The air is crisp, the leaves are changing colors, and cuffing season memes are inescapable. Fall has arrived, giving us the perfect excuse to dust off our favorite childhood Halloween- and Thanksgiving-themed films, New York-centric romantic comedies, and most of Wes Anderson's filmography. Quirky autumn movies are all about feeling cozy while it's getting cold and dreams of finding your one true love to hibernate with until the sun comes back out in May. These 31 fabulous fall movies are here to help you Netflix and Chill your way through the best season of the year.
It's fitting that so many of our favorite classic rom-coms are set during cuffing season. Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner's quirky autumn movie When Harry Met Sally... has all of the hallmarks of a beloved romantic comedy: New York City as an unofficial lead character, two friends who hesitantly fall in love, and the lead's dramatic final race to confess their love even though they could easily have just gotten dinner the next day. This love story was good enough to convince an entire generation of '80s kids that guys and girls can't be just friends (PSA: They can!), and it has more fall foliage than Connecticut during peak leaf-peeping months.
When you're trying to be cozier than an Instagram feed dedicated to hygge, nostalgia reigns supreme. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had Macbeth's witches quaking in 1993 when they released Double, Double, Toil and Trouble, a children's Halloween film that's fun for the whole family. Following the twins as they discover their Great Aunt Sophia has been cursed by her evil twin sister, Double, Double, Toil and Trouble has very little to do with the famous play that inspired its title, but we aren't complaining. Every Olsen Twins film is the perfect blend of creepy and adorable. If that doesn't sum up the month of October, nothing does.
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Sometimes, when it's gloomy outside and everything is covered in rain, you just want a good cry. That's where Dead Poets Society comes in. Dead Poets Society earns its quirky autumn movie designation by being set in Vermont during the beginning of the school year, but its Oscar-winning script following an English teacher who inspires his students through poetry hits a little different following Robin Williams's tragic death. A reminder of Robin's charisma and pathos, even if you haven't seen Dead Poets Society yet, you already know that Robin is eternally our captain.
For some of us, fall still means the fresh scent of new school supplies, comparing lunch periods, and readjusting to 7 AM alarms. Lady Bird is the quintessential back-to-school movie for anyone in Catholic school, and it happens to be one of the few films that actually mention Thanksgiving. Greta Gerwig's script will make you cry if you've ever had an argument with your mother, and anyone with a pinch of Catholic guilt ingrained into their psyches will find themselves googling "Churches Near Me" before the movie's over.
Not all quirky autumn movies were designed to make you cry. Halloweentown is a yearly must-watch DCOM that will have you reaching for the candy corn before we can say "Kalabar." Debbie Reynolds as the matriarchal witch Agatha Cromwell is enough to make you believe in magic as she reveals to her three grandchildren that they're part of a noble line of witches hailing from Halloweentown, a mystical place where magical creatures live in peace. Like any good metaphor for racial tension, a white dude tries to mess everything up by asserting his non-existant dominance, and it's up to the Cromwell kids to save the day.
Buena Vista Pictures
No one makes a quirky movie quite like Wes Anderson does. His reliance on gorgeous sets and equally striking shots have defined his auteurship, but the back-to-school black comedy Rushmore is arguably the filmmaker's most plot-driven feature, following a precocious private school student whose crush on a teacher launches his life into chaos. The first of nine collaborations with Bill Murray (who has appeared in every Wes Anderson film since), Rushmore's lush Ivy League-adjacent fall visuals are tertiary to its strong leading performances from Bill, Olivia Williams, and Jason Schwartzman in his first film role.
20th Century Fox
If Rushmore is subtly autumnal, Fantastic Mr. Fox is Wes Anderson's chef-d'oeuvre in the quirky autumn movie canon. Even the parts that aren't in a gradient of various burnt oranges are somehow still orange. Wes's first film adaptation was taken from the Roald Dahl novel of the same name. Fitting, considering Wes and co-writer Owen Wilson told The New York Times that Rushmore was meant to look like a Roald Dahl children's book. Starring George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Wes's revolving door of regular collaborators, Fantastic Mr. Fox follows a fox's attempts to escape murderous farmers by living underground.
