Halloween might just be round the corner, but we’re already looking forward to all the great movies lined-up for us this Christmas season, including Illumination Entertainment’s adaptation of a timeless Dr Seuss tale: The Grinch, which lands in Cineworld on 9th November.
You might think that a film that follows a Christmas-hating grouch attempting to steal Christmas should only be watched between November and January, but you’d be mistaken. While The Grinch is undoubtedly all about the most wonderful time of the year, that’s not going to stop us from watching it all year, whether it be for its comedy, its all-too important messages, or simply for the sheer joy of seeing it time and time again.
Some Christmas films aren’t just for Christmas. Like The Grinch, here are five other “Christmas” movies we can watch all year round.
Die Hard (1988)
This action classic sees Bruce Willis as renegade cop John McClane on a one man mission to save his wife and other hostages held in a skyscraper by a group of terrorists led by the ever diabolical Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). Based on the novel by Roderick Thorp, Die Hard has since become an integral part of every movie lover’s Christmas.
Despite Willis himself infamously stating that the film isn’t a Christmas movie, we have to respectfully disagree. Not only does the film take place during a Christmas party on Christmas Eve, but there are also more than a handful of jovial nods to the holiday, including a defeated guard sporting a Santa hat and makeshift festive t-shirt.
Of course the optimum time to watch Die Hard is on Christmas Eve, but it’s just too great an action film to save for only one day each year. We could easily watch it every day without feeling guilty about it.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Cult classic animation directed by Henry Selick and coming from the mind of Tim Burton, The Nightmare Before Christmas may have the word “Christmas” in its title, but we assure you that it’s anything but the jolly festive flicks you’re used to.
When Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), the king of Halloween Town, stumbles into Christmas Town, he becomes obsessed with the holiday and attempts to merge it with Halloween with disastrous consequences.
Aside from being a ground-breaking animation bursting with imagination, one of the best aspects about this film is it works as both an ideal Christmas and Halloween film due to its uplifting Christmas spirit and horror atmosphere – and there’s nothing wrong with watching horror films all year round, is there? Throw in some ridiculously catchy tunes from composer Danny Elfman (who’s also Jack’s singing voice), and you have one delightful treat for any time of year.
Home Alone (1990)
We’re all familiar with the plight of eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), who gets left behind by his family one Christmas during a mad rush to catch a flight and ends up fending off a duo of semi-competent career criminals (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) in this beloved Chris Columbus Christmas classic.
Packed with some heart-warming holiday cheer that’s further cemented by a beautiful John Williams score, Home Alone is another must see film for every year that never seems to lose any of its magic.
You know it’s that time of year again whenever Home Alone appears on every channel, but, while we can watch it as a straight-up Christmas film, we like to view it as a goofy comedy, too, just so we can watch it during rainy afternoons. Pesci and Stern are the perfect double act and young Culkin is full of energy and personality. And we haven’t even mentioned the franchise’s iconic traps, taken straight from Wile E. Coyote’s handbook, that somehow don't kill the burglars.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
Arguably the definitive Christmas classic, It’s A Wonderful Life is one of those rare films that seems to only get better with age, and at over 70 years old, this is one good film; it’s no wonder that it’s frequently considered as one of the best films ever made.
We all know the story by now: George Bailey (James Stewart), a man down on his luck, contemplates killing himself one Christmas, but it’s at this point a guardian angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) is sent to show him what life would be like if he never existed, which leads to tragic revelations guaranteed to send a few tears down your cheeks.
This film may be all about good will to all and all that, but what separates this from your average holiday outing is its emphasis on how invaluable each life is and its impact (no matter how small) on the world and people around us is irreplaceable. That's got to be something we can be doing with reminding ourselves with all year round.
Elf is certainly the most “Christmas-y” Christmas film on this list as it sees a human adopted by elves as a baby, Buddy (Will Ferrell), journey from the North Pole to New York on a quest to meet his real father (James Caan) only to discover he’s a bigger grouch than the Grinch. In order to get his dad back on the Nice List, Buddy has to rekindle his Christmas cheer.
However, despite Elf being stuffed full of more Christmas than a Christmas stocking, we’d still happily watch this one all year round, purely because it’s one of the funniest films in recent years, and that’s all thanks to another stellar comedic performance by Will Ferrell.
No matter the time of year, Elf is one film that should always be at the top of your Christmas list.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.