Holidays & Seasonal

Top New Year's Eve Movies & Clips

 As one year comes to a close and a new year approaches, I feel nostalgic for good movies – thrillers, dramas, time travel, capers and comedies – with New Year’s Eve themes from previous years. 

Here are clips from fifteen of the best new and older classic New Year’s Eve films:  

15. Under Suspicion (2000), a murder mystery with Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, and Monica Bellucci.

It’s New Year’s Eve in Puerto Rico and lawyer Henry Hearst’s (Gene Hackman) is poised for his fundraising speech when the police (Morgan Freeman & Thomas Jane) require his presence for questioning in a murder investigation. Details about Hearst and his wife Chantal’s (Monica Belluci) habits and relationship gradually emerge as Under Suspicion unfolds.

Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, Thomas Jane, and Monicca Belucci are featured in the trailer for Under Suspicion.

14. Night Train to Paris (1964), a WWII Nazi/OSS spy thriller starring Leslie Nielsen, Alizia Gur and Dorinda Stevens. 

Leslie Nielsen is OSS officer Alan Holiday, who is persuaded by Catherine (Alizia Gur) on New Year’s Eve to go to Paris on a secret mission. The movie trailer below for Night Train to Paris features Leslie Nielsen, Alizia Gur, and bad guy Eric Pohlman. 

13. Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), a dark drama starring Diane Keaton, Tuesday Weld, Richard Kiley, Richard Gere, LeVar Burton, Brian Dennehy, and Tom Berenger.

In Looking for Mr. Goodbar, a repressed teacher with body image issues (Diane Keaton) looks for some excitement in her life and turns to one-night stands. She meets up with hookup (Tom Berenger) on New Year’s Eve, and things go from bad to worse. 

Below, Richard Gere and Diane Keaton in the Looking for Mr. Goodbar trailer.

12. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), a romantic comedy with Hugh Grant, Renee Zellweger, and Colin Firth. 

Inspired by Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice (1813), in Bridget Jones’s Diary slightly plump ordinary everygirl Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) falls for caddish Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). When he lets her down, the standoffish and proper Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) begins a transformation to knight in shining armor despite fist-fights, foul-ups, and family & romantic follies.

Below, Bridget makes an awkward speech introducing an author at a book launch party in a movie clip from Bridget Jones’s Diary.

This was the first of 3 films so far in the Bridget Jones series; all 3 stars reprised their roles in the sequels Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), and Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016). 

11. The Time Machine (1960) starring Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastian Cabot, & Whit Bissell. Based on H. G. Well’s time-travel sci-fi adventure novel The Time Machine (1895).

At a 1899 New Year’s Eve dinner with friends, inventor George (Rod Taylor) shows them a model time machine and gives them a demo with a cigarette. Five days later, a disheveled George is reunited with his friends for another dinner, and recaps for his four skeptical friends the events of his days of time travel.

The Time Machine trailer below features Rod Taylor, Alan Young, and Yvette Mimieux. 

The Time Machine (2002) remake starred Guy Pierce as the central character, with updated plot points and character names changed. Time After Time (1979) pays homage to The Time Machine and author H. G. Wells, with a different plotline; Malcolm McDowell stars as H. G. Wells, pursuing Jack the Ripper (David Warner) from 1893 London into modern-day San Francisco, where Wells meets love interest Amy (Mary Steenburgen).

10. New Year’s Eve (2011) with Hilary Swank, Josh Duhamel, Ashton Kutcher, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Katherine Heigl, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cary Elwes, Alyssa Milano, Jessica Biel, Lea Michele, Seth Meyers, Sarah Paulson, Carla Gugino, Russell Peters, Jim Belushi, Abigail Breslin, Hector Elizondo, Penny Marshall, Ryan Seacrest, and the City of New York, among others.

Yes, this movie is jam-packed with movie stars, some of them onscreen for longer than others. Several interconnected stories of New Year’s Eve in New York City offer up drama and laughter in a veritable love letter to New York City during the holidays.

The New Year’s Eve movie trailer below features Hilary Swank, Katherine Heigel, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Seth Myers, Sarah Paulson, Jon Bon Jovi, Sovia Vergara, and Russel Peters.

9. Entrapment (1999) starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Sean Connery, Will Patton, Ving Rhames, and Maury Chaykin.

In Entrapment, an insurance investigator (Catherine Zeta Jones) teams with a professional international art thief (Sean Connery) to carry off a New Year’s Eve heist during the highly-anticipated countdown to 2000 and the millenium. Entrapment was a box office smash. 

Below, Catherine Zeta Jones and Sean Connery in the Entrapment trailer.

8. Oceans 11 (1960), a Rat Pack New Year’s Eve Las Vegas casino crime caper.

Oceans 11 starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Angie Dickinson, Normal Fell, Cesar Romero, Richard Conte, and featured a cameo by Shirley MacLaine.

Below, Richard Conte, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, and some now-vintage 1960’s Las Vegas signs are featured in a scene from New Year’s Eve in Oceans 11.

Ocean’s 11 was a box office smash, spawning the remake Ocean’s Eleven in 2001 and subsequent sequels Ocean’s Twelve (2004) and Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac, and Casey Affleck.

Ocean’s Eight (2018) featured a cast of leading ladies Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway in a girlpack remake.