Alexa, play "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac. It's officially the season of the witch. Start your mystical movie marathon with Practical Magic, a '90s romantic comedy about two sisters whose magic comes at a price: any man they fall in love with is doomed to an untimely death. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman lead a stacked cast as Gillian and Sally Owens, who come together to fight the family curse and forces beyond their control that could wipe out their entire family. The stakes have never been higher, but that doesn't mean we can join in for a chorus of "Coconut."
Who ya gonna call? Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis, obviously. No disrespect to the 2016 all-female reboot or the upcoming Ghostbusters 2020 (although, full disrespect to the terrible sequel Ghostbusters II), but the original 1984 film isn't only the greatest ghost comedy committed to film, it's the most successful comedy film of the 1980s. We highly recommend a Sunday double feature with Ghostbusters' spiritual cousin Beetlejuice, but if you only have time for one universally beloved comedy film this holiday season, Ghostbusters is on speed-dial.
St. Elmo's Fire is, oddly enough, neither about a Sesame Street puppet or a group of sexy firefighters, although we would totally watch either of those movies. Back in the '80s Brat Pack days, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, and Ally Sheedy played a group of recent college graduates adjusting to post-grad life as summer fades away into fall. If you're a fan of The Breakfast Club and haven't caught St. Elmo's Fire yet, run, don't walk, to the nearest wifi-enabled screen.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon teaching us the power of friendship through the use of heavy Boston slang is enough to thaw even the coldest November. Stellan Skarsgård gives a stellar performance as another manic pixie professor, this time at MIT, although the all-time GOAT of inspirational speeches Robin Williams also makes an appearance as an equally influential therapist. Matt plays their lucky project, a self-taught janitor with endless potential, while Ben is his rough-around-the-edges childhood BFF.
You've Got Mail is another Nora Ephron comedy that's obsessed with fall. Tom Hanks emails Meg Ryan about his love for New York in the fall, wanting to buy school supplies, and not knowing her address, and the world seems quaint and warm again. These days, striking up an online relationship with a stranger sounds more like the beginning of a Law and Order: SVU episode, but quirky autumn movies thrive off of throwback energy, and You've Got Mail has it in spades.
There's nothing like witches in October. While sifting through the stacks of magical movies that have been made over the years, don't forget about The Craft, a '90s horror film that takes Heathers and says, "What if we added a ton of mediocre special effects?" The Craft is the type of dark, sexual, and violent teen film that earned its cult following by never pulling a punch. This is Mean Girls with a magical backbone, and the only coven you'll want to channel on October 31.
You won't see any fall foliage in Catherine Hardwick's adaptation of Twilight, but don't blame that on the time of year — it's always rainy and green in the Pacific Northwest, that's why the Cullens like it! This movie has everything: first day of school meet-cutes, minor league baseball, vampires that glitter in the sun and cook Italian food. Hate on Twilight all you want, but there's a reason that hoards of readers made Stephanie Meyer's novels into a fully-fledged franchise. It's weirdly addictive, and you will get sucked in.
Sony Pictures Releasing
No need to wait until December for a taste of the March sisters on the big screen. Louisa May Alcott's Little Women has been adapted for film countless times, most recently in a Greta Gerwig masterpiece starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Timothée Chalamet, but we'll always be partial to 1994's take on the timeless novel. Starring Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, and Christian Bale, Little Woman focuses on the fall and winter months, meaning you can watch it now for the quirky autumn movie vibes and again at Christmastime while you deck the halls.
Before he was known as the Patron Saint of Molly Ringwald coming-of-age movies, John Hughes was a National Lampoon regular, directing the National Lampoon's Vacation series. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles brings John back to his comedic roots as comedy kings Steve Martin and John Candy make their way across the country to make it home for Thanksgiving dinner. You'll laugh until you cry, but you may also actually cry a little. What did you expect? It's John Hughes.
