It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and while those eight words might be key to a Christmas carol that puts us all in a festive spirit, it also applies to the special season that exists right before it. Fall, autumn, spooky season, long-celebrated Halloween — whatever you call it, the ‘ber’ months are certainly some of the most beautiful, wonderful, and cozy.
The weather gets cooler, a breeze begins to sway the trees, allowing leaves to fall around you almost poetically, and it feels like the perfect time of year to cozy up with your favorite drink of choice and a warm blanket with some Halloween or fall theme to it. Think cute Peanuts mugs, wine glasses adorned with ghosts, and blankets with deep reds, oranges, and forest greens to tie it all together.
What would make a cozy night in even better? The right movie, of course — and we’ve got a list of 15 that you’ve got to ensure you’re in the mood for all things autumn and beautiful. Be it a Halloween film, movies that just feel like fall, or a backdrop that looks like the most perfect quaint town to move to and fall in love in, these films capture the essence of a changing season, and the most beautiful one at that.
Is there anything more perfect for your fall movie watch than Practical Magic? We think not. Starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, two sisters who just so happen to be of a magical inclination live very different lives after dealing with loss, love, and the implications of being a witch. The film is about magic, and all things fall, for sure, but it’s also a lesson in being there for your people, honoring bonds that defy life and death, and being in the perfect spirit for all things cozy, warm, and mesmerizing.
Vampires, werewolves, and graduation caps — oh my! Is there any better film franchise to begin when the temperatures start to cool than that of Twilight? Each film, with its fall vibe gives fans of the otherworldly an experience like none before it. You might not initially think of the Twilight film franchise as the most emotionally intriguing piece of autumn movie history, but we recommend you reconsider. Light that vampire blood Bath & Body Works candle, dim the lights, and settle in for a Twilight marathon; it just might become your new fall tradition.
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 profoundly moving, partly because it pairs moments from across sections of the book and wrings beautiful 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 film 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 reminds us 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 excellent fall movie, though, because of how 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 film features walks through Central Park as the leaves change and fall, as well as some more impeccable wardrobing for Billy Crystal in particular. 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 to the actresses at its center and its effortless spooky vibes. It’s a movie about witches that isn’t terribly scary, making it perfect for people who like the paraphernalia around scary movies but don’t like being scared. Hocus Pocus is feel-good witchy fun, and we can’t help but fall in love with Binx more after every re-watch and realize how much we’ve become like Billy as we begin aging.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Talk about a romance! If Beale Street Could Talk is one of the most perfect films to watch when the summer heat finally begins to retreat (or anytime, really), and it’s a film that sticks with you long after you’ve watched it. The subject matter is quite serious, but it’s a testament to love, how powerful it is to have someone believe in you, and the fight for truth being shown. Not everyone has someone to sit with them through the good and the bad, and one can only hope that this love story picks up where it left off, and the end of the film leaves it up to viewers to create the path to happily ever after.
Remember the Titans
There are plenty of great football movies to choose from, but none really capture the fall atmosphere like Remember the Titans does. The film, its storyline, the brotherhood, and the stellar performances by some of the biggest names in entertainment all work together to make this film a must-watch when football season rolls around. The sport is at the heart of the film, but its more significant message is about bonds, love, and dedication to one another.
Dead Poets Society
Another movie 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 cry into your beautiful wool sweater gently.
You’ve Got Mail
An adaptation of The Little Shop Around the Corner for the Internet age, You’ve Got Mail is another beautiful 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. Despite its internet trappings, You’ve Got Mail is really a tribute to small bookstores, which may have the most excellent fall energy of all.
The Lake House
Sandra Bullock captures our hearts as Kate Forster in The Lake House, and there’s no better time than the Autumn months to revisit this beautiful and complex love story. A time difference separates two people who are all but meant to find one another, and with one existing in 2004 and the other in 2006, it feels like a bittersweet idea that their paths were to cross at all. When love is on the line, anything goes, and while the holidays feel like the perfect time to fall in love, the fall season captures the beauty of actually being in love, as does The Lake House.
Dear White People
Set on a college campus during the fall semester, Dear White People is a story about four Black students who navigate life through a predominantly white, elite university. The movie eventually spawned a series, but first, Dear White People was the story of how a seemingly enlightened institution can prove to be even more backward 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 intentions. With outstanding 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.
Sweet November is a beautiful film to watch in the autumn months, but only if you’ve got a heap of tissues to help you through it. The film takes part over one month, and it’s a month that neither Nelson Moss nor Sara Deever will ever forget. Sara has a secret, and when Nelson meets her, he’s got a pocket full of grudges he likes holding onto. She asks him to spend one month with her, promising that she’ll change his life and bring positivity to it, and she has every intention to do just that. What she wasn’t expecting was to fall for him, too. If you’ve never seen this one, we won’t give it all away, but just know that as you round out the list of the best fall movies to watch, this one will certainly be the biggest tearjerker.