Everyone has a favourite movie at Christmas time. Here are 10 we never tire of watching – look out for selected screenings at a Picturehouse near you…
1 It’s A Wonderful Life
Frank Capra, 1946
Despite the sombre premise that made the film’s initial release a disappointment (down-on-his-luck dad contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve), Frank Capra’s classic is inextricably linked to the festive season. The reason is that it’s a beautiful testament to the hope that the season brings, spearheaded by James Stewart as an everyman who will capture your heart.
2 Home Alone
Chris Columbus, 1990
It’s nearly 30 years since Kevin McCallister was left to defend his house, but the original Home Alone has lost none of its charm. There’s something for everyone – slapstick, one-liners, and an innocence that has won over audiences for three decades.
3 White Christmas
Michael Curtiz, 1954
In perhaps the most Christmassy thing ever committed to celluloid, Bing Crosby became the king of Yuletide as part of a quartet of singers out to save a struggling country inn.
4 The Muppet Christmas Carol
Brian Henson, 1992
The first Muppet film produced after Jim Henson’s death features much of the beloved filmmaker’s influence. The catchy songs and wackiness of the Muppets perfectly complement Michael Caine playing Ebenezer Scrooge as seriously as if he were in an awards season drama. One of the finest moments for Kermit and friends.
5 A Christmas Story
Bob Clark, 1983
Perhaps more beloved by audiences in the US (where it’s shown on a 24-hour loop on Christmas Day), this comedy is a slice of Americana that celebrates the childhood feeling we all had of wanting one particular present (in this case an air rifle). It also features perhaps the meanest shopping mall Santa you’ll ever encounter.
6 The Nightmare Before Christmas
Henry Selick, 1993
A fantastical Halloween/Christmas mash-up, this creepy musical is a wondrous walk through the mind of Tim Burton, who conceived the film and influenced the style.
Jon Favreau, 2003
In this modern favourite, it’s hard not to fall in love with Will Ferrell as Buddy, the oversized but intensely optimistic elf who brings Christmas to a Manhattan department store. Repeat after us, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”
8 Die Hard
John McTiernan, 1988
It’s set at Christmas, it has a tree and presents, a bit of ho-ho-ho-ing and a (sort of) jolly man with a beard. That’s more than enough to qualify as a Christmas film in our eyes, and Bruce Willis’ quipping one-man army is the go-to hero for anybody looking to escape schmaltzy traditional festive tales.
Joe Dante, 1984
A cautionary tale to all last-minute shoppers! A young man’s Christmas present turns into a nightmare in a creature feature that became a cult movie milestone.
10 Meet Me In St. Louis
Vincente Minnelli, 1944
A great big hug of a movie from Hollywood’s Golden Age, filled with romance, songs and flouncy dresses. Judy Garland is -absolutely astounding in a film -that is still considered one of the finest American musicals (it features the original recording of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas).
Book now for Meet Me In St. Louis (11 Nov), White Christmas (25 Nov), A Christmas Story (2 Dec), Home Alone (5 Dec), Die Hard (7 Dec), The Muppet Christmas Carol (9 Dec), The Nightmare Before Christmas (19 Dec) and It’s A Wonderful Life (24 Dec) at your local Picturehouse.