Are you ready to jump into the fall season face first? It’s my favorite time of the year. From the leaves changing colors to the pumpkin spice lattes, I look forward to it every year. Watching films with autumn backdrops is an annual must. So, I put together these incredible movies to help you usher in the season.
1. You’ve Got Mail (1998)
This delightful romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan revolves around the blossoming online romance between two people who initially can’t stand each other in real life. Set against the backdrop of a crisp New York City fall, this film will warm your heart as it captures the magic of connecting during autumn. It’s a fall favorite!
2. Scent of a Woman (1992)
Al Pacino delivers an Oscar-winning performance in this heartwarming drama. As a blind, retired Army officer, he embarks on a memorable trip to New York City with a young student who’s tasked with caring for him over Thanksgiving weekend. The film’s autumnal scenes add depth to the character’s journey of self-discovery.
3. Harold and Maude (1971)
Harold and Maude is a quirky and heartwarming cult classic that tells the story of an unusual romance between a young man obsessed with death and a vivacious 79-year-old woman. As their unconventional love story unfolds during the fall season, Harold and Maude offer a unique perspective on life, love, and finding joy in unexpected places.
4. Knives Out (2019)
Rian Johnson’s modern whodunit masterpiece is set against the backdrop of a grand, old mansion in Massachusetts during a crisp autumn gathering. When a renowned crime novelist is found dead, a detective investigates a family full of secrets. Knives Out offers both mystery and autumnal atmosphere in abundance.
Knives Out features an ensemble cast, including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer.
5. Rudy (1993)
This sports drama is truly inspirational. It traces the real-life journey of Rudy Ruettiger, a young man aspiring to play football for the University of Notre Dame. Against all odds, Rudy’s determination and perseverance led him to achieve his goals during the autumn football season. Rudy is a touching underdog story that captures the spirit of fall sports.
6. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
A fall romantic comedy classic, When Harry Met Sally, stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. The film explores the complex dynamics of friendship and love throughout several autumns. From sharing wagon-wheel coffee tables to discovering what they truly mean to each other, Harry and Sally’s journey through the seasons is delightful and heartwarming.
7. Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
Reese Witherspoon stars in this charming romantic comedy set in the small town of Pigeon Creek, Alabama. Melanie Carmichael must confront her past and the complexities of her relationships when she returns home during the fall to divorce her high school sweetheart. As the leaves change, so do her perspectives on love and home.
8. Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
Julia Roberts leads an impressive ensemble cast in this drama set in the 1950s. She plays an art history professor who challenges the traditional roles and expectations of her students at Wellesley College. The film’s autumnal backdrop provides a fitting atmosphere for the characters’ journeys of self-discovery and empowerment.
9. Soul Food (1997)
This heartwarming family drama tells the story of the Josephs, an African-American family in Chicago, and their cherished tradition of Sunday dinners. As the leaves fall, so do the secrets and challenges that test their bonds. Soul Food is a moving exploration of family, love, and the importance of coming together during autumn.
10. Sweet November (2001)
Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron star in this romantic drama about two people brought together by fate during the fall season. The film explores their unconventional relationship as they spend a month together, each unexpectedly changing the other’s life.
11. Stepmom (1998)
Starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, Stepmom explores the complexities of family dynamics during the fall season. When a photographer (Roberts) enters the life of a divorced father and his children, tensions arise. This heartfelt drama delves into themes of love, loss, and the evolving relationships that define a family. It requires tissues, so be warned!
12. Practical Magic (1998)
One of my all-time favorites is Practical Magic, a charming tale of sisterhood, magic, and love starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as the Owens sisters. Set in a quaint New England town, the film’s autumnal scenes provide a charming backdrop to their magical adventures as witches.
13. Remember the Titans (2000)
Based on a true story, this movie is a football drama set in Alexandria, Virginia, during the early ’70s. As the leaves fall, the racially integrated T.C. Williams High School football team faces adversity and prejudice. Their journey towards unity and triumph on the gridiron is both inspirational and seasonally fitting. Denzel Washington stars.
14. Autumn in New York (2000)
Richard Gere and Winona Ryder star in this romantic drama set in the heart of New York City during the fall season. Gere plays a successful restaurateur who falls in love with a young woman (Ryder) with a terminal illness. The film’s poignant story and autumnal atmosphere create a bittersweet backdrop for their love story.
15. Good Will Hunting (1997)
This Oscar-winning drama starring Matt Damon and Robin Williams explores the life of a troubled but brilliant young janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As the film unfolds across the seasons, including a memorable fall backdrop, it delves into themes of intellect, identity, and the pursuit of personal growth.
16. Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
A must-see classic, Dead Poet’s Society is set in an all-boys preparatory school. This iconic drama starring Robin Williams explores literature’s transformative power and a charismatic teacher’s influence. Against the backdrop of the autumn season, the film inspires students to seize the day and embrace their individuality.
17. St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)
This coming-of-age drama takes us into the lives of a group of friends. They are embarking on the challenging journey of post-college life in Washington, D.C. The autumn setting beautifully captures the changing seasons and the characters’ transitions into adulthood.
18. October Sky (1999)
October Sky is based on a true story recounting the journey of a young coal miner’s son who, inspired by the launch of Sputnik, dares to dream of building rockets. Set against the backdrop of a small mining town in West Virginia during the late 1950s, the film’s fall scenes highlight the protagonist’s journey to reach the stars.
19. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
This classic Thanksgiving comedy legends John Candy and Steve Martin as mismatched travel companions trying to make their way home for the holiday. Their hilarious adventures provide plenty of laughter and heartwarming moments as they face numerous travel mishaps during the fall season.
20. The Blind Side (2009)
This heartwarming drama is based on a true story. Sandra Bullock stars as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a determined woman, while Quinton Aaron portrays Michael Oher, a homeless teenager whom she takes into her home as he works hard toward becoming a professional football player. As their bond grows, they discover the transformative power of love and support against the backdrop of autumn in the American South.
21. Love Story (1970)
This classic romance film tells the tragic love story of Oliver Barrett IV (Ryan O’Neal) and Jennifer Cavalleri (Ali MacGraw). Their whirlwind romance, set against the backdrop of a college campus during the fall season, captures the timeless theme of love conquering all.
22. October Kiss (2015)
In this charming romantic comedy, an unconventional nanny brings warmth and joy to a family during autumn. As she introduces them to the magic of Halloween and the beauty of fall, her impact on their lives goes far beyond her role as a caregiver.
23. The Lake House (2006)
Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves star in this unique romance that transcends time. The film is set around a picturesque lake house. It unfolds over two years, including a particularly enchanting autumn season. During this time, the characters exchange letters and discover a profound connection.
24. School Ties (1992)
Set in an elite boarding school during the 1950s, this drama explores themes of prejudice and identity. As a young Jewish student (Brendan Fraser) hides his identity to fit in, the fall season adds depth to the characters’ experiences and challenges.
25. On Golden Pond (1981)
This heartwarming drama starring Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn depicts a couple’s golden years spent at their lakeside home. The arrival of their daughter and her fiancé for a visit during the fall season brings both heartache and healing. On Golden Pond beautifully captures the passage of time and the enduring bonds of family.
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