Fall is, for most people, a time when the weather gets chillier, and you tend to start spending more and more time inside. As a result, you have hours to fill that may be filled with a selection of great movies. Now that autumn is upon us, it’s a wonderful time to cozy up with a blanket and your preferred spiced beverage to watch a great fall flick. Some of these movies have very autumnal looks, but others just capture the vibe of the season perfectly. Whether you’re looking to cry, laugh, or do both, the movies on this list should provide you with plenty of entertainment as you send your kids back to school or prepare for holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Greta Gerwig knew that autumn was the ideal vibe for her adaptation of Little Women, which fusses with the strict linear story at the heart of the novel. Gerwig’s version of the story is deeply moving, in part because of the way it pairs moments from across sections of the book, and wrings wonderful performances out of Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and the rest of the ensemble cast. Little Women is a gentle story about life and death, and it’s precisely the kind of movie you might want to cuddle up with to remind yourself how important family can be.
A movie explicitly set around the Day of the Dead, Coco is the best fall movie for anyone who is desperate to cry in a cozy sweater. The movie follows Miguel, a young boy who travels to the afterlife and learns about the tragic backstory that informs his own family life. Coco is a heartbreaking story about remembering those we’ve lost, and its fall setting only serves as a reminder of how grateful we should be for the people we love.
A murder mystery with impeccable knits, Knives Out is a fun movie to watch no matter when you see it. It’s a particularly great fall movie, though, because of the ways in which the foggy chill seems to weigh so heavily on the mood of the entire film. Thanks to its browns and oranges, Knives Out is one of the best movies for getting you in the mood to put on a cable knit sweater and some Chelseas and go solve a startlingly elaborate murder mystery featuring some absurdly wealthy people.
When Harry Met Sally
A movie that takes place through every season, When Harry Met Sally is nonetheless best remembered for its impeccable autumn-in-New York energy. The movie features walks through Central Park as the leaves are changing and falling, as well as some more impeccable wardrobing for Billy Crystal in particular. What’s even better, though, is that the central love story is a wonderful complement to these fall vibes, thanks to the easy chemistry between Crystal and Meg Ryan.
Perhaps the quintessential Halloween movie for an entire generation that grew up on it, Hocus Pocus has become iconic thanks both to the actresses at its center and its easy spooky vibes. It’s a movie about witches that isn’t terribly scary, which makes it perfect for people who like the paraphernalia around scary movies but don’t actually like being scared. Now that it’s getting a long-awaited sequel, there’s never been a better time to rewatch the original, or see it for the very first time.
Remember the Titans
There are plenty of great football movies to choose from, but none of them really capture the fall atmosphere the same way that Remember the Titans does. The movie, which admittedly has a pretty simple view of racial harmony, is nonetheless thoroughly compelling, thanks in a large part to Denzel Washington’s central performance. If you add in plenty of great football, you’ve got a recipe for a movie that is perfect for any season, but especially for fall.
Dead Poets Society
Another movie that is inextricably linked with fall, Dead Poets Society is set during the fall semester of a boys’ private school. The movie’s genuine appreciation for fine art, and Robin Williams’ central performance as a teacher who encourages his students to really experience the world is one of his finest. Dead Poets Society ends on a tragic but hopeful note, and it’s the perfect movie to turn on if you want to gently cry into your beautiful wool sweater.
You’ve Got Mail
An adaptation of The Little Shop Around the Corner for the internet age, You’ve Got Mail is another wonderful movie about living in New York City. There are vibrant cocktail parties, plenty of exploration of AOL message boards circa 1998, and a re-pairing of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks following Sleepless in Seattle five years earlier. In spite of its internet trappings, You’ve Got Mail is really a tribute to small book stores, which may have the greatest fall energy of all.
Dear White People
Set on a college campus during the fall semester, Dear White People is about a Black house at a largely white, elite university. The movie eventually spawned a series, but first, Dear White People was the story of the ways in which a seemingly enlightened institution can prove to be even more backwards than more overtly racist institutions. The series would explore that idea in greater depth, and what makes both so great is that they never forget to be funny, even as they bring plenty of reality to conversations around race in America.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
A movie about a man trying desperately to get home to his family for the holidays, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is ultimately about how self-centered a man can become, even when he only has the best of intentions. With wonderful central performances from John Candy and Steve Martin, the movie has become a comedy classic. It’s packed with jokes, even as it ultimately arrives at a heartwarming conclusion about noticing the people around you and escaping the struggles of your own self-absorption.