We don't need to tell you to watch Hocus Pocus all 31 days of October. Equal parts hilarious and terrifying, Hocus Pocus is a modern classic that has imprinted itself on the millennial and Gen Z psyches through countless watches on Disney Channel and ABC Family Freeform. You can still catch Hocus Pocus on cable as it was meant to be seen, but with today's technology, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker's Sanderson sisters are only a few clicks away.
The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Mystic Pizza isn't just a great spot for your next road trip. The Connecticut eatery made famous by Julia Roberts's breakout role is essentially a living shrine to this autumnal coming-of-age story, and we highly recommend a post-screening pilgrimage if you can swing it, especially since Connecticut is the most fall-friendly state in the country. Mystic Pizza follows three waitresses at the titular pizza parlor navigating their romantic, sexual, and academic lives against the backdrop of an idyllic seaside town. And, yes, the pizza sauce really is that good.
Another double feature is definitely what Dr. Lucy ordered. It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and its Thanksgiving counterpart A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving are best watched by accident on cable at your parents' house while a pie bakes in the oven, but thanks to the internet, these heartwarming short films are available for streaming whether you're home for the holidays or dreaming of a white Christmas. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving's pioneering depiction of Friendsgiving gets major brownie points, but Linus's unbreakable belief in the Great Pumpkin is the type of blind optimism we're looking for during the last few months of the year.
For at least half of the country, with fall comes football. We've all got our favorite NFL teams, but nothing hits quite like rooting for your small-town high school football team. If you don't have time to binge-watch Friday Night Lights this year (or don't feel like renting it, now that the Connie Britton cornerstone has been tragically removed from Netflix), consider watching the movie that started it all. If college ball is more of your thing, the feel-good University of Notre Dame biography Rudy is another touchdown.
The Weinstein Company
Another fall football film, Silver Linings Playbook is an ode to those of us who prefer to watch NFL teams duke it out from the comfort of our couches. The perfect cuffing season date night movie, Silver Linings Playbook has Big Sports Energy and Big Rom-Com Energy with two equally-attractive romantic leads, for fans of slightly outdated gender stereotypes and heterosexual white people falling in love. This is both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence at their aesthetic peaks, and for that reason alone, Silver Linings Playbook deserves a yearly fall viewing. It also happens to be a deeply high-quality, Academy Award-winning film.
Walt Disney StudiosMotion Pictures
There are hundreds of beloved Halloween films, but Coco shines a light on Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that wasn't created by Hallmark to sell cards (unlike Halloween, which was definitely created by Hallmark to sell cards). Coco made big moves for Latinx representation, becoming the first film with an all-Latinx cast to receive a nine-figure budget, and its stunning visuals capture both the wonder of the fall season and the emotional nuances of Día de los Muertos in a musical event for the whole family.
First things first: We have to address the turkey in the room. We know now, as a society, that it's not okay to dress up like a Native American if you're not actually a Native American. It's cringe-y and in poor taste. Still, there are so few Thanksgiving-themed movies and even fewer Thanksgiving-themed movies that seem like they were created to be watched during the Halloween season. Addams Family Values really is a holistic overview of fall, even though it's set at a summer camp. In the Addams Family, anything goes. Except cultural appropriation, we don't do that anymore.
Classic horror films like The Wolf Man, Dracula, and Creature from the Black Lagoon seem to only get their due during the month of October and Universal Studios tram rides, but Mel Brooks's spoof of the genre is required viewing any time of the year. Co-writer Gene Wilder stars as Dr. Frederick Fronkonsteen Frankenstein, the grandson of the infamous mad scientist, who gets sucked into his grandfather's work during a trip to Transylvania. You'll never hear "Puttin' On the Ritz" the same way again. Although to be fair, we barely hear it at all.
