- When it comes time to bid adieu to summer and welcome fall with open arms, one of the best ways to do so is by curling up with a hot cider and watching some of the most classic autumn films.
- Insider rounded up some popular fall films and ranked them by critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
- “Good Will Hunting,” “When Harry Met Sally,” and “Nightmare Before Christmas” are just a few of the seasonal favourites that critics and audiences enjoy.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Whether or not you’re ready to embrace the turning leaves and pumpkin treats, there’s no better way to say goodbye to summer than by queuing up your favourite seasonal films.
Fortunately, there’s certainly no shortage of films that feature fall staples like football, Halloween, colourful leaves, and back-to-school season.
To help you narrow them down, Insider rounded up popular films that will get you in the spirit of the season and ranked them according to critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s worth noting that the scores were up to date as of publication but are always subject to change.
Here are 15 movies that will put you in a fall mood, ranked.
1996’s “The Craft” is all about student witches who get involved in some dark magic.
Critic Score: 65%
Audience Score: 55%
This classic Halloween flick is set in a prep school and it and features students who get themselves wrapped up in some dark magic as they try to get revenge on those who have hurt them. It stars Rachel True, Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, and Neve Campbell.
Although “Practical Magic” was slammed by critics when it first came out in 1998, the story of two witch sisters from Massachusetts has since become a cult-classic Halloween film.
Critic Score: 21%
Audience Score: 73%
The horror flick stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as the Owen sisters, whose love interests were doomed to an untimely death due to a curse put on the family of witches.
In addition to its fall-inspired setting in a small New-England town, “Practical Magic” also serves up plenty of autumnal vibes with its spooky storyline and, of course, all the witches.
Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal are star-crossed lovers in the 1970 flick “Love Story.”
Critic Score: 68%
Audience Score: 75%
Against the backdrop of the New-England foliage, viewers can watch as two students strike up an unlikely romance, which goes awry when Jenny is diagnosed with an incurable illness.
Set in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the romantic tearjerker was nominated for multiple Academy Awards and is where you may have heard the famous phrase, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
With Tim Burton at its helm, 1999’s “Sleepy Hollow” reimagined Johnny Depp’s Ichabod Crane as a New-York detective.
Critic Score: 68%
Audience Score: 80%
In addition to featuring Tim Burton’s signature eerie aesthetic, the film also evokes autumnal vibes with its backdrop of falling leaves and changing colours.
The film has an extra dose of fall because it’s about Ichabod Crane and his trials with the Headless Horseman, a classic Halloween story.
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star as two arch-nemeses who unexpectedly fall in love online in 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail.”
Critic Score: 69%
Audience Score: 73%
During much of their online and offline courtship, Kathleen and Joe’s lives are illuminated against the backdrop of the changing seasons in New York.
This movie is filled with autumn energy through and through. In one email to Kathleen, Joe even writes, “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”
You can kick off football season with the Sean Astin-led 1993 flick “Rudy.”
Critic Score: 78%
Audience Score: 90%
“Rudy,” which is based on the real-life story of Rudy Ruttinger, follows an underdog who longs to play football at the University of Notre Dame.
2001’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” combines back-to-school vibes with the magic of witches, wizards, centaurs, and more.
Critic Score: 81%
Audience Score: 82%
The first instalment of the JK Rowling-adapted series is filled with autumn vibes and magic.
As Harry Potter starts school at Hogwarts, viewers get to see the Great Hall decked out with floating pumpkins and more ghoulish decor for Halloween. It’s really just a bonus that the whole film is about witches and wizards.
Speaking of great football films, 2004’s “Friday Night Lights,” which tells the story of the Panthers of Odessa, Texas, would later go on to inspire a TV series.
Critic Score: 81%
Audience Score: 85%
The film stars Billy Bob Thornton as Coach Gaines, Lucas Black as Mike Winchell, Garrett Hedlund as Don Billingsley, and Derek Luke as James “Boobie” Miles. It’s all about football, one of the most popular fall sports.
1989’s “Dead Poets Society” follows an English teacher who uses the power of poetry to get through to his students.
Critic Score: 84%
Audience Score: 92%
Set in the fall of 1959 at a fictional boarding school in Vermont called Welton Academy, the film stars Robin Williams as John Keating, a teacher.
The back-to-school flick also stars actors like Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, and Josh Charles.
2004’s “Garden State” tells the story of a man returning to his New-Jersey hometown amidst the changing leaves.
Critic Score: 86%
Audience Score: 88%
Zach Braff, who leads the film as Andrew, also directed this 2004 hit. The movie was well-received by critics and audiences alike and is filled with romance, comedy, and tragedy.
Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play two friends who are afraid that sex will ruin their friendship in 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally.”
Critic Score: 90%
Audience Score: 89%
Most of Harry and Sally’s unlikely friendship and eventual courtship takes place in New York during the fall and the long walks under the changing leaves in Central Park are sure to put you in an autumn mood.
Viewers who are ready for a new season can also appreciate that the pair boasts some pretty stellar autumnal style, with the characters donning plenty of plaid blazers and fall hats.
2012’s “Silver Linings Playbook” is set during the start of football season in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Critic Score: 92%
Audience Score: 86%
Set in the fall, the award-winning film tells the story of a teacher (played by Bradley Cooper) who moves back in with his parents and meets a girl named Tiffany (played by Jennifer Lawrence) after spending time working on his mental health.
Read More: Every single Jennifer Lawrence movie, ranked
Set shortly after Halloween, 1993’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” tells the story of the Pumpkin King as he goes rogue and takes over Christmastown.
Critic Score: 95%
Audience Score: 91%
In addition to plenty of Halloween imagery with life in Halloweenland, the beloved Tim-Burton film also features plenty of haunting characters like Jack Skellington and his love interest, Sally.
Set against the backdrop of Boston, Massachusetts, in the fall, 1997’s “Good Will Hunting” tells a heartwarming tale.
Critic Score: 97%
Audience Score: 94%
This flick tells the story of the relationship between a bright but troubled hooligan-turned-student Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon) and the psychologist (played by Robin Williams) who tries to help him.
Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Minnie Driver, and Stellan Skarsgard also star in the film.
1973’s short “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” follows in the footsteps of the Halloween- and Christmas-inspired segments.
Critic Score: 100%
Audience Score: 75%
When it comes to fall holidays, Thanksgiving is definitely a big one. And, in this 25-minute segment, mayhem (and heartwarming lessons) ensue after Peppermint Patty invites everyone to spend Thanksgiving at Charlie Brown’s house.
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