The first hint of warmth after a long winter, spring is a time of anticipation, and spring movies are filled with that same bubbly happiness that makes it seem like every possibility is ahead. Springtime does not have the same consistency of themes as the other seasons when it comes to movies. Summer films are easily identified by beach towns, sharks, and sleepaway camps; the best fall movies have the beginning of classes, football, Halloween, and Thanksgiving; Winter movies have Christmas, cabins, and scenes full of snow. But spring movies are not always as clear-cut.
Despite not having the same obvious signifiers as other season films, spring movies still have qualities that make them feel connected. Music, greenery, and romance are all symbols of spring that can be found in these movies. Baseball, picnics, and outdoor parties can also be characteristics of spring movies, and the best manage to combine the loveliest aspects of the season with heart, drama, and relatable characters.
La La Land (2016)
- La La Land is available to stream on Netflix
La La Land is a romance musical that follows jazz pianist Seb (Ryan Gosling) as he falls in love with aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone). Seb’s career takes off alongside Mia’s, and the star-crossed lovers begin to grow apart in order to chase their dreams in Los Angeles. La La Land gives the ultimate spring vibes with beautiful and colorful imagery. Though the film tracks the character through every season, it wouldn’t be La La Land without the beautiful spring color scheme, as Mia can often be seen sporting colorful dresses throughout. La La Land‘s creative imagery perfectly captures those cozy feelings associated with spring movies.
Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
- Eat Pray Love is available to stream on Max and Hulu
Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of the same name, this dramatic romance film is based on a woman’s effort to find herself through world travel. Liz (Julia Roberts) leaves an unhappy marriage to tour the world, enjoying local cuisine, culture, and life to experience what it means to be a human. Eat, Pray, Love, is a movie that inspires wanderlust with its beautiful, sunlit international locale. Additionally, the film’s use of springtime imagery is a direct symbol of Liz’s growth. The floral landscapes go hand-in-hand with the main character’s self-realization, representing her starting anew, a theme of many spring movies.
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
- Pride & Prejudice is available to stream on Netflix
Pride & Prejudice is a 2015 adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel. The beloved story follows the five Bennet sisters as they search for suitable husbands at the behest of an overbearing society fuels the story. Between the stubborn Elizabeth Bennet and the prickly Mr. Darcy falling for each other and the progression of the season itself, this is a quintessential spring movie, and Pride & Prejudice (2005) is considered one of the best adaptations of Austen’s work. Though green is a common color throughout the film, which represents a clean and fresh environment, the characters often wear white, which typically symbolizes purity and fresh starts.
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
- Call Me By Your Name is available to stream on Netflix
The lauded romantic drama Call Me By Your Name takes place in 1983 Italy. Elio (Timothée Chalamet) is living with his parents when his professor father invites graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer) to come live with them. Elio and Oliver soon discover a blossoming attraction, though their romance is on borrowed time as Oliver must eventually return home. Though it takes place in the summer, Call Me by Your Name has all the spring movie feelings, from the city bike rides to the strolls to the flowers and the dips in the cool water to the beginnings of young love.
Big Fish (2003)
- Big Fish is available to stream on Tubi
Tim Burton’s Big Fish provides a warm glow, exemplary of springtime movies. The film brings to life the childlike joy that comes with extraordinary adventures as Will Bloom recalls his father Edward’s life through a series of stories. Edward may have stretched the truth much to his son’s frustration, but by the end of the movie, Will realizes that while the details of his father’s stories may be false, the messages are real. From the colors and nature scenes used throughout the film to the signature spring sports, this movie is a love letter to the season and stands as a magical and inspirational tale.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
- Mamma Mia! is available to stream on Peacock
Mamma Mia! is the film adaptation of the hit Broadway play from 1999. As a jukebox musical, Mamma Mia! uses songs from Swedish supergroup ABBA in its soundtrack. In the movie, Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) invites three different men to her wedding in Greece to finally find out who her father is. While Mamma Mia! appears to take place in the summer, the film evokes springtime energy with all the beautiful scenery of Greece. Between the sunkissed characters, the bright blue ocean, and the flowers in bloom, Mamma Mia! is one of the most vibrant spring movies.
Easter Parade (1948)
- Easter Parade is available to rent or buy on Apple TV and Prime Video
Considered one of Judy Garland’s best movies, Easter Parade stars the incredible actress opposite Fred Astaire as Don. They play Hannah and Don, a nightclub dancing duo, and the movie centers on their budding friendship as they experience the rigors of their jobs and their previous relationships. Besides the obvious fact that the film takes place during the titular holiday, Easter Parade‘s pastel tones of make for a perfect spring-like atmosphere. Between Hannah’s stunning white sundress and hat ensemble and Don’s top hat decorated in pink and lavender ribbons, both scream spring movies.
