Our Festive Film Favourites

29 Nov 2016 in Film Features

7 mins
The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Muppet Christmas Carol

The holidays are coming! 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, whether it be the brilliantly rascally Home Alone or the side-splittingly funny Elf; a winter-warming classic like Miracle on 34th Street or White Christmas; the singing snowscapes of Frozen; or even the darker alt-Christmas tidings of Die Hard or Gremlins. Watching films is as much a part of many people's Christmas routine as wrapping presents, eating turkey or singing carols - and our Programming Team have been eager to reveal their own beloved Christmas films. Featuring obvious hits, lesser-known classics and a somewhat terrifying side of Santa, these are the team's festive film favourites for Primary and Secondary ages. 

Kirsten - Film Programming Manager

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Mischievous muppets, a classic Dickens Christmas tale, and singing! This folkloric tale of a stingy businessman taught the error of his ways by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future plays out like a gothic fairy tale, with the Muppets gang guiding you through it with their trademark wit and rambunctiousness. The wintry, candle-lit Victorian setting, festive story, cheeky comedy and catchy carol-singing create a timeless Christmas mix that leaves you as warm and fuzzy as Fozzie Bear.

The Shop Around the Corner

This classic 1940s rom-com evokes the merriment, tingling anticipation of holidays, and unexpected love that's unique to the festive period. Set in an American gift store preparing for Christmas, Alfred and Klara are two colleagues who can't stand each other and yet are unknowingly falling in love as anonymous pen pals. When Alfred figures it out, he's determined to make Klara like him in person too. This is a clever and charming comedy, so enduring that its witty email-era 90s adaptation You've Got Mail has also become a much-loved rom-com.

Elinor - Film Programmer

Stick Man

This charming animation follows the adventures of Stick Man when he gets lost one day and is mistaken for an ordinary stick. Used for all sorts of things, Stick Man ends up very far from home until he's able to find somebody who will help him get back to the family tree. As well as featuring a healthy dose of Christmas magic, this lovely short has a very positive message about not taking help and kindness for granted - as well as valuing family above all - and is a great watch for younger viewers.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale 

An unconventional look at the festive season, this Finnish film explores the creepier aspects of folklore to explain who or what Santa Claus is. When strange things start to happen on the mountain where he lives,a young boy discovers the horrible truth of Father Christmas' true origins. More of a horror than a heart-warmer, this is a dark comedy that will might have you blocking up your chimney come Christmas Eve!

Joe Ursell - Film Programmer

The Snowman

Compulsory viewing every Christmas Eve, this lovingly-crafted hand-drawn animation of Raymond Briggs' story is full of wonder. The film captures the unique joy of waking up to find a blanket of snow has transformed the world around you, and the sadness when it just as quickly disappears. But the period in between is a magical one, as a lonely boy goes on an unforgettable journey with a snowman that magically comes to life.

Meet Me In St Louis

This fabulously funny Hollywood musical tells the story of a group of sisters learning lessons in life and love in turn-of-the-century America. Nostalgic, romantic and full of the giddy excitement of falling for the boy-next-door, the film is also a poignant evocation of people being apart over the festive period, demonstrated in the timeless number 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'.

Michael - Film Programming Assistant

The Polar Express

A soaring festive adventure that's perfect for the Christmas period, with motion-capture performances blending live-action with animation - reality and fantasy - to great effect. Tom Hanks is the perfect fit for Robert Zemeckis' family film, radiating his trademark warmth and charm across several characters, including Santa Claus himself.

It's a Wonderful Life

This much-loved classic is - like most Christmas films - a combination of overcoming harsh times and appreciating the good ones. Despite its melancholy streak, It's a Wonderful Life - as the title suggests - is an emotional yet ultimately life-affirming tale of hope, joy and the desire to do the right thing.

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