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Top Six Christmas Movies

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by Dhanya Nair (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Hampshire. I write because there is so much to say. Please visit my blog: to know more about me
Published November 13th 2012
Christmas just became merrier
It's finally that time of the year when we are busily ticking off the calendar for the ultimate celebration of the year—Christmas. Christmas holiday season and movies are as inseparable as Santa Claus and presents. The clocks are chiming and with just six weeks to go, we've picked up six Yuletide faves which will take you from Charles Dickens to suburban gangsters in one swift move. Thank us later for this is the only Christmas list you will need this season. Bring on the fun. Ho, Ho, Ho!

It's a Wonderful Life: This 1946 American Christmas drama, produced and directed by Frank Capra is the ultimate Christmas favourite that is both heartwarming and timelessly classic. George Bailey (James Stewart) from Bedford Falls, New York is an altruistic do-gooder who wants travel the world. He runs Bailey Park, an affordable housing project but dreams of individualistic enterprise. His big dreams are continually thwarted by demands of the family, society and national upset. He is broken, debt-ridden and the final blow comes when debt collectors come to his door. He decides to end his life on Christmas Eve. As he is about to take the plunge, two celestial bodies sends down angel Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers), who after 200 years has yet to earn his wings, to help George out. Clarence shows George how remarkably he has led his life selflessly helping his community. George realises that he indeed has had a wonderful life despite all the challenges.

Scrooge: Christmas without the mention of Charles Dickens would be considered as blasphemy. Based on Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol, Scrooge (1951) is the best cinematic version ever. Ebenezer Scrooge (Alistair Sim) is a notorious London miser. He refuses to make any charitable contributions despite his wealth and treats his only employee Bob Cratchit, as a servant. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge gets an unlikely visitor—the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley, who too had led a disgraceful life. Paying for his sins, he is now wandering the Earth in shackles. Marley informs Scrooge that he will receive a trio of spirits that night who will take him on a journey through Christmases past, present, and future. During the apparition, Scrooge realises the bitter truth-- that greed has indeed turned him into a bitter ogre. He sets out for a life of redemption.

Miracle on 34th Street: A story of re-affirming faith, this 1947 classic sees Edmund Gwenn playing Kris Kringle, who is a splitting image of Santa Claus. Kris is offered a job as a Macy's toy-department Santa. But supervisor Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) has second thoughts when she realises that Kris thinks he is the original Santa and when she sees him advising customers to shop elsewhere for toys that they can't find at Macy's. But Mr. Macy (Harry Antrim) considers Kris' shopping tips to be an excellent "gimmick," and lets him keep his job. Meanwhile, Kris agrees to take a room with lawyer Fred Gailey (John Payne) during the Christmas season. Kris feels that divorced Doris and Fred are perfect for each other and hopes he can bring them together. Kris also wants to win over the Doris' daughter Susan (Natalie Wood), who despite her tender age has lost a lot of her spirit. Complications ensue when Macy's nasty in-house psychologist Granville Sawyer (Porter Hall), arranges to have Kris locked up in Bellevue as a lunatic. Fred represents Kris at his sanity hearing and is all set to prove that he indeed is Santa.

Elf: Directed by Jon Favreau, this 2003 comic caper opens with a baby crawling into Santa Claus (Ed Asner) sack of gifts. Unknowingly, he takes the baby to North Pole where Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) volunteers to raise the child. The baby is named Buddy. He is raised as an elf despite his human size and his poor toy-making skills. But Buddy soon realises that he is different; Papa Elf then tells him the truth—that he was born to a Susan Wells and Walter Hobbs (James Caan). While Walter never knew of his existence, Susan gives him up for adoption and then dies. Over the years, Walter becomes the head of children's book company. Steeled with determination, Buddy leaves for Manhattan to connect with his father.

Home Alone: Chris Columbus's 1990 American comedy is a definite Christmas favourite. Eight-year-old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is accidently left behind while his family flies off to Paris for the holidays. Kevin learns how to fend for himself. But things take a sharp turn when he has to save his home and neighbourhood from two idiotic yet dangerous burglars (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern. He has to think and think fast to save Christmas from the hands of these two burglars.

While You Were Sleeping: There are no gangsters or Santa Claus in this one but this 1995 film is a sweet love story set around Christmas day. Lucy (Sandra Bullock) leads a boring life as a toll collector near Chicago railway. She nurses an incurable crush on a regular customer Peter Callaghan (Peter Gallagher), but he pays her no attention. On Christmas, Peter is beaten by a gang of hooligans and tossed onto the tracks. Lucy rescues him from death. While he is comatose in the hospital, a comment she makes at his bedside is misinterpreted, and she is taken as Peter's fiancée by his family members. Peter's parents, Ox (Peter Boyle) and Midge (Micole Mercurio), take a liking to Lucy. But Lucy takes a liking to Peter's brother Jack (Bill Pullman), though Jack is suspicious about her claim to be Peter's intended. As Lucy gets acquainted to the family she slowly falls for Jack who too fancies her.

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