Great thing about the quality holiday movies is that you never get tired of them! I’ve compiled list of my favourite films for the ‘season of love and understanding’, as the song says. I’m aware all of these movies won’t appeal to everyone, but at least I hope you’ll find some of your favourites included.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
On Christmas Eve, a man down on his luck wishes he was never born and contemplates suicide. He’s rescued by his guardian angel, who shows him what his friends and loved ones would be like without him… This Frank Capra’s (‘Arsenic and Old Lace’) classic is considered one of the most inspirational films of all time and is a traditional Christmas favourite worldwide since the 1970′s. Interestingly, it was a box-office flop at the time of its release! To be honest, I can’t see why – is has touching story, memorable sing-a-long ending and masterful James Stewart (‘Rear Window’) in the leading role.
A Groundhog Day (1993)
Cynical and self-centered TV meteorologist, while covering the story of the weather forecasting groundhog, gets stuck in time. At first he takes advantage of the situation, but soon he decides to make some changes as he starts to fall in love with his co-worker… In my opinion the best romantic comedy for holiday season! Bill Murray (‘Lost in Translation’), who is nothing less than perfect in his role, shares great chemistry with lovely Andie MacDowell (‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’). Even if you watch this movie lying in bed with high fever and cough, like I did last year, you will enjoy it anyway!
A Christmas Carol (1984)
Miserly and sullen old man is taught the true meaning of Christmas by ghosts who visit him on Christmas Eve and show him his own past, present and future. He realizes he has nothing good to expect in the future unless he changes his ways… Made for television drama is in my opinion the best and probably the most faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel, which has been adapted numerous times. This classic tale, set in Victorian England, with late George C. Scott (‘Dr. Strangelove’) as Ebeneezer Scrooge, will certainly put you in the Christmas mood, but the powerful message it carries can be applied to all seasons!
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Pumpkin King of Halloweentown is bored of doing the same thing every Halloween. One day as he’s walking into a wood he stumbles onto Christmas Town. Fascinated with the whole idea of this holiday, he decides to kidnap Santa and do Christmas himself… Tim Burton, who became known for his darkish but original fables such as ‘Edward Scissorhands’ or ‘Big Fish’ directed this animated musical fantasy. It was a huge success at the box offices and praised by critics for its stunning originality and visual excellence. In 2006. this film got the whole new dimension when it was re-released into theaters in Digital 3-D.
Die Hard (1988)
Just before Christmas, New York City detective has arrived in L.A. to spend holiday with his wife and children. Unfortunately, a group of terrorists has taken over Nakatomi Corporation building and is holding all employees hostages, including detective’s wife… For those who can’t do without action thrillers during Christmas holidays, this is probably the best choice. John McTiernan’s (‘The Hunt for Red October’) classic features exciting action sequences, memorable one-liners and a break through movie role for Bruce Willis (‘RED’), which sent this actor to the A-list Hollywood stardom.
Bad Santa (2003)
A miserable con-artist and his friend, a midget, are planning to rob department stores on Christmas Eve posing as Santa and his Little Helper. As they proceeding with the plan, ‘Santa’ befriends one of their customers, an overweight and lonesome boy… This Santa is really bad! He chases women, he drinks heavily and swears about every 3 seconds. But we also learn that beneath the surface he hides a heart of gold. Definitely not a movie suitable for kids, but if you’re adult give this quirky comedy a chance for its different approach and great performance by Billy Bob Thornton (‘The Astronaut Farmer’).
A Christmas Story (1983)
America in 1940′s. Long before PlayStation and iPad, 9-year-old boy longs for Red Rider BB gun. He tries to convince his family and Santa the gun would be a perfect Christmas gift, but everyone keeps warning him that he’ll shoot his eye out… This family comedy, based on Jean Shepherd’s semi-autobiographical stories, is worth watching for many hilarious scenes and its reputation as the greatest American holiday movie of all time. Peter Billingsley, who played the little boy, is now successful Hollywood producer, responsible for creating hits like ‘The Break Up’ and ‘Iron Man’.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (2005)
Four siblings are sent to the country estate during World War II. Playing a game of hide-and-seek, the youngest daughter discovers a wardrobe which transports her to Narnia, the magical land with eternal winter but without Christmas, ruled by the evil White Witch… I’ve been loving this fable since I had watched 80′s tv series version during my winter holidays. The latest adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ book, is aimed mostly at younger audience, but it can be enjoyed by anyone who has some adventurous spirit inside! This film was followed by sequel ‘Prince Caspian’ in 2008.
A human orphan is found by Santa Claus and raised by elves on the North Pole. When naive adult ‘elf” finds out he’s actually a human, he decides to go to his place of birth, New York City, in search of his real father, who’s on Santa’s naughty list… The clash od two cultures – human and elfish – produces many laughs in this family oriented comedy. Of course, a great part of the credits for laughter goes to leading actor, famous comedian Will Farrell (‘The Other Guys’) and veteran James Caan (‘The Godfather’), playing main protagonist’s biological father.
A mean television executive, who will do anything just to increase his network’s ratings, even it means forcing his office staff to work through Christmas Eve, gets visits from three ghosts – The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future… I couldn’t resist to put another, modernized and humorous version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ on the list, because this is what’s ‘Scrooged’ all about. Once again, Bill Murray is excellent in his role, this time as media world Scrooge in a satire with great special effects, directed by Richard Donner (‘Lethal Weapon’).