25 best party movies ever

Treat your “morning after” brain to one of these classic party films after this year’s office do

The Party (1968)

Directed by Blake “Pink Panther” Edwards, starring Peter “Pink Panther” Sellers and with music by Henry “Pink Panther” Mancini, it doesn’t take a genius to guess the flavour of comedy that made The Party a hit. The script was only 63 pages long, but Sellers’ knack for inspired improvisation made up the feature-length running time.

Bachelor Party (1984)

Tom Hanks also starred in Splash in 1984, but Bachelor Party did away with fishy girls in favour of a chaotic stag-do romp that makes The Hangover look like a night out in a Yates’s Wine Lodge. Even a hotel orgy and multiple suicide attempts can’t put a stop to the inevitable [spoiler alert] happy ending.

Festen (1998)

Ever fancied sitting in on a Danish dinner party? Probably not, but when the guests turn out to have several cemeteries worth of skeletons in their family closet, it livens things up a bit. Warning: Festen is dark.

Cinderella (1950)

This classic Disney rags-to-riches story sees a poorly treated Cinderella's wishes come true as she attends a royal ball and wins the Prince's heart, all thanks to the wonders of her fairy godmother. If only real life worked the same way – we'd be sipping champagne in a golden palace, complete with a Bugatti that turns into an aubergine at midnight.

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Keg parties, “making out” and the true-blooded American dream of making the college football squad... but despite the cliché-ridden premise of Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age comedy is a cut above the usual fluff. And the classic rock soundtrack is superb.

How to Murder Your Wife (1965)

You’re at a party. A blonde bombshell steps out of a cake. You wake up in bed with her. And married to her. What do you do? If you answered, “What would Jack Lemmon do?” this film might supply the answer. Even if it doesn’t, it’s worth watching for some superior (if dated) comic performances.

The Hangover (2009)

Vegas was created to feed partygoers everything they could want until all they want is darkness and sleep. The Hangover took that to another level with hilarious consequences – as expected from a cast containing Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong. Mike Tyson makes a cameo (as you'll know from our list of the best movie cameos ever).

200 Cigarettes (1999)

It’s New Year’s Eve and a group of young party animals are dealing with their relationships, loneliness and individual mental-problems – making for a film that leaves you feeling emotionally hungover (a little like you’ve smoked the titular quantity of Bensons). The stunning cast comprises a pair of young Afflecks, Kate Hudson, Dave Chapelle, Paul Rudd and Elvis Costello.

Weird Science (1995)

Two geeky teens use the weird and wonderful world of computers to create their own perfect woman. Inevitably, lightning strikes and the superbabe, played by Kelly LeBrock, magically materialises. Funnily enough, their popularity picks up immediately. No wonder mail order brides took off.

Swingers (1996)

No LA party is enough for Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughan’s characters – so they head to Vegas. Snappy dialogue, great ad lib acting and some serious screen chemistry made this joke-dense jape a jump-off-point for both these actors’ comedy careers.

Van Wilder (2002)

Before he was jetting about the galaxy as Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds was best-known for his role as “party liaison” Van Wilder, a student who spends six years organising parties on campus, but has to clean up his act when his dad cuts off his allowance. Astonishingly, it's based on the true story of Bert "The Machine" Kreischer, who ended up hanging out with mafiosi on a school trip to Russia. Funnily enough, they left that bit out of the film.

Cloverfield (2008)

We've all been to a party where an unwelcome guest has a bit too much to drink and ends up spilling wine on your living room carpet, being sick in a plant pot and insulting the other guests. So it is with Cloverfield, in which a group of Manhattan party-goers find their revelries rudely interrupted by a giant monster that emerges from the sea to attack New York City. Still, at least they got a good view of the monster's rampage from the rooftop‚ with nibbles to hand.

More after the break...

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Jaded journo Marcello flits from party to party in a futile attempt to find meaning in his life in Federico Fellini's classic drama. Set during Italy's economic miracle, the film's succession of parties and orgies symbolise the moral corruption and decadence of the 'New' Rome's glitterati.

