Top NYE Movies to Watch on NYE

When Christmas is behind us, and we finally get some time to kick back, put our feet up and enjoy some of our time away from our daily grind, let’s look forward to a fresh new year and to get us in the mood here are some great NYE movies to enjoy.

One of the classics is When Harry Met Sally (1989). It is on NYE when Harry realises what Sally means to him and makes one of the most beautifully romantic decorations of love on film. The film is about the relationship Harry and Sally have over almost two decades in New York. With or without the NYE scene, it’s a great film and really did launch Meg Ryan into the rom-com career that she became famous for. In fact, after When Harry Met Sally, she pretty much played the same character in another three films – Sleepless in Seattle (1993) which also has a great NYE scene, You’ve Got Mail (1998) and French Kiss (1995). Harry is played by Billy Crystal, and for me, this is his defining role. He went on to play a similar role in Forget Paris (1995) with Debra Winger. When Harry Met Sally is also famous for the fake orgasm in the diner scene: “I’ll have what she’s having”. A great film to watch anytime but a lovely one to watch on NYE.

Already mentioned, Sleepless in Seattle pays homage to another classic, An Affair to Remember. It is about a widower whose son calls a radio station to find his dad, Sam (Tom Hanks), a girlfriend. Annie (Meg Ryan) writes to Sam and proposes they meet (like in her favourite movie An Affair To Remember) at the top of the Empire State Building on NYE. Like When Harry Met Sally, it has a NYE scene in a glamorous location – somewhere I’d love to be on NYE or any other romantic night in NY, and the NYE Ball that Sally and Harry are at is my ideal for a NYE event. I’m still waiting for that.

An Affair to Remember (1957), which is a reference point for so much in Sleepless in Seattle, stars Deborah Kerr (as nightclub singer Terry McKay) and Cary Grant (as playboy Nick Ferrante), although there is an earlier version with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. Ferrante and McKay meet and fall in love on a transatlantic luxury liner. Both have other partners but vow that if they are single in six months, they will meet atop the Empire State Building. On the day of the meeting, she is involved in a serious accident on her way to the rendezvous. He keeps the appointment and assumes she has just decided not to come. He returns to his life and she begins the long process of recovery. They meet again by accident at the ballet, and Ferrante decides to pay McKay a visit, where he realises that she is unable to walk. There is no NYE reference, but there is a Christmas one and it’s just a great movie to watch if you’re in love, or longing for love, or just in love with love on NYE.

For something completely different, The Godfather II (1972) has an important scene that plays out on NYE. Michael Corleone, the Godfather (Al Pacino), kisses his brother Fredo (John Cazale) with a kiss of death after it is found he has betrayed the family. “You broke my heart. You broke my heart”, Pacino famously says. He waits until his mother has died and then arranges the hit on his brother. The Godfather II is a superb movie and I personally can’t decide which of the first two Godfathers I prefer, I just know that both are in my top 10 films of all time and if you’re home for NYE they’re a great choice.

Another favourite film is one I consider to be among the Coen Brothers’ best – The Hudsucker Proxy (1994). It’s not their usual fare but it’s a beautifully formed film. Starring Tom Robbins as a naive business-school graduate in the style of James Stewart in the Frank Capra movies, Robbins as Norville Barnes becomes a mailroom clerk at Hudsucker Industries. The story revolves around a corrupt executive (Paul Newman) who is trying to drive down the company’s share price so he can buy the majority share. He plots to hire an incompetent president to replace the company’s founder who has unexpectedly jumped out of a window to his death during a board meeting. Finding Barnes in the mailroom with his invention – the hula hoop – he thinks he is sufficiently incompetent to become president.  When the hula hoop becomes successful, however, Barnes lets success go to his head and his downfall begins. The movie has a turning point on NYE. This is a quirky film full of charm and the cast is perfect. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a fast-talking journalist of the Rosalind Russell mould.

Peter’s Friends (1992) is a film I haven’t seen for ages and would be my personal choice for NYE this year. Set in the 80s, Peter’s Friends is about a group of 30-somethings who were members of the university drama club together (and several of the cast were!). The action focuses on a NYE weekend party at Peter’s. The gathering brings together several friends who haven’t seen each other much in recent years, and while things may have changed for them, many of them haven’t changed and the same old dynamic exists. It stars Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Kenneth Branagh, and Imelda Staunton. It’s a very touching portrayal of true deep friendships. One of my lasting memories from the film is the beautiful “Rio” by Mike Nesmith. The film boasts an excellent soundtrack that features Queen, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, The Pretenders, and Darryl Braithwaite.

FinallY, no NYE list can be complete without a mention of Bridget Jones. Bridget Jones Diary (2001) follows the diary entries of Bridget’s single, overweight, unsuccessful life that she believes she has. The film begins on New Year’s Day at her parent’s home at her mother’s annual turkey curry buffet. She meets neighbour Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) whom she has grown up with and seems always to embarrass herself in front of. The movie follows her ups and downs, her loves and awkward moments, and ends a full year later on NYE. The film makes it into the NYE film list for that, but it and its two sequels are great viewing anyway.

Other deserving mentions with NYE themes include:

  • Holiday Inn (1942)
  • The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
  • Trading Places (1983)
  • Ocean’s 11 (2001)

And for anyone at home on NYE, there’s always You Cant Stop the Music (1980), the Village People musical which is like a party for the senses!
Happy New Year!