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Maddy’s Four Favourite Christmas Films

Christmas will soon be here before we know it. The Christmas songs have already started to play non stop on the radio, decorations and lights can now be found in many homes and public spaces, and if we’re lucky some of us may even get some snow this year!

Every Christmas I always try and set aside time to watch my four favourite Christmas films. These four are not only lovely films, but they also really get me in the mood for Christmas. It will come as no surprise to you that all but one of these films is from the classic film era. I highly recommend all of these if you’ve never seen them before. 

                                                       The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

This heartwarming story is the perfect blend of comedy and poignancy. Bishop Henry Brougham(David Niven) is extremely stressed and his personal life is suffering as a result. He is struggling to get funding for a new Cathedral and prays to heaven for some help. Help arrives in the form of the suave and kind angel, Dudley(Cary Grant). Dudley tries his best to help Henry during this difficult time, and he also tries to get Henry to reconnect with his family.

The Bishop's wife 1
Cary Grant as Dudley and David Niven as the Bishop. Image source IMDb.

Dudley unexpectedly finds himself falling in love with Henry’s loving wife, Julia(Loretta Young). He (and us)know that there’s no way they can ever be together, so this makes their growing bond deeply moving to watch unfold.

Cary Grant was initially set to play the Bishop and David Niven was going to play Dudley the angel, but that was changed and instead we got Cary as the angel and David as the long suffering Bishop. It’s hard to imagine David and Cary in the opposite roles now. They are perfectly cast.  This is such a lovely and uplifting film and makes for perfect Christmas viewing. I love the skating scene and the scene where Henry is stuck to a chair.🤣

                                                    It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

I adore Frank Capra’s beautiful and deeply moving tale of second chances, love and heartbreak. James Stewart delivers one of the best performances of his entire career as George Bailey. We see this man brought to the darkest and lowest point that any of us can reach, and in his utter despair he attempts to kill himself. Saved by the loveable angel, Clarence(Henry Travers), George wishes he had never been born. Clarence shows him what would happen to those he loves, and to the town he grew up in, if he had never lived. What George sees sure ain’t pretty!

It's a wonderful life 1
James Stewart, Donna Reed, and their screen children, in that famous finale of It’s A Wonderful Life. Image source IMDb.

 Now this certainly is pretty bleak content, and anyone who has never seen this before could well be forgiven for thinking that it doesn’t exactly sound like the lovely Christmas film they’ve heard so much about. Think again. This film is uplifting, romantic and extremely touching. The film shows us that we have each had some sort of impact on someone in life. It’s A Wonderful Life is one of the most moving and powerful films of all time. My heart melts every time at the beautiful telephone scene, in which George and Mary realise they are in love. James Stewart proved with his performance in this what a strong dramatic actor he was capable of being, and his career went from strength to strength after this. 

                                              The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Brian Henson’s take on Charles Dickens tale of redemption and Christmas makes perfect Christmas viewing for adults and children alike. This was actually my introduction to Charles Dickens and to A Christmas Carol. This film holds a special place in my heart because of that. 

Muppet Christmas Carol
Michael Caine as Scrooge and Kermit as Bob. Image source IMDb.

Michael Caine gives one of his best performances as the grouchy Scrooge. The Muppet gang play most of the other characters. Kermit and Miss Piggy are adorable and funny as Bob and Emily Cratchit. What I love most about this film, is that it has all the emotion and darkness of the novel, while also being very accessible and fun for the little ones watching. It has a great soundtrack and many catchy songs. I especially love the first scene where we meet Scrooge and all the Muppets sing about him as he passes by. 

                                                             White Christmas (1954)

This is my favourite Christmas film. I love the slowly developing relationships between the four main characters, and I love the dance sequences, songs and stunning costumes. This is a feast for the eyes and ears. The Mandy dance sequence is absolutely spectacular and showcases the dance skills of Vera-Ellen. I love The Sisters performance(those blue dresses are gorgeous)and it’s hilarious when Bing and Danny do their own version of that song later. Bing crooning White Christmas to homesick and traumatised soldiers is a very touching moment. 

