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Films On TV This Christmas

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Mark Kermode | 12:04 UK time, Friday, 9 December 2011

As usual there are hundreds of films on TV over the Christmas period.

Here I pick out the ones that have caught my eye and ask which movies are in the schedule that you think everyone should be watching.

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Whether it's on telly this year or not, I plan on watching the greatest Christmas movie of all time: DIE HARD!

    The ultimate action romp with enough good humour and wit from Bruce Willis and deliciously sweet villainy from Alan Rickman to satisfy all of us who wish to revisit our childhoods this Christmas. Yippee-ki-yay mummy lovers lol.

  • Comment number 2.

    Interesting you pick SERENITY - which I like, own on DVD - since it's one of those films that seems to pop up in the schedules every couple of months at the moment.

  • Comment number 3.

    Some of the films I like to watch at chirstmas, Joyeux Noel, Patlabour 2, High Fidelity, Airplane and Baseketball. Joyeux Noel is preety obvious as for the others, I think it has to do with the fact that first time I watched each of them was around Christmans. Even now having them all on DVD I still reserve them for this time of year to watch on my own late at night, watching them any other time of the year just feels wrong.

  • Comment number 4.

    I concur with Liam Donaghy.. DIE HARD is the one movie I watch every Christmas.. a CLASSIC . I also watch Richard Willams 1971 animated Christmas Carol.. Gives me chills.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'll be watching The Godfather on Boxing Day night.Though a classic,to my knowledge not often on T.V! Sadly on first glance,Bill Murray's Scrooged doesn't seem to be on this year. Boo!

  • Comment number 6.

    Unless they are on the BBC I don’t bother watching films on television because they always manage to dissect them with adverts at the worst possible places.

    And when it’s not adverts, they cut the length of the film. For instance ITV can’t seem to understand that Crocodile Dundee is a 15 rated film, which is why they always butcher it down to a 12 or PG to show it in the day.

    Perfect example: the line “you can eat it, but it tastes like sh*t” was edited to: “you can eat it… [cut to next scene]

    I’m not making that up. Crocodile Dundee? Croc-of-sh*t more like.

  • Comment number 7.

    hey what about the best short animated film about Christmas ever???
    the snowman, shown faithfully on c4 every Christmas eve.
    does that count?

  • Comment number 8.

    What time is 'Bad Santa' on?

  • Comment number 9.

    The Fog!!! It was in the RT right after Eyes Wide Shut which you (sort of) urged us to watch. What could be more Christmassy than vengeful leprous ghost sailors lopping people's heads off and tearing them apart with meat hooks?!

  • Comment number 10.

    I't A Wonderful Life and Die Hard make a spectacular double bill. Alan Rickman gets dropped off a skyscraper, and at the end of the day, isn't that what Christmas is all about?

  • Comment number 11.

    Sure Home Alone 2 must be there somewhere? THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS MOVIE!

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes, I second #9 bluejuicer - how could you miss THE FOG?!!

  • Comment number 13.

    If you are after some slightly dark Christmas fare you can't go wrong with Bill Forsyth's Comfort & Joy.

    Set in a drizzly Glasgow a few days before Christmas, Bill Patterson's, 'manic-pixie-dream-girl', girlfriend decides to up and leaves him on a whim, and he somehow gets involved in an italian ice-cream van war.

  • Comment number 14.

    I have to admit that I do have a soft spot for Gremlins.

    I guess it's partly because I'm old enough to have happy memories of seeing it in '84 at, what was then my local cinema, the ABC Whiteladies, Bristol, and partly because it's just soooo Christmassy!

    Each time I hear 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' by Darlene Love, I can't help but think of Joe Dante's wonderful, snow filled opening to the movie. For me, it's pure Christmas.

    Happy Christmas to you and yours Mark, and to all those who chime in on this comments page. Have a good one people!

    "Christmas… snow's coming down… Christmas… I'm wacthin' it thaw… Christmas… lots of people around… Christmas… baby please come home!"

    Ah, does it get any better?

  • Comment number 15.

    Die Hard! what a great idea, that has just been added to my watch list.

    What is the problem with Eyes wide shut? try not to fall asleep? i think it's hilarious, or am i missing the point?

    For my festive film favorites, as normal I shall be watching my Trading places and Coming to America double, I will also be watching American psycho.
    I will probably have to watch Steve McQueen try to jump the second fence at some point too, only that scene tho.

    Have a holly jolly Christmas. :)

  • Comment number 16.

    Whether on telly or not (preferably on the TV - it just makes it more Christmassy somehow) the following will be watched in our household:

    - It's a Wonderful Life (obviously)
    - Nightmare before Christmas
    - The Snowman
    - A Muppet Christmas Carol ("Light the lamp, not the rat")
    - Die Hard (As #10 joe says, it's not Christmas without Alan Rickman falling from Nakatomi Tower)

    We might this year also try and squeeze in Leathal Weapon and/or Bad Santa.

