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Best New Year's Movies To Watch To Ring In A New Year

Whether you're feeling reflective, celebratory, or somewhere in between, the perfect film to help you ring in a New Year is waiting for you. The days following the overindulgence of Christmas but before the New Year's parties get started can often feel like they all blur into one, which makes it an ideal time to kick back with some movies.

While there are very few films that revolve solely around the New Year celebrations, there are however plenty of options for movies that feature New Year festivities, or ones that use the significance of one year passing and a new one arriving as the backdrop.

The great thing about movies that feature the New Year in some way is that there is pretty much one in every genre, so you are guaranteed to find something that piques your interest. Whether it's a classic romantic comedy or an action thriller that you're after, these are the best movies to enjoy while you're getting ready to ring in the New Year.

About Time

Think back to the best New Year's party you have ever been to –- however memorable it may have been, it probably wouldn't come close to one where you learn you could travel in time. For Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) in "About Time," that is exactly what happens when at the age of 21 his father (Bill Nighy) informs him that the men in the family have this gift.

While the film covers many years of Tim's life, the New Year's party is particularly significant. Not only because he finds out about this time-traveling ability the following day, but several key events happen on the night of the party, some of which Tim seeks to rectify or redo.

Whether it is to spare the embarrassment of knocking over a table or preventing his sister from meeting the wrong guy, this is an evening filled with significance that shapes the rest of Tim's life going forward. When he tries to help his sister, he learns an important lesson that some events, even if they cause great pain, have to be allowed to run their course.

"About Time" is a film about embracing life, making it the perfect movie to bring in a New Year as you reflect on all that has happened in the year that is passing and what you hope will happen in the one to come. You might not be able to go back and change things as Tim does, but there are always lessons to be learned, and this film articulates that perfectly.


There are many different versions of this classic disaster story, however, it is the 2006 version that leans furthest into the often cheesy side of these disaster genre movies, making it the perfect choice for an easy New Year watch. Starring action movie superstar Kurt Russell, along with Richard Dreyfuss, Josh Lucas, and Emmy Rossum, "Poseidon" combines excellent action sequences, plenty of suspense, and an array of relatable characters.

The film revolves around one New Year party you wouldn't want to be at as disaster strikes the luxury ocean liner RMS Poseidon after it collides with a rogue wave. Many New Year films tend to be romantic comedies, but "Poseidon" provides a great palate cleanser if you would prefer something a bit more thrilling.

The New Year party in itself is particularly lavish, even though it isn't long before things go sideways –- quite literally, in fact -– and it even features a memorable cameo from Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. Some of the effects look a little dated now, but the capsizing scene holds up remarkably well, and let's face it, there's always fun to be had in a Kurt Russell action movie. You can take your pick of any one of the "Poseidon" movies as they all feature New Year, but the 2006 version is particularly silly and, therefore, particularly great.

High School Musical

Think back to 2006 and the beginning of the very first "High School Musical." It's New Year's Eve in an idyllic snowy mountain resort, and we're about to witness the "start of something new." Forced into attending the kids' party by their respective parents, Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) sing a romantic duet together, and the rest is history.

Following their chance karaoke meeting, the pair are surprised to find each other again after Gabriella becomes a new student at Troy's school. From this point, the film charts the couple over a school year as they grow closer together, performing as the leads in a winter musical and shaking things up at their cliquey high school. With a host of memorable songs, you'll be singing along before you know it, from the opening duet to the endlessly catchy "Bop To The Top," and finally reaching a thrilling climax with the soaring "Breakin' Free."

Just as that fateful New Year's Eve party was the beginning of beautiful things for Troy and Gabriella, this film will help to remind you that you're also at the "start of something new," signified by the ending of one year and the beginning of the next. Who knows what that New Year could bring?

Sex And The City: The Movie

The "Sex And The City" TV series was a genuine phenomenon during its six-year run. After the final season aired in 2004, it seemed like only a matter of time before the four girls from New York made the leap to the big screen. In 2008, "Sex And The City: The Movie" arrived.

The film is a real rollercoaster, packing a huge amount of content into its two-and-a-half-hour runtime, including weddings, births, break-ups, make-ups, and more. Spanning what feels like such a large amount of time and covering so many different events, you might be surprised to find they have time to cover New Year. However, the montage sequence set to a beautiful version of Auld Lang Syne might be one of the most surprisingly touching scenes in the film.

