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10 Movies To Watch If You Love The Dark Academia Aesthetic!

Written by Tori Raphael. Published: October 31 2023
(Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)


Have you found yourself obsessing over grande libraries and halls of Cambridge and Oxford?! Do you ever wish you could spend one day at Hogwarts? Do you ever find yourself loving the Fall instead of the Summer? Or proudly enjoy the liberal arts such as reading, writing poetry, history, or philosophy? Well, then maybe the Dark Academia aesthetic is right for you! If you love the mysterious and cozy nature of academic universities and reading intellectual books, you've probably heard of the Dark Academia movement. 


The Dark Academia aesthetic gained popularity during the Pandemic, and people cannot get enough of it! Dark Academia is a style and subculture that primarily celebrates and embraces liberal arts studies and higher education. The fashion emphasizes gothic architecture, arts, museums, and universities of the past.


If you've found yourself obsessing on Pinterest about the Dark Academia aesthetic, then this movie list is perfect for you. Here are some movie recommendations that will definitely inspire you to take a tour of Cambridge with some handy books!


1. Harry Potter series (2001-2011)

If, by some chance, you've never seen Harry Potter but love Dark Academia, then you'd probably be the only one! This global sensation and cultural phenomenon is the perfect way to get into the aesthetic with a little help from our favorite heroes. If you need magic or just some room inspiration from Hogwarts, watchHarry Potter already! Stream on Max.




2. Dead Poets Society(1989)

Dead Poets Society Is the perfect film if you love Dark Academia. A raw tale about students who love poetry and deal with their difficult family lives is a story that inspires all who see it. Not to mention the amazing performance by the late Robin Williams. If you love poetry and Dark Academia watch this film -- O Captain My Captain! Rent on Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV.




3. Rushmore(1998)

This film is perfect for anyone who loves Wes Anderson and Dark Academia. The story follows a quirky boy who tries to woo his pretty school teacher. This film is a cult classic and fun for everyone! Rent on Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV. 




4. Maurice(1987)

This beautiful film is the definition of the perfect Dark Academic film. Follow the love story of two young school boys who meet each other at university and their romance that lasts decades. This beautiful film is based on an incredible book and is a must-see LGBTQ+ romance film. The settings, costumes, music, and story are Edwardian and will make you wish you could be there yourself!Stream on Tubi.




5. Black Swan(2010)

This Oscar-winning film is the incredible jewel in Natalie Portman's crown as she plays a ballerina who struggles with her perfect performance and her personal life. This thriller is a great watch for anyone interested in the Dark Academia ballerina aesthetic. If you like the arts and ballet, then you'll love this movie! Rent on Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV.




6. Cruel Intentions(1999)

This cult classic film starring Reese Witherspoon is about a girl wagered into a bet about losing their virginity. This film is perfect for DA aesthetic as it takes place in the wealthy affluent areas in New York. The style, the dark subject material, and the guilty pleasure scenarios are great for the moody fall season.Rent on Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV.




7. Igby Goes Down(2002)

Igby Goes Down is about an affluent teenager who questions the validity of his wealthy and elitist upbringing. The film is perfect for those who appreciate the liberal arts and want a break from the norm. This coming-of-age film is a very refreshing take on the genre! Stream on Showtime.




8. The Dreamers(2003)

If you love Paris, then you'll love this film! This film is about three young adults in Paris during the riots who bonded over their love of cinema. This film is definitely all about Dark Academia and a love letter to cinema and Europe! If you want to feel like you are in a European setting, The Dreamers is right for you! Buy on Amazon.




9. Sherlock Holmes(2009)

This film, starring Robert Downey Jr., is the adaptation of the iconic detective we all know and love, Sherlock Holmes. While this film doesn't take place at a university, you'll feel like you learned a lot. Rent on Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV.




10. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

This famous movie adaptation of the classic children's book is both great fun and a thriller for anyone who loves Dark Academia. The moody settings, the fun scenarios, the clever characters, and the witty comedy are addicting. Stream on Prime Video.