    Ho-ho-ho

  • Comment number 17.

    Surely the must-see Christmas-time movie is The Great Escape? Cold turkey and stuffing sandwiches, a comfy chair and 2 hours and 50 minutes of what I would argue to be one of the best films ever made!

    I'm out of the UK at the moment - somebody please tell me it's on at some point!?

  • Comment number 18.

    Mark,

    On December 27th Film4 is showing In Bruges. Nothing cheers me up a Xmas more than a good black comedy and they don't come much blacker than In Bruges!! It also possibly features Colin Farrell's best performance ever! The scene where Farrell finds out the real reason they are in Bruges is magnificent!

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm surprised you didn't mention that Film Four are showing most Studio Ghibli films over the next couple of weeks; they might might not be very Christmassy but they are a delight for young and old alike.

    I haven't watched Die Hard in ages but after so many people here mentioned it I have an urge to dust off my VHS copy and watch it.

  • Comment number 20.

    Cheesy cheesy cheesy, I know, but up there with Die Hard et al., has to be Love Actually (I'm apologising as I write this). Watching this on DVD kick off the festive season for me.

  • Comment number 21.

    I've browsed these on the Radio Times site (leaving out films showing on Sky as I don't receive it):
    Singin' in the Rain - classic. Good Morning, Good morning!
    Monster House - underrated, nostalgic horror/coming of age animated film with characters that reminded me slightly of The Goonies.
    While You Were Sleeping - Mark loves this and proclaims it Bullock's best film, so got to see for myself.
    Hot Fuzz - overlong but entertaining as I remember.
    Great Expectations - a classic, so I have to see it.
    Gremlins - a dark, subversive horror comedy that scared me rigid as a seven-year-old (cute turning evil and the Furby craze of the late 90s I didn't like as a result :D ). Was shown earlier in the year, strangely.

  • Comment number 22.

    I am one of those people that loves ghost stories at Christmas so am please to see The Fog is on at some point as I've never seen it.

    BAck in the 60's and 70's the BBC used to do great ghost stories at Christmas be they Dickens such as A Christmas Carol (and a lot of people forget that A Christmas Carol IS a ghost story) or the Signalman or M R James (the greatest ghost story writer ever IMHO) with Whistle and I'll Come to You (the black and white version) or Lost Hearts or The Ash Tree. One year at Christmas the BBC gave us Nigel Kneale's brilliant (and very spooky story) The Stone Tape.

    This year alas there does seem to be a lack of TV ghost stories so I'll stick with The Fog and other spooky movies I can find.

  • Comment number 23.

    On the 19th of December on Channel4 'The Conformist' it's not available on dvd in the UK so an opportunity to see it. From Boxing day onwards BBC2 are showing some Val Lewton horror films 'Cat people', I walked with a zombie', 'The leopard man' and 'The body snatcher'.

  • Comment number 24.

    I dunno, I used to remember waiting for the Radio Times to see what new blockbusters and recent films which were of note were going to be on (all the stuff I had been waiting a while for network telly to show). A season of kung fu movies on Channel 4 or something but your list is quite frankly a rehash of the same stuff which is shown every year now. All you missed was The Great Escape and The Italian Job...

    It's a shame as it seems only Satelite TV is making any effort these days to entertain us and not everyone can afford to have it. This to my mind makes it all the more disapointing that the films that are on are old as the hills and not particulary exciting to see listed in the RT or even watch these days.

    Is Charlton Heston not even going to race chariots, paint a cieling or speak to God this year?

  • Comment number 25.

    Ha! Just listened to it… "…Christmas!… I'm wacthin' it fall… Christmas!.." thought I'd post my error before the lyric police start pointing it out! Ho-Ho-Ho!

    Happy Christmas, one and all!

  • Comment number 26.

    #6

    Most of the best one-liners in Crocodile Dundee were cut in ITV's demolition of it.

    Favourite xmas films: Gremlins, Die Hard, It's a Wonderful Life.

  • Comment number 27.

    how could I forget... Trading Places - Dan Akroyd as a very drunk and p****d off Santa.

  • Comment number 28.

    Bruno is on this christmas. A movie that never fails to make me laph, I am now 16 and remember sneeking into a preview screaning of it with a few of my friends. We all found the film brilliantly funny and inventive, or maybie thats just our type of humor.

  • Comment number 29.

    Eyes Wide Shut?
    Look below it. 3:00am John Carpenter's The Fog. I'm sorry but that is worth watching over Eyes Wide Shut.

  • Comment number 30.

    All good choices Mark, but I can't imagine myself sitting down with my Gran and the rest of my family to watch The Arbor, a story of alcoholism, child abuse, racism, drug abuse and child neglect. Darkly compelling but not very Christmasy. I think I'll stick with Son of Rambow.

