Christmas on Film

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As you dust off your fairy lights, dig out your stocking and un-bend your twinkling star for the top of the tree, the only thing left to do to really get you in the the festive mood is cosy down and watch a Christmas film. Everyone has their favourites and here is a list for Primary and Secondary featuring heart-warming hits we watch year after year and riotous comedies it wouldn't be Christmas without, to lesser known gems we hope will become instant classics as soon as you've watched them.

Miracle On 34th Street

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration92 mins

Miracle On 34th Street(1947)

Classic about Kris Kringle, a white-bearded gent whose sanity is questioned when he claims to be the real Santa Claus.

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Stick Man

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration27 mins

Stick Man(2015)

Wonderful animated adaptation of children’s author Julia Donaldson’s tale of one stick man’s exciting day.

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The Polar Express

CertU

Age group5–14

Duration96 mins

The Polar Express(2004)

Fantastical animation about a boy who is starting to doubt Santa's existence, and is picked up by a train heading north to see the big man himself.

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Raymond Briggs' The Snowman

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration26 mins

Raymond Briggs' The Snowman(1982)

A magical, moving Christmas favourite based on the much-loved children's book about a boy who builds a snowman which comes to life.

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Elf

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration97 mins

Elf(2003)

Hilarious but cuddly Will Ferrell comedy about a human who thinks he's one of Santa's elves.

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Meet Me In St Louis

CertU

Age group7–16

Duration108 mins

Meet Me In St Louis(1944)

Judy Garland stars in this charming musical drama that's also a sharp portrait of family life.

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The Muppet Christmas Carol

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration85 mins

The Muppet Christmas Carol(1993)

Kermit, Gonzo and the rest of the Muppet gang appear in this fun musical take on the classic Charles Dickens story.

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Jack Frost

CertPG

Age group5–11

Duration82 mins

Jack Frost(1964)

Magical, memorable Soviet film based on a Russian folk tale about a boastful boy who's turned into a bear after trying to impress a beautiful girl.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration74 mins

The Nightmare Before Christmas(1993)

Brilliantly dark and amusing stop-motion animation - Jack Skellington attempts to change his sinister ways and celebrate Christmas on a huge scale.

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Home Alone

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration103 mins

Home Alone(1990)

Child star Macaulay Culkin plays a kid whose parents accidentally leave him at home when they go on holiday and who then must foil would-be burglars.

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Arthur Christmas

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration95 mins

Arthur Christmas(2011)

Computer-animated fantasy that gives an imaginative and hugely amusing twist to the magic of Christmas.

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War Game

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration29 mins

War Game(2001)

This short animated feature is based on a children's novel about four football-loving friends who enlist in the army and to fight in World War One.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas / I Want A Dog For Christmas

CertU

Age group5–16

Duration75 mins

A Charlie Brown Christmas / I Want A Dog For Christmas(1965)

A seasonal spin on the much-loved Peanuts comic strip series.

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Nativity!

CertU

Age group7+

Duration101 mins

Nativity!(2009)

Big-hearted and cheerfully silly British comedy about the trials and tribulations of directing a school nativity play.

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The Snowman and the Snowdog

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration24 mins

The Snowman and the Snowdog(2012)

A magical, festive sequel to the much-loved Snowman film, in which the boy builds him a canine companion.

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A Christmas Story

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration89 mins

A Christmas Story(1983)

Fun, silly and imaginatively told - this is an entertaining festive tale about a child's quest for his dream toy.

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When Santa Fell To Earth

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration102 mins

When Santa Fell To Earth(2011)

An exciting Christmas film about young Charlotte and Ben who have to protect the last Santa Claus from being turned into chocolate!

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Get Santa

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration102 mins

Get Santa(2014)

When Santa is thrown in prison, it's left to father and son to come up with a plan to rescue him and save Christmas.

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Laurel and Hardy – March of the Wooden Soldiers

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration78 mins

Laurel and Hardy – March of the Wooden Soldiers(1934)

The comedy duo play a pair of toymakers in Toyland - Classic Christmas fun.

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Rise Of The Guardians

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration93 mins

Rise Of The Guardians(2012)

Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny kidnap Jack Frost to help battle Pitch, a spirit who's spreading evil around the world.

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How The Grinch Stole Christmas

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration26 mins

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Animated version of the much-loved festive Dr Seuss tale about the green-coloured, Christmas-hating Grinch.

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The Grinch

CertPG

Age group5–14

Duration101 mins

The Grinch(2000)

Intent on ruining christmas for all and sundry, the Grinch returns in this live-action remake of the classic Dr Seuss story.

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The Forgotten Toys

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration25 mins

The Forgotten Toys(1995)

Christmas tale featuring a pair of toys thrown away to make room for new presents at christmas, and their quest to find new playpals.

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Father Christmas

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration26 mins

Father Christmas(1991)

Festive animated classic, based on Raymond Briggs’ beloved stories about what Father Christmas does when he’s not delivering presents.

