Everything I learned I learned from the movies.
With access to the best lighting, costume, set, and sound designers in the world, it’s no wonder that movies are a great source of inspiration for party hosts. Ready to start planning your soirées for 2018? Grab a bucket of popcorn and a glass of bubbly and get ready to binge-watch some movie classics. These are the 10 films with the most inspiring party scenes.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) with Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard
The cocktail party in Holly Golightly’s cramped New York apartment may be the most famous party scene ever filmed. In addition to the festive, anything-goes atmosphere, note how having a few too many guests for the size of the party space creates great energy.
Auntie Mame (1958) with Rosalind Russell
Auntie Mame was the consummate party host, always going out of her way to make her guests feel comfortable and important. She also knew how to relax and enjoy her own parties. You’ll be inspired by her charm and the film’s chic fashion and décor touches.
To Catch a Thief (1955) with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly
Thinking about hosting a costume ball? Take note of the masquerade ball scene near the end of this super-stylish film. Held at a stunning mansion on the Cote d’Azur, the spectacular costumes—designed by Edith Head, who won a record-setting eight Oscars—are in the style of Marie Antoinette’s court.
Gosford Park (2001) with an ensemble cast directed by Robert Altman
This gorgeous film is filled with gorgeous scenes that will inspire your next dinner party. Several were filmed at Hall Barn in Buckinghamshire, England, a location also used for Downton Abbey.
The Great Gatsby (1974) with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow
Roaring ’20s parties have long been one of the most popular party themes, and this beautiful film, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel of the same name, is a great source of inspiration for anyone thinking about hosting a soirée to celebrate the decade.
The Great Gatsby (2013) with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan
Baz Luhrmann’s big, bold, and energetic version of The Great Gatsby won Oscars in both of its nominated categories: Best Production Design and Best Costume Design. If you’re planning a big bash and money is no object, this film’s over-the-top, bacchanalian party scene is a great one to watch for ideas.
A Handful of Dust (1988) with Kristin Scott Thomas and James Wilby
The dinner-party scene at Café de Paris captures the mood, fashions, hair, and make-up of the ‘30s. Hiring entertainment to play at your next party? Note the choreography of the band as they enter the restaurant. It’s a nice reminder that even simple moments can be made festive.
Dinner at Eight (1933) starring Jean Harlow, Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, and Lionel Barrymore
In this comedic drama, an ambitious New York socialite plans an over-the-top dinner party for her high-society friends and husband’s business associates. This classic black-and-white film serves as a chic reminder that black-tie dressing isn’t just for formal wedding and galas.
Babette’s Feast (1987) with Stéphane Audran, Bodil Kjer, Birgitte Federspiel, and Jarl Kulle
Babette’s Feast is one of the best foodie films ever made. Take particular note of the scenes where they prepare for the feast and put the finishing touches on the dessert, a rum sponge cake with figs and glacéed fruits. The food and rituals are sure to inspire your party menu.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
Stanley Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut, showcases the importance of lighting in party décor. Note how the design team used white holiday lights to create the look of curtains: so simple, yet so elegant.
The 10 Best Party Scenes on Film
Welcome Photo and Quote Mashup
Welcome Photo: Ginger Rogers
Welcome Quote: Audrey Hepburn