  • Comment number 31.

    You're wrong about Eyes Wide Shut. Dead wrong.
    It's not a perfect film, but it is a lot more nuanced than people give it credit for. Tom's trip about New York is indeed a bit boring if you ignore all of the little dream references that pop up in shop names, dialogue, and visual cues. Incidentally, Kubrick's use of practical lighting is pretty fascinating --- the party scene at the beginning is so Christmassy I can't not watch this every year. At least give it credit for the lighting!

  • Comment number 32.

    I've not checked the Xmas schedule but I know that 'The Dark Crystal' will have to be there!

    It's one of those off-beat films that hasn't got anything to do with xmas directly but because it's always shown you associate it with this time of the year.

    The Dark Crystal (like Brazil) proves that fantasy films work so much better when the world is made and crafted physically on set as opposed to in a computer.

    I Am Legend showed how bad CGI monsters are (also how not scary they are) and the Skegsis in TDC are scary because they're really there!

    A great piece of other-world creation!

  • Comment number 33.

    I have to say that out of all the movies on at Christmas, you mentioned the best film. Joss Whedon's Serenity. For me, Serenity is one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made filled with wit, charm, likeable characters, great action scenes where you can actually see what's going on and a plot that isn't afraid to take risks with the characters. Book and Wash will always be remembered. Serenity is therefore the anti-Bay and I highly recommend Serenity (and indeed the series it spawned from, Firefly) to everyone who even has a passing interest in sci-fi. You can't stop the signal.

  • Comment number 34.

    Oh, and Trading Places, mainly for Denholm Elliott's utterance of 'what a scumbag.'

  • Comment number 35.

    The Ref directed by Ted Demme is in my opinion, the best Christmas film. Sadly, it's rarely shown on TV, but that's the one I always watch around Christmas.

  • Comment number 36.

    It's not Christmas until I've got my copy of the Christmas Radio Times, and after watching this blog I ran out and got my copy. As is traditional, it will be a dog-eared mess of torn pages and yellow highlighter ink before the festive fortnight has even begun.

    Here is my list of the best films shown on freeview (I've limited myself to one for each corresponding day):

    Saturday 17th December: The Big Lebowski, 9PM Dave.

    Sunday 18th December: The 'Burbs, 7PM ITV4. (clashing with the aforementioned Gremlins- It's a Joe Dante face-off!)

    Monday 19th December: Rosemary's Baby, 12:05AM Channel 4. (followed by The Conformist at 2:30, a solid double-bill for the discerning insomniac)

    Tuesday 20th December: Groundhog Day, 8PM 5*.

    Wednesday 21st December: Rocky 4, 11PM ITV4.

    Thursday 22nd December: Rocky 4 (again), 9PM ITV4.

    Friday 23rd December: The Fog, 3:30AM ITV1 (stay up late/ get up early)

    Christmas Eve: Saturday Night Fever, 1:25AM Film4

    Christmas Day: Ratatouille, 4:50PM BBC1

    Boxing Day: Timecrimes, 11:45PM Film4 (not as good as Vertigo (2:05AM ITV1) but not enough people have seen it)

    Tuesday 27th December: MASH, 12:55AM Film4

    Wednesday 28th December: Stand By Me, 1:30AM 5*

    Thursday 29th December: The French Connection, 11:20PM Film4

    Friday 30th December: Children Of Men, 9PM ITV4

    There we are, and not a single Christmas movie among them (unless you include Gene Hackman dressed as Santa).

  • Comment number 37.

    Slightly of topic why is a scene from Carry On Up The Khyber show when Marks talking about Cleo did they both use the same set? Still I love Carry On Cleo not only great sets but a very funny script so that's a definite watch.

  • Comment number 38.

    I would like to second the comments for the Ghibli season on FilmFour. I know these run often on this channel, but it includes Ponyo amongst some of my other favourites (The Castle in the Sky, Porco Rosso ,Nausicaa).

    Also, on the 25th everyone who underrated Ratatouille should watch it again. The Brad Bird Pixar movies are unbeatable, and arguably better than the Toy Story films.

    Monsters is showing again on FilmFour, but for fun on the old terrestrial/analogue channels, try the original Cat People on the 26th.

    Finally, has nobody mentioned The Towering Inferno on the 25th? Surely that's unmissable!

  • Comment number 39.

    I'd like to fly the flag for Bob Clark's 'Black Christmas' it is my personal favorite late night christmas film. Not sure if it would be shown on TV though. It fills me with joy at least...

  • Comment number 40.

    #1. Liam Donaghy:

    Oh absolutely DIE HARD is a classic. But it's so much more than an action film. I think it's also a very clever satire. Look at the way it mocks everyone, from the media (the amoral hack who will stop at nothing for a story), to law-enforcement (the two FBI guys both called Johnson - "Hi it's Agent Johnson...no, the other one"). I wouldn't even call it an action comedy; it seems to transcend or redefine many genres, even by today's standards.