White christmas 1

This heartwarming tale sees WW2 entertainers Bob(Bing Crosby)and Phil(Danny Kaye) putting on a show at a cosy inn in Vermont. The show is being put on to raise money for their formal commanding officer, General Waverley(Dean Jagger), who is having financial problems. The lads are aided by dancing and singing sisters, Judy(Vera-Ellen)and Betty(Rosemary Clooney). As they work to bring some Christmas magic into the General’s life, Bob falls for Betty, and Judy and Phil fall deeply in love. Poignant, uplifting and so much fun. This lovely film is the perfect way to begin Christmas. The great Mary Wickes steals all the scenes she’s in, as the General’s no-nonsense and loyal housekeeper, Emma. 

I just want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. I hope you have a lovely time. My heart goes out to anyone whose Christmas table will be missing someone this year x. I am very grateful for all of you and want to say thanks for your support and friendship. x 🎄🎅 Merry Christmas!

Do you love these films? Share your own favourite Christmas films below. 

 

12 thoughts on “Maddy’s Four Favourite Christmas Films”

  1. Merry Christmas, Maddy.

    I’m more of a Holiday Inn gal, but I have grown more fond of White Christmas through the years. When my daughter Janet was young she told me it was the best because “There are no kids or angels. It’s a story about people doing something nice for someone.” She made me think.

    Both of my kids adore The Muppet Christmas Carol and took me along for the ride. For a couple of years, I believe Janet was convinced that Charles Dickens was a muppet! Gavin puts the movie on a loop this time of year.

    I love Capra’s work. It’s a Wonderful Life, in particular, is like a favourite novel that you return to time and time again because it is filled with so many wonderful and thoughtful scenes. You always look forward to certain segments and are always surprised by spotting something new with each viewing.

    I’m working on my own piece on The Bishop’s Wife for later this month. It is a movie that grows dear to me with each passing year.

    I have many favourite Christmas traditional movies. Alastair Sim as Scrooge on Christmas Eve is a must. It just wouldn’t be Christmas. Others: A Christmas Story, The Holly and the Ivy, Three Godfathers from 1936, Remember the Night, March of the Wooden Soldiers, Miracle on 34th Street, The Shop Around the Corner, and We’re No Angels. There is not time enough to fit them all in! And The Thin Man, too!

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    1. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Paddy. How lovely to hear how much you love these films too. I look forward to reading your piece on The Bishop’s Wife. Nice to see a mention of the very underrated The Holly And The Ivy. What a cast that one has! Never seen We’re No Angels, must have a look for that.

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  2. A wonderful article as always. It’s A Wonderful Life still does it for me. I make it a point to watch Scrooge, ( Alistair Sim ). Preferably on Christmas Eve, a long standing tradition, from when we were kids. Many years ago, when I lived in Seattle, I got to Wonderful Life in a theater, with a large family audience. That did it for me.

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  3. My fav Christmas film is only a Christmas film for the last half or so, but that’s enough for me: Ernst Lubitsch’s THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), starring Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, and Frank Morgan. I’ve seen it a least half a dozen times over the years.

    I also love BABES IN TOYLAND (1934), starring Laurel & Hardy.

    Rounding out my trio of Christmas favs is A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951) starring Alastair Sim

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  4. Of the four it shouldn’t be a surprise that Its a Wonderful Life is my favorite. When I was a kid another title that was on every year that seems to have faded is Going My Way and I would still list that one on Christmas favorites. Plan on watching it again this month.
    Cheers.

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  5. Muppets and It’s a Wonderful Life every single year with the kids. Two very special films.
    Last year we watched It’s a Wonderful Life in colour!!!! Just for a change. That was a strange experience. So weird to see Jimmy wearing a colour jumper you had not ever of imagined. Would not do it again but it was certainly different!!!!.
    Never seen White Christmas before or The Bishops Wife, though I do fancy seeing the Niven and Grant one.

    I know it’s not really a xmas film but we did Die Hard last year so Die Hard Two is penciled in. Yippee ki yay mother…. Christmas
    Hope you have a great festive month Maddy.
    All the best…. Mikey

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    1. It’s A Wonderful Life in colour? Yuck! LOL. Hope you get to see The Bishop’s Wife and White Christmas they are such good fun.

      The Die Hard films are brilliant. I always have a giggle seeing Colm Meaney in 2, as a pilot with a very over the top posh British accent. 🤣😁 Merry Christmas to you and yours mate.

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  6. Wonderful choices here, Maddy, although I’m a little embarrassed to say I’ve never seen “A Muppet Christmas”. I’ve heard great things about it – especially Michael Caine’s straight-laced performance – and you’ve got me inspired to see it this season. 🙂

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