It’s December which means Christmas is rushing towards us and so are the annual onslaught of Christmas films on the big screen. Christmas really is a special time of the year when you can guarantee a batch of feel good films which are fun for all the family, as well as a few ideally suited to those film fans without families. But it’s not just the new releases which makes Christmas films so special but also the annual showing of previous favourites on the TV as well. So to put you in the mood for Christmas here are just a few great Christmas films to watch this year.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
No list of Christmas films would be complete without a mention of one of the most popular Christmas Movies of all time. Yes that’s right Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” a remarkably inspirational, feel good movie which despite it’s dark underbelly is a remarkably uplifting movie. There is no doubt with the wonderful acting of James Stewart, the marvellous storyline and the warm direction of Frank Capra, the tale of George Bailey a man who’s pushed to the edge of despair only to be visited by an angel is one of the most uplifting movies to have been made.
Home Alone (1990)
He may have ended up becoming one of the most precocious child stars of his generation but there is no doubting that without Macaulay Culkin “Home Alone” would have never become such a successful and popular film. Telling the tale of young Kevin McAllister who having been accidentally been left home alone for Christmas, saves the day by foiling a pair of robbers, played hysterically by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, “Home Alone” certainly has that little bit of Christmas magic. But it’s not just the Christmas magic which makes it so special but also the cartoon style slapstick which gets you laughing.
The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)
Every few years Hollywood always seems to make a Christmas movie around the classic Charles Dickens tale “A Christmas Carol”. There are the serious, the updated and the funny which “The Muppets Christmas Carol” is one of my favourites. It’s such a rich movie with full of wonderful sets, humour and song plus of course the Muppets lead by Kermit the frog. But it is also the performance of Michael Caine in the midst of all the puppetry which makes it such a wonderfully entertaining movie. It’s definitely a Christmas film for children but still has enough laughs to make it fun for adults as well.
The Holiday (2006)
Although many Christmas films are made for children, there are few usually romantic tales, which are made with adults in mind. One of my favourites from the last decade is “The Holiday” which manages to blend modern romantic comedy with a touch of classic Hollywood to deliver a warm friendly Christmas film. It’s not so much that “The Holiday” is a true Christmas movie rather than just a romantic comedy, but the fact that it is set over a Christmas period means that it is a worthy addition for anyone looking for a romantic Christmas film.
Holiday Inn (1942)
It’s classic Hollywood again a journey back to the 1940’s and Irvin Berlin’s Christmas classic “Holiday Inn” starring the crooning talents of Bing Crosby and the dancing of Fred Astaire. It’s such a wonderful musical full of memorable songs and wonderful dance routines but strangely like another classic from a bygone age “White Christmas” is not that focussed on Christmas rather has a few memorable scenes which take in the Christmas Period. Of course the most memorable is Bing Crosby sitting by a Christmas tree singing “White Christmas” making “Holiday Inn” a worthy film on my Christmas list.
The Grinch (2000)
Whilst Jim Carrey has been occupied recently lending his talents to “A Christmas Carol” it is his latex aided performance from 2000 in “The Grinch” which makes it onto my list of Christmas films. Based on the popular Dr. Seuss story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”, “The Grinch” is a frenetic, fun film which has that blend of innocent humour for younger audiences yet enough subtle elements to provide mirth for adults who end up watching it. But it is the energetic performance of Jim Carrey, the narration of Anthony Hopkins and the wonderfully imaginative set designs which really capture you as the tale is spun in a very visual manner.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
It’s hard to pick which version of “Miracle on 34th Street” which I like the most. On one hand the original 1947 has the brilliant performance from Edmund Gwenn whilst the 1994 version manages to deliver a really warm Christmassy feeling that many modern Christmas films fail to achieve. For me the 1994 version just wins because of the wonderful performance of Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle but also because that although it is seriously sentimental and overly sweet does deliver a really nice wholesome message as well as being fun for all the family.