    Even if they're not in the schedules this Christmas, my three recommendations are...

    GROUNDHOG DAY: it's not set at Christmas but it undeniably has a Chrismassy feel throughout, and that's not just because it has snow in it!

    CURLY SUE: Yes it's corny, but I swear if you do not cry toward the end, you're not human. They are a great double-act, though I think the Miserable Git...sorry, Mark...would find her annoying. I wonder what she's doing now...

    Frank Darabont's THE MIST: This really has to be watched without your heating on, prerably with a blanket over you, and in the depths of winter. That's all I can say, just great. Though, I think the tag-line should have been "The monsters aren't in the mist". Oh and of course who can forget that great uplifting ending. Perfect for a time when you're regretting all that food you ate and thinking about murdering your relatives. :)

  • Comment number 41.

    Why do I associate Withnail...& I with Christmas? I'll be watching that at some point...and Son of Rambow sounds like I'll be into it.

  • Comment number 42.

    Die Hard? One of the best Christmas movies of all time. Watch it every Christmas, even though it was a summer blockbuster.

    No mentions of The Godfather? Of course its an EASY mistake to leave out one of the best films of all time.

    Eyes Wide Shut? Not exactly a Christmas movie but I did reach the end of that film with my eyes wide open. A dozen times in fact since I first saw it back in 1999. A great underrated film and probably Cruise's last great film (not that there were many to begin with)

  • Comment number 43.

    Dr K ,
    Just the mention of your youthful anticipation of the Radio Times double edition made me smile, and almost brought a tear to my eye. As a young teen ( by which time I had already developed my enduring passion of the cinematic experience), I would read it cover to cover to plan my Christmas viewing.
    Sadly those days are no longer, and we make the best of what we have. I've yet to see the full schedules, but it seems like we are destined to watch a lot of repeats, and some old favourites.
    My enduring Christmas memory is of watching John Wayne in one of his finest films...The Searchers that always seemed to tip up on Christmas Eve and lives with me to this day. It's not a seasonal film, but it has that universal appeal that kind of hits the spot. Merry Christmas one and all :-)

  • Comment number 44.

    I dont know why but I always find my craving more recent films around christmas, rather than the classics.

    About A Boy - The terrific cast, the touching story, the laugh out loud comedy and of course........ Hugh Grant singing "Killing me softly" to teengaers. About a Boy makes me smile every christmas.

    Love Actually - C'mon admit it....... its the ultimate guilty pleasure at christmas

    Die Hard 1 & 2 - It just isnt christmas without watching Bruce Willis embrace Bonnie Bedelia after an exhausting day of fighting terrorists then romanticly driving away to "Let it Snow"

    Plus any decent disney animated films.

  • Comment number 45.

    On the mention of Fan-Power i want to give a quick shout out to Farscape. Which in my mide has to be the greatest sci-fi show every made was cancelled after its 4th season, but after staunch support from its fan-base, it was given a final oorah miniseries to bring the saga nicely to a close.

  • Comment number 46.

    Sundry observations:

    Isn't even suggesting someone watch Eyes Wide Shut on a dare a bit like tasting the soured milk then offering it to someone else saying "do you think this has gone off?". Coincidentally on my recent film by film appreciation of Ken Russell on my blog I wrote this about Crimes of Passion: "Everything that Russell does in this film was done with much less style humour and panache by Kubrick in Eyes Wide Shut." Granted, a pointed understatement.

    By a strange confluence of scheduling there's a double helping of Zemeckis, from back when his films were inflicted with realistic looking human beings, plots and decent scripts Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) Sat 17th Dec. 14:55-16:30 on BBC1 vs. Death Becomes Her Sat 17th Dec. 15:10-17:00 on ITV1. I'd take Hitchcock's Saboteur (over on Film4) over 'em both, but Bob Z's career peaked on Used Cars. Speaking of Hitch, can someone stop Film4 from continually polluting the schedule with the non-Hitch remakes of 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes, it wrong foots me every time. On the up side Film4 are doing their now fairly regular run of Studio Ghibli fare, so that gives everyone something to fall back on.

    Don't have RT yet, and online can't see beyond 22nd, but some interesting anti-christmas films (not the Lars Von Trier xmas special, sadly) upcoming:
    Bad Education Pedro Almodovar Thu 22nd Dec. 00:15-02:15 on More4
    Rosemary's Baby (1968) Roman Polanski Tue 20th Dec. 00:05-02:30 on Channel 4 AND his lesser satanic version: The Ninth Gate Mon 19th Dec. 21:00-23:40 on 5*
    The Conformist Bernardo Bertolucci Tue 20th Dec. 02:30-04:25 on Channel 4

    If you want heartwarming, and are willing to eschew seasonal fare, Carroll Ballard's Fly Away Home, another of his stonking (and honking, in a good way) combinations of story and nature - Tue 20th Dec. 16:50-19:00 on 5*.

