10 best fall movies, ranked

Fall is a very unique time of the year, and it’s a favorite for many people. The weather is in a beautiful place between cold and hot, and the slight cold makes for perfect sweater weather. School and work resume, and of course, the changing leaves offer often magnificent panoramas. Add in hot food, hot drinks, darker days and more humid weather, and the fall comes with a very comfortable atmosphere that is hard to match.

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Many films are set in winter and summer, but fewer focus on fall. But those who to do focus on it, keep going, and manage to incorporate the things that a lot of people love (even some holiday events too).

ten Halloween (1978)

One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about “fall” movies is Halloween. Arguably John Carpenter’s best film, Halloween is the perfect fall movie – even though it was shot in sunny California.

Through a bit of cinematic magic, the film manages to capture the essence of the season by including a wonderfully cold atmosphere. Not only are there pumpkins and other Halloween decorations, but they have also covered the streets with fallen golden leaves and barren trees. It’s exactly the kind of “empty” and calm atmosphere that always precedes a fun night without any tricks or treats (and it’s certainly the perfect setting for a horror movie, too).

9 Hocus Pocus (1993)

Kathy Najimy and Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus

Hocus pocus is a must-see Halloween movie for non-horror fans. While the film didn’t perform well initially, it’s now considered a cult classic and holds a special place in the nostalgic hearts of ’90s kids around the world.

The film takes place at the end of October and has a sufficiently cold and colorful atmosphere. It also takes place in Salem, a beautiful city with many beautiful landscapes and an obvious history related to witchcraft and supposedly spooky events. Nothing falls more than Halloween, the witches and the cold of late October.

8 Dawn of the Dead (1978)

The filming of Dawn of the Dead began shortly after Halloween in 1977, and as such, it contains that distinct post-Halloween but not quite wintery vibe. While most of the movie takes place inside a mall, many scenes take place outside on a cold November day.

The cold is evident – the figures wear thick jackets, their breath is clearly visible, the days have this dreary lighting, and most of the landscapes are brown and bare. The trees have also died recently (which could be a perfect metaphor for Tone and all the zombies). It’s the perfect movie to snuggle up with hot chocolate – as long as you put up with the violence.

7 The Village (2004)

M. Night Shyamalan’s The village is the perfect type of movie for fall aficionados. The film was actually shot throughout the fall 2003 season, October through December. And being shot in the woods of Pennsylvania, it has a very distinct fall feel to it.

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Anyone who has been on fall hikes will recognize and appreciate the atmosphere of The village. It’s damp, it looks cold, dark, and dreary, and most of the foliage is either brown or dead. Few movies capture the late fall of the East Coast like The village.

6 The Blair Witch Project (1999)

A photo of one of the many monologues in The Blair Witch Project

Besides being one of the best found horror movies, The Blair Witch Project is basically fall camping in movie form. The characters wander through the woods of Maryland in late fall, and it’s just as atmospheric as one would expect.

The days seem dark and overcast, the figures look very warm wrapped in their coats and hats, the fallen leaves on the forest floor rustle everywhere, and night is falling very quickly. The foliage is also completely brown and dead, indicating a very late fall start. The Blair Witch Project simply feels like fall.

5 Trick ‘R Treat (2007)

Sam in the bedroom in Trick r Treat.

No other movie celebrates Halloween like Trick or treats. The segmented story centers on the beloved holiday itself, as a mysterious hooded child appears to anyone who defiantly breaks a beloved Halloween tradition.

It’s obvious the movie has an affinity for the holidays and the general Halloween season, and the love it has for the time of year translates well to viewers. Anyone who enjoys fall and Halloween would do well to check it out and soak it up.

4 The Witch (2015)

The witch shares some similarities with Hocus pocus, only it is taken much more seriously. The film is obviously rooted in American history and traditions, concerning witchcraft in 17th century East America.

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The story takes place in the late fall and early winter of New England, and it’s suitably bleak. The film is shot with an overtly gray, washed-out color scheme that reflects the dull, cloudy days of late fall well, and the dead forest setting matches the desperate tone of the story.

3 Rushmore (1998)

For many, the fall season means back to school. In this regard, Rushmore made for the perfect fall movie. Filled with Wes Anderson signature tropes, Rushmore concerns a student who falls in love with a school teacher and befriends a wealthy industrialist because of his unrequited love.

Aside from the colorful leaves, the dying trees and the cold atmosphere, Rushmore also nails that distinct mix of terror and excitement that comes with a new year of school.

2 Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook isn’t the first movie that comes to mind when you think of fall, but it does contain an undeniable vibe of the season nonetheless. In many ways, this is the perfect fall movie.

It’s about back to school and the dreaded playlists (in this case, books like Hemingway’s A farewell to arms). He also finds time for Halloween, and both Pat and his dad are obsessed with American football, that’s when the season begins. The combination of American football, school and Halloween helps the public prepare for the cozy fall nights.

1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Another non-traditional fall film is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. This allows for perfect viewing in late fall / november as it balances the different tones and atmospheres well.

It perfectly conveys the excitement of a new school season (or, in this case, the first school year), and much of its outdoor scenes take place in clearly cold weather, with characters bundled up in warm clothes. It also finds time to convey both Halloween and Christmas, so watching it in November is a timely viewing experience.

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