7. Sunset Boulevard (1950), a Billy Wilder American film noir, starring William Holden as unsuccessful screenwriter Joe Gillis and Gloria Swanson as faded silent movie star Norma Desmond.

Joe Gillis recalls his story in flashbacks; Norma invited him to a New Year’s Eve party where he was the only guest. Their relationship is fractured when he tries to let her down gently. Norma prepares for her “comeback” while Joe works on a screenplay.

Below, William Holden and Gloria Swanson in a New Year’s Eve scene from Sunset Boulevard.

Sunset Boulevard was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning Best Writing, Story and Screenplay; Best Art Direction; and Best Music/Score. Actors William Holden, Gloria Swanson, and supporting actors Erich von Stroheim and Nancy Olson were all nominated for Academy Awards. 

6. The Poseidon Adventure (1972) starring Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Shelley Winters, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Jack Albertson, Pamela Sue Martin, Arthur O’Connell, and Leslie Nielsen.

Based on author Paul Gallico’s 1969 The Poseidon Adventure novel, this is a star-studded disaster movie flick set aboard an ocean liner that’s capsized by a tidal wave on New Year’s Eve.

Below, disaster strikes on The Poseidon Adventure, with cast members Leslie Nielsen, Stella Stevens, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Albertson, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, and Pamela Sue Martin.

The 2006 remake Poseidon once again takes place on New Year’s Eve and has a star-studded cast that includes Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfus, Josh Lucas, Kevin Dillon, Fergie, and Emmy Rossum.

5. Trading Places (1983) starring Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Denholm Elliott, Jamie Lee Curtis, with James Belushi and some SNL cast members.

Set during the Christmas holiday season, commodities broker Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) is framed and has his life is turned upside down for a bet between the wealthy Duke brothers (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche).

Literally Trading Places, street beggar Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) is plucked from obscurity in a “nature or nurture” experiment. Valentine and Winthorpe team up with prostitute Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis) to turn the tables on New Year’s Eve.

Trading Places also made my Top 20 Classic Christmas Movies list, and you can see a funny clip from it there.

4. After the Thin Man (1936), starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as author Dashiel Hammett‘s detective duo Nick and Nora Charles, with (Jimmy) James Stewart.

 In After the Thin Man, having returned home to San Francisco in time for New Year’s Eve, Nick and Nora Charles are invited to a formal family dinner where they are persuaded to find a missing family member. After the Thin Man was nominated for a 1937 Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay. 

Below, Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick and Nora Charles in After the Thin Man movie trailer.

3. The Apartment (1960) starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray (My Three Sons), and Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian).

In The Apartment, 4 company managers strong-arm Bud Baxter (Jack Lemmon) into borrowing his Upper West Side apartment for extramarital affairs, in exchange for a chance at a promotion. Baxter’s budding romance with elevator operator Fran (Shirley MacLaine) is stymied, and things come to a head for Bud and Fran on New Year’s Eve. 

Below, Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in The Apartment on New Year’s Eve.

The Apartment won 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing (Original Screenplay), Best Film Editing, and Best Art Direction. Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and supporting actor Jack Kruschen were all nominated for Academy Awards for their performances in The Apartment. 

2. When Harry Met Sally (1989) starring Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby.

Over a 12 year span, friends Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) meet and talk about their relationship(s). Friendship turns to attraction at a New Year’s Eve party in When Harry Met Sally, and something more at another New Year’s Eve party. 

When Harry Met Sally screenwriter Nora Ephron was nominated for an Academy Award; and a critical scene in the movie left Meg Ryan literally gasping. Below, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally

1. An Affair to Remember / Love Affair / Sleepless in Seattle

A movie theme & plotline so popular it has been remade 3 times (4 if you count Sleepless in Seattle, which I do)!

An Affair to Remember (1957) starring Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, and Richard Denning. Cary Grant as playboy Nicki Ferrante falls in love with teacher Terry McKay (Kerr) on a transatlantic cruise. They kiss on New Year’s Eve although they are both entangled with other people. Nicki and Terry make a pact to meet each other at the top of the Empire State Building in 6 months time.

An Affair to Remember was a remake of Love Affair (1939), which starred Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne; in 1994, Warren Beatty and his wife Annette Bening remade Love Affair and kept the original title. 

Below, some scenes with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) is not an exact remake of Love Affair / An Affair to Remember, but borrows heavily on those earlier films for some plot points – the characters even reference the earlier movies onscreen – and includes a pivotal Empire State Building moment, albeit on Valentine’s Day instead of New Year’s Eve. Meg Ryan is drawn to Tom Hank’s character when she hears his young son and him on a radio talk show; Hanks’s son plots to bring them together. 

If you like my “Top New Year’s Eve Movies & Clips” list, you may also like my Top New Year’s Eve Songs list, and a selection of updated, Vintage Happy New Year Greeting Cards

Other festive favorites:

Top Christmas Songs (in Classic Clips)

Planning a Christmas / Holiday Menu? – Hits and Misses

Top 20 Classic Christmas Movies

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (song and the story behind it)

Happy movie watching now and in the New Year!


Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & writer Anita Hamilton's articles are inspired by real historical events, places, and people. Her travel experiences, a lifelong keen interest in history, art, vintage music, books, silent films, classic movies, "golden age" television shows, fashion, & entertainment in general - combined with years of research - make her a subject matter expert with acquired knowledge & expertise on these topics. This, and a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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