  • Comment number 47.

    Black Christmas - 10:55pm Christmas day on The Horror Channel. A defining 70s horror classic which may well have influenced John Carpenter's Halloween. And it's set at christmas, what more could you want?! Bob Clark also directed one of my other Christmas favourites - A Christmas Story, but sadly I haven't seen that on TV in many years.

  • Comment number 48.

    National lampoons Christmas vacation always gets me in the Christmas mood.

    "Ruby Sue: Rocky bit my thumb. Him's nervous.
    Clark: Nervous or excited?
    Ruby Sue: Sh##tin' bricks.
    Clark: You shouldn't use that word.
    Ruby Sue: Sorry. Sh##tin' rocks "

    Hardly Shakespeare but it always makes me laugh
    P.s Diehard isn't just the best Christmas film it's the
    best film ever!

  • Comment number 49.

    I remember when i was a ten there were three great kids movies. In third place Swallows and Amazons, in second place Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    (on ITV 18th DEC) and at number one BUGSY MALONE (on C4 Boxing day)
    I love love love Bugsy Malone (so did all the girls ) I wanted one of those splurge guns. No change that, i NEEDED one of them . The songs are great , the depiction of a kids gangster film is great. The last scene is just joyous, god i wish id been there. One of the great pleasures in being a parent is sitting down with your children knowing they are about to watch greatness for the first time and knowing their going to love it! And the huge beam across their faces at the end.
    When i was ten i had three great loves of my life, Kate Bush (obviously) Jenny Agutter and Jodie Foster ( a.k.a Talula) aaahhh those were the days.

    P.S. As an aside i have to mention Dirty Dancing (C5 Boxing Day) because No one But no one puts Baby in the Corner!!!!

  • Comment number 50.

    Just read some of the the other posts. The only thing Love Actually induces in me is a gag reflex

  • Comment number 51.

    Thrilled that you rate Serenity. The first time I watched it I knew nothing about the series that predated it, Firefly. Then I watched it multiple times after I had caught up on the tragically truncated 13 episodes of the tv show. I don't know another film that so effectively balances getting an audience sufficiently up to speed without getting in the way of the dialogue with not a single moment of clunky exposition. It works if you are a dyed in the wool obsessive Browncoat fanboy or if you are completely new to the whole Firefly universe. There are many aspects to commend about the film, but ultimately it is a masterclass in dialogue and screenwriting. Every line sings, entertains and serves a purpose.
    Films with exposition at varying rates of clunkiness? Good general discussion topic for wittertainment?

  • Comment number 52.

    Growing up in the 80s and early 90s, the films that were always on that made it feel like Christmas were the Star Wars films. They've got nothing to do with Christmas but they were always there as regular as The Great Escape and I would lay in front of the fire enraptured,

    It's not quite the same anymore now they only show those damn digitally remastered travesties but once upon a time nothing said Christmas to me more than watching Han slicing opening the guts of his Tauntaun.

    Agree about Die Hard though. I'm already looking forward to singing along to Run DMC's Christmas In Hollis.

  • Comment number 53.

    National Lampoon's Christmas and Planes,Trains and Automobiles are great for the family. Also looking forward to watching Inception, havn't seen it since cinema release and always thought it was more of a winter's season film. Also I think Eyes Wide Shut was brilliant, there's something about Stanley Kubrick's style which draws you into the film just like Steven Spielberg said, even if it is a film composed of long conversations, no director can pull that off today. I always find that I enjoy films most when I watch them by accident as opposed to 'getting ready' or building up to it espcially during the holidays when there's an abundance of random films on.

  • Comment number 54.

    Pointless watching "Splash" on TV. The best lines are always censored. One of those cases where the *only* way to watch it properly these days is on DVD.

  • Comment number 55.

    .... oh, and one more thing. We always watch "Polar Express" on Christmas Eve. Watching it with children can be quite an emotional experience.

  • Comment number 56.

    And is "Groundhog Day" on AGAIN?
    Seems like every day...

  • Comment number 57.

    THE AMAZING MR BLUNDEN




    'nuff said

  • Comment number 58.

    Soz Mark mate you forgot to mention Home Alone and A Christmas Carol (2009). It seems you are losing your touch. Maybe its the old age.

  • Comment number 59.

    My main suggestion would be Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas) from Christian Carion. It's on Christmas Eve at 12:45am on BBC2. I'm 23 years old and I still get very excited about the double edition of the radio times! I've already sat down with the radio times and a pad of paper, listing and ranking all the christmas films I can record in the 10 spaces left on the BT vision box for when the family comes round. I can't wait to hear your suggestions for christmas movies as I'm getting a little tired of It's a wonderful life and christmas carol every year.

