December 14th, 2021
10 classic festive films to watch this Christmas
‘Tis the season to eat, drink, be merry, and, of course, watch plenty of Christmas films with your friends and family.
In fact, one of the best bits of Christmas is gathering round with your loved ones and watching some family favourites on the TV.
So, here are 10 classic festive films to watch this Christmas.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Perhaps the most famous festive film of them all, It’s a Wonderful Life stars James Stewart and Donna Reed in a movie that’s become synonymous with this time of year.
Stewart plays George Bailey, a businessman experiencing suicidal thoughts. But then, before he can act, George meets an angel called Clarence who decides to show him what life would be like if he had never been born.
This uplifting story has firmly settled itself in the festive canon and is a must-watch at Christmas time.
2. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
The debate as to whether On Her Majesty’s Secret Service can be considered a Christmas film is a discussion that has lasted since the film’s release on 18 December 1969.
In George Lazenby’s only appearance as spy James Bond, 007’s mission is to infiltrate the base of his arch-nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, sat atop Piz Gloria in the Swiss Alps.
With its snowy setting and an iconic version of ‘Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?’ in the middle, this is a fantastic and entertaining film that’s more than worth watching this time of year – even if you’d strictly not consider it to be festive in its own right.
3. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Meet Me in St. Louis undoubtedly meets the criteria of being both a classic and a Christmas film, making it compulsory viewing for the Christmas season.
Starring Judy Garland, this musical film tells the story of a year in the life of the Smith family in St. Louis, culminating with the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair.
Alongside its wonderful narrative, Meet Me in St. Louis is probably best known for debuting the iconic Christmas hit, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, performed by Garland herself.
4. Love Actually (2003)
A fan-favourite Christmas film, Love Actually has become inseparable from the holiday season.
The film tells 10 different stories starting five weeks before Christmas, many of which are revealed to be carefully interlinked as the story progresses.
The film boasts a star-studded cast, including Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Martine McCutcheon, and Bill Nighy. With those names, it’s no wonder that the film has become so popular.
5. Gremlins (1984)
An enormously enjoyable comedy-horror film, Gremlins is a cult classic among Christmas films.
The story of Gremlins revolves around Randal Peltzer, a struggling inventor looking for a Christmas present for his son, Billy. Eventually, Peltzer settles on a small furry creature called a “mogwai”, which Billy promises to look after – with disastrous consequences.
Just remember: don’t expose them to sunlight, don’t get them wet, and never feed them after midnight!
6. Die Hard (1998)
Another “alternative” Christmas film, Bruce Willis’s classic action film Die Hard is an iconic festive movie.
Willis plays John McClane, a New York City police detective, who inadvertently becomes caught up in a terrorist takeover at Nakatomi Plaza by Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman, while visiting his estranged wife, Holly.
What makes Die Hard a firm part of Christmas tradition is its Christmassy setting and the chorus of ‘Let it Snow!’ at the end, a great juxtaposition to the tension of this fantastic action film.
7. Deck the Halls (2006)
Deck the Halls is a fantastically fun and silly Christmas film starring Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick.
This absolute romp features DeVito and Broderick as two suburban-dwelling men who attempt to outcompete one another for the title of “Christmas guy” by having the most impressive festive lights and decorations on their homes.
No doubt everyone will be able to relate as Broderick’s character, Steve, becomes increasingly frustrated with the garish decorations on his neighbours’ home.
8. The Polar Express (2004)
The Polar Express is a hugely popular animated Christmas film, starring Tom Hanks in a selection of different voice-acting roles.
The film revolves around a child, known only as “hero boy”, who has lost his Christmas spirit and started to doubt that Santa even exists.
But one night, when a mystical train called “the Polar Express” appears on the street outside his home, hero boy decides to travel to the North Pole itself to find out whether his suspicions are correct or not.
9. Home Alone (1990)
One of the best-known and loved Christmas films of all time, Home Alone deservedly earns a place on UK household TV screens every year.
Starring Macauley Culkin as Kevin McAllister, the youngest son of the McAllister family, Home Alone sees Kevin left behind by his parents when they rush out the door with their other children for the family vacation.
In their absence, Kevin finds himself dealing with two persistent and foolhardy burglars, who he manages to dissuade from his home with a genius selection of tricks.
10. Scrooged (1988)
In this brilliant retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Bill Murray stars in Scrooged as a typically selfish and rude television executive named Frank Cross.
After forcing his staff to work late on Christmas Eve, Frank spends an unfortunate and uncomfortable evening in the presence of ghosts who attempt to help him regain his Christmas spirit.
This hugely funny yet poignant film has become a staple of Christmas, with a social message that retains its relevance to this day.