Movies allow a story to be told in any time frame imaginable. A simple title slide scribed with “3 years later” is sometimes all you need. But in that same vein, some movies events all unfold over the course of one fateful day or night. Jess mentioned she loved movies that utilize this storytelling technique, so we put together our list of 14 Great Movies That Take Place in a Day (or Night)


Dazed and Confused /// The lives of high school and junior high students come together in the spring of 1976.

Day/Night?: Last day of school

Why Watch it?: It’s a really neat slice of life movie with great quotes and memorable characters. Plus it’s miles better than everything Matthew McConaughey’s ever done. (With the exception of maybe Frailty and Tropic Thunder)


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off /// The most likable high school student of all time decides to take a day off from school and live life to the fullest.

Day/Night?: Day off from school

Why Watch it?:  It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. Mathew Broderick as Ferris is so ridiculously likable and it’s hard to resist the supporting cast.


Training Day /// A rookie cop deals with a veteran narcotics officer that dangerously takes the law into his own hands.

Day/Night?: Right in the title, training day

Why Watch it?:  With great performances from both Denzel and Hawke, Training Day is undoubtedly an entertaining watch.


After Hours /// An ordinary man experiences a series of horrible misadventures after a meeting at a girl at a coffee house and subsequently agreeing to meet her later.

Day/Night?: Late night

Why Watch it?: This movie is a fun film from master director Martian Scorsese. Roger Ebert considers After Hours in his “greatest movies” reviews.


Elephant /// The daily routine of several high school students is interrupted by a terrifying event.

Day/Night?: School day

Why Watch it?:While this movie may not be for everyone, Gus Van Sant is able to craft a really unique film with a familiar subject. The slow and uneventful first half helps the viewer understand the gravity of the unthinkably scary last part of the film.


From Dusk Til Dawn /// Part gangster movie, part vampire flick. A group of people consisting of two ruthless criminals and their hostages, find themselves banding together to fight a horde of bloodthirsty vampires.

Day/Night?:From dusk til dawn baby. 

Why Watch it?: Clooney is great, Keitel is cool as a cucumber, and Hayek is HOT. Also there are vampire strippers,  Danny Trejo as the bartender, and Tom Savini is there. Enough said.


The Breakfast Club /// Group of seemingly different teens at a morning detention session overcome conventional high school stereotypes and bond over their human similarities.

Day/Night?: Saturday Morning detention…say around Breakfast?

Why Watch it?: Let’s be honest, if you HAVEN’T seen The Breakfast Club, I’m sure you are already well aware that you need to check it out. This is John Hughes at his best, filled with touching, funny and honest moments. 


Sixteen Candles /// Samantha’s sixteenth birthday is anything but sweet as she tackles a wide array of embarrassments.

Day/Night?: The day of – through the day after her 16th birthday

Why Watch it?: Sixteen Candles is as much of a cute teen romance as it is a comedy, and a damn good one at that. See it for the sexy Michael Schoeffling as Jake Ryan, or more importantly, the outstanding Anthony Michael Hall as The Geek.


11:14 /// A look at 5 different viewpoints on the happenings leading up to the event that occurs at 11:14pm.

Day/Night?: Night

Why Watch it?: It’s a really interesting and well put together story. It plays out from five different perspectives with each one revealing a little more of the twisting plotline. Also, solid performances all around. (Oh, and plus: Rachael Leigh Cook is in it, see the photo of her above in the mini skirt :-) )


Groundhog Day /// A cynical weatherman has to relive Groundhog’s Day over and over again, much to his disdain.

Day/Night?: Groundhog’s Day

Why Watch it?: Bill Murray.


Friday /// The life of two friends living in LA is told through a series of happenings over the course of one Friday afternoon.

Day/Night?: Friday, day and night

Why Watch it?: One of the few “hood” comedies that really worked. Friday has really fun characters and quotable lines. About as funny as Chris Tucker has ever been.


Kids /// A selfish HIV positive teen plans to have sex with as many virgins he can. Meanwhile, a girl that has already contracted the disease from him sets out to find and stop him.

Day/Night?: Day into night

Why Watch it?: This movie is dim, ugly, and controversial. While it for sure WON’T be for everyone,  I think most people should check it out. It’s a strong reminder of a lot of issues that exist and at the very least should be openly discussed more.


Do The Right Thing /// On a hot day in a Brooklyn neighborhood, racial tensions escalate into violence.

Day/Night?: Hot day to night

Why Watch it?: Spike Lee’s best. The movie does a fantastic job showcasing the way racial tensions effect a community and posed a real question to the viewer. What is the “Right” thing to do?


Can’t Hardly Wait /// A determined teen sets out to a party on the last day of school to finally tell his newly broken-up crush about his romantic feelings towards her.

Day/Night?: party night

Why Watch it?: Because it’s awesome! Can’t Hardly Wait is a really fun and underrated teen comedy from the 90s. Ethan Embry as Preston is so likable, JLH is as cute/hot as ever, and the supporting cast of character’s (notably Seth Green who is always funny) make this movie so worth the watch. 


So what are some of your favorite movies that take place in one day/night? Comment and let us know!

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