  • Comment number 60.

    Two films with a (sort of) Christmassy theme which seem to have been bypassed so far: The Long Kiss Goodnight (Geena Davis and Samuel L Jackson: what's not to like?) and The Ice Harvest. The latter is better than it's given credit for, and features John Cusack cast against type as a sleazy and irredeemably corrupt lawyer about to skip town forever before his past catches up with him. It's Christmas Eve in Wichita, Kansas, it's snowing and things just go from bad to worse as the violence mounts. It was originally reviewed as a kind of sub-Coen brothers production but I think that it's better than that and is, at least, a good counter to an excess of yuletide sentimentality. Oh, and the book - by Scott Phillips - is even better.

  • Comment number 61.

    i think you can't beat a bit of harihausen at christmas (apologies if i have spelt his name wrong)

    Jason and the argonauts (the origional not the rubbish remake)
    clash of the titans (the origional not the really rubbish remake)
    oh and at least a couple of sinbads

    also no-one has tried to solve the bond conundrum, which one is best after to much sherry, my vote goes to goldeneye or maybe diamonds are forever (mmmm bambi and thumper)

  • Comment number 62.

    Hey Mark, just looking at the Radio Times Christmas issue and I can't believe you missed out on Tim Burton's (or should that be Henry Selick's) The Nightmare Before Christmas and Who Framed Roger Rabbit which are both being broadcast on Saturday the 17th on BBC 3 and BBC 2 whilst Channel 4 are showing Carrie on the 18th.

  • Comment number 63.

    There are so many classics being shown, here are the best to see

    CAT PEOPLE (26/12 BBC2 1:10AM)
    CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (30/12 BBC2 1:25AM)
    BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (25/12 BBC2 1:55AM)
    WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (22/12 BBC2 12:40PM)
    SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR (20/12 BBC2 1AM)
    ASHES OF TIME REDUX (24/12 C4 2:10AM)
    THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (28/12 BBC2 13:25PM)

  • Comment number 64.

    People have already mentioned that Film4 are showing both In Bruges and MASH on the 27th (at 9pm and 12.55am respectively), but I am a little surprised that no-one's mentioned the film showing in between - Gareth Edwards' sci-fi romance Monsters, my personal favourite film of 2010 - stunning visuals and a touching believable romance.
    Three very different films but all very good in their own way. In my ever-so-humble opinion, I think this triple bill is the highlight of the Christmas period.

    Also, I noticed on Saturday 17th, BBC4 are showing American: The Bill Hicks Story and Dave are showing The Big Lebowski. I had yet to notice The Arbor though - a real find, thank you Good Doctor! :)

  • Comment number 65.

    Hey Mark - thank you for reminding me of my youth when I too couldn't wait for the Xmas film schedules on TV. Then, of course, there were only 3 channels (at least until 1982 when Channel 4 came along) and of these three the only one with a decent list of films was BBC 2.
    I cannot over-emphasise how important the BBC 2 Xmas film schedules of the late 70s/early 80s was for my love of films now. Without it film wouldn't be my favourite art form and I wouldn't have been introduced to some of my favourite films of all time like The Deer Hunter.
    I cannot watch films on commercial TV as I hate the loss of continuity. But this was never a problem with BBC 2 of course and for someone who didn't have access to a local cinema (and couldn't have afforded to go to even if I did) the BBC 2 Xmas film schedule was my salvation.
    As for this year can I put a shout in for The Nightmare Before Christmas?

  • Comment number 66.

    One film I watch every Christmas (which I thought was a given until I realised most of my friends thought it was crap) is Santa Claus The Movie starring the best on-screen santa of all time, David Huddleston. The first half of the film at the North Pole is absolutely wonderful and although the second half relocation to New York gets far too 'hollywood', it still has hilarious performances from Dudley Moore and John Lithgow to make up for it. An absolute must watch.

  • Comment number 67.

    anyone put down "The Jacket"? Brilliant feel low winter christmas movie.

  • Comment number 68.

    Which TV genius decided to put Serenity on at 3am?

  • Comment number 69.

    It has to be The Nightmare Before Christmas for me. If it is not on the telly then the DVD will go on every Christmas Eve. Fantastic animation, brilliant music and an inspired plot makes this essential Christmas viewing.

    I also really enjoyed Horton Hears A Who the first time I saw it so looking forward to catching that again.

    On a different note it does annoy me how late some channels put films on - The Towering Inferno, Rosemary's Baby, No Country For Old Men and Vertigo all on way past the witching hour.

  • Comment number 70.

    On Christmas day, I'll be watching (or recording at least) James and the Giant Peach on Channel 4. A brilliant adaptation of a Roald Dahl classic, Henry Selick and Tim Burton's trademark style of animation fits the darkness of the story perfectly along with a brilliant cast, notably Pete Postlethwaite for his terrifying but endearing Magic Guy and of course as the narrator.

