We all have some favourite films which we associate with Christmas. It is a sign of modern times. T.V. and movies have become such a big part of many peoples Christmas celebrations, well at least since the fifties. Perhaps this form of Christmas entertainment has seen better days but, for many, it is still an integral part of Christmas.
Not all of my favourite Christmas films are seasonally themed though. Some are just those films that are usually aired around Christmas-time and have become firm favourites. So join me as I reminisce about my favourite Christmas films. Maybe they will include a few of yours?
What better place to start than with the timeless classic, Its A Wonderful Life.
Sure this film is rather dated, as far as scenery and sentiment goes, but it still has a heartwarming Christmas message. Made in 1946, and starring the late James Stewart, this film has bucket loads of seasonal cheer. We follow George Bailey, played by Stewart, as, with the help of an aspiring angel Clarence, George finally gets to see how big his life is in reality.
Home Alone: From the fabulous 40s then to a little more recently. Home Alone was filmed in 1990 and has become a firm, family favourite. The plot revolves around a family's Christmas holiday away from home and what, or should I say who, they leave behind. As Kevin, Macaulay Culkin, realises that he is Home Alone a battle with intruders begins. No matter how many times you have watched this film you are bound to laugh at some of the ways that Kevin keeps the intruders out.
Disney: All of the old Disney classic animations sit well with Christmas. Each film usually has a sentimental theme and those that have been created from old fairy-tales have that pantomime element. Perfect for Christmas would be Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Bambi, Lady and the Tramp, and Cinderella.
True Grit: From the sweetness of Disney then to John Wayne at his grittiest in the original True Grit. Released in 1969 John Wayne was nearing the end of his movie career, and in fact his life. As Marshall Rooster Cogburn, Wayne plays a man who does not stand on ceremony. Yet underneath this rough exterior lies is a heart of gold. True Grit has become a classic John Wayne cowboy film or western and personally I love it. Strange as I do not like western films normally.
White Christmas: Offers classic Christmas entertainment combining music and dance. With Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney the music is just perfect. The main characters are performers anyway and so the song and dance does not seem quite as out of place as it often does in such musicals. Featuring the song White Christmas and plenty of seasonal costumes White Christmas the movie is ever popular, despite being released originally back in 1954.
Santa Claus The Movie: This movie did not receive rave reviews when it was first released in 1985.
With time it has become part of essential TV programming over the Christmas period. I like this film as it has a mixture of old and new, and, for me, is great for watching on Christmas Eve.
The Great Escape: This Second World War action adventure film was always aired on British TV at Easter, Christmas and the like. So much so that most people became sick and tired of it. After an absence The Great Escape has begun to be shown again and has found a new audience. It has a fabulous cast which includes Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasance, Nigel Stock, David McCallum and many more.
A prisoner of war camp may not, initially, seem perfect Christmas entertainment but, when you tire of sentiment, The Great Escape will supply action, thrills, sadness, humour and more.
The Polar Express: This is the most recent film in my list of favourites. Released in 2004 it was directed by Robert Zemeckis. Tom Hanks is central to this film, as he plays so many of the characters. Of course this is only possible with modern film technology and CGI, computer graphics imagery. The film follows a boy's journey of discovery to answer that age old question of whether or not Father Christmas actually exists. Of course he does!
The Snowman: Finally the animation that spawned a whole load of merchandising, The Snowman. This film remains charming no matter how many times you may have viewed it. Filmed in 1982 it has the voice of Peter Auty, complimenting a wonderful soundtrack. The narration is provided by David bowie but other than that this short film is speechless.
Overall: Of course, there are so many more movies which could be included. However if all of the above are shown each Christmas I shall be one happy Christmas elf.
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Christmas is always just around the corner