TSOTAs Top 10 Christmas Films

By December 24, 2014

Film, TV & Tech. Leeds.

Suggestions courtesy of Holly Ridge, Peter Aldred, Joleen White and Adam Button.

Christmas traditions vary in all parts of the world and in all types of families but there is one pastime that never fails to bring us all together: gathering around after too much food and watching Christmas movies. After all, it is the one time of year when it is actually acceptable to watch a festive film.

With that in mind, here are a few ‘essential’ films that we suggest you watch this holiday period…


1. Home Alone (1990)

home alone

“A modern Christmas classic, especially to all the eighties and nineties kids out there who will remember this festive gem. What’s not to love about it; Macaulay Culkin at his cutest, two bungling middle aged burglars, and learning that family might just be the most important thing of all.” (Holly Ridge)


2. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's A Wonderful Life

“A film fit for all the family that can really make you appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. Although it might take a little bit of coaxing for the younger generation (who may be outraged that the original is in crisp black and white), it nonetheless remains a classic tearjerker. The marvellous James Stewart stars as George Bailey, a hapless do-gooder who always put the needs of others before himself. When George is feeling particularly disillusioned one Christmas Eve, he is visited by an angel who hopes to earn his wings by showing George just how important he really is, and how much his life has had a positive impact on many. Don’t forget the tissues.” (Holly Ridge)


3. Father Christmas (1991)


“Raymond Briggs’ brilliant animation tells the story of what Father Christmas really gets up to when he’s not making and delivering toys to lovely little girls and boys around the world. We see him go gallivanting off on holiday to Vegas, at home tending his garden, and generally being presented as an affable old man who has to deal with everything that ‘blummin’ Christmas throws at him, from the countless letters to looking after his beloved reindeer. Overall, it is a fantastically funny film that shows a more realistic, relatable side to good old Saint Nick.” (Holly Ridge)


4. The Nightmare before Christmas (1993)


“This gothic musical animation would from first glance put anyone off believing that it is indeed a Christmas film. But staying true to its title, this film revolves around a Christmas nightmare caused by our curious and unlikely hero Jack Skeleton, when he sets off to learn what lies in the mysterious Christmas town beyond the boundaries of Halloween town and ends up interpreting our traditions incorrectly and inadvertently causes havoc. Luckily, he and his friend Sally set things right just in time for Christmas.” (Holly Ridge)


“The movie had its cinema release in the early 90’s yet the movie does not look old or dated at all. This is a well made stop-motion movie and is a visual delight. The opening scene displays Halloween town as dark and gothic in tone and atmosphere and then shifts to the Christmas land which is bright and festive. The movie is a fun family adventure taking you from the spooky Halloween feeling to the merry Christmas feeling perfectly.” (Peter Aldred and Joleen White)


5. Die Hard (1988)


“Although it might be slightly unconventional, to some there is nothing more festive than watching Bruce Willis darting around in his vest dodging bullets and trying to stop terrorists on Christmas eve. With a soundtrack full of Christmas songs, the festive mood hangs over the film like mistletoe, especially given the fact that Willis’ dialogue is full of yuletide references (‘No Turkey? But it’s Christmas!’ springs to mind as a classic). Most importantly though, despite all the violence, there is a happy ending for Willis’ McClane, as the events of this Christmas Eve bring him back together with his estranged wife, aptly named Holly.” (Holly Ridge)


“Die Hard has become an unlikely Christmas classic amongst action fans. It does appear in a lot of must watch Christmas lists. It is a fun, sit back and enjoy sort of action movie. A lot of one liners and edge of your seat action moments make this a great watch. I would also recommend watching Die Hard 2: Die Harder as this is also set at Christmas and is a fun watch (although not as good as the first one).”
(Peter Aldred and Joleen White)


6. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)


“Gene Wilder plays Willy Wonka, the spontaneous genius with great fun. The character of Wonka remains a mystery, but you can’t take your eye off him; especially in the famous boat scene. A young Peter Osteum plays Charlie Bucket as a poor yet stronger willed character as even when he is at his lowest he maintains an innocent optimism. The movie is directed by Mel Stuart who was mostly known for directing documentaries. His vision of the chocolate factory is every child’s dream materialised.”
(Peter Aldred and Joleen White)


7. Batman Returns (1992)


“Although the Nolan Batman trilogy has become the definitive Batman movies, I don’t believe Burton’s take should be disregarded. Burton’s take was new, serious and original for its time. There was only one successful comic book movie series that came before it, that being Superman in 1978. Comic book movies were still finding their identity; Burton only had his imagination and the comic to draw inspiration from. The character of Batman/Bruce Wayne in this movie is not a true adaptation but the character does still remain dark, brooding and strong. It has the gothic feel of a Batman graphic novel. The movie is an epic adventure, and a fun unconventional Christmas movie.”
(Peter Aldred and Joleen White)


8. Elf (2003)


“Jon Favreau’s story of a human raised by elves has become something of a modern classic, to the extent that it was recently shown in a quote-along screening at the Leeds Dock. It features both Will Ferrell and Zoeey Deschanel playing against type in some of the funniest performances of their careers, and a scene-stealing appearance from Peter Dinklage. Elf has a delightful sense of daftness and such an overpowering Christmas spirit that it’s hard not to be swept along.”
(Adam Button)


9. Black Christmas (1974)


“This is a horror set at Christmas in a sorority house. The female students are been terrorized by strange and disturbing phone calls. It is not long until they start going missing one by one…
Why watch this at Christmas? To me this is the same as watching John Carpenter’s Halloween around the Halloween holiday. There is a lot of Christmas imagery although with a horror twist. It is dark, creepy and dripping with tension and suspense. If you are a fan of the classic 70’s and 80’s horrors this will be a Christmas treat for you, and there are a few key scenes that will leave a lasting impression on you.”

(Peter Aldred and Joleen White)


10. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)


“For a film featuring a hook-nosed blue Charles Dickens and his talking rat friend, The Muppet Christmas Carol is surprisingly powerful. Michael Caine acts up a storm as the miserly Scrooge, providing this film with a strong emotional core. It’s not all serious though; being a Muppet movie, it also has plenty of songs and silly sight gags that never fail to entertain. What’s more, puppets aside, it’s one of the most accurate cinematic adaptations of Dickens’ festive masterwork out there today.”
(Adam Button)


Who would be in your Top 5? Tweet us @TSOTArts

View our…
TOP 5 Films of 2014


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