  • Comment number 71.

    Although on the topic of christmas itself -

    What would I really like to see on TV for a Christmas treat?


    The long long long overdue Culture Show special - Mark Kermode interviews Christopher Nolan!

  • Comment number 72.

    I watched my first Christmas film of the year the other night, Gilliam's 'Brazil.' Though not exactly typical Christmas fare it's message regarding the idiocy inherent within bureaucracy seems to become more relevant each time I watch the film. Other than that I will try to find time for other seasonal favourites over the next couple of weeks, including 'It's a Wonderful Life', 'Home Alone' and 'Die Hard.' I find the four hour runtime of 'Gone with the Wind' is ideally suited to a Sunday afternoon in December, too!

  • Comment number 73.

    @39, I have an audio file of a radio ad for Black Christmas, the fantastic tag line- "If this movie doesn't make your skin crawl, it's on too tight!"

  • Comment number 74.

    Like many others my brother and I treasured our Christmas Radio Times. It indicated that we only had one week to sort our video collection. This was the time when we refreshed our collection and stockpiled for the long winter months. Which video tapes could be wiped to use again, which were the treasured films that both my brother and I agreed must never be touched. Did we need to keep Police Academy 2 despite the fact that it wasn't as good as 1 or 3? I remember keeping detailed records of our collection and planning our christmas film strategy: A Muppets Christmas Carol - watch, don't record Terminator 2 - Record, watch later, Gremlins - Watch and Record!

  • Comment number 75.

    Horror Channel ... Dec 23rd it's Roger Corman's Masque of the Red Death followed by the original Black Christmas on Dec 25th!!! It's a no brainer really.

  • Comment number 76.

    Bond film for Xmas: OHMSS. Loads of snow, the girls are given 'presents' and the winter festival scene when Bond is trying to escape Blofeld's goons. I've nothing against Lazenby, but just imagine if Connery had done the film!

    Also, what about the first story in Amicus' portmanteau horror 'Tales From the Crypt'? Joan Collins menaced by an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa! Brilliant!

    Or the very gory Silent Night, Deadly Night with another crazed Santa doing his rounds?!

    I haven't got the bumper RT yet, but I always approach it with a sense of caution: It's a sure fire bet I've seen all the films on offer before!

  • Comment number 77.

    Eyes Wide Shut has a lot of things wrong with it but it is not Kubrick's worst film. That honour definitely goes to Barry Lyndon, a film so boring I once watched it on fast forward and it still felt slow.

  • Comment number 78.

    Majority of the films have already been shown a month or two ago, such as Eyes Wide Shut, E.T. Wizard of Oz, etc. Even the movies are being repeated more times than the Morcombe and Wise Christmas Special.

    As for Gremlins. Did anyone notice the small print at the bottom of the write up in the Radio Times?

    Gremlins:
    Maybe edited for language or violence - I wonder if they'll edit Phoebe Cates speech.

    The best one of the lot and that is the PG rated Harry Potter 2, maybe edited for violence, colour, and sepia. Pardon? I think the entire population of children has seen Harry Potter 2, whether they wanted to or not.

    What the f is up that we have to warn people that there are some scenes in a mega box office hit movie, that the movie, contains brief moments of sepia.

    I don't remember reading a huge walk out of children when the movie was first shown at the cinema, in protest that some scenes was in sepia.

  • Comment number 79.

    I will be watching Christmas Story on DVD on Christmas Eve as it is one of the greatest Christmas films ever made. Funny & stupid at the same time. I might watch Radio Days afterwards for more fuzzy American nostagia.

  • Comment number 80.

    We pulled out all the Xmas type films a few years ago, Die Hard, Gremlins, The Wizard of Oz, 101 Dalmatians, Home Alone to name a few. The unanimous winner was Bad Santa which happily enough qualifies as it is on - Channel 5, 9pm, Wednesday, 21 December...ho, ho ho!

  • Comment number 81.

    Defininately only one Christmas movie- It's a Wonderful Life- who'd have thought a Christmas film involving suicide and the great depression would be so heart-warming (at least in the end)

  • Comment number 82.

    The only thing I've watched since childhood, and always will, every Christmas, is Wallace and Gromit. The BBC always show the classic shorts, and (despite not having looked at the schedules) Curse of the Were Rabbit is a must watch.

    N.B. If its not on TV, the DVD is essential. :)

  • Comment number 83.

    Spartacus and Gladiator are on this Christmas, interesting to compare how Hollywood has changed in terms of the big budget historic epics.

    But I definitely will be watching Super 8 after I buy it on Bluray as a present to myself, one of the best films of the year and I'm sure soon to be timeless.

  • Comment number 84.

