Another year is winding to a close and it’s time to look back over the triumphs and the failures, friendships made and relationships ended. Whether you are celebrating with a huge party or a single glass of champagne at home, New Year’s Eve is synonymous with reflection over the months gone by and New Year's past.
In honor of the occasion, we put together a collection of some of the best New Year's scenes from films throughout the years – whether you are finding love, getting drunk or hunting ghosts, you’re sure to find something to suit your own plans for December 31st. As long as they involve Auld Lang Syne, of course. What would a movie-style New Year’s be without that?
Here are the 10 Best New Year’s Eve Scenes of All Time.
10 Alfie (2004)
After a particularly lonely start to the holidays, our ladykiller Alfie (Jude Law) picks up the stunning Nikki (Sienna Miller) on Christmas Eve, and the two of them party their way to through the next week to New Year’s Eve. Everything seems to be going well; she’s stunning, sexy, exciting, and as they dance through the countdown, it seems that there couldn’t be two more fantastic young people in all of New York. Until the glasses smash.
It’s the beginning of the end for these two, and despite being somewhat bleak, it’s also a relatable New Year for many. The date who drinks too much, the relationship that is clinging to the holiday season, and the bad party that makes you think…. “uh oh”.
9 Boogie Nights (1997)
It’s 1979, and the porn stars are out to play at a New Year’s Eve house party, but one character doesn’t make it to January 1st, 1980. Instead, Little Bill (William H. Macy) comes to the house looking for his cheating wife and finds her in flagrante delicto with another man in a back bedroom. While the rest of the guests are counting down the minutes to the ball drop, Little Bill heads calmly out of the room to his car, before coming back with a gun to deal with his wife and her lover. In a bloody finale to the ‘70s, he walks back to the living room where he blows his brains all over the wall.
Definitely not a happy scene, Boogie Night’s New Year scene marks the end of more than just another year; it’s the beginning of the end for the happy debauchery of Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and his porn “family.”
8 New Year's Eve (2011)
It’s impossible to pull a single scene from a film that takes place entirely on New Year’s Eve, but this sweet film is full of different New Yorkers ringing in the year to come. From the single mother whose teenage daughter is no longer happy spending New Year’s at home on the couch, to the people working on the big night, to the happy couples and even a New Year’s objector who is determined not to celebrate, there is something for everyone.
While this film doesn’t quite reach the peak of interlocking rom-com goodness that is Love Actually, it’s definitely an enjoyable collection of celebrations. Wonderfully, the best storyline isn’t the most romantic – instead it is the journey of a shy and awkward woman who quits her job and decides to fulfill her bucket list in one night… with the help of some party tickets and a bike messenger. It’s inspiring and heartwarming without relying on romance, and it’ll have you ready to chase your dreams in 2016.
7 Bridget Jones' Diary (2001)
About as realistic as you can get, Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is forced to suffer through her mum’s annual Turkey Curry Buffet on New Year’s Day (which sounds horrific enough as it is), but the ritual awkward family gathering is made exponentially worse with a brutal hangover and a standoffish set-up. Although we all know that she ends up with the reserved Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), this first meeting is everything that you don’t want to start off a brand new year.
Extra points for talking about New Year’s Resolutions; Bridget isn’t the only one vowing to quit smoking and cut back on the booze, nor is she the first to break her resolutions by noon on January 1st!
6 200 Cigarettes (1999)
This oft-forgotten ensemble film follows a group of chain-smoking 20-somethings on their way to a New Year’s party in the big city, with all the drama and distractions that are part of such an important night. While our neurotic hostess Monica (Martha Plimpton) drowns her fears that nobody will show up, the rest of her friends wander the city, getting lost, hiding from exes, looking for cabs, and hoping to find last-minute dates.
Lots of smoking, drinking, and hooking up ensues, with the usual mix of comedy and some personal realizations for the characters. While it’s not a perfect film by any means, it’s definitely worth a watch for some New Year’s fun, and to enjoy a cast list that reads like a who’s who of ‘90s comedies.
