By Raquel Stecher, classic film blogger
New Year's is essentially one big birthday celebration. We’ve survived another year and we’re here to usher the beginning of a new one. This under-appreciated holiday was featured in many classic films as a harbinger of change, hope, and new beginnings. Here are four New Year’s-themed movies available to rent on DVD Netflix.
“The odds are always with the house.”
The original Ocean’s 11 is the ultimate New Year’s movie featuring Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis Jr., plus a medley of other players including Cesar Romero, Shirley Maclaine and Angie Dickinson. This movie is like a time travel trip to 1960s Las Vegas! Viewers get to see the Flamingo, Sahara, Sands, Western Inn, and Riviera casinos in all their mid-century glory.
In the story, Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra) gets together his old military buddies to plan a 5-casino heist at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Not only is it fun to watch how the team pull off the heist, but also to see how Vegas revelers rung in the New Year 1960s style.
“I said I was gonna get everybody out of here and goddammit I'm gonna do it!”
The next time you're celebrating at a fabulous New Year’s Eve party, be grateful you’re not on the S.S. Poseidon. This epic disaster movie was wildly popular when it came out in 1972. The great cast includes heavy hitters Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Leslie Nielson, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, and more.
The story takes place on New Year’s Eve with a grand party that turns deadly. The S.S. Poseidon gets hit with a tidal wave and turns over. A small group of survivors fight to get themselves off the sinking vessel. It’s full of interesting characters and lots of dramatic tension.
“That's the way it crumbles... cookie-wise.”
Directed by the legendary Billy Wilder, The Apartment is a comedy with a dark edge. It’s a beloved classic and rightly so. Jack Lemmon stars as C.C. Baxter, a self-starter at an insurance company who lends his apartment as a love nest to philandering executives in order to please them.
He falls for elevator operator Miss Kubelik (Shirley Maclaine), who’s been taken advantage by one of those executives, Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray). New Year’s represents a turning point for both Baxter and Kubelik. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you must fix that straight away. It’s equal parts charming and touching. Not one you’ll want to miss.
“Come on, let's get something to eat. I'm thirsty.”
Nick and Nora are #relationshipgoals. Who better to ring in the New Year with than this fabulous pair? Pour yourself a martini, or three, and settle in for a witty murder mystery.
William Powell plays Nick Charles, a former detective who can’t help but set out to solve crimes with the urging of his socialite wife Nora (Myrna Loy). The Thin Man (1934) kicks off with a romping Christmas party. The follow-up, After the Thin Man (1936) finds the couple coming home around New Year’s to some family drama when Nora’s cousin’s husband goes missing. Nick and Nora head to a New Year’s Eve party at a seedy nightclub to start their investigation. The movie features James Stewart in one of his earliest roles.
Raquel Stecher has been writing about classic films for the past decade on her blog Out of the Past. She attends the TCM Classic Film Festival as well as other events where old movie fanatics get together to geek out. Raquel has been a devoted DVD Netflix member since 2002! Follow her on her blog Out of the Past, or find her on Twitter @Quellelove and @ClassicFilmRead, Facebook, and Instagram.