Faced with the prospect of spending New Year alone, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) calls Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) in the middle of the night, and being the wonderful friend that she is, Carrie rushes to her side to bring in the New Year with her friend. There's a lot to be said about Carrie's incredibly impractical outfit, particularly given the snowy New York weather, but it's a great scene that allows us to see how all of the characters are celebrating without feeling too over-stuffed.

The film received a mixed critical reception but was hugely successful at the box office, via Box Office Mojo. It was moments like the New Year scene that reminded fans why they loved the series –- and in particular these characters –- so much in the first place.

The Holiday

This romantic comedy has been a staple of the festive season since its release in 2006. With an all-star cast that includes Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black, "The Holiday" is the film which encapsulates all the warmth and joy of the holidays.

Kate Winslet plays Iris while Cameron Diaz stars as Amanda, two women who decide to swap homes and lives for the holiday period to escape the respective problems they're experiencing with their love lives. Amanda travels to a quaint village in Surrey, and Iris heads to sunny L.A., and despite trying to escape from men, both of them end up meeting and falling in love with locals while on their trip.

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers -– who has brought us many memorable romantic comedies over her career -– "The Holiday" may be cheesy, but the beautiful English scenery and endearing characters make it the ideal cozy comfort film. It also concludes with a lovely New Year party as the two couples meet to celebrate together. If you start the movie at the right moment and time it perfectly, you could even bring in the New Year with the couples as well –- what could be better?

Phantom Thread

Renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) lives his life with precision and poise. However, this all changes when he meets the strong-willed Alma (Vicky Krieps), a young woman who becomes the muse for his work and his lover. With a restrained performance from Daniel Day-Lewis, "Phantom Thread" is a sumptuous drama with a darkly comedic edge, making it the perfect choice if you're looking for something a little different to bring in the New Year. The exchanges between Reynolds and his acerbic sister, Cyril (Lesley Manville), are amongst the highlights of the film, along with the gorgeous costumes.

Reynolds is challenged and enthralled by Alma in equal measure, and their relationship is fascinating. It also features a scene of a rambunctious New Year party when Alma decides to head off for some fun without her lover. However, he sneaks in to keep a watchful eye on her and when things get a little too chaotic, he intervenes and removes her from the party. This scene neatly summarises so much of what makes "Phantom Thread" so interesting, as it explores the fine line between love and obsession.

The party scene is one of the most visually interesting settings in the whole film. The wild scenes provide contrast with the generally calm and fastidious nature of the rest of the film. There's balloons, music, costumes, and dancing, proving there's no party like a "Phantom Thread" party, and there's no film quite like this one, making it a unique way to ring in the New Year.

Bridget Jones' Diary

Based on the international bestseller by Helen Fielding, "Bridget Jones' Diary" introduced us to the perpetually single Bridget (Renée Zellweger) and her quest to improve her life, all while documenting it in her diary. "Bridget Jones' Diary" is one of the best films to watch for the New Year as it both starts and finishes on New Year's Eve, with a lot of fun in between.

In the now-iconic opening scene, we see Bridget alone in her pajamas on New Year's Eve, chain-smoking, watching Frasier reruns, and giving an impassioned rendition of "All By Myself" by Celine Dion. Realizing she is in a rut, Bridget starts off the next day and the New Year by making some bold resolutions in an attempt to turn things around.

The year that follows is full of ups and downs as she embarks on an ill-advised relationship with the womanizing Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) and deals with some difficulties in her parents' relationship. Along the way, she meets the sensible Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), who she initially writes off as being too stuffy and not suitable for her. As things progress, however, she realizes that maybe sensible is exactly what she needs, and the climactic scene –- also on New Year's Eve –- sees her running through the snowy streets of London in her underwear after Mark. Whether your resolutions for the New Year are big or small, it's always a good idea to make one of them "ring in the New Year with Bridget."


As you might expect, many of the movies set around the New Year also feature Christmas, and "Carol" is one such film. This tender 1950s love story is from director Todd Haynes and tells the story of a young shop clerk and aspiring photographer, Therese (Rooney Mara), and her relationship with an older woman, Carol (Cate Blanchett).

The pair meet in the lead-up to the festive season as Carol enters the shop Therese works at to purchase a Christmas present for her daughter. There is instant electricity between the two, and their connection is eventually consummated when they spend New Year's Eve together. Despite their feelings for each other, there is a forbidden nature to Carol and Therese's relationship that means they are not easily able to be together.

