10 great Christmas films

David Gritten / 21 December 2015 ( 22 December 2016 )

Most of these will be on TV over the Christmas break. All of them are guaranteed to banish the Bah-Humbugs and put you in a suitably festive spirit.



It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Not strictly a Yuletide movie, but it’s become synonymous with Christmas because of its message about community spirit and life being worth living. James Stewart stars in Frank Capra’s moving, majestic fable.

Miracle on 34TH Street (1947)

The original and best version, with Natalie Wood as a dubious young New York girl finally convinced that Father Christmas exists. Edmund Gwenn achieved screen immortality with this one role, as Santa surrogate Kris Kringle. Delightfull and touching.

Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)

Somehow the Muppets lend themselves perfectly to Christmas cheer, and this is superlative entertainment. Michael Caine is a terrific Scrooge, with Kermit and Miss Piggy as the Cratchits. There’s literally a laugh a minute.

Frozen (2013)

Well, it’s seasonal if not literally Christmassy, and every young girl in the country is bewitched. A terrific Disney animated adaptation of The Snow Queen, about two separated princess sisters. The songs are superior too. One of them, Let It Go, may be familiar to you.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

A wonderful film musical any time of year, but in this poignant tale of an American family torn apart, Judy Garland singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is a world-class tear-jerker.

Arthur Christmas (2011)

Seasonal fun from the folks at Aardman, with three generations of Santas (voiced by Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, James McAvoy) in a race against time to deliver Christmas presents to the world on one night. Original and funny.

White Christmas (1954)

An unavoidable choice, though it genuinely bears watching again, with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in top form as two ex-service buddies who form a song-and-dance act and save Christmas for their old commanding officer. Delightful, with super songs.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

A ghoulish animated take on the Yuletide story, with Hallowe’en mastermind Jack Skellington trying to commandeer Christmas and make it a scary day for kids. A bit of a  fright show, but most children will see the joke in Tim Burton’s inspired film.

Scrooge (1951)

This British classic is an irresistible treat, with Alastair Sim as the miser who comes to embrace more generous values after ghostly visits from Christmases Past, Present and Future.

Singin’ in the Rain (1952) 

Not a Christmas tree in sight, but this wondrous musical about Hollywood at the dawn of the talkies era embraces the seasonal mood and lifts the spirits better than any anti-depressant. Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor brilliantly dance and sing their hearts out. It remains utterly wonderful.

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