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The 20 Best Fall Movies to Watch This Autumn

Fall movies don’t all have to be Halloween-centric fright fests. Our roundup includes a select few spooky films, along with flicks that epitomize fall’s comforts, coziness and beauty.

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Best Fall Movies - When Harry Met SallyPhoto: Sony Pictures

When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

Not only is When Harry Met Sally… one of the best fall movies ever, it’s perhaps one of the best rom-coms ever too. The set-up is familiar: estranged friends with unresolved feelings reconnect after several years apart, and things get complicated. Rob Reiner directs Nora Ephron’s Academy Award-nominated screenplay with flair, while the chemistry between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan is undeniable (see the deli scene for proof). Much like the timeless autumn sweaters worn by Ryan, this movie simply never gets old.

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Best Fall Movies - Fantastic Mr FoxPhoto: 20th Century Studios

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

With its pleasing colour palette of oranges, yellows, reds and browns, Wes Anderson’s first animated feature draws as much inspiration from autumn’s essence as it does from children’s literature. Based on the 1970 story by Roald Dahl, this family-friendly flick tells the story of the titular Mr. Fox (George Clooney), whose penchant for stealing food catches up with him by way of vengeful farmers. Anderson’s usual suspects (Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe), along with Meryl Streep, bring the stop-motion characters to life in this irresistible modern classic.

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Good Will Hunting (1997)Photo: Miramax

Good Will Hunting (1997)

It’s hard not to romanticize an East Coast autumn while viewing Good Will Hunting. Gus Van Sant’s beloved drama transports audiences to Boston, where math prodigy Will Hunting (Matt Damon) slaves away as a janitor at MIT. Despite his genius levels of intellect, Will prefers getting into fist fights and nursing beers at the local pub with his pals. That is, until he meets therapist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), who encourages Will to face his past traumas and reevaluate his life path. The film has been lauded for its exceptional screenplay, acting and directing—the park bench scene alone demonstrates its excellence.

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Knives Out (2019)Photo: Lionsgate

Knives Out (2019)

It doesn’t get much more autumnal than a family murder mystery, especially when that family includes Chris Evans in a cable knit sweater that temporarily set the Internet abuzz. Derivative of Clue yet entirely unique, Knives Out follows a deceased crime novelist’s family, who are all suspects in their patriarch’s murder. If “Cozy Whodunnit” were a genre, this would be it.

Don’t miss these true crime shows on Netflix Canada.

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Best Fall Movies - HalloweenPhoto: Universal Pictures

Halloween (1978)

Michael Myers’ infamous white mask is practically as symbolic of the year’s spookiest holiday as a Jack-O’-Lantern. The classic that crowned a then 19-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis as a scream queen is set in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, on—you guessed it—Halloween. John Carpenter succeeds in transforming the wholesome community into a nightmare town, where Laurie Strode (Curtis) is hunted down by Myers, her estranged brother who escaped from an asylum. From the score to the jump scares, Halloween set the standard for slasher greatness.

Check out the best scary movies on Netflix Canada.

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Little Women (2019)Photo: Sony Pictures

Little Women (2019)

With the right cast and a clear vision, cherished classics can be revived into something wonderful. Case in point: Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. This 19th-century story details the March sisters’ (played by Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson and Eliza Scanlen) adolescent milestones, complete with romance, sibling drama and grief. It’s perfect for period-piece enthusiasts who are seeking a comforting fall movie they can watch on repeat throughout the season.

Check out these movies that were better than the books.

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Best Fall Movies - Dead Poets SocietyPhoto: Warner Bros. Pictures

Dead Poets Society (1989)

Nostalgic for back-to-school days? Dead Poets Society brings a charming collegiate atmosphere to the silver screen. Robin Williams takes on the role of John Keating, a boys’ school English teacher who strays away from tradition and aims to inspire his students beyond the classroom. Full of crisp blazers and motivational speeches, Dead Poets Society is worth a (re)watch if only to fête the late Williams with “O Captain, My Captain!”

You won’t believe these classic movies didn’t win Best Picture.

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Best Fall Movies - BeetlejuicePhoto: Warner Bros. Pictures

Beetlejuice (1988)

What is fall without Tim Burton’s oeuvre of ghostly, magnificent movies? Equal parts spooky and fun, Beetlejuice reverses the traditional haunted house narrative by killing off the main characters (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) and having them haunt the new, unsuspecting family (including Catherine O’Hara and Winona Ryder) who move into their home. They are, naturally, joined by the eponymous Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a creature summoned from the Netherworld whose only guarantee is bringing chaos to the table. Tricks and treats galore!

Here are the funniest comedies on Netflix Canada.

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The Witch (2015)Photo: A24

The Witch (2015)

Many of us got to know Anya Taylor-Joy as a chess prodigy on Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit. Five years ago, however, she stunned audiences as Puritan teenager Thomasin in Robert Eggers’s directorial debut, The Witch. The film takes place in the 1600s on an expansive, eerie New England farm. When unfortunate circumstances befall Thomasin’s family, they accuse their teen daughter of witchcraft. If you’re a horror fan, this is for you.

