Everything about fall makes me want to crawl up on the couch with a blanket and watch hours upon hours of movies. You know — all those feel good movies. The ones that take place in a cozy little town that has annual harvest festivals. Or in a busy city where orange and red trees are in abundance … mmmm. In case you’re in need of a good, fall movie with all the fixins, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are 12 of the best movies to get you in the mood for the season.
1. Stepmom (1998)
This Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts drama was a staple in my house growing up. The ‘98 classic centers on divorced parents, Jackie (Sarandon) and Luke (Ed Harris), and their two children. As things get serious between Luke and his young girlfriend, Isabel Kelly (Roberts), Isabel struggles for his children’s acceptance. But when tragedy hits, everything is put into perspective. The movie is set and filmed in New York City, where there is no shortage of fall foliage in sight. Also, that ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ dancing scene is one of my favorite movie scenes ever.
2. You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Yet another classic in my household, this romantic comedy is a must-see! Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) is a small bookshop owner who finds herself in a rivalry with bookstore chain owner, Joe Fox, … who just so happened to open up a store across the street. (Ooooh, drama!) The two anonymously meet online and start an Internet romance, despite their ‘real world’ tug-of-war. Set in the Big Apple, this film is sure to put you in the mood for autumn.
3. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Meg Ryan is officially the queen of fall movies … and probably all romantic dramas in the ‘90s. ‘When Harry Met Sally’ centers on the 1977 meeting of then-college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) and their attempt to keep their relationship platonic through the years.
4. Runaway Bride (1999)
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere are the romantic drama dynamic duo of all duos (is that a thing? it should be a thing). Maggie Carpenter (Roberts) has left three men at the alter and is subsequently dubbed the “runaway bride” by journalist Ike Graham (Gere). Ike then travels to Maggie’s quaint hometown in Maryland to set the record straight and report on her upcoming nuptials. Over time, the two grow closer and well, I’m not going to give the whole movie away, but it’s a must-see! I mean it. Go watch it right this instant! Well, after you’re done reading this post.
5. Autumn In New York (2000)
In case you can’t get enough of Richard Gere (hi, mom!), this one’s for you. ‘Autumn In New York’ centers on Will Keane (Gere) and Charlotte Fielding (Winona Ryder)’s whirlwind May-December romance. Keane must tame his playboy ways if he plans to woo the free-spirited Fielding, and in doing so, learns responsibility and about the preciousness of time. As the title states, this is autumn in its finest form. (Hey, NYC!)
6. Halloweentown (1998) + all subsequent films
Imma let you finish, but ‘Halloweentown’ is the best Halloween movie of all time. The movie is Disney Channel in its prime. Starring the incredible Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Aggie and Kimberly J. Brown as 13-year-old Marnie, ‘Halloweentown’ centers on Marnie’s discovery of her spook-tacular ancestry. The movie quickly envelopes you in the magic of Halloween, as the Cromwell clan fights against evil in Halloweentown — a place where supernatural beings are in abundance.
But wait, there’s more! The 1998 original was followed by a slew of sequels: ‘Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge,’ ‘Hallowentown High’ and last and (most likely) least, ‘Return to Halloweentown.’ I’m confident I’m not the only one to consider the first three the original Halloweentown films. The fourth isn’t terrible, per se, but it features Sara Paxton taking Brown’s place in the beloved role of Marnie. Why, Disney, why?!
7. Hocus Pocus (1993)
Quite possibly the Halloween fan-favorite, ‘Hocus Pocus’ revolves around teenager Max Dennison, his sister, Dani, and their new friend, Allison, as they visit an abandoned home and accidentally free a trio of witches known as the Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy). The kids befriend Thackery Binx, an immortal black cat (made as such by the Sanderson sisters years ago), and work together to stop the witches from becoming immortal themselves. Nothing says fall like a classic Halloween film.
8. Pocahontas (1995)
Ok, ok. Maybe this Disney animated classic isn’t your typical fall movie, but I can’t help but think of autumn in the ‘Colors of the Wind’ scene with all those leaves rustling about. The 1995 film depicts the romance of Pocahontas (Irene Bedard), a young American Indian woman, and Captain John Smith (Mel Gibson). Between Pocahontas’ father’s disapproval of the relationship and Smith’s men’s attempts at robbing the Native Americans, Pocahontas must find a way to salvage the peace. Side note: Pocahontas is ultimate #hairgoals.
9. Remember the Titans (2000)
I’m not a football aficionado, but this is an incredible movie nonetheless. Denzel Washington and a young Ryan Gosling? Sign me up! ‘Remember the Titans’ focuses on a football team at a desegregated high school in 1971 Virginia. Racial tensions run high when black head coach Herman Boone (Washington) is hired to coach the school's football team under current coach, Bill Yoast. The black and white football players must learn to work as a team and find common ground in their love for the game — and in life.
10. The Blind Side (2009)
In need of another football flick? ‘The Blind Side’ is the heartwarming true story of homeless black teen Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) and the Tuohy family who take him in. While the Tuohys are busy trying to make an impact on Michael’s life, little do they know what an impact he’d come to have on theirs. Starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Lily Collins, ‘The Blind Side’ will make you cry and warm your heart.
11. Casper (1995)
Everyone who’s anyone knows Casper the friendly ghost! Get ready to dust off the cobwebs on your old VHS copy — this is an underrated Halloween classic. The 1995 movie tells the tale of Casper, a young ghost living in Whipstaff Manor. Casper and his prankster uncles are soon visited by paranormal therapist James Harvey and his teenage daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci), who Casper soon falls in love with.
12. Gilmore Girls
Ok, maybe it’s not an actual movie, but everything about this show captures fall so beautifully. Stars Hollow has to be the cutest town on the planet. The town troubadour strumming his guitar, the fall leaves fluttering in the wind and the seasonal town activities — what more could you ask for?! In case you’ve never watched it, ‘Gilmore Girls’ centers on mom and daughter duo, Rory (Alexis Bledel) and Lorelai (Lauren Graham), as they tackle the ups and downs of their life in the charming little town of Stars Hollow, Conn. The show has 7 seasons, 4-part revival on Netflix and a permanent place in my heart.
Sweet November, Sleepless in Seattle, Good Will Hunting, October Sky + St. Elmo’s Fire