 1080p]

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Speaking of problematic, this Canadian cheapie horror flick, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, magician David Copperfield, and future Prince protégé Vanity, turns on an unfortunate plot twist. That said, this is a surprisingly enjoyable early ’80s slasher flick set against the incredible backdrop of a New Year’s Eve train ride where everyone has donned Halloween costumes … because Canada?

Grease 2 (1982)

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Although some scaldingly hot takes would have you believe this sequel is superior to the original Grease, let’s not get crazy. And let’s not pretend that there’s much New Year’s Eve except for one iconic song and scene, the gloriously bonkers Girl for All Seasons.” Although Michelle Pfeiffer’s Christmas tree-clad Stephanie sends the song spinning out into a dream, we still get served an incredible New Year’s Eve champagne glass costume. Obviously, Dita Von Teese and Taylor Swift were taking notes for the Bejeweled” video.

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! (1986) / For Auld Lang Syne (2021)

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Whether you prefer your Peanuts classic (heavy on the melancholy and Russian literature) or modern (beautiful but without the same bite), either one of these charming beauties would be perfect to watch with the child in your life or the child in your heart. Just watch out for dog germs. Yuck!

Overboard (1987)

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Overboard Official Trailer #1 – Goldi Hawn, Kurt Russel Movie (1987) HD

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This quintessential ’80s romantic comedy that requires you to gloss over certain plot points as a modern viewer has little to do with New Year’s except for one gorgeous scene. As Goldie Hawn’s amnesia-stricken Joanna sleeps under a dripping ceiling, she dreams of the swingingest New Year’s Eve party ever, with a comical amount of confetti falling onto her upturned face. It’s hilarious and beautiful, and at least 42,000 other people besides me have sought it out for themselves because it’s that magical.

Ghostbusters II (1989)

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Original Trailer (1989) | GHOSTBUSTERS II

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While the first Ghostbusters ended with an unforgettable cinematic battle against the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, this sequel concludes on New Year’s Eve with … New Yorkers vanquishing evil slime by choosing to be kind and singing “Auld Lang Syne.” Still, you could do a lot worse to welcome 2023 in than by blasting Bobby Brown’s monster of a theme bop, On Our Own.”

When Harry Met Sally … (1989)

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When Harry met Sally… (1989) – Trailer HD Remastered

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Romantic comedies don’t get much more iconic than this Nora Ephron-penned charmer, which sees its famous titular twosome having a couple of memorable New Year’s Eves together. The ending, when they finally confess their true feelings and come together as the clock strikes midnight, could make anyone believe in love … or at least fake it convincingly.

Money Train (1995)

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Money Train (Theatrical Trailer)

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If your tastes run to ’90s action comedies — or to ’90s Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson — you’ll love this fast-talking, fast-moving heist film that culminates in a daring New Year’s Eve robbery. Very few people could claim to have entered 1996 as impressively as Snipes and Harrelson’s on-screen brothers, except maybe co-star Jennifer Lopez, who was just one year away from her star-making role in Anaconda. (Oh, and something called Selena.)

Strange Days (1995)

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Strange Days Trailer | Ralph Fiennes | Throwback Trailers

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Remember that heady time when one New Year’s Eve in particular — 1999 — seemed to bode the end of days? This Kathryn Bigelow joint stars a floppy-haired Ralph Fiennes as a brokenhearted cyber criminal and Angela Bassett as his loyal, lovelorn bodyguard as they attempt to solve the murder of Juliette Lewis’ character before the millennium dawns. At the very least, this challenging film definitely inspired some of the vibe of TLC’s far superior FanMail era.

Waiting to Exhale (1995)

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Waiting to Exhale 1995 Trailer | Whitney Houston | Angela Bassett

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You’re forgiven if you spend the last day of 2022 rediscovering the Babyface brilliance of this soundtrack album, but don’t forget to make time for this classic movie too! Beginning and ending on two very different New Year’s Eves that bookend the journey of self- and sisterly discovery four best friends (Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon) embark on will make you want to move to Phoenix and/or 1995 immediately.

200 Cigarettes (1999)

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Set on the last night of 1981, this rambling, shambling ensemble flick from 1999 has arguably the best cast (Janeane Garofalo, Courtney Love, Martha Plimpton, Christina Ricci, Paul Rudd) and best soundtrack (an ’80s fantasia) of either era. Loosely based around a New Year’s Eve party orbited by various guests — and one iconic celebrity — this flick’s more about the feeling of adventure and promise offered by every year’s most transformative night.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

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BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY (2001) | Official Trailer | 4K Restoration

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We’d be shocked if you haven’t seen this yet, but if that’s the case, watch it now! Starring Renée Zellweger at the height of her Zellwegerian charm as the ultimate single everywoman who takes control of her destiny one diary page at a time, this romantic comedy starts and ends on two very special New Year’s Eves. Did we mention that Colin Firth has never been Firthier nor has Hugh Grant ever been Grantier? Watch it now!

Are We There Yet? (2005)

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Are We There Yet? (2005) Official Trailer 1 – Ice Cube Movie

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There’s a good chance 2023’s going to be a wacky, bumpy road trip for many of us, and we could do a lot worse than having Ice Cube behind the wheel as we start the journey! Besides, who among us couldn’t use a laugh — or the reminder that even if they drive us crazy (and destroy our possessions and cause us endless trouble), there’s always a reason to remember to love your family, born or chosen.

Sex and the City: The Movie (2008)

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Sex And The City (2008) Official Trailer #1 – Sarah Jessica Parker Movie

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… And just like that, one of the magical moments in the entire franchise happens when Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) races across snowy New York at night — in pajamas, a fur coat, sparkle hat, and high heels, natch — to ensure a distraught Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) isn’t alone (with Chinese food) at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Maybe it’s the music or the message that our real soulmate may very well be our best friend, but have some Kleenex handy!

New Year’s Eve (2011)

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New Year’s Eve | Trailer | Warner Bros. Entertainment

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How can you go wrong with a romantic dramedy stuffed with more stars than any planetarium ceiling? “In countless ways,” per the reviews? Ignore the critics, and enjoy everyone from Robert De Niro to Hilary Swank to Zac Efron and of course, the reason for every season, Ludacris. Besides, what do critics know anyway? We’re still mad that future Funny Girl Lea Michele lost the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Scene Stealer: Female!

The Age of Adaline (2015)

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The Age of Adaline (2015 Movie) – Official Trailer – Blake Lively

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If you think you have terrible New Year’s luck, pity poor Adaline (Blake Lively), born on January 1, 1908, and cursed to remain 29 forever. (Imagine the horror: forever young, gorgeous, and rich!) For some reason, this eternal New Year’s beauty decides to learn lessons about the importance of love, family, and accepting the passage of time with wisdom and maturity. Boring! We mean: moving! Classy! Elegant! Happy New Year’s!


Jonathan Riggs is a freelance writer and former managing editor of the LGBTQ+ lifestyle magazine Instinct. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @heathcliff_heathcliff.

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