The Best New Year’s Eve Scenes in Movies

Whether the passage of time makes you introspective and anxious or you relish the idea of setting goals and resolutions to ring in the new year, it’s that time again. Typically, every year, people gather around a TV with their friends and family to watch whatever New Year’s Eve special they fancy and wait for the countdown to watch the ball drop in New York City — or wherever they are.

If you’re over that or looking for something new to watch for some New Year’s Eve vibes, this is the list for you. “New Year’s” isn’t a movie category in the same way that Christmas or Halloween is. However, plenty of movies stand out because they take place around the holiday or evoke that sense of celebration that many embrace when looking forward to a new year of opportunities. Here are ten great movies to ring in the new year with.

Update December 29, 2023: New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, so this article has been updated with even more movies to watch on the holiday to close out the year.

10 New Year’s Eve (2011)

New Year’s Eve is a rom-com directed by Garry Marshall, who directed two other similar movies (Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day) that take place over the span of a holiday and feature an ensemble cast in several interconnected stories. As the title suggests, New Year’s Eve follows a cast of characters, each experiencing different triumphs and challenges on the holiday. The movie reflects real-life struggles from childbirth to death to repairing relationships and familial tensions.

Related: 13 Best Movies That Celebrate Family Love

Why It Is Perfect For Celebrating The New Year

The movie sports an impressive cast, including names like Ashton Kutcher, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Robert De Niro, and Jon Bon Jovi. Despite the ensemble cast and interesting concept, the movie was a critical flop but a modest box-office hit. If you want something that’s easy to watch, New Year’s Eve will fill that niche of so-bad-its-good cinema playing in the background while you have conversations with friends and family. Also, it is hard not to watch a movie named after the holiday on said holiday. While New Year’s Eve might not be Halloween or Groundhog’s Day, it is still worthy of watching on the holiday it is about. Stream New Year’s Eve on Max

9 Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

Set in a high-tech skyscraper in New York City, the sequel to the popular Christmas-themed movie Gremlins, Gremlins 2: The New Batch once again sees the little terrors wreaking havoc (just in a new location). The movie also boasts new designs and variations of the creatures and brings back many familiar faces from the first movie, including Zach Galligan as Billy and Phoebe Cates as Kate.

Why It Is Perfect For Celebrating The New Year

Beyond being a more over-the-top and silly inclusion into the series that is guaranteed to go well with a few drinks and some shared laughs, Gremlins 2: The New Batch has one of the best New Year’s celebration scenes committed to the cinema, with a massive hall full of Gremlins counting down followed by Brain Gremlin (voice provided by Tony Randall) give a loving rendition of the song “New York, New York.” For those who want to perfectly sink up the movie to their own countdown, this movie is also an ideal pick to ring in the new year and have a blast while doing so. Stream Gremlins 2: The New Batch on Max

8 Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump

Release Date
July 6, 1994

Robert Zemeckis

Everyone knows Forrest Gump. From the quotable lines to Tom Hanks’ iconic performance, it’s a well-known and well-loved film. Based on the novel of the same name by Winston Groom, the movie follows several decades of Forrest’s (Hanks) life in 20th-century America. He encounters several historical figures and events from the Vietnam War to unknowingly exposing the Watergate scandal and receiving a Medal of Honor from Lyndon B. Johnson.

Why It Is Perfect For Celebrating The New Year

The entire movie is fantastic, but one of the most memorable scenes is the New Year’s Eve sequence. Forrest meets with Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise), his platoon leader in Vietnam, at a bar on New Year’s Eve. After losing his legs in the war and being rescued against his will by Forrest, Dan became depressed and felt a sense of guilt and shame for making it home when so many of his fellow soldiers didn’t. People are singing, confetti is flying in the air, and Forest is yelling “Happy New Year” in his face while Dan stares into the distance. It’s a harrowing scene that conveys many emotions in just a few seconds. The scene may be slightly grim, but the humanist approach of Forrest Gump still makes it an ideal way to celebrate the New Year. Stream Forrest Gump on Paramount+

7 200 Cigarettes (1999)

200 Cigarettes
Paramount Pictures

200 Cigarettes revolves around the lives of various twenty-somethings and their experiences leading up to New Year’s Eve of 1981 in New York. The characters’ storylines intertwine, exploring themes of love and loneliness, as they head toward a party hosted by Monica, who is anxious about the turnout of her big bash.

Related: The Best Party Movies of All Time

Why It Is Perfect For Celebrating The New Year

The cast in 200 Cigarettes is quite impressive on revisit, with rising stars and those already established making up its vast cast. The movie boasts names like Ben Affleck, Dave Chappelle, Janeane Garofalo, Kate Hudson, Gabby Hoffman, Christina Ricci, and Paul Rudd, to name a sliver of the notable cast that makes appearances. As such, the movie captures the bringing together of large groups of people to celebrate. Alternatively, the drama and build-up to the party can also make you feel better about staying indoors instead of heading out this New Year. Sadly, you may have to dig through your DVD collection, as 200 Cigarettes is unavailable for streaming or rental.

6 The Godfather: Part II (1974)

The Godfather is one of the most iconic, beloved trilogies ever. Based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather follows the Corleone family, focusing on patriarch Vito Corleone’s (Marlon Brando) youngest son Michael (Al Pacino) as he grows into his role as a mafia boss. The second movie, The Godfather: Part II, is both a prequel and a sequel. The prequel portion focuses on Vito’s childhood in Sicily and the founding of the Corleone family business in NYC. The sequel focuses on Michael, the new Don, who is working to protect the family business.

