The Most Iconic New Year's Movies (From the 1950s to Now)

Updated 12/17/18
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Whether you're staying in on New Year's Eve or looking for a film to get you in the spirit before you head out for a night of bubbly and dancing, there are a number of movies that pay homage to the year-end holiday—unsurprising, considering the end of the year is the perfect time to drum up a bit of romance or a lot of trouble. Some feature just a single scene that occurs December 31, while others take place entirely during the holiday season. Either way, New Year's Eve plays as much of a role in these films as any other character.

If you're in the mood for a romantic comedy, queue up When Harry Met Sally or New Year's Eve. If you'd prefer a bit of action, screen Money Train or Poseidon. And if you're looking to go back in time, take in a classic like The Apartment or An Affair to Remember. The annual end-of-year celebration impacts the plot of each of these flicks in different ways and will have you thinking about how you want to make the most of the next year. Ahead, take a look through a few of the best New Year's movies ever made.

When Harry Met Sally

The Plot: Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal star in this classic romantic comedy that questions whether or not men and women can truly be friends without sex getting in the way. It's full of quippy one-liners, late-'80s fashion, and seriously relatable moments.

The NYE Moment: Harry and Sally's love story comes down to a pivotal scene that takes place on New Year's Eve. It's arguably one of the most iconic rom-com moments of all time.

When Harry Met Sally $14

Waiting to Exhale

The Plot: Based on the novel of the same name, four women bond over their mutual struggles with love, dating, and marriage. Whitney Houston stars in this relationship-driven film that explores marriage, adultery, and friendship.

The NYE Moment: In a dramatic turn of events, Bernadine (played by Angela Basset) finds out her husband is leaving her for his secretary on New Year's Eve, pushing her into a serious fit of rage.

Waiting to Exhale $10

Ocean's 11

The Plot: In the original Ocean's 11 starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, a crew of World War II veterans attempts to pull off a major heist in Las Vegas.

The NYE Moment: The night of heist just so happens to be New Year's Eve, making all of the suspense and drama that much more intriguing.

Ocean's 11 $8

About Time

The Plot: An extraordinary movie about ordinary people, this feel-good film is about a man named Tim who learns he can travel back in time and the life he builds after finding out his new ability. It's about love, family, and being in the right place at the right time.

The NYE Moment: The movie begins with Tim's family's annual New Year's Eve party.

About Time $14

Money Train

The Plot: Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson play foster brothers who both become New York City transit cops. After Harrelson's character loses his job, he hatches a plot to rob the train that carries the subway fare revenues.

The NYE Moment: The night of the train hijacking is planned for New Year's Eve because that's when the subways make the most money. Stick around for the final scene that happens in Times Square just as the countdown to midnight begins.

Money Train $13

New Year's Eve

The Plot: This film follows several couples throughout New York City as their lives intertwine in a variety of ways. It's got a star-studded cast and is a typical feel-good romantic comedy.

The NYE Moment: The entire film takes place on New Year's Eve, wrapping things up just as the ball drops.

New Year's Eve $13

Ghostbusters 2

The Plot: The sequel to the original Ghostbusters, this film follows the same group who saved New York city from supernatural beings five years earlier. After being questioned about their intentions, they're allowed to resume their ghost-busting responsibilities when a pink slime starts wreaking havoc in the city.

The NYE Moment: A sudden increase in supernatural activity occurs on New Year's Eve, forcing the Ghostbusters into action on the holiday.

Ghostbusters 2 $5

Bridget Jones's Diary

The Plot: This film follows Bridget Jones (played by Renée Zellweger) as she deals with the ups and downs of her career, her love life, and her self-proclaimed imperfections. All the while, she keeps a diary documenting the goings-on.

The NYE Moment: The film begins with Jones making a New Year's resolution to take control of her life by keeping a diary.

Bridget Jones's Diary $7


The Plot: An epic disaster film, Poseidon follows a group of people as they try to survive after the luxury ocean liner they've been traveling on capsizes due to a massive rogue wave. It'll keep your palms sweaty and your heart pumping until the credits roll.

The NYE Moment: The rogue wave hits on New Year's Eve while unsuspecting passengers are enjoying a party on board.

Poseidon $10

Sex and the City

The Plot: In this follow up to the iconic Sex and the City HBO series, Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte reunite for Carrie and Big's long-awaited wedding. When Big suddenly gets cold feet, the girls rally together to help Carrie recover from the devastating heartbreak.

The NYE Moment: Carrie braves the subway to reconnect with Miranda on New Year's Eve after the two have a falling out.

Sex and the City $14

Trading Places

The Plot: Two millionaires make a bet that results in a snobby investor switching places with a con artist in order to see if the hustler could become as successful as the investor if his circumstances were different. It's a comedy about what it really takes to make it to the top.

The NYE Moment: A pivotal scene takes place on New Year's Eve when the millionaire Duke brothers, the investor, and the con artist board a train to Philadelphia and things go a bit haywire.

Trading Places $14

An Affair to Remember

The Plot: One of the most iconic romance films of all time, An Affair to Remember stars Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The two meet on an ocean liner and fall madly in love, despite the fact that they're both engaged to other people. They make a pact to meet on the top of the Empire State Building in six months if they still feel the same way about each other, but a tragedy ruins their plans.

The NYE Moment: Grant and Kerr share a truly epic New Year's Eve kiss while on board the ship as their romance begins. Some say it started the trend of kissing someone special at midnight on the holiday.

An Affair to Remember $4

The Apartment

The Plot: Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine star in this classic film about a businessman who lets his company's executives use his apartment for their extramarital affairs. His plan to climb the corporate ladder is working until a romance of his own complicates things.

The NYE Moment: MacLaine leaves a New Year's Eve party to be with Lemmon and her response after he tells her that he loves her is one of the most memorable one-liners in the history of film, "Shut up and deal."

The Apartment $14

Boogie Nights

The Plot: Made in the late '90s and set in the '70s and '80s, Boogie Nights stars Mark Wahlberg as Dirk Diggler, who rises to fame in the adult entertainment industry. It's a raunchy comedy about sex, drugs, and fame.

The NYE Moment: Wahlberg's character is living the good life after finding success in the porn industry, but everything changes at a dramatic New Year's Eve party celebrating the start of 1980.

Boogie Nights $13

200 Cigarettes

The Plot: The original New Year's Eve ensemble comedy, this film follows a group of 20-somethings before they all find their way to the same party. The star-studded cast includes Dave Chappell, Courtney Love, Paul Rudd, Kate Hudson, Ben Affleck, and more familiar faces, all of whom light up cigarette after cigarette in the city throughout the evening.

The NYE Moment: The entire film takes place on New Year's Eve, upping the stakes for the young couples out on the town.

200 Cigarettes $35

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