Something about The Princess Bride channels quirky autumn movie vibes even without the Fire Swamp's plentiful foliage. While Cary Elwes and Robin Wright fight for true love (and Mandy Patinkin fights anyone with more than five fingers), The Princess Bride becomes more than just prime Halloween costume inspiration. It's a cult classic of the highest order, beloved by all who watch it, and it provides much-needed warmth when temperatures begin to dip below 60 degrees. There's a shortage of perfect movies in this world; run, don't walk, to stream this one.
We will make any excuse to recommend a viewing of Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, and lucky for us, there are some stunning fall visuals in this Academy Award-winning superhero film. Making $375.5 million at the box office is no small feat, but Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse is still the lowest-grossing Spider-Man film ever made, which is a travesty considering Spider-Man 3 exists. That also means a lot of y'all still haven't seen this masterpiece, so you've got some catching up to do. John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, Lily Tomlin, Chris Pine, Donald Glover and Post Malone are just some of the stars that back up Shameik Moore's Miles Morales as he saves New York City, which should be more than enough incentive to add Into The Spiderverse to your Netflix queue.
Maybe you're a psychopath and Halloweentown isn't your thing. Maybe you're a deeply relatable 20-something who just wants any opportunity to watch DCOMs with your squad. Maybe you're low-key tired of seeing movies about white people. Either way, we've got you covered. Tia and Tamera Mowry star in this Disney Channel classic as Alexandra and Apolla, twins who were separated at birth and reunite on their 21st birthday only to discover they're witch princesses with a duty to save their magical homeland from a mysterious Darkness. It's just like Sister, Sister but with witches.
Compass International Pictures
Please, whatever you do, do not confuse Halloween with Halloweentown. These two spooky classics could not be more different: Halloweentown will have you believing in magic, while Halloween will make you seriously consider sleeping with a knife under your pillow (which is a serious safety hazard, BTW). The first signs of fall signify perfect scary movie weather is afoot, whether you're a Deadite, an Alfred Hitchcock purist, or a total wimp. Halloween is the most seasonally appropriate movie in the genre, but any scary movie will do.
There's a strong case to be made for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone being the most quirky autumn movie in the Harry Potter franchise: it has trolls, a Halloween feast, and no shortage of witchy shenanigans. Still, the series' third installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban just edges out its predecessor because it's slightly spookier, introduces werewolves, and has a weirdly increased pumpkin presence. Seriously, where did they all come from? The Prisoner of Azkaban has an extra holiday serving of cinematic clout thanks to director Alfonso Curaón of Gravity and Roma fame, in case you needed any more convincing, but a Harry Potter movie marathon might be in order. You know, just to be 100% certain Prisoner of Azkaban is the quirkiest one.
Hallmark films are the cinematic equivalent to a warm cup of cocoa, fuzzy socks, and a crackling fire. Deem them a "guilty pleasure" if you must, but any Fall Harvest Hallmark movie could've easily made this list and there's at least three dozen of them. Falling for Vermont topped Hallmark's list of their fifteen favorite fall films, and it stars A Cinderella Story's resident mean girl Julie Gonzalo, so it's a winner in our book. This particular feel-good romance follows a best-selling author who gets amnesia while trying to escape the press and is saved by a small-town doctor and resident hottie single dad. As she blends into their family life and regains her memories, she has to decide if her big city life is the life she wants.
Speaking of cheesy Hallmark movies, Netflix Originals tried its hand at a Hallmark-style romantic comedy, and it surpassed all of our expectations. Sure, Falling Inn Love is clearly set during a New Zealand summer, complete with trips to the beach and an eternally sunny sky, but that's just how it is during October south of the equator. Christina Milian stars as a businesswoman whose life totally falls apart. She copes, as any of us would, by drinking copious amounts of alcohol and accidentally buying an inn. Her plan to get inn, fix the place up, and get out as fast as she can becomes more complicated when she meets Jake Taylor, a handsome handyman with a tragic past. Leading man Adam Demos "Alex Pettyfer in the late-'00s" vibes, and any movie set at a charming B&B is right up our alley.