For this countdown, we’re looking at Christmas classics of a bygone era that are well-worth checking out for their sentimentality, feel-good factor and iconic status.
It’s easy to look back to Christmas movies that we loved when we were young, or check out the newest blockbusters when it comes to the holiday season, but these films from the 1940s-60s are classics for a reason.
Here are our six recommendations for old-time Christmas movies to check out over the holidays:
Holiday Inn is a popular Christmas classic for not only starring the musical geniuses that are Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, it was also the flick that introduced one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time, ‘White Christmas’, to the world. Holiday Inn would later be loosely be remade into the film White Christmas which reprises the song, stars Crosby again, and is also worth a look at.
The film sees a crooner and professional dancer compete for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer.
Miracle on 34th Street
Before there was the remake starring Matilda’s Mara Wilson, the original Miracle on 34th Street charmed the hearts of many back in 1947 – and it still does so today. If you haven’t seen it, this film truly is a classic, plus it stars our own Irish actress Maureen O’Hara and a young Natalie Wood of West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause fame.
When a Santa Claus working in a department store claims to be the real Santa, a young lawyer decides to defend his case in court, arguing that this Santa is the real thing.
A bit like It’s a Wonderful Life, The Apartment could be considered a Christmas or a New Year’s movie – it works for both really. The film won five Oscars back in 1961 (including Best Picture and Best Director for Billy Wilder) and features top notch performances from Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray. Its sharp and witty script from Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond is key.
C.C. Baxter (Lemmon) is successfully furthering his career by loaning his apartment to company executives for their extra-marital affairs, but things get complicated when his boss (MacMurray) reignites his relationship with the elevator operator (MacLaine) Baxter is in love with.
All That Heaven Allows
Despite being made in 1955, the themes of All That Heaven Allows feel extremely contemporary as it looks at the relationship that forms between a widow and a much younger man. Directed in gorgeous Technicolour by the brilliant Douglas Sirk, the film is deeply moving as well as stunning.
Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson star as a couple whose love sparks outrage in the community and in Wyman’s character’s family.
Meet Me In St Louis
When it comes to Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz tends to be the first movie that pops to mind but this holiday favourite is quite the gem and all about those all-important Christmas gifts of home and family. Plus you’ll bawl your eyes out when you hear Garland’s rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
The film follows a year in the life of the Smith family in their beloved town of St. Louis.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Then of course we couldn’t forget It’s a Wonderful Life! That movie that restores your faith in humanity and the goodness of people will always be a classic.
When George Bailey (James Stewart) contemplates ending his life, an angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) shows him what life in his community of Bedford Falls would have been like without him.