The idea of sharing a first kiss on New Year's Eve is something we see frequently in pop culture, and according to English and German folklore, who you kiss on New Year's Eve sets the tone for the rest of the year. The significance of Therese and Carol's first moment of passion being on New Year is one of the many things that gives the film its aching and melancholic quality. Where it should signify the start of something new and wonderful between them, there are huge hurdles they have to overcome if that is to be the case.

Holiday Inn

If "High School Musical" isn't your thing, but you want to watch something with a little song and dance, "Holiday Inn" could be the perfect film for you. It is another festive season staple — mainly because it brought us the Christmas classic song "White Christmas" -– however, it goes through a whole year of holidays, making it a film for all occasions.

Starring Golden Age greats such as Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Marjorie Reynolds, the film centers around the titular inn, which coincidentally is only open for the holidays, with each event having an appropriate song and dance routine to match. With one of the holidays being New Year, this does mean there is a song solely dedicated to this holiday, so even if you didn't want to watch the whole film, there's a great song to ring in the New Year with, appropriately titled "Let's Start The New Year Off Right."

As noted by The Washington Post, the film isn't without its problematic moments, which has tarnished its legacy somewhat, but as with many other films of this era, it has at least opened up an interesting dialogue about what was considered acceptable at the time. If you can look past the more troubling aspect of this film, there are still many memorable musical numbers to enjoy and the perfect song to soundtrack your New Year festivities.

The Apartment

In many ways, "The Apartment" was pretty ground-breaking. Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray, the film tells the story of Bud (Lemmon), who, to get into the good graces of his employers, decides to loan his apartment to co-workers having extramarital affairs. Depicting what could be seen as a taboo subject in such a comical and light-hearted manner is one of the things that sets this film apart and cements it as what The New York Times called a classic of the genre.

Bud quickly realizes the downside to his plan when the girl he likes –- elevator operator Fran (MacLaine) –- has an affair with his boss, Sheldrake (MacMurray). While the film is still funny, it doesn't shy away from some more melancholic moments, and it deals with some complex subject matter in a way that feels very honest and surprising for a film from the 1960s.

Like "When Harry Met Sally," which followed many years later, "The Apartment" culminates with a New Year's celebration, where our protagonists finally realize they're meant to be together after all. It also features one of the best lines of dialogue about the occasion, delivered in deadpan by Shirley MacLaine: "Ring out the old year, ring in the new. Ring-a-ding-ding."

Sunset Boulevard

If you love a movie about movies, then there is no better choice than "Sunset Boulevard." Released in 1950, "Sunset Boulevard" is about screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) and his dangerous liaisons with former silent film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), who is determined to make her showbusiness comeback, whatever it takes.

The gloriously unhinged performance of Gloria Swanson is the highlight of the film as she lures Joe –- and the audience –- into her twisted world. Most movies set around New Year or Christmas tend to err on the side of being heart-warming or romantic. However, "Sunset Boulevard" offers a deliciously dark twist on this idea in its very own New Year's scene.

Norma, now unhealthily obsessed with Joe, throws a lavish New Year's party. However, unbeknownst to Joe, he is the only guest, and the party is just a ruse for her to declare her love for him. Things go from bad to worse after Joe tries to let her down gently, and things quickly turn more sinister. If a New Year party is your idea of hell, at least you can be thankful you're not the sole guest at one of Norma Desmond's parties.


There really is a New Year movie in every genre, so if you're looking for something dark and dystopian, then Bong Joon-ho's "Snowpiercer" is the one for you. Set in 2031, the remnants of humanity are aboard a train called the Snowpiercer, following a catastrophic global event that kick-started a new ice age. A global microcosm in itself, the train functions with a strict hierarchical structure that sees the poorer people crammed into the back of the train while the rich live in luxury at the front.

You might be wondering where New Year factors into the film, but the event is, in fact, celebrated each time the train circumnavigates the earth, with some genuinely bizarre traditions involving eggs. On one of these New Year events, those in the rear of the train, led by Curtis Everett (Chris Evans), decide to rebel and fight their way to the front in a bloody battle that sees the future of humanity hanging in the balance.

If you loved the class commentary and often brutal violence of Bong Joon-ho's Oscar-winning film "Parasite," then you'll definitely find something to enjoy in "Snowpiercer." Featuring an incredible ensemble cast that includes a deranged performance from Tilda Swinton, "Snowpiercer" makes a great alternative to the usual romantic schmaltz. The sight of a masked gang wielding axes and counting down to the New Year is certainly unconventional, but it'll be a celebration you won't forget.