Perfect present-wrapping viewing, here are our top 10 festive flicks. Enjoy…
10. White Christmas (1954)
A Christmas musical! Could there be anything better?! (Or more annoying, for all you Scrooges out there…) Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney (aunt of George), White Christmas was always going to be one of the best old-school Hollywood Christmas films. Love affairs are ignited, friendships are made and, perhaps most fittingly, the film ends with the toast: ‘may your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white’. Magic.
9. The Polar Express (2004)
Reigniting childhood belief in Santa Claus, this film sees Hero Boy (what a great name…) climb aboard The Polar Express, a magical train that journeys to the North Pole. Handpicked by Santa himself to receive the first Christmas gift of the year, Hero Boy opts for a bell. Oddly moving, this is definitely worth a watch.
8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Based on the book by the genius Dr Seuss, the story is set in Whosville where everyone, bar the humbug-ing Grinch, loves Christmas. However, after striking up an unlikely friendship with Cindy-Lou (Gossip Girl‘s Taylor Momsen), the Grinch finds himself changing his mind. When the residents of Whosville discover that their Christmas presents have been stolen, the Grinch leads the search to find them, earning himself the respect and admiration of the townspeople. Starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch, this is one of the funnier – and certainly one of the more surreal – Christmas films.
7. Miracle on 34th Street (1947 and 1994)
Whether you’re watching the original or the remake, this film manages to retain its magic. Characters are left pondering whether the Santa Claus working in an NYC department store is real or not. Featuring court cases and plotting, it is not exactly your archetypal Christmas movie. However, it has remained one of the world’s all-time favourites, and we particularly appreciate cute twosome Richard Attenborough and Mara Wilson as Kris Kringle and Susan, the little girl who wants to believe, in the 1994 adaptation.
6. Home Alone series (1990 and 1992)
How the McAllister family manage to leave behind youngest child Kevin not once but twice is quite beyond our comprehension but regardless – the first two films in the Home Alone series are cinema gold. Macaulay Culkin stars as the abandoned boy who manages to outsmart thieves, find his way around New York (making friends with a chirpy bag lady along the way) and still be reunited with his family in time for presents.
5. The Holiday (2006)
Every single second of this film oozes greatness. For one thing, it has a great cast (Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black, plus guest-starring Mr Napkin-Head…). For another, it is pure fantasy: two women swap homes for the Christmas period and both end up having an utterly amazing time, and finding love. Us, jealous? Maybe a little… Even the homes are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, although we suppose most Hollywood mansions/snowy English cottages are, really.
4. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)
Not to be confused with its Twice Upon a Christmas sequel (which marked the Disney characters’ 3-D debut), this hour-long film features a host of Disney favourites, including Mickey & Minnie, Pluto & Goofy and Donald & Daisy, as well as some less familiar faces, such as Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar and Scrooge McDuck (yes, really). Broken into three stories, our favourite is Stuck on Christmas, where Donald’s ADORABLE nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, get up to some festive mischief…
3. Love Actually (2003)
Directed by Richard Curtis, this all-star production was always going to be a massive hit. Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister falls in love with Martine McCutcheon, Emma Thompson and
Professor Snape Alan Rickman are not-so happily married and various other marital and personal stories are played out on-screen as we countdown to Christmas. So gorgeously heart-lifting and glow-inducing, you’ll want to watch it again and again (and again).
2. The Snowman (1982)
Based on the book by Raymond Briggs, it’s the film that has made us wonder whether our own feeble attempts at snowmen each year really do come alive at nighttime and go for Christmas parties with Santa Claus. It’s the film that best encapsulates the wonder of unlikely friendships (although we acknowledge that these do not always result in flying through the sky with a snowman). And it’s the film that has, arguably, the most recognisable soundtrack in the world – altogether now: ‘We’re walking in the air…’
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Christmas wouldn’t quite be Christmas without this magical film, starring James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has become disillusioned with his life and is contemplating suicide. However, a chance encounter with his guardian angel on Christmas Eve allows him to see the huge impact he has had on his family, friends and community, and George – and Christmas – are saved. The film ranked at number 1 on the American Film Insitution’s list of Most Inspirational American Film of all Time.
Which films would make it on to YOUR list? Let us know!