Every Christmas, the TV schedules are filled with the same familiar bilge. The dreary re-runs of Christmas episodes from TV series and bland family movies that you didn’t like all that much first time around. But now the days of streaming movies from Netflix and LoveFilm are here, you’re no longer tied to the Radio Times.
Netflix’s shabby movie collection doesn’t exactly make it easy, though. We’ve trawled through the service’s movie library to pick out a few festive gems worth jamming into your tellybox.
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5. 1941 (1979)
A lesser-known Steven Spielberg flick, 1941 is a comedy that tells the tale of a group of slightly overcooked Californians preparing for the Japanese invasion following Pearl Harbor. It’s not your classic Christmas film setup, but with an amazing cast that includes Dan Ackroyd, John Belushi and John Candy, it’s a little-known film that more people should experience.
Dated? Sure. Potentially racially offensive? Check. It matches most people’s Christmases down to the ground.
4. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
A classic anti-Christmas Xmas movie, Silent Night, Deadly Night is a slasher film whose crazed serial killer dresses up as Santa before choping up his victims. It was released at the same time as Nightmare on Elm Street, ensuring that it was forgotten by many fairly quickly. But this is prime 80s slasher fare.
Plus, it’s under 90 minutes long so you should be able to squeeze it in-between the Queen’s speech and a few final evening presents. Or sherrys.
3. Becoming Santa (2011)
This is a documentary rather than a work of fiction, but is heart-warming in requisite Christmas fashion. Becoming Santa is about Jack, a man who goes to Santa school to re-discover his lost Christmas spirit. He’s middle-aged, overweight and mourning the loss of family members – not a jolly chap.
Taking on the role of Santa sends him on a classic journey of discovery that’ll warm the cockles. And all without too much filmic fromage, too.
2. The Great Escape (1963)
If you want to see The Great Escape, you’ll probably be able to catch it a few times on ITV4 over the Christmas period, but Netflix has the three-hour-long Xmas-staple in HD. Everyone must know the story by now, but it follows the adventures of a gang of allied soldiers attempting to escape from a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.
It’s epic in just about every sense, though, so make sure your TV audience isn’t going to start groaning half-way through.
1. Scrooged (1988)
Undoubtedly one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time, Scrooged is probably the funniest adaptation of the A Christmas Carol tale. Frank Cross is an overworked, cynical, disillusioned TV executive, taking on the role of Scrooge in the movie.
To everyone around him, it looks like Frank Cross is having a nervous breakdown, a part that Bill Murray is more-than equipped to take on. Murray’s erratic acting and the edgy comedy of this film make it one on of the most memorable Christmas adaptations around. If you haven’t seen this film, watch it now.