5 Sex and the City (2008)
In a film that is often flippant, the way that the four friends celebrate New Year’s Eve is sincere and touching, and covers many different ways to celebrate. From a silly family celebration to a romantic interlude for a high powered couple, love is (as always in this franchise) well represented. However, the film doesn’t just stick with cute couples. Anthony (Mario Cantone) and Stanford (Willie Garson), are still on the party circuit, Louise (Jennifer Hudson) is back with her extended family having an awkward encounter with an ex (although one that ends well!), Steve (David Eigenberg) is asleep next to his young son, and Mr Big (Chris Noth) is alone even when surrounded by people.
The most important relationship in this brief New Year’s montage, though, is the friendship between Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon). Although Carrie is happy to stay home, after a lonely phone call, she manages to get to Miranda just in time for the ball to drop: making sure that her friend doesn’t ever have to be alone. It’s a sweet and somewhat vulnerable montage that sums up the occasion perfectly.
4 The Godfather: Part II (1974)
The second instalment in the story of the Corleone crime family finds them spending New Year’s Eve 1959 in Havana, as the rule of Fulgencio Batista is coming to a bloody end. At a stunning ball filled with gorgeous dresses and white tuxedo jackets, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his older brother Fredo (John Cazale) are celebrating when the confetti falls.
However, in one of the best-known scenes of the film, this is the moment that Michael chooses to reveal to Fredo that he knows it was his own brother who betrayed him. His fraternal hug turns into a fierce grip, as he kisses him on the mouth and says “you broke my heart.” Although the scene is absolutely heartbreaking, it’s a powerful New Year’s classic.
3 Ghostbusters II (1989)
The Ghostbusters are back in this hilarious sequel to the huge supernatural hit. Despite their success the first time around, the boys are charged with property damage and put out of business, but they end up rejoining when it seems that New York City is going to be in danger again. This time, it’s the spirit of Vigo the Carpathian (Wilhelm Von Homburg), who is looking to come to earth on New Year’s Eve by possessing a baby.
It’s about as ridiculous as you would expect (and all the better for it!), as we see the Ghostbusters animating the Statue of Liberty as part of a battle of “mood slime,” where Vigo will only triumph if the people of New York city cannot come together in positivity and good spirits. Cue the inevitable rendition of Auld Lang Syne for a final throw down, and it’s the perfect quirky New Year’s choice.
2 Forrest Gump (1994)
One of the most poignant and dark portrayals of New Year’s on the big screen, the end of the year finds Forrest (Tom Hanks) and Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise) in a seedy bar, watching the ball drop on a tiny TV. Dan, miserable and full of anger at his situation, doesn’t even crack a smile as the bar around them erupts into celebration and confetti. Later that evening, they head back to the miserable apartment with two women to drink, smoke, and presumably… well, you know where this is going.
A scene that starts off so sadly becomes incredibly touching though, as Forrest (obviously) isn’t the type for a meaningless one night stand, and his refusal and the aftermath reveal Lieutenant Dan’s deep affection and readiness to defend his friend. It may be a miserable New Year, but it’s an incredible scene to show the depth of their unlikely friendship.
1 When Harry Met Sally (1989)
The ultimate romantic comedy, and it ends with the ultimate New Year’s Eve kiss. After decades of confusion, losing touch, being friends and missing connections, Harry (Billy Crystal) finally realizes that Sally (Meg Ryan) is the love of his life, and rushes over to a New Year’s party to tell her how he feels.
Of course, this is a relationship that never goes smoothly, so of course she assumes that he is giving in to something that many people feel at this time of year; loneliness. She tells him to leave, and in doing so, prompts one of the most famous romantic speeches in cinematic history.
It’s a scene that may set your expectations for New Year’s Eve a little bit high, but it’s a classic nonetheless.
Have we missed any other classic New Year's Eve scenes? Let us know in the comments!