If you’ve ever seen that meme of Angela Bassett strutting away from her husband’s torched car, it’s from this 1995 movie—and the burning takes place on New Year’s. Follow as she and her three friends (including Whitney Houston!), search for love and success between two New Year’s Eves.
The second half of the drug-fueled disco that is Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 opus is set in motion by a tragic New Year’s Eve sequence in which William H. Macy’s Little Bill discovers his wife with another man. There’s bloodshed by evening’s end, casting an ominous shadow over 1980 and the decade that follows it.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
This quintessential rom-com is often mis-labeled as a Christmas movie, for Colin Firth and Renee Zellweger’s matching holiday jumpers. But they wear said jumpers at a New Year’s party, and they reconcile with the film’s final kiss exactly one year later. Case closed.
Before director Bong Joon-ho picked up his Parasite Oscars, he helmed another societal parable starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, and Song Kang-Ho. It’s 2031 and climate change has rendered all of humanity stuck on a moving train, hurtling towards New Year’s Day on a loop. The train’s passengers are divided by societal class—until Evans’ character opts to disrupt the pecking order.
Writer-director Billy Wilder would inject New Year’s scenes into two of his most famous works: 1950’s Sunset Boulevard and, a decade later, The Apartment. In this best picture winner, ladder-climbing insurance salesman C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) harbors feelings for unlucky-in-love elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine). The only problem? His apartment serves as the meeting spot for Fran and Baxter’s married boss, Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray). Alas, it’s on New Year’s Eve that Fran breaks things off with Sheldrake—running through the city streets to Baxter and a bottle of champagne.
Of course, there is a portion of this adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s seminal musical (and a whole song in the stage show!) that takes place on New Year’s. But the story itself is about the passage of time—and what better one than December 31 to ask, “How do you measure a year in a life?”
Long before Steven Soderbergh would cast George Clooney and Brad Pitt in a trilogy of madcap capers, there was the 1960 original. In this iteration, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. plan for a heist that launches on New Year’s Eve at exactly midnight.
Sex and the City
The Sex and the City revival, And Just Like That, may be embracing the subway—but it was in the 2008 film that Carrie was first spotted near the MTA. While each is spending her first New Year’s without her significant others, Carrie dares to take public transportation in order to visit Miranda in Brooklyn. This also marks the first time Stanford and Anthony lock lips at a different NYE soiree.