Movies for New Year’s Eve

Who needs Times Square, Waterford Crystal or a fancy cocktail party. Here are some of the best New Year’s Eve movies, in case you’re planning on staying in.

None of them will help you make it to the gym on the 1st, however.

The Gold Rush (1925)


If you’ve never seen a Charlie Chaplin movie, you really should go out of your way to do so.

City Lights and Modern Times may be more famous, but The Gold Rush is equally delightful. Charlie, The Prospector, heads for Alaska in search of his fortune. And on New Year’s Eve, he throws a party for his gal and new friends. This movie is a joy, and there is an innocence to it that will help you put last year behind you.

The Apartment (1960)


Equal parts comedy and tragedy, The Apartment stars Jack Lemmon as C.C. Baxter who’s looking to boost his career prospects by loaning out his apartment to his bosses so they can entertain their mistresses in secret.

It’s all a laugh until Baxter finds himself falling in love with one of his boss’s girls… New Year’s Eve in the film brings not only revelations and a “new start” for our main characters, but what’s often glossed over on New Year’s Day: the fallout. Unfortunately, our choices follow us.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)


One of the best disaster movies from the cycle of them during the 1970s, The Poseidon Adventure is about the aging S.S. Poseidon on her last passage. On New Year’s Eve, an underwater earthquake causes a giant wave that capsizes the ship.

The film then follows the surviving passengers and crew as they try to escape the unstable ship before it sinks. The transition from old to new is a major theme in the film, symbolized by the ship itself, an old, fading wonder struggling in the modern era.

For fun, keep track of the age of those who die first, and those who ultimately survive.

The Poseidon Adventure was remade in 2006 as Poseidon if you’d prefer an updated version, but I highly recommend the original.

Rocky (1976)


A small-time boxer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), is given a rare opportunity to fight heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed on New Year’s Day.

As New Year’s is the time of year we project our wishes for ourselves and our lives, Rocky is a perfect New Year’s movie: the famous training sequences are a great kick in the pants for anyone wanting to get pumped up about their resolutions, but particularly because the crux of the film is a man’s transformation towards self-respect, rather than glory.

Not to mention that Rocky manages to transform himself in time for New Year’s and doesn’t need a resolution at all.

The Godfather Part II (1974)


The sequel to The Godfather, Part II follows Michael (Al Pacino), newly head of the Corleone family, as he revolutionizes and expands the family’s operations to Nevada.

The film interweaves Michael’s modern bid to increase the family’s power with flashbacks to his father, Vito Corleone’s (Robert De Niro!) early years as an immigrant in New York, and how the Corleone “family business” came to be.

A New Year’s Eve party in Havana brings the film’s most iconic moment (and, after the horse head, likely the most well-known scene from the trilogy). New Year’s may symbolize the passing away of the old for the new, but renewal and progress are not always for the better. And this moment marks the moment Michael veers sharply, and forever, from his father’s footsteps.

Here’s to 2015! Happy New Year everyone 🙂

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About Sinéad Donohoe

A writer from London, Ontario. These are her adventures in writing, movie loving, and general mayhem.