Boogie Nights (1997)

Paul Thomas Anderson's Oscar-winning yarn about the ‘70s porn industry is a paean to decadent disco-era revelry. And a party is one of the pivotal scenes – a bash on New Year’s Eve 1979 heralds the arrival of the darker, more tragic 1980s when Little Bill shoots his adulterous wife, her lover and then himself. It's all downhill from there.

Risky Business (1983)

What do you do if you’re an everyday Chicago teen in the ‘80s who needs to raise some serious cash to pay for your Dad’s wrecked Porsche? If you’re Joel Goodson (a young Tom Cruise), you turn your house into a brothel. Recreate the dancing in your shirt scene in your own time.

Superbad (2007)

Ninety minutes of proof that parties are sources of never-ending angst. You need someone over the age limit to buy the booze – your high school friend with an ID that reads "McLovin" will do. You’ve got to impress the girls – Seth works out that headbutting them in the face works a charm. And in American movies, there’s always the chance the cops will show up – we just wish all of them were as warped as Bill Hader and Seth Rogen.

Le Diner de Cons (1998)

The French show us how slapstick should be done (bear with us) in Le Diner de Cons, the story of a snob called Pierre who holds a dinner party each week where the guests try to bring the biggest idiot. Pierre makes the mistake of selecting matchstick-obsessed Francois Pignon who proceeds to ruin his life. Avoid the Steve Carrell remake Dinner for Schmucks – the pain of subtitles is worth putting up with for the superior French original.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Finding out that you have to kill someone at your ten-year high school reunion party is the kind of zany scenario that only John Cusack characters seem to experience. Add Minnie Driver into the mix as the love interest that hitman Martin Q Blank abandoned on prom night and Hank Azaria as the agent who’s on his tail and suddenly there’s a whole new meaning to the tragedy that is dancing around in your old school hall.

Animal House (1978)

National Lampoon’s Animal House pioneered the gross-out genre long before assaults on apple pie were commonplace. The film follows a group of fraternity members who battle against university administrators to stay enrolled. The flick is famous for birthing the infamous Toga party, for which you may or may not be thankful for in equal measure.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)

This film adaptation of a stage musical sees the famous Chicken Ranch brothel – headed by Dolly Parton – threatened by closure as a result of the actions of Texas authorities. Burt Reynolds plays the long arm of the law as politicians, football teams and fun-seeking gentleman get their jollies sitting around watching scantily clad women. Not much has changed there then.

Old School (2003)

Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell are all 30-somethings desperately trying to relive the fun-filled glory days of student life. Starting a fraternity to legally move back to campus results in plenty of partying and results in Will Ferrell running nude through the street. You have been warned.

Porky’s (1982)

If Porky’s taught us anything, it’s that popping the old chap into a hole in the wall is not a good idea. In 1982, this tale of teenagers trying to lose their virginity at a local house of ill-repute was wonderfully shocking. In retrospect, it seems almost quaint, but it smashed down the barriers of decency for the decades to come.

Very Bad Things (1998)

A bunch of guys head to the bright lights of Vegas for a bachelor party. But rather than steal a tiger from Mike Tyson or marry a stripper, this ill-fated bunch manage to impale a stripper’s head on a coat hanger, take out the hotel security guard and do away with the bodies in the desert. Delightful.

American Pie (1999)

Stifler’s Mom, the apple pie scene, “Say my name, bitch”, band camp – American Pie has more memorable scenes than most. It even spawned – for better or worse – the term MILF. Its emotional ancestor – Porky’s – would be proud.

House Party (1990)

The parents are out of town; the kids throw a party – it’s a classic teen party plot. For many an ‘80s baby, House Party was their first experience of a true party movie – and the first time many had seen a hi-top so impressive. It inspired a generation of parent-defying (and hormonal) teens who thought it was a good idea to sneak out for a night of cheap booze and promiscuity in an adult-free environment. C’mon, we’ve all been there.

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