Must-see fall movies for any and every occasion

Courtesy of IMDb

By Madalyn Watson | Print Managing Editor

Autumn is finally here.

Pull your favorite sweater over your head, brew a cup of hot tea (or stop by Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte — don’t worry, I won’t tell) and bundle up in an excessive number of blankets because these films will put you in the mood to feel the crunch of dead leaves underfoot.

Good Will Hunting

Taking place in Boston, “Good Will Hunting” shows off New England during autumn in the most delightful ways. The 1997 drama follows janitor Will (Matt Damon) after his gift for mathematics is revealed to professors at MIT and his relationship with Sean (the late Robin Williams), his psychologist, helping him discover his purpose in life. The film also takes on a romantic undertone as Will begins a relationship with Skylar (Minnie Driver).

Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, this classic feel-good film exudes the energy that everyone is looking for this time of year. A beautiful message, expertly crafted story and Damon pressed up against a glass window saying, “How do you like them apples?” work together in front of a perfect fall backdrop.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Unfortunately, the start of fall means back to school for students. During the trying time of syllabus week, students can rest easy and be transported into a better world through “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (or any of the films based on J.K. Rowling’s universe).

While the audience fantasizes about transferring to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) starts a new school year. In fact, almost every single film starts in autumn because that’s when school resumes and Harry can see his best friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) again.

Whether you watch it for the nostalgia factor or you’re watching the films for the first time, these films will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling in your chest like no other.

When Harry Met Sally

If you’re looking for a sweet romance to sink your teeth into like a vampire sucking blood, try “When Harry Met Sally.” Directed by Rob Reiner, this 1989 film is one of the most famous romantic comedies of all time. Seriously, if you type in “rom coms” into your search bar right now, it will be one of the first films to pop up.

The film influenced pop culture in so many ways that no other romance could ever compete. Films like “You’ve Got Mail,” “Notting Hill” and “The Ugly Truth” not only reference the film but were inspired by it. Famous quotes from the film have even been referenced in “Friends,” “Will & Grace” and “Bob’s Burgers.”

Starring young Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan (the ultimate female lead in any romance) as Harry and Sally, the film tackles still the very relevant question: Can straight men and women just be friends without it leading to romance?

The Craft

If you are looking for a fall film that also conjures up some bulletproof girl power, then “The Craft” is the right film for you. When Sarah (Robin Tunney) transfers to a Catholic school, a group of girls deemed outcasts by their peers befriend her and offer her the opportunity to join their coven.

Together the four girls, including Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell) and Rochelle (Rachel True), form an unstoppable power and use witchcraft to do anything they want: convince men to fall in love with them and gain revenge for all the bullying.

In addition to the spells and potions, these witches really know how to dress. Each girl has her own style that draws from the different trends from ’90s fall fashion.


Based on Neil Gaiman’s best-selling dark fantasy children’s book of the same name, “Coraline” hypnotizes viewers with fantastical and colorful elements as well as button eyes.

Directed by Henry Selick — I would include another film directed by Selick, but “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a little too obvious — this stop motion film has won many hearts but also kept children and adults up awake late at night out of fear of the “Other Mother.”

When her parents move into a new house, the curious 11 year old Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) discovers a little door in the wall that leads to another world. A world almost exactly like her own, but better. Her parents pay more attention to her, the neighbors are simply eccentric instead of crazy and her only friend Wybie (voiced by Robert Bailey Jr.) doesn’t speak.

The strangely idealized version of her real life may seem like heaven, but the sinister secrets behind the little door makes this film perfect for a late autumn night, no matter your age.


The 1978 film Halloween” may be an obvious choice, but many young adults have never seen the film that started it all. They may have seen remakes and sequels, but nothing is the same without teenage Jamie Lee Curtis playing Laurie — the ultimate potential victim for Michael Meyers.

“Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” all fall into a similar category. If you haven’t seen the first films in these overworked franchises, go watch them right now. Even though the younger generations are no longer shocked by the special effects in these films, the atmosphere alone reigns superior over their successors.

If you’ve made it to the end of this article without starting a new film, go ahead. We can pretend that it’s chilly outside.