‘Tis officially the season for pumpkin spice and everything nice. And you know what that means. It’s time to curl up on the couch and watch a movie that feels like fall. Thankfully, we’ve got a cornucopia of films to put you in the autumn mood, each with its own brand of charm.
Here are 25 movies to get you in the mood for fall.
When Harry Met Sally
When Harry Met Sally revolves around two people who form an unlikely friendship, blossom into best friends, and weather many seasons before inevitably falling in love. It’s set in New York City during fall and if the scenic strolls under ever-changing leaves in Central Park doesn’t put you in the autumn mood, I don’t know what will. And it’s one of the best love stories (with the best autumn outfits) of all time.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
What could be more fall than the science fiction heartstring-tugger that is E.T.? Not just any movie could dethrone Star Wars as the highest-grossing film of all time, at the time. And like so many of Spielberg’s biggest films, it would not be quite as iconic without the sweeping orchestral score created by John Williams. Everything about it stirs up our emotions whilst reminding us why we love hoodies.
Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting put Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on the map, and frankly, it’s good for watching any ole time. But it’s an autumnal tale in all the right ways. Damon plays a janitor at Harvard who is secretly a mathematical genius with undeniable potential. But he has a troubled past and a problem with authority. And so, he’s sent to therapy with an unconventional psychology professor (Robin Williams), and while I won’t spoil the rest, I will say this; it won 8 Academy Awards for good reason.
An out-of-work actor from New Jersey returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral. While battling uncertainty about the past as well as the future, he falls in love with a quirky young woman played by Natalie Portman. And pretty much everything is covered in fallen leaves. Need I say more?
A tale as old as time. Reese Witherspoon plays an intelligent, headstrong young girl who people are terribly afraid of. Brimming with just enough dark humor, Election centers on suburban school politics in the wittiest of ways. And it will fulfill your wildest sweater vest dreams.
October Sky is for anyone who has ever had a larger-than-life dream. And it’s fun for the whole family. Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, and Chris Cooper star in this sincere, smart, award-winning drama about NASA engineer Homer Hickham’s early life in West Virginia.
Set in a New York fall, Step Mom is all about transitions, both inevitable and unexpected. It’s also got some of the coziest fall attire of any movie on this list. A few years after divorcing Jackie (Susan Sarandon), Luke Harrison (Ed Harris) marries his much younger girlfriend Isabel Kelly (Julia Roberts). While he may be smitten, his kids are fiercely loyal to their mother. Kelly tries to win their favor to no avail, but a family crisis will soon shake everyone’s belief system to the core.
It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Nothing says “fall is here” quite like this enduring and lovable holiday special. Carried by the classic Peanuts characters, this heartwarming cartoon remains a vibrantly colored family favorite. As we previously reported, Lee Mendelson once said, “Of the 50 prime-time specials we created with Charles Schulz, I believe ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ is Bill Melendez’s animation masterpiece.”
Dan in Real Life
Looking for a cozy rom-com with wicked comedic timing? Look no further than Dan in Real Life. Steve Carell stars as a widower who falls for an already taken stranger in this charmingly fall-set movie. She secretly falls for him too. During a weekend family gathering, they do their best to hide their evolving feelings, but when has that ever worked?
From its quintessential spookiness to the New England foliage, this Tim Burton hit is ideal on a chilly evening when the moon is full and the fog is dense. We’re all familiar with the 1820 story of the headless horseman by now. But if you haven’t watched Sleepy Hollow, you’ve never seen it like this. It’s a magical mix of gore, humor, enchanting cinematography, and an eerily twisted plot. And Johnny Depp stars as Ichabod Crane.
A small-town waitress finds out she’s pregnant by her underwhelming husband and she couldn’t be less enthused. Looking for an escape, she starts an affair with her doctor. But her true passion (and coping mechanism) is pie. All along the way, she bakes pie after pie after scrumptious pie, and what’s more fall than pie?
Remember The Titans
Even if you typically don’t root for fall football movies, Remember the Titans will undoubtedly pull on your heartstrings in the most uplifting of ways. Rotten Tomatoes called this award-winning flick “an inspirational crowd-pleaser with a healthy dose of social commentary.” And the performances are stellar. Set in the early 1970s, Denzel Washington plays a high school coach in Alexandria, Virginia, where football is king. When he’s tasked with coaching a newly integrated high school football team, everything changes.
