Best fall films collage featuring Coco, When Harry Met Sally, Harry Potter, and Knives Out

The Best Fall Movies to Watch All Autumn

The fall season has arrived, and it brings with it a unique array of films. As fall encompasses Halloween and Thanksgiving, this season’s films tend to be very diverse in subject and nature. Fall is frequently an excellent time for revisiting Halloween classics or exploring more feel-good, family-focused movies to ring in the Thanksgiving holiday. Even historical films make their way to fall line-ups as they explore the tale of the pilgrims arriving in America on the Mayflower (although the wokeness on these offerings may vary).

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Of course, sometimes the best films are those that are just simply seasonal films. Instead of being strictly Halloween, historical, or Thanksgiving films, they tackle the spirit of the fall instead. Many of these films have a fall holiday serving as the film’s backdrop rather than the central focus. Meanwhile, they capture the spirit of fall’s multiple holidays as they balance themes that honor the dead, highlight the importance of family, or remind viewers to feel gratitude.

Whether you’re a Halloween, Día de Los Muertos, or Thanksgiving enthusiast (or all three), here are 10 films you can enjoy all autumn long.

Knives Out

The cast of 'Knives Out'

The film offers a new and refreshing take on the murder mystery genre but also holds many nods to fall. The outdoor scenes are set against a gorgeous fall backdrop with shedding trees, piles of leaves, and that hazy autumn atmosphere. Additionally, you’ll see the recurring color theme of orange, red, and yellow all over the film, including in Thrombey’s estate design. The A-list cast is adorned in fall styles, too, with colorful scarves, beanies, jackets, and sweaters. Knives Out can be enjoyed at all times of the year, but it’s the perfect film to remind you that sweater weather is around the corner and how fall can make even a murder scene look quite beautiful and colorful.

When Harry Met Sally

Meg Ryan as Sally Albright and Billy Crystal as Harry Burns in 'When Harry Met Sally'
(Columbia Pictures)

When Harry Met Sally isn’t about fall but is a beautiful visual representation of what fall is. The film has much breathtaking fall imagery. While it catches up with Sally and Harry across many different seasons, the one setting that will stick with you is New York in the fall. The whole city looks truly transformed, with leaves littering the ground, trees streaked with fall colors, and all the residents and visitors adorned in bomber jackets, turtlenecks, and blazers. When Harry Met Sally captures the magic of the season quite effectively.

Hocus Pocus

Disney's 'Hocus Pocus' cast
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

For many of us, the highlight of fall is that it’s spooky season, making it the perfect time to watch one of the most timeless Halloween movies—Hocus Pocus. The 1993 film has become a nostalgic fall tradition for many. Hocus Pocus is the perfect Halloween movie because it appeals to audiences of all ages. Both adults and children will find the film hilarious and enjoy the playful depiction of all the signature Halloween elements of witches, black cats, and zombies. Additionally, it’s filled with nostalgia that will especially appeal to all the ’90s kids out there. It’s the perfect fall film to get into the Halloween spirit and embrace the season’s fun side.

Pieces of April

Katie Holmes as April Burns in 'Pieces of April'

If you’re looking for an underrated but very moving fall film, Pieces of April is the way to go. Anyone with family problems will be able to relate to the pressure April feels as she struggles to please her family. There’s a bit of humor mixed into the film in the disastrous turn her Thanksgiving preparations take and a lot of realism and emotion in her interactions with her estranged family. Ultimately, it reminds people feeling overwhelmed with the oncoming holidays that they’re not alone. It also provides some hope for how fall and the holidays can heal and reconcile some families.

The Harry Potter series

Daniel Radcliffe in the 'Harry Potter' film series
(Warner Bros.)

Fall is also the perfect time to delve into the Harry Potter film series. The eight-film series is filled with lots of fall imagery and magic. Hogwarts almost permanently has a fall feeling with its seemingly endless array of savory food, candles, lanterns, and orange and yellow tones. Lastly, what better way to celebrate the magical feel of the season than with a series centered on wizards, witches, and magic of all sorts? For those who can separate the Harry Potter franchise from its problematic creator, J. K. Rowling, fall is the best time to dive into the film series.


Miguel with Guitar in 'coco'
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Pixar’s Coco is one of the very best fall movies out there. Rather than being the typical Halloween or Thanksgiving-centered film, Coco tackles the Mexican holiday, Día de Los Muertos, in a mesmerizing and vivid manner. Coco also boasts the most breathtaking visuals and color scheme, highlighting the fall colors of red, orange, and yellow. Additionally, fall is a time when we tend to think of family most, with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon. Coco also capitalizes on the family theme and remembering those who have passed on. The film has all the humor, heart, and stunning graphics that most Pixar films boast.

The Blind Slide

Quentin Aaron and Sandra Bullock in 'The Blind Side'
(Warner Bros.)

The Blind Side premiered in 2006 and is based on the true story of Michael Oher, as told in Michael Lewis’s book of the same name. The Blind Side is a particularly touching autumn film to watch. Big Mike first begins to integrate into the Tuohy family after they invite him to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. Like most American families, the Tuohys were nonchalantly gathered around the TV and lying on the couch for Thanksgiving dinner until they saw Big Mike seated at the dining table alone. The Blind Side is a poignant fall film that reminds viewers not to take their families and privileges for granted. Since its release, the film has received criticism for its White Savior narrative and stirred controversy over how accurate the story is and how Oher was compensated.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Steve Martin & John Candy in 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles'
(Paramount Pictures)

If you’re looking for a funny, light-hearted fall flick, look no further than Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It is a hilarious and surprisingly touching fall film. Martin and Candy are absolutely delightful in their roles as the polar opposites of Page and Griffith. Of course, Griffith’s infectious cheer and boisterousness eventually succeed at cracking through Page’s walls despite their differences. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the perfect film to watch at the tail end of fall, as it transitions you smoothly into the winter holidays with a comedic, yet poignant, reminder that the stress of the holidays isn’t worth losing your empathy for others over.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
(Paramount Pictures)

Few shows or films can tap into your nostalgia the way that A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving can. The TV film special first premiered in 1973 but has been revisited annually for several decades. It is a timeless classic that is funny, educational, nostalgic, and captures the spirit of fall. The special hits on nostalgia by including all of our favorite Peanuts gags and references. Additionally, it becomes an educational opportunity for kids as Linus (Stephen Shea) retells the story of the pilgrims. It also sweetly portrays a group of kids learning to be thankful, even when their Thanksgiving meal is a little subpar. It’s as funny and adorable as all the animated Peanuts shorts and specials always are.

Hannah and Her Sisters

Mia Farrow Diane West and Barbara Hershey in 'Hannah and her Sisters'
(Orion Pictures)

Hannah and Her Sisters is a holiday-themed romantic comedy that premiered in 1986. It is a dramatic fall-themed family saga that will prove enjoyable to more mature audiences. The film proves to be a poignant and compelling exploration of a very imperfect yet realistic family. Hannah and Her Sisters is a candid portrayal of all the baggage families tend to bring to Thanksgiving dinner every year. However, somehow, you find yourself actually caring and becoming invested in this family saga, which proves to be more human than melodramatic. It boasts an intricate story against a fall backdrop with a strong ensemble cast, making it a sound choice for audiences seeking a fall flick with a little more depth this year. Be advised, though, that it is directed by the problematic Woody Allen.

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Columbia Pictures / Warner Bros. / Lionsgate Film)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.