One of the best bits about Christmas is the amount of time we’re all permitted to sink into watching feel-good, often hopelessly romantic, nearly always entirely predictable Christmas films. It doesn’t matter if we’ve seen them half a dozen times before, either - both new and old films in the genre are incredibly welcome.
And if you’re looking for films to watch, Prime Video has you covered, with two new Christmas films being released this December on the streaming site, alongside a dozen other classics. Here’s our round-up of the best festive films not to miss.
Your Christmas Or Mine?
In this upcoming British comedy from writer Tom Parry (whose solo show, Yellow T-shirt, ran at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015) a young couple decide to surprise each other by turning up at each other’s family Christmases. One ends up at a mansion in Gloucester, while the other turns up at a packed semi in Macclesfield. A major snow storm means they become stranded, and so end up spending quality time with each other’s families instead. Asa Butterfield (Sex Education), Daniel Mays (1917) and Angela Griffin (Lewis) star.
Released on December 2
Something from Tiffany’s
Rachel (Zoey Deutch) and Gary (Ray Nicholson) are a happy couple who aren’t ready to get engaged yet, while Ethan (Kendrick Smith Sampson) and Vanessa (Shay Mitchell) are planning to tie the knot. One New York day, however, the Tiffany engagement ring that Ethan buys gets mixed up with the earrings bought by Gary. It brings Ethan and Rachel together, and well, in classic rom-com style, true love is just around the corner. The film is based on the 2011 best-selling novel of the same name by Melissa Hill, which was called “blissfully escapist” by the Irish Independent.
Released on December 9
An appropriately glittering cast for a Christmas animation: James McAvoy is clumsy son Arthur Claus, Hugh Laurie is older brother Steven Claus, Bill Nighy is Grandsanta, the free-spirited Grandad, Jim Broadbent is Malcolm Claus, aka Santa Claus, Imelda Staunton is Margaret Claus his wife, Laura Linney is, unbelievably, a North Pole Computer; there’s Eva Longoria, Michael Palin... the list goes on.
The film, which first came out in 2011, is about what happens when Arthur discovers that his Dad’s sleigh has forgotten to deliver a present to a young girl. He sets off with his Grandfather and a young elf to try and ameliorate matters, but of course, things don’t go according to plan. It was reviewed by one paper as “unexpectedly fresh, despite the familiar-sounding premise” and pulled in $147 million worldwide at the box office.
Christmas with the Kranks
Based on the 2001 novel Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, but very much a comedy and not a thriller, this 2004 Christmas film has become something of a classic over the years. Tim Allen (who was the star of Nineties sitcom Home Improvement and who is now probably best known globally for playing Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story) is Luther Krank and Jamie Lee Curtis plays his wife Nora. The film details the chaos that ensues when the daughter of the couple, who has chosen not to partake in Christmas that year, decides to come home last minute.
Who doesn’t love this feel-good film about two unlucky-in-love women (one is besotted with a manipulative colleague, while the other has just been cheated on by her long-term partner) who decide to swap houses over Christmas? Off Kate Winslet’s character, Iris, goes to Los Angeles, while Cameron Diaz’s character heads to a tiny village in the English countryside for some r&r. While Iris is immediately extremely happy in sunny LA, where she meets Miles (Jack Black) and famous retired screenwriter Arthur (Eli Wallach), Amanda thinks the freezing cold cottage was a bad idea - but that’s before she runs into Iris’ good-looking brother Graham (played by Jude Law).
Directed by rom-com stalwart Nancy Meyers (who also made Father of the Bride, The Parent Trap, It’s Complicated and The Intern) the predictable ending does not remotely dampen the enjoyment of watching this 2006 Christmas banger.
One Christmas, couple Bradford (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) end up having to visit every one of their parents, who are all divorced, after their holiday away gets cancelled. This means four separate parties in one day, and so the chaotic premise has been set. Secrets start to get exposed, relationships get raked over and personal discoveries are made - just a little bit more hectic than a normal Christmas, then.
Although widely panned by the critics, the film brought in $163.7 million worldwide. Robert Duvall (The Godfather), Jon Favreau (Endgame), Mary Steenburgen (The Proposal), Kristin Chenoweth (The West Wing), Jon Voight (The Rainmaker) and Sissy Spacek (Last Call) also star.
Love Actually has become such a classic that the film is now been taken on multiple sell-out December tours in both the UK and Australia, where a live orchestra performs the hit soundtrack alongside the film. Who doesn’t think to themselves “love actually is all around us” (in a Hugh Grant voice) every time they’re at an airport arrival gate? Who doesn’t get a lump in their throat when they think of Laura Linney’s Sarah’s dedication to her brother, or Emma Thompson saying to her husband (Alan Rickman), “Would you stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse?”
Scenes from the film have been rinsed thousands of times on the internet, too - Keira Knightly’s “I look quite pretty” is currently doing the rounds on TikTok, while Andrew Lincoln’s card confession has been reiterated in numerous adverts and comedy sketches. The film has a packed cast that includes Rowan Atkinson working at a jewellery counter, Billy Bob Thornton playing the US President and Bill Nighy as a chart-topping musician. It’s all, simply put, great.
The Night Before
Rather less romantic than most of the films on this list, The Night Before, from director Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies) is a comedy stoner film that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie as three childhood friends. It’s Christmas Eve in New York and they’re looking for the best party in the city. Marijuana is a central component of the plot, but so is friendship, love and honesty, which makes this alternative film fit the Christmas model in the end. It also stars Mindy Kaling (The Office), Lizzy Caplan (The Interview) and Michael Shannon (Bullet Train).
This 1998 film from director Troy Miller (Parks and Recreation, The Office) was a box office flop, but has gained some fans over the last 25 years. Starring Michael Keaton as Jack Frost and as the voice of the animated snowman, Kelly Preston (Casino Jack) as his widow Gabby and Joseph Cross (Lincoln) as his son Charlie, the story is something of a heartbreaker. Jack Frost dies in a car crash but comes back as the snowman in the front yard of his house so that he can spend time with his family.
Deck The Halls
There are surely few Christmas films more mindlessly fun to watch than this 2006 movie about new neighbour Danny DeVito and suburban dad Matthew Broderick (of all people) who battle it out over Christmas lights. The Christmas spirit nearly gets cast aside as the duo goes deep into their one-upmanship. John Whitesell, who also directed Calendar Girl, Big Momma’s House 2 and Holidate, directs and Kristin Davis (Sex and the City), Kristin Chenoweth (The West Wing) and Fred Armisen (The Ex) also star.