After meeting in the DMV, free-spirited Sara (Charlize Theron) and workaholic Nelson (Keanu Reeves) have a fall fling with strict parameters. Sarah has one month to change Nelson’s life for the better, and that’s exactly what she does. As the harsh winter rolls in, they’ve unwittingly fallen in love, but nature must run its course with or without them.
Addam’s Family Value
I feel like this one’s pretty self-explanatory. The tight-knit Addams Family, forever wrapped in black, welcome a new addition to the group. But that decision soon proves costly. As for eternal fall vibes, there’s the endlessly gothic architecture, the unmatched moodiness, and the iconic “hey, it’s Thanksgiving day” kid’s camp play that shall never be forgotten.
Sweet Home Alabama
Melanie is a sought-after New York fashion designer still making a name for herself. Just in time for cuffing season, she gets engaged to the man of her dreams and her heart’s set on a fall wedding. But there’s one time-sensitive problem. She’s still married to her childhood sweetheart back home in Alabama. When she makes a trip down south to demand he sign the divorce papers, Melanie realizes maybe she left more behind than she really wants to give up.
Sleepless in Seattle
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan create fall movie magic with their timeless chemistry in Sleepless in Seattle, even though they spend most of the classic movie apart. Spoiler alert: They finally get together on Valentine’s Day after one whimsical autumn spent quietly pining for something more. And it’s that certain something they’ll only find in each other. How romantic, right?
Dead Poet’s Society
No matter the scenario, there’s something intrinsically autumnal about back-to-school movies. This is especially true in Dead Poet’s Society. If you’re unfamiliar with this 1989 Oscar-winning classic, it’s about a new prep school teacher (Robin Williams) on his quest to inspire his students to break with tired traditions, come into their own, and look within when the going gets tough. Critics call it one of Robin Williams’s most moving performances.
Save The Last Dance
Sara (Julia Stiles) is a Midwesterner who “used to dance.” She moves to Chicago’s south side following her mother’s tragic death, putting her former self on a shelf. When school starts in the fall, she feels completely out of place, but soon revisits her passion with the help of a fellow classmate named Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas) who dances too. Naturally, they cozy up, face adversity together, Sara auditions for Julliard with Derek’s inspired push, and love saves the day.
Waiting to Exhale
In Waiting to Exhale, four best friends go through life-changing ups and downs while taking very different paths, but the power of their friendship always prevails. Perfect for fall, this empowering flick is all about change; the leaves are changing, the people are changing, and the outfits just keep getting better with each wardrobe change.
Some might say Practical Magic is better suited solely for Halloween, but I disagree. For starters, this 1998 dramady is one of the least horror-oriented flicks of the witch genre. Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) are reluctant witches and sisters who must cope with their sordid family history, romantic relationships that have gone sour, and an unwanted visit from the supernatural. And let’s not forget their midnight margarita ritual. Sounds like fall to me!
Legends of The Fall
Nothing says fall quite like the golden hues of Brad Pitt’s hair glimmering against the Montana sky. The Oscar-winning cinematography is just half of what makes it so autumnal. This beloved drama follows three brothers growing up on the frontiers around the turn of the 20th Century with their widowed father. It’s about family tragedy, love triangles, and how memories suddenly come flooding back in the cool wisps of the wind.
Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone
Okay, okay. So you might think Harry Potter films are more Christmas-y than fall-y, but sit down for a binge session with autumn in mind. Fall vibes are all over the place. The Great Hall, the scarves, the quidditch, the color scheme, the butterbeer… Just think about it.
Autumn in New York
Need a good cry? This NYC love story (set in autumn, obviously) tells the classic tale of a 50 something playboy restauranteur (Richard Gere) who unexpectedly falls in love with a free-spirited woman half his age (Winona Ryder). But sadly, she only has a few months to live. As the leaves change, their love blooms, but only for one bittersweet season.
This 1997 hit follows a Chicago family who reunites for Sunday dinner every week, making it the perfect Thanksgiving go-to. The unbreakable bonds, secret recipes, all-star cast, and robust soundtrack serve up just the right amount of comfort for fall.
Pretty much anything from Tim Burton is perfect for autumn, and Edward Scissorhands definitely makes the top three. It’s creepy but not too creepy, somber yet colorful, and heavily about reflection. Plus, Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder are forever revered as the onscreen couple to end all onscreen couples.