The Sound Of Music (1965)
- The Sound of Music is available to rent on Vudu
The Sound of Music is bursting with spring movie magic. The classic movie musical is based on a true story, highlighting Maria’s (Julie Andrews) journey of self-discovery by working as a governess to troublesome children, and eventually falling in love with their father, Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). Though the film takes a dramatic turn as the von Trapps must flee capture from the Nazis during World War 2, it’s an undeniably beautiful spring movie. From the floral-decorated hills to Maria’s picnics with the von Trapp children, the film will forever be a symbol of the beautiful side of the season, despite its the darker context.
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
- You’ve Got Mail is available to rent on Apple TV or Prime Video
The Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan rom-comYou’ve Got Mail is centered around Joe (Hanks), a bookstore magnate, and Kathleen (Ryan), the owner of an independent bookshop. Joe and Kathleen meet in an online chat room and quickly hit it off, without knowing that in real life, they’re enemies. You’ve Got Mail takes place in New York City springtime, and from the quaint aesthetic of Kathleen’s bookstore to the blooming gardens of NYC, it’s one of the best spring movies.
The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
- The Wizard of Oz is available to stream on Max
The iconic The Wizard of Oz serves as an obvious option for a spring movie based on the multicolor scenery alone. The movie music centers on Dorothy (Garland) and her dog Toto’s magical journey to find the great Wizard of Oz and return home to Kansas. Along the way, she befriends the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley), and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr). One of the most famous early movies filmed in Technicolor, the Wizard of Oz‘s memorable poppy scene is bursting with hues of spring, and the film’s message of growth resonates with the season.
A League Of Their Own (1992)
- A League of Their Own is available to stream on Netflix
While many associate springtime with leaves growing and flowers blooming, it also signals the start of baseball season. In A League of Their Own, World War II stops the American baseball league and in an attempt to keep the sport alive, the owners invest in a women’s baseball league. The story chronicles the first season of the Rockford Peaches team, centering on sisters Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller’s (Lori Petty) rivalry and the team’s frustrations with their cynical manager, Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks). Between the baseball training montage and the Peaches’ team song, A League of Their Own is full of the optimism associated with spring.
Mary Poppins (1964)
- Mary Poppins is available to stream on Disney+
Mary Poppins is the Academy Award-winning Disney children’s musical film starring Julie Andrews as the titular nanny. Mary Poppins follows children Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael Banks (Matthew Garber), whose father hires a nanny to keep them out of trouble, and that’s Mary Poppins, a fantastical babysitter who shows them how to have fun while still being good children. Set in springtime London, the blossoming trees provide a colorful backdrop for the animated and live-action dance sequences. Spring movies provide a sort of whimsy, which Mary Poppins beautifully encapsulates.
- Belle is available to stream on Max
Belle is a period drama about Dido Elizabeth Belle, a mixed-race woman featured in a real-life famous painting. The film tells the fictional history of Dido (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) showing how she was adopted into high society and how her life intersects with historical tragedies. Despite this, Mbatha-Raw’s joyous performance, the springtime setting, and the colorful English society costumes make Belle wondrous and warm at its core. It’s one of the few spring movies that manages to portray the hope of the season while not shying away from the difficult aspects of why Dido is in that setting in the first place.
A Bug’s Life (1998)
- A Bug’s Life is available to stream on Disney+
A Bug’s Life tells the story of an ant colony forced to work for a gang of grasshoppers while Flik (Dave Foley) sets off from his colony to recruit bigger bugs to help rid his community of the grasshoppers once and for all. A Bug’s Life begins right in the middle of spring with the food harvest-ready, and the splendor that the first warm months can bring is readily apparent in the various seeds and colorful flowers. Never have plants looked so impressive, even in other spring movies, than when the camera is looking up at them from ground level. A Bug’s Life offers a viewpoint of the season rarely glimpsed.
- Emma is available to stream on Paramount Plus
The 1996 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma stars Gwyneth Paltrow as the title character. Just as in the novel, Emma fancies herself a matchmaker in her community. As a comedy of manners, Emma often makes mistakes and faux pas thanks to her own overconfidence and insistence on meddling. Paltrow is perfectly cast, and her warmth, hopefulness, and joy alone make this one of the best spring movies. Emma’s pink dress in the foreground and the bright green foliage of the English countryside represent the season in all its splendor.