It’s the start of the season we call fall and while the usual deluge of pumpkin spice products starts to flood the markets, what better way to celebrate the chillier nights indoors than with some fantastic movies? To make the process a little easier, we’ve taken the time to narrow down ten films for the fall that are sure to help ring in a new school year and a soon-to-come month of tricks and treats.
1. Wes Anderson films
Almost anything from Wes Anderson. So, starting off the list, we are cheating on our indecisiveness. To be fair, though, you can pick practically any film from the library of Wes Anderson’s directorial efforts that fit into the cozy charms of fall. However, in all fairness, if we had to narrow it down to just two picks, they would have to be Rushmore and The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
2. Dead Poets Society (1989)
Checking the box for both autumn-themed and school-related, there is nothing about this movie that doesn’t demand viewing in the fall, along with these other recommended films for the fall. This heartbreaking and inspiring movie always makes for an amazing watch, even on repeat viewings.
3. Knives Out (2019)
A more recent film but one that has quickly gained a place as a modern classic, especially in the world of the murder mystery genre. Knives Out is a loving homage to the mystery stories of old, while carving a modern path for itself. With the fall setting and the whodunnit styling, you will be yelling out with your loved ones as you try to figure out the killer before the big reveal.
4. Matilda (1996)
A ’90s staple of home video watching. Most of those who grew up with this one can now show their little ones (now we feel old). A magnificent film about finding where you belong and your own identity. The early fall school setting fits perfectly for an evening by the fireplace with the entire family.
5. Back to School (1986)
An ode to the college-age slackers out there, Back to School is a cult classic from the ’80s featuring an on-top-of-his-game Rodney Dangerfield. This makes for some great viewing for those who have been dreading the days of starting classes again. Perfect for a pizza night in the dorm.
6. Across the Universe (2007)
Maybe you need something that has a little more pep to get you going this fall season. If so, this musical from 2007 will get your adrenaline pumping. With great set pieces and a compelling story, there is a lot to love about Across the Universe. And how can you go wrong with a soundtrack of classic Beatles songs?
7. Election (1999)
Maybe it is something about the smells in the air but this time of year always seems to bring about a little bit of quirkiness inside us all. This irreverent and yes, we said it, quirky comedy about an overachieving student running for student council president fits all those notes quite nicely.
8. Remember the Titans (2000)
Is it really fall without thinking about football at some point? Of course not. And that is why any films for the fall viewing list would not be complete without it. There are several that could have been in this spot but the one that is always a winner will be Remember the Titans.
9. Casper (1995)
Okay, so the cat is out of the bag and while September might be the month that kicks off fall, there are those who prefer to wait to embrace it until October. For those stalwarts who basically just jump over to Halloween, we will leave here something to get you ready for all those tricks and treats. A perfect blend of both autumn and Halloween, you can’t go wrong with this one either month.
10. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Being movie buffs, it would be against the code of ethics not to include at least one classic film on this list. To fill that void we have selected the 1962 classic To Kill a Mockingbird. While containing multiple seasons, it does showcase some fall time goodness near the climax of the picture. Also, if nothing else, who doesn’t like a good black and white movie to go along with a chilly autumn evening, some wine, and maybe the smell of pumpkin spice in the air?
There you have it. Ten (a little more if you count the first entry) truly great films for the fall to get you all settled into a fantastic new season. Do you have any all-time favorites we missed? Let us know in the comments. We hope you have an amazing time watching the leaves change color and finding the most amazing pumpkin in the patch.
Daniel Hess is a writer/filmmaker/film critic from Baltimore, Maryland. He is the owner of To Tony Productions, a creative film production studio in Baltimore committed to telling interesting and thought-provoking stories.