Related: 15 Best Mafia and Gangster Movies Ever Made

Why It Is Perfect For Celebrating The New Year

One of the most legendary New Year’s Eve scenes comes from The Godfather: Part II. At a New Year’s party, Michael lets his brother Fredo (John Cazale) know that he knows he’s a traitor. In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Michael gives him the “kiss of death” and says, “I know it was you, Fredo.” This eventually leads to the chilling scene of Fredo being taken out on the lake to be shot and killed while Michael watches from afar. It’s not necessarily a “Happy” New Year, but the scene — and really the entire movie — is so notorious. Rent The Godfather Part II on Apple TV

5 When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

When Harry Met Sally… is a classic romcom written by Nora Ephron. The movie follows the two title characters — Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) — over 12 years of chance encounters in NYC. Eventually, the two become friends, but over time, their friendship blossoms into something more — and the true feelings don’t officially come out until they meet at a New Year’s Eve Party.

Why It Is Perfect For Celebrating The New Year

The scene at the New Year’s Eve Party is one of the most iconic when it comes to romantic comedies. During the countdown to midnight, Harry tells Sally he loves her and lists everything he loves about her, from all the nuances of her personality to the fact that he loves her company. If you’re a hopeless romantic searching for something to watch with a happy ending, this is an excellent movie for New Year’s. It is also an ideal movie if you want to watch something with your partner leading to that New Year’s kiss, as Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan perfectly capture that sensation of falling in love. Stream When Harry Met Sally… on Fubo

4 Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Bridget Jones’s Diary is a popular romantic comedy based on Helen Fielding’s 1996 novel of the same name, which is loosely based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It’s about Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger), a single British woman in her early 30s who forms a New Year’s resolution to get her life on track, so she keeps a diary where she writes about things she wants to happen in her life and tracks her goals like quitting smoking and finding her Mr. Right — and she gets it when two men (Colin Firth, Hugh Grant) form an attraction to her.

Why It Is Perfect For Celebrating The New Year

It’s a cute, fun, light-hearted movie with the perfect blend of goofy comedy and romance. Much like the previously mentioned When Harry Met Sally…, Bridget Jones’s Diary is ideal for couples looking to celebrate the occasion together. Additionally, for those who want to make a day of it, the movie is a popular piece of British pop culture that led to two enjoyable sequels: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Bridget Jones’s Baby. This is an ideal choice if you are looking for a romantic kick-off to the new year. Stream Bridget Jones’s Diary on Fubo

3 The Hangover (2009)

Three friends travel to Las Vegas for the ultimate bachelor party for the groom-to-be, Doug. However, shortly after waking up from the hangover without recollection of the previous day, they realize Doug has gone missing. They now must try to retrace the night, coming across many eccentric characters along the way, to figure out where their friend may be and get him to his wedding in time.

Why It Is Perfect For Celebrating The New Year

While not tied to the New Year in the slightest, The Hangover captures that sense of regret after a night of partying and counting down to the following year. The movie can also be approached a few ways for the holiday, either as a humble reminder of why you are staying in this year and choosing not to party or celebrating the lifestyle from a distance. Regardless, the movie is an enjoyably raunchy comedy to keep the laughs coming. The Hangover also boasts one of the best comedic trios ever to grace the genre in Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis. Rent The Hangover on Apple TV

2 High School Musical (2006)

High School Musical New Years Scene

High School Musical follows two young hopefuls from different social circles, Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez, who, after a chance meeting at a karaoke event, both realize their dream to be singers despite the roles they have been pushed into. The two form a close friendship and decide to audition for an upcoming school musical, earning them the ire of the drama queen, Sharpay Evans.

Why It Is Perfect For Celebrating The New Year

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the 2006 Disney Channel hit High School Musical, you may have forgotten how the movie starts and — surprisingly enough — it’s on New Year’s Eve. It opens up at a New Year’s Eve party at a ski lodge where Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) first meet. Troy and Gabriella are randomly selected to sing a karaoke duet at the party. What starts as a timid, awkward moment between two strangers turns into a high-energy performance of “Start of Something New.” And from the wild Y2K fashion to the karaoke machine, it looked like a fun New Year’s party to be at. Stream High School Musical on Disney+.

1 Another Round (2020)

Another Round

Another Round

Release Date
September 24, 2020

Thomas Vinterberg

Mads Mikkelsen , Thomas Bo Larsen , Lars Ranthe , Magnus Millang , Maria Bonnevie , Susse Wold

Four high school teachers lean in on the concept that humans were meant to have a certain level of alcohol in their system to navigate the challenges of life. They decide to remain drunk throughout the day, with each of them having different outcomes and effects on their work career and personal lives. This choice makes for an introspective journey filled with comedy, heartwarming reflections, and a fair amount of buffoonery.

Why It Is Perfect For Celebrating The New Year

Picking up an Oscar for Best International Film in 2021, Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round is the closest you will find to a well-constructed and critically acclaimed comedy that perfectly matches the swagger of a successful New Year’s Eve party. The plot here is wonderfully absurd, and while it has little to do with the New Year, it perfectly encapsulates the potential for drunken silliness during the holiday. Also, what evokes the New Year spirit more than Mad Mikkelsen drunkenly dancing to the cheers of a crowd? That said, remember to drink responsibly whether you go out or stay at home. Stream Another Round on Kanopy


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