Christmas on Film

Home Alone
Home Alone

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 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.

The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales...

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration83 mins

The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales...(2017)

A trio of animated short stories involving a bunch of witty farmyard animals.

Based on a series of comic book, these sweet, playful and laugh-out-loud hand-drawn animated stories sees a group of farmyard animals performing three short theatre shows. One called ‘Saving Christmas’, sees the creatures grouping together to find a new 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.

Stepping out of his family home, Stick Man’s average day turns into a chaotic adventure when he is picked up a young boy. From being caught by a dog, to being thrown in a river, Stick Man is ready to go back home, and he gets the help he needs from Santa Claus in this funny animated story.

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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.

This gentle and deeply moving British classic captures the beautiful illustrations of the book. Known for not having any dialogue, the film depicts a growing friendship between a young boy and a snowman who takes them on a magical journey to the North Pole. With a beautiful score, this is a film that will delight audiences of all ages.

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Elf

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration97 mins

Elf(2003)

Hilarious but cuddly Will Ferrell comedy about a human raised among Santa's elves who goes in search of his biological father.

This fantastical story, like many other Christmas films, is set in New York. After realising he is adopted and not an elf but a human, Buddy embarks on a search for his real parents, taking him on a series of hilarious scenarios in the big city. This heart-warming story is all about accepting others’ differences and believing in yourself.

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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.

One of cinema’s most cherished musicals is the perfect place to start the festive season. Featuring memorable songs and a fantastic performance from Judy Garland, the film focuses on a family as their children grow up and an unexpected move disrupts everyone’s plans.

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The Muppet Christmas Carol

CertU

Age group5–14

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.

The famous Scrooge tale gets a Muppets twist! A mean wealthy old man is visited by three Christmas spirits, taking him on a journey across his entire life, allowing him to look to the past and future and what he must change to amend his wrongs and live a happier life.

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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.

Not necessarily set during Christmas, this is one of the most popular films during the festive season in Central and Eastern Europe. This magical film based on a Russian folk tale is a great way to introduce and discuss popular World Cinema with young people.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

CertPG

Age group7–14

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.

If Christmas and Halloween came together it will probably look like this eccentric and spooky depiction of Christmas eve. When a skeleton gets bored of his job scaring humans, he stumbles upon the Christmas holidays and becomes determined to get involved in the fun – even if that means kidnapping Santa!

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Home Alone

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

Home Alone(1990)

Cheeky youngster Kevin must protect his house from two inept burglars after his parents accidentally leave him at home when they go on holiday.

A family favourite, this slap-stick comedy is about one of the scariest, yet most exciting things that could ever happen to a kid. Eight-year-old Kevin is accidentally left behind when his family leave for Europe for the holidays and he must fend for himself with some of the most creative traps you’ll ever see in a film.

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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.

What is Christmas really about? That is the question Charlie Brown tries to answer in this classic cartoon adapted from Charles Schulz’s comic strips. Both adorable and incredibly relatable to all audiences, Charlie Brown and friends experience sadness, jealousy, happiness along the way.

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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.

Of course Laurel and Hardy have a Christmas movie! And this is it. The duo play a pair of pretty bad toymakers in Toyland, so when Santa requests a large order they accidentally make a hundred human-sized soldiers instead...

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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.

Jack Frost, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sand Man and E. Aster Bunnymund assemble to discuss how to best deal with the evil spirit Pitch, who is turning children’s dreams to nightmares, in this fun animated comedy.

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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.

This endearing short film follows the adventures of Annie and Teddy, two old toys who find themselves left in the snow on a Christmas night and replaced by new toys. Together they embark on a quest to find a new loving home in this melancholy tale.

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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.

This is a perfect introduction to Dr Seuss’ much loved festive tale about the green, Christmas-hating Grinch. A sweet (but not too sweet) animated classic that is still every bit as much fun today as it was when it was made back in the 1960s.

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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.

This Finnish Christmas story reimagines the origin story of Santa Claus as an orphan named Nikolas who grows up to be the iconic figure. This heart-warming film explores the themes of community and giving to others that are part of the festive season.

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Elf

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration97 mins

Elf(2003)

Hilarious but cuddly Will Ferrell comedy about a human raised among Santa's elves who goes in search of his biological father.

This fantastical story, like many other Christmas films, is set in New York. After realising he is adopted and not an elf but a human, Buddy embarks on a search for his real parents, taking him on a series of hilarious scenarios in the big city. This heart-warming story is all about accepting others’ differences and believing in yourself.

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.

One of cinema’s most cherished musicals is the perfect place to start the festive season. Featuring memorable songs and a fantastic performance from Judy Garland, the film focuses on a family as their children grow up and an unexpected move disrupts everyone’s plans.

Read more
Home Alone

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

Home Alone(1990)

Cheeky youngster Kevin must protect his house from two inept burglars after his parents accidentally leave him at home when they go on holiday.

A family favourite, this slap-stick comedy is about one of the scariest, yet most exciting things that could ever happen to a kid. Eight-year-old Kevin is accidentally left behind when his family leave for Europe for the holidays and he must fend for himself with some of the most creative traps you’ll ever see in a film.

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.

This modern adaptation of A Christmas Carol stars Bill Murray as a grumpy TV boss who despises the holiday season but has been asked to produce a version of the Dickens story. To his horror, everything in the story starts happening to him, with three ghosts arriving to show him how his life has gone wrong.

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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.

A dark and twisted spin on the Christmas movie genre, this comedy-horror is about a small boy living in a small village who encounters an evil Father Christmas and must convince his father and community that this dangerous Santa Claus is very much alive.

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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.

Based on World War One records of a moment of reconciliation between German, French and Scottish troops on Christmas Eve 1914, this story recreates that evening as the troops exchange a football game and food. This film is slightly sentimental but also highlights the human spirit’s survival against great odds.

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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!

A family favourite that stars some of the most adorable and simultaneously terrifying monsters in cinema history! When a young boy is gifted a cuddly pet called Gizmo he is given a strict set of rules. When these are inevitably broken, all goes haywire is this hilarious black comedy!

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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.

Part mystery, part musical and part satire this is a hugely enjoyable whodunnit. Set in a large country house at Christmas, eight women are in question for the murder of the owner.

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1985

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration84 mins

1985(2018)

A HIV-positive young man returns to his hometown, hoping to reveal his sexuality to his religious family.

Perhaps a more sombre take on the festive season, this beautiful black and white film sees a young gay man returning home in the hope of revealing a secret to his conservative family. This story brilliantly depicts some of the ambivalent feelings experienced at Christmas by some minority groups.

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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.

Exploring issues of poverty, class and community, this is an action-packed story about three homeless people who find a baby on the street in Tokyo. This is a wonderful Japanese animation that brings together the spirit of Christmas giving and social topics.

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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.

Now considered a modern Christmas classic, this well-written, funny and sad romcom intertwines nine stories for the price of one. Set in the run-up to Christmas, and featuring many recognisable faces and landmarks, the film depicts London at it's most enchanting.

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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.

This Hollywood rom-com classic sees two gift shops assistants who totally hate each other, unaware they are romantic pen-pals. When the secret is revealed to one of them, both funny and sad consequences follow in this cosy crowd-pleaser.

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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.

This entertaining family film sees a windowed vicar’s family and friends meeting up for season festivities, unaware that tensions will be unleashed. This film deals with the difficult emotions Christmas can bring up for some individuals with humour and charm.

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