Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s under two weeks until Christmas and your telly is being inundated with festive films, some terrible, some not so terrible. Not many (good) Christmas films are based on books or literature but I’ve gone to the trouble of putting together the top five Christmas films based on books, so you don’t have to.


Now these are the top five films, the quality of the original literature has no bearing here, just the end results of the actual films. Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments.


5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)




Now, I’m new to this film having only watched it at the weekend, but Christmas films based on books are pretty slim pickings so it makes the list. However, Dr Seuss’ creation is bought to life pretty well by director Ron Howard and lead Jim Carrey.


To be honest I quite enjoyed the first hour and ten minutes of this, as an evil, green Jim Carrey tries to ruin everyone’s Christmas. However, a little girl manages to grow his shrivelled heart and everyone in Whoville – that’s where most of the characters live – learns that Christmas isn’t about material things it’s about spending time with the ones you love. Apparently, all it takes is a maniacal hairy green Grinch to commit hundreds of acts of robbery to do so. I mean sometimes that’s what we all need.


4. The Snowman (1982)



I know it only comes in at 26 minutes long but it’s pretty much a British tradition for this to be on Channel Four at about 6 a.m. Christmas morning, so it had to make the list.


Now, as a kid I always found Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman a little creepy on screen. A snowman comes to life and takes a boy away from home. I mean, that’s what nightmares are made of, right?


Anyway, it soon becomes clear The Snowman is, in fact, a pretty chill guy (obviously, he’s a snowman) and even takes the boy to meet Santa and his reindeer, Santa even gives him a scarf. Might not seem like much but I am told scarves were very much the Xbox of the late 70s and early 80s.


When the boy wakes in the morning the Snowman has melted but he still has scarf. Aw, isn’t that lovely/slightly unnerving.


3. A Christmas Carol (Numerous)



Although the best book of all five, that must be undisputed, it is not the best film, I’m afraid. A Christmas Carol has been done so many times you can make the top five with versions of this film alone.


My favourite interpretation has to be A Muppet Christmas Carol, the only way you’re going to make a classic better is by adding a green frog puppet who is married to a pig puppet, I mean, I don’t know the logistics of that relationship but they make it work.


Also, Michael Caine, what a great bit of casting that is.


Look, I won’t go into detail here, I don’t want to ruin the Muppet magic for you. Just give it a watch. Trust me.


2. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)



Based on a short story, written by Philip Van Doren Stern, back in 1939, It’s a Wonderful Life has a lot to offer. I mean, not only is this an acclaimed Christmas film, it’s an acclaimed film in general. It got nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture. No mean feat. Don’t see any other Christmas films managing that.


It starts on Christmas Eve with a bunch of people praying for George Bailey, our protagonist, then cuts to some god-like constellations speaking in ‘heavens’ about how they can stop George committing suicide. Deep, right? I mean this is a U-rated film. They don’t explicitly say the word ‘suicide’ but I mean that’s a lot for a four-year-old to grasp at Christmas.


Anyway, they decide to send Clarence, an angel who is yet to earn his wings, to save George because, apparently, George is quite an important fellow. Oh yeah, that’s right, let the unqualified guy go do it.


Prayers, constellations, suicide, unqualified angels… Sounds a bit out there, but honestly, this film will take you on a little roller-coaster of emotions.


It flashes back through George’s life. Capturing him in moments he has forgotten and recreates a world in which if he had never existed things would have been a lot worse. The end is, and this is very out of character for me to say, A DELIGHT, A BLOODY DELIGHT! I mean, it would warm the coldest of souls, The Snowman would have melted a lot sooner if he’d stayed in and watched It’s a Wonderful Life instead of going all the way to visit Santa! I mean if you’re not an action loving person then this will probably be your number one, but this leads me nicely to my personal favourite Christmas film…


1. Die Hard (1988)



Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Die Hard isn’t a Christmas film!’ Well, you’re wrong, it is. ‘How is it?’ I hear you ask, here I’ll throw some factoids at you:


It is set on Christmas eve. Fact. Set at a Christmas party. Fact. It has snow. Sort of. (It’s actually ash and shredded up office paperwork, which is, sort of, a grown-up version of snow.) There’s even a fat guy humming Christmas songs at one point. Okay? Now that’s out of the way let’s discuss why this is the best Christmas film ever made.


Based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp this CHRISTMAS film has everything; a vested-up Bruce Willis in his prime, the best movie villain of all-time, Hans Gruber, played by the late, great Alan Rickman, a heist, the FBI being idiots and some great one liners (‘Yippie ki-yay…’ anyone?). Oh, and it’s set on Christmas Eve, did I mention Christmas Eve?


This film will keep you on the edge of your seat and give you that warm, fuzzy feeling only a hostage situation in a skyscraper can at Christmas.



That’s the list done. So now it’s time to take a seat, have plenty of provisions prepared and watch all of the above before the big day.


Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals. (Unfortunately, Home Alone is not based on a book)