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5 movies that are perfect to watch on New Year’s Eve

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Michiel Huisman looks at a smiling Blake Lively in The Age of Adaline.

With New Year’s Eve now here, countless plans are undoubtedly being made to ring in 2024. Audiences who’d prefer to avoid the chaos can have their own celebration right at home, with the perfect New Year’s Eve movies guaranteed to entertain and inspire.

From the classic rom-com When Harry Met Sally to the unconventional crime pick The Godfather Part II, the best movies to watch on New Year’s Eve can help viewers start 2024 right. These are likely already queued up for many fans all over the world who have made these films part of their New Year’s traditions, which are rooted in a love for cinema.

For more New Year’s Eve selections, check out 5 TV shows that are perfect to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great Netflix shows you need to watch on New Year’s Eve, 10 best Netflix movies to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great thrillers to watch on New Year’s Eve, and 3 great sci-fi movies you need to watch on New Year’s Eve.

For New Year’s Day suggestions, try 3 great Hulu shows you need to watch on New Year’s Day and 3 great Prime Video movies to watch on New Year’s Day.

The Age of Adaline (2015)

Lionsgate

The New Year is the perfect occasion for great time-travel movies as most people begin to reflect on their lives and futures. The Age of Adaline is a good pick for viewers looking for a romantic flick with a time travel twist, as it follows Adaline Bowman’s (Blake Lively) experiences through the decades without ever aging past her 29-year-old self. Disillusioned and relentlessly pursued by the authorities, Adaline’s love for life is only brought back by a chance encounter with the charming Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman).

Adaline’s journey is a touching reminder of what makes each moment of life special and worth living. New Year’s Eve is a significant time for her character, as she attends year-end parties feeling the weight of her immortality, up until one fateful evening. While the film admittedly sticks to the romance genre’s familiar tropes, it does a decent job of telling its fantastical story.

The Age of Adaline is streaming on Netflix and Max.

About Time (2013)

Tim and Mary on the street in About Time.
Universal Pictures

When Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) turns 21, he’s finally let in on a family secret that has been passed down through generations. His father James Lake (Love Actually‘s Bill Nighy) tells him that they can time travel, which is a skill only the men inherit. Tim immediately uses his newfound ability to change his life and even fall in love, but soon realizes that time travel doesn’t make him invincible.

About Time is an entertaining mix of sci-fi and romance, but also a tear-jerking family drama. Tim’s bold and exciting attempt at redoing a New Year’s kiss is beautifully juxtaposed with a heartbreaking moment with his father on the beach. About Time is a poignant portrait of the fleeting moments that make up a life. The thought-provoking film is best enjoyed with loved ones huddled close as the year ends.

About Time can be rented or purchased on Amazon Prime Video and other digital vendors.

The Godfather Part II (1972)

John Cazale and Al Pacino star in The Godfather Part II, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Paramount Pictures

Any event is a good excuse to revisit one of the best movie trilogies ever made, director Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. 1974’s The Godfather Part II is ideal for the New Year, as the unconventional pick features that iconic scene during a year-end celebration. The sequel and prequel to the 1972 film depicts two storylines, with the first following the new Don of the family, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), and the second delving into Vito Corleone’s (Robert De Niro) past.

The film’s famous New Year’s Eve scene takes place at a party where Michael discovers that his brother Fredo (John Cazale) was the traitor who informed his enemies about his location, almost costing the Don his life. This leads to the legendary moment where Michael grabs Fredo’s face and gives him the “Il bacio della morte,” or “the kiss of death” for his betrayal. That and many other unforgettable moments from the mobster movie will undoubtedly create a unique and dramatic start to the New Year.

The Godfather Part II can be rented or purchased on Amazon Prime Video and other digital vendors.

The Apartment (1960)

Calvin Clifford
United Artists

Director Billy Wilder’s The Apartment is a classic rom-com centered on the complicated relationship that forms between Calvin Clifford “Bud” Baxter (Jack Lemmon) and Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine). Baxter is an insurance worker who, in the hopes of helping his career, lets his manager Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) use his apartment with his mistress. Baxter is disappointed to learn that the woman in his apartment is actually the elevator girl from work he has liked from afar. He soon has to make some tough decisions.

The Apartment endures as a timeless masterpiece that, despite being labeled a rom-com, is surprisingly emotionally complex and moving. The build-up to the finale set during New Year’s Eve is worth sticking around for, especially as the two leads exchange their knowing looks accompanied by the wonderful line “Shut up and deal.”

The Apartment can be streamed on MGM+.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

A couple on the dance floor in When Harry Met Sally.
Columbia Pictures

When Harry Met Sally is a genre staple that chronicles 12 years of the lives of Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan). The duo initially try to be platonic friends but are soon forced to confront their undeniable feelings for each other as they meet, fight, and flirt throughout the years. This back-and-forth soon culminates in a stirring New Year’s Eve scene.

Director Rob Reiner’s beloved rom-com is the quintessential will-they-or-won’t-they movie that’s still just as fun, frustrating, and satisfying today as when it premiered in 1989. The chemistry between the two leads is off the charts, making each emotional interaction feel genuine and charged. For those who have never seen the classic film and have somehow avoided all spoilers about its climactic New Year’s Eve moment, it’s definitely one to watch before 2024.

When Harry Met Sally is streaming on Fubo.

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