Check out the best thrillers on Netflix Canada.

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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)Photo: Universal Pictures

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Perhaps cinema’s most heart-wrenching take on otherworldly creatures, Steven Spielberg’s much-loved blockbuster introduces moviegoers to E.T., an (impressively designed puppet) alien who mistakenly winds up in a suburban family’s backyard in the San Fernando Valley. A young boy, Elliott (Henry Thomas), develops a special bond with his foreign friend, which is threatened by a task force determined to detain E.T. It’s definitely a tearjerker.

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Best Fall Movies - Where The Wild Things ArePhoto: Warner Bros. Pictures

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Gentle beasts are brought to life with mesmerizing results in Spike Jonze’s adaptation of the classic children’s book of the same name. Max is an adventurous and imaginative little boy, who feels suppressed within the confines of his school and home. Upon running away, he discovers a world beyond his wildest dreams, filled with creatures who take him under their wings. A comfort film for all ages.

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Best Fall Movies - The CraftPhoto: Columbia Pictures

The Craft (1996)

Sabrina the Teenage Witch has nothing on The Craft girls. This cult classic is campy, stylish and quintessentially ‘90s. We watch as the nervous Sarah (Robin Tunney) befriends a group of eclectic (read: occult-obsessed) peers at her new high school. The group of witches learns that with great power comes great responsibility—and some of them let their exceptional abilities take over for worse.

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Best Fall Movies - JunoPhoto: Searchlight Pictures

Juno (2007)

Juno put Canada on the map in more ways than one. Shot in Vancouver, Diablo Cody’s first screenplay stars Canucks Elliot Page and Michael Cera as high school lovers who run into an unexpected pregnancy. The coming-of-age dramedy garnered a standing ovation at its TIFF premiere and has since become widely lauded for its raw yet tender portrayal of teen pregnancies, found families and hamburger phones.

Add these great Canadian movies to your watch list.

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You've Got Mail (1998)Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Two bookstore owners fall for each other, only to find out they’re business rivals? This charming premise could only come from the mind of rom-com queen Nora Ephron. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan play Joe and Kathleen, literati that dabble in the world of Internet dating. Will their ambitions and egos get in the way of what could be a once-in-a-lifetime romance? It’s not a spoiler to say that everything works out, even if unexpectedly.

Looking to cure a case of the blues? These feel-good movies on Netflix Canada will surely do the trick.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)Photo: Paramount Pictures

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

The only thing more stressful than holiday dinners is holiday travel. Planes, Trains & Automobiles takes the anxiety-inducing commuting process and elevates it with slapstick. Comedy legends Steve Martin and John Candy star as polar opposite characters with the same goal in mind: make it from New York City to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Everything that could possibly go wrong does, and while the gags are good and plenty, there are also touching moments to ensure tears balance out the laughs.

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If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)Photo: Sony Pictures

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

On the heels of his Academy Award-winning stunner Moonlight, director Barry Jenkins not only managed to create a film as invigorating as its predecessor, but one that finds strength through its most quiet moments. Adapted from James Baldwin’s acclaimed 1974 novel, this tragic Harlem romance is seamlessly translated from page to screen.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Whether it’s your first watch or 20th, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone brings the fall magic in spades. Harry Potter is an orphan living with his greedy, unflinching aunt, uncle and cousin when he receives a letter (er, letters) from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In a matter of days, the boy who thought he was merely a muggle is transported to a school of fellow magically-skilled kids, where fantastical adventures ensue.

You might have missed these hidden details in the Harry Potter books.

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Best Fall Movies - The Perks Of Being A WallflowerPhoto: Lionsgate

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

A beloved coming-of-age novel-turned-movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows shy high school freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman), as he finds himself through reading books, listening to The Smiths and watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a rambunctious group of edgy seniors. After watching this movie, you’ll never be able to go through a tunnel without blasting “Heroes” by David Bowie again.

Find out the most popular song from the year you were born.

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Best Fall Movies - CoralinePhoto: Netflix

Coraline (2009)

Coraline is the crème de la crème of creepy children’s animation. From the mind of Henry Selick (director of The Nightmare Before Christmas), this stop-motion animated movie focuses on Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning), a curious young girl with a knack for getting in trouble. When she stumbles upon a portal to an alternate universe, however, she realizes her life at home is far better than what she thought she longed for.

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Best Fall Movies - A Ghost StoryPhoto: A24

A Ghost Story (2017)

Don’t let A Ghost Story’s title or promotional images deceive you: this highly original film is about, above all else, grief and the passage of time. When a musician gets killed in a car accident (Casey Affleck), his spirit returns home to comfort his mourning wife (Rooney Mara). When he realizes he is stuck in time, only able to watch his wife move on with her life, the true scare becomes his own personal haunting.

Next, check out the best movies on Netflix Canada.