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Blizzard

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration95 mins

Blizzard(2003)

Christmas film about the youngest of Santa's reindeer, Blizzard, who flees the North Pole on a special mission to help a lonely young girl.

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The Christmas Toy

CertU

Age group5–7

Duration49 mins

The Christmas Toy(1986)

The story of the mischief a group of toys get up to on Christmas Eve.

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Christmas Story

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration89 mins

Christmas Story(2007)

Charming Finnish Christmas film about the boy who grows up to be Santa Claus.

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A Christmas Carol

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration91 mins

A Christmas Carol(2009)

Animated version of the classic Christmas tale in which a miserly old man is visited by three ghosts at Christmas, with life changing results.

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A Christmas Carol

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration89 mins

A Christmas Carol(1999)

This version of the classic Dickens story about a stingy businessman taught a Christmas lesson by ghosts emphasises Victorian England's bleak side.

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Miracle On 34th Street

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration92 mins

Miracle On 34th Street(1947)

Classic about Kris Kringle, a white-bearded gent whose sanity is questioned when he claims to be the real Santa Claus.

Read more
Elf

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration97 mins

Elf(2003)

Hilarious but cuddly Will Ferrell comedy about a human who thinks he's one of Santa's elves.

Read more
Meet Me In St Louis

CertU

Age group7–16

Duration108 mins

Meet Me In St Louis(1944)

Judy Garland stars in this charming musical drama that's also a sharp portrait of family life.

Read more
Home Alone

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration103 mins

Home Alone(1990)

Child star Macaulay Culkin plays a kid whose parents accidentally leave him at home when they go on holiday and who then must foil would-be burglars.

Read more
War Game

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration29 mins

War Game(2001)

This short animated feature is based on a children's novel about four football-loving friends who enlist in the army and to fight in World War One.

Read more
Scrooged

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration96 mins

Scrooged(1988)

This updated comedy version of A Christmas Carol sees the life of a grouchy TV boss start to mirror the classic Dickens tale he's producing.

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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration79 mins

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale(2010)

This Finnish film provides a dark comedy variant on the traditional christmas tale - including a sharp look at a complicated father-son relationship.

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Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas)

Cert12

Age group11–16

Duration111 mins

Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas)(2005)

Moving account of the Christmas truces of 1914. Following soldiers from differing sides, we see how their brief acts of peace were met with brutality.

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Gremlins

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration106 mins

Gremlins(1984)

Christmas family horror and a brilliant B-movie spoof about a cute cuddly toy that turns evil!

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Black Nativity

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration93 mins

Black Nativity(2013)

A streetwise teen travels to New York City to spend Christmas with his estranged grandparents, where embarks on a spiritual journey in this musical.

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It's a Wonderful Life

CertU

Age group11+

Duration130 mins

It's a Wonderful Life(1946)

Much-loved family classic about a man visited by an angel on Christmas Eve who challenges his view his life has been a failure.

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8 Women

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration106 mins

8 Women(2002)

Delightfully colourful French musical about a family gathered together for Christmas.

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Tokyo Godfathers

Cert12

Age group11–16

Duration88 mins

Tokyo Godfathers(2003)

Fast-paced and funny anime about a homeless trio who discover an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve.

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Love Actually

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration129 mins

Love Actually(2003)

Feel-good British romantic comedy set in the Christmas run-up interweaving nine stories, including a bachelor prime minister falling for his tea lady.

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The Shop Around The Corner

CertU

Age group7+

Duration99 mins

The Shop Around The Corner(1940)

Vibrant and smart, with great performances and dialogue, this black-and-white rom-com is one of old Hollywood's most charming.

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Scrooge

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration82 mins

Scrooge(1951)

Spooky version of the classic Dickens novel A Christmas Carol, in which a tightfisted boss is shown Christmas Eve visions to make him change his ways.

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White Christmas

CertU

Age group11+

Duration115 mins

White Christmas(1954)

A cosy Christmas classic featuring a raft of magical musical numbers.

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Maktub

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration111 mins

Maktub(2011)

Entertaining and big-hearted Christmas story about a 15 year-old cancer patient and his friendship with stressed family man.

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The Lion In Winter

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration137 mins

The Lion In Winter(1968)

A Christmas spent with the family can sometimes lead to arguments, but this period drama takes hostilities to an extreme.

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Trading Places

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration111 mins

Trading Places(1983)

A street hustler and a bank employee swap lives in this classic 80s comedy featuring a career-making performance from Eddie Murphy.

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The Holly And The Ivy

CertU

Age group7–16

Duration77 mins

The Holly And The Ivy(1952)

This 1947-set British drama sees a widowed clergyman's family and friends meet up for Christmas, with conflict erupting between them.

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A Christmas Carol

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration89 mins

A Christmas Carol(1999)

This version of the classic Dickens story about a stingy businessman taught a Christmas lesson by ghosts emphasises Victorian England's bleak side.

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