    I've just realised that TCM is showing Bob Clark's 'A Christmas Story' at various times. A brilliant Christmas film which is sadly not very well known in this country. Every year I ask my girlfriend if she is ready for the Bob Clark double - 'Black Christmas' on Christmas Eve followed by 'A Christmas Story' on Christmas day. Awesome!

  • Comment number 85.

    I think "Eyes Wide Shut" is one of kubrick's finest film - All of Kubrick's films from 2001 onward have been misunderstood - ACO-BL-TS-FMJ-& EWS is no exception -

  • Comment number 86.

    I don't think anyone has mentioned Bad Santa thats on soon I think. I just love it and think all the performances are great. Apparently the Coen brothers are uncredited for some of the script and John Ritter's last film ( I think ). The film was pretty much panned by everyone but what's not to like ? BillyBob doing his usual stuff, bad language thats so bad dockers blush and an evil dwarf, and so un-PC. And Santa is a bad, bad Santa. I have two films I watch every Christmas to put me in the mood and this is one of them, the other is A Christmas Story that I bought region free in the USA that is so good would love to see a Mark review on it.

  • Comment number 87.

    Ok well since no one has mentioned it already....

    nothing says Christmas more than the sight of a stoned topless hooker in a santa hat jumping out a window to her death.....

    got to luv Lethal Weapon.. prolly one of the most forgotten about Christmas films lol

    Though still prefer Die Hard :)

  • Comment number 88.

    Clearly Ron Howard's best film is Apollo 13. Silly Kermode..

  • Comment number 89.

    Only one person said Planes,Trains and Automobiles? Well make that two now! Silly, sweet and as fun as anything isn't that Christmas?

  • Comment number 90.

    What - no mention for Young Frankenstein - always a Xmas cracker

    And the Dirty Dozen - always worth a watch

  • Comment number 91.

    Only one must-see film for us at Christmas - the inimitable John Candy as the excellent Uncle Buck.

  • Comment number 92.

    One big question:

    Where is Whistle Down the Wind?! Surely the greatest Christmas film ever made, and Bryan Forbes is severely underrated outside of his work on The Railway Children and The Stepford Wives. Forget Women in Love, that is Alan Bates' finest hour. What a masterpiece.

  • Comment number 93.

    I know what I would like to see on the TV from 'Xmas Past'
    1: The Ghosts of Oxford street (1991)
    2: Bernard and the Genie (1991)
    3: The Green Man (1990) a 3 part ghost story

  • Comment number 94.

    Where is Life of Brian? If that isn't about Christmas, I don't know what is.
    What about an classic British thriller for late night-owls? Dead of Night for instance. Any others??

  • Comment number 95.

    The Spiderwick Chronicles - scary, inventive, little-known, yet one of the best 'kids' films ever. Christmas Eve 7pm Film4.

  • Comment number 96.

    @JOE...You couldn't be more right! Die Hard is an Absolute Christmas Classic... Alan Rickman makes that film.

  • Comment number 97.

    Apart from the obvious ones eg Muppet Christmas Carol, Home Alone, The Snowman...one film I always have to watch at Christmas is A Little Princess (1995). I first saw it when I was 9 and totally fell in love with it. Poor Sara Crewe who gets sent to boarding school, is informed her father is missing in action, and loses everything, being forced to work as a servant by Miss Minchin. Even through her hardship and pain, she still tries to make everyone around her happy, and finds time to say that we should tell stories, believe in magic and most importantly...that every girl is a princess! It will really make you feel good at Christmas. Without giving it away, I'm picturing the ending now, and am practically crying with joy!

  • Comment number 98.

    Great call on 'The Muppet Christmas Carol', Mark! Loved it as a kid, and decided to catch it on telly this Christmas.

    It was amazing- surely one of the most engaging and inventive 'Carol' adaps ever made. But I was gutted when I realised that the song 'When Love is Gone', sung by Belle as she leaves the young Scrooge, had been cut. Has anyone any clue as to why this is? It's like 'Wizard of Oz' without 'Over the Rainbow' - it was the emotional core of the film. I remember you could actually SEE Scrooge's heart breaking; and it counterpoints 'When Love is Found' at the end of the film.

    Is the uncut version available anywhere? Was this a directorial decision?

    If not, it's the greatest case for a 'Director's Cut' I've ever come across.

    Happy 2012 everyone!

  • Comment number 99.

    Local Hero was on somwhere on freeview! I had forgotten how magical and infectious it is. Best movie I saw over Christmas.

  • Comment number 100.

    I didn't get to see any films this xmas too much travelling and seeing family to fit in a quiet lounge infront of the tv. However, I did get my old dvd of Die Hard out and watched it on the 5th Jan, which seeing as I live in Spain and we get our presents on the 6th still counts as xmas.
    I have to watch die hard every xmas!

 

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