Christmas Films: Top 5
Christmas is a time for celebration, getting pissed and watching some of the greatest films known to man. I’m not talking about miserable dreck like Elf or Love Actually, rather I’m talking about those films that Iyou can watch again and again, sometimes even in the middle of Summer just to get you provisionally prepared for the cold months ahead.
So, without further ado, here are my five favourite Christmas films of all time. They’re all obvious choices but, well, that’s the brilliance of them…
5. Blackadder’s Christmas Carol
While not technically a film, Blackadder’s Christmas Carol more than deserves its place on this list. Of all the adaptations of Dickens’ classic tale (of which there have been far too many…), this is the one with the most laughs, not to mention the one with the greatest twist.
In this version, Ebeneezer Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson) is the nicest man in all of England. Unlike Scrooge he is a selfless, well-meaning man who just wants a quiet life. He gives to charity, he is kind to his assistant Baldrick (Tony Robinson) and he is the victim of abuse from neighbours who take his kindness for granted. However, when Blackadder is visited by a ghostly vision who shows him what his ancestors were like, Blackadder undergoes a transformation. Realising that good guys never win, Blackadder changes overnight into the cruellest, most bitter man in England. It’s a hilarious twist on the tale, and one that I watch each Christmas without fail.
Ahh Gremlins, where would we be without you? Well, for starters we wouldn’t have the brilliant Gremlins 2: The New Batch – one of the few sequels which can feasibly claim to be better than the original – but more importantly we wouldn’t have a wonderful yuletide tale of monsters, cuteness and old women flying out of the upstairs window at top speed.
Gremlins is a film rich in the sensibilities of the festive season. It’s all about overcoming a problem, learning to let go of the past and rallying around your family. Ignore the fact that it turned into a commercial vehicle for the sale of Gizmo toys throughout the World and just revel in its anarchic chaos, which is all but unparallelled.
3. Home Alone
The true signifier that Christmas is just around the corner, Home Alone is the best “boy’s” film ever made. It taps into the desire of every male child to be a hero in his own home, to fight evil with tricks and shenanigans and to prove himself to his family.
Home Alone is one of those rare family films that manages to capture what it’s like to be the child in the family. So many films try and fail to see things from the perspective of the child, but Home Alone oozes a nostalgic warmth for its main character and really gets to the heart of the action-adventure fantasy. The result is a film that is funny, exciting and utterly charming. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without Home Alone…
2. It’s a Wonderful Life
It’s a Wonderful Life is the quintessential Christmas film. What can I possibly say about this wonderful masterpiece that hasn’t already been said? Not only is it one of the most life-affirming films ever made, it’s also one of the simplest, and therein lays its true beauty.
It’s a Wonderful Life never tries to be anything that it’s not, nor does it deal in complex themes. It is a universal tale that explores the importance of life, and one that teaches us that we are all important in our own special way. It’s sweet, stunningly acted and so perfectly written that any sense of mawkishness disappears in an instant, leaving behind the ultimate Christmas classic. It’ll make you laugh and it’ll make you cry but, more than anything else, it’ll make you appreciate the smaller things in life.
1. Die Hard
People sometimes tell me that Die Hard isn’t a real Christmas film. Those people are wrong.
Die Hard tells a classic Christmas story via the medium of an action film; it is, at its core, a film about a man who must fight the odds just to ensure that he gets to see his kids on Christmas Day. It’s a film about a marriage on the rocks, and it’s a film about a man who doesn’t realise just how much he has to offer until the shit starts hitting the fan at 100mph. For all intents and purposes it’s like It’s a Wonderful Life‘s gun-toting cousin, complete with a festive soundtrack and a heap of snow.
Still not convinced? What about the villain then? Hans Gruber is like a modern American Scrooge, albeit one who receives no real redemption. He’s suave, sophisticated and driven by greed. He’s happy to ruin Christmas in the pursuit of financial gain.
Ultimately though, Die Hard is a film brimming with humour, charm and morality. Sure, it might involve Bruce Willis taking on a bunch of terrorists with little more than a machine gun (ho ho ho) and a sarky personality but all of the underlying themes really do just scream “Christmas!” at you.
So they’re my top five Christmas films. Let me know yours in the box below! =)