King's Lynn Community Cinema Club: Top 10 Christmas movies of all time

PUBLISHED: 13:52 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:32 18 December 2017

James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY


One of the great Yuletide traditions is the Christmas film – sometimes cheesy, often over-sentimental, and usually with a message of goodwill to all men. With so many to choose from, chairman of King’s Lynn Community Cinema Club (KLCCC), Ian Barton, provides his top 10 Christmas movies of all time.

It's A Wonderful Life. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYIt's A Wonderful Life. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

• It’s a Wonderful Life

Yes, everyone knows this one, but you’d have to have a heart of stone not to fall for its charms. From guardian angels to villainous capitalists (the FBI weren’t impressed), James Stewart stars in this Frank Capra classic about a man who learns to appreciate all he has in life by being shown what would have happened if he had never existed.

The Snowman and the Snow Dog. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYThe Snowman and the Snow Dog. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

• The Snowman

This British short was first shown on Channel 4 at Christmas 1982, and has become an institution, shown every year since with the exception of 1984. It tells the story of a boy whose snowman comes to life and takes him on a magical adventure. Made by Raymond Briggs, and featuring the song Walking in the Air.

Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara in a scene from Miracle On 34th Street, 1947. Picture: Courtesy of the Margaret HerrickEdmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara in a scene from Miracle On 34th Street, 1947. Picture: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick

• Miracle on 34th Street

The 1947 version is the best, with Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle, who has to try and prove in court that he is the real Santa Claus. Look out for a young Natalie Wood as the daughter of Maureen O’Hara. Clever and utterly charming, a film that rejects the commercialisation of Christmas.

Gremlins. Picture: Warner Bros./OutNowGremlins. Picture: Warner Bros./OutNow

• Gremlins

In the run up to Christmas, Billy receives a pet mogwai from his father but fails to abide by the rules – no water, no sunlight and no feeding after midnight. Chaos ensues in the town of Kingston Falls. An Eighties classic, this is another Christmas film that subverts the genre – listen out for the reason that Phoebe Cates hates Christmas.

Will Ferrell in Elf, 2003. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYWill Ferrell in Elf, 2003. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

• Elf

This 2003 film seems to grow in popularity each year. The story of Buddy who lies with Santa at the North Pole only to discover that he is not really an elf, and so he travels to New York to find his family. Lots of laughs as Buddy manages to overcome the cynicism around him whilst spreading Christmas cheer.

8 Women (8 Femmes). Picture: BIM Distribuzione/OutNow8 Women (8 Femmes). Picture: BIM Distribuzione/OutNow

• 8 Women

At KLCCC, we love a foreign language film, and here’s a great French Christmas offering. A family gathers for Christmas but the patriarch is found dead, and the killer must be one of eight women. A dark musical comedy for the festive season with an amazing array of French actresses including Emmanuelle Beart, Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert.

Rare Exports. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYRare Exports. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

• Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

This dark Finnish film sees the story of Father Christmas transformed into something very sinister indeed. Two youngsters believe that a drilling project has unearthed the tomb of Santa Claus, but this is anything but the kindly avuncular Santa that we all know and love. Parental caution advised!

Alistair Sim as Scrooge. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYAlistair Sim as Scrooge. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

• Scrooge

The 1951 version with Alistair Sim, the perfect film realisation of the Dickens story A Christmas Carol. The mean-spirited Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas after being visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. A fabulous British supporting cast too, including Michael Hordern and George Cole.

• The Shop Around the Corner

Remade as You’ve Got Mail, this is a hugely entertaining screwball comedy with James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan as the fractious shop co-workers who don’t realise that have fallen in love with each other through a pen-pal relationship. Meanwhile, at their department store, it’s all going crazy in the run up to Christmas.

• The Bishop’s Wife

When a bishop prays for guidance, he gets an angel who quickly becomes very popular with everyone he encounters, including the bishop’s wife. As Christmas approaches, the bishop wonders if the angel is all set to replace him in both his work and his family. This 1947 classic has been somewhat overlooked in recent years.

The KLCCC screen films on the second Thursday of every month at the Guildhall, King’s Lynn Arts Centre. More information can be found on

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