Wanna watch Christmas movies in Edinburgh this winter? From 'It's a Wonderful Life' to 'Elf', there's something about Christmas movies that brings people together. That's why, no matter how nice it is to huddle up on the couch with a DVD, it's hard to beat the experience of enjoying a festive film on the big screen. There are loads of opportunies to catch Christmas movies in Edinburgh's cinemas (and beyond) this winter, so grab the popcorn and prepare to feel some festive cheer.
RECOMMENDED: Time Out's full guide to Christmas in Edinburgh
Watch Christmas movies in Edinburgh
You know the deal by now: the two sisters, the snowy kingdom, the endlessly catchy songs. Sure, there's no actual mention of Christmas in the kingdom of Arendelle, but you needn't let a piddling detail like that stand in the way of a stone cold snowbound family classic. Catch the sing-along screenings at Edinburgh's Drive In Movie Spectacular.
Edinburgh Zoo, Sat Dec 5 & Mon Dec 28
Filmhouse, Sun Dec 13
Edinburgh's Drive-in Movie Spectacular, Sat Dec 19, Mon Dec 21 & Wed Dec 23
Vue Ocean Terminal, Sun Dec 27
Perhaps a less familiar Christmas movie, this French comedy (which is largely inspired by classic kids' story 'The Little Prince') stars 'A Prophet's Tahar Rahim as a cat burglar who finds himself adopting the role of Santa Claus when a child catches him in the act.
Screening at the Filmhouse, Sat Dec 5
A frantic and silly penguin-filled spin-off of the ‘Madagascar’ cartoon franchise, featuring adult-friendly cameos by Werner Herzog and Benedict Cumberbatch. Catch it at Edinburgh Zoo and meet the real deal afterwards.
Screening at Edinburgh Zoo, Sun Dec 6, Sat Dec 19 & Fri Jan 1.
An update on the Dickens classic, with Bill Murray as a miserly TV network president who rejoins the human race following spectral visitations. The tone is set by a machine-gun assault on Santa's North Pole toy workshop and a series of guest star drop-ins, including jazz greats Miles Davis and David Sanborn busking in the wintry streets beside a needy musicians' sign.
Screening at the Cameo Cinema, Mon Dec 7
A surreal, kaleidoscopic marvel of modern technology, as a group of kids board conductor Tom Hanks’ mystery train and are whisked away to have their beliefs reaffirmed by Mr Claus.
Edinburgh Zoo, Mon Dec 7 & Sun Dec 20
The Edinburgh Drive In Movie Spectacular, Mon Dec 21
Buddy (Will Ferrell) is different because he's a human among elves, brought back to the North Pole as a baby when he strayed into the old boy's sack during the Christmas run. He's been raised in the traditional elfin ways of industrious good humour, but now it's time for him to venture to distant New York and discover his real father. Some humour might sail over the heads of the very young, but there's a higher chuckle rate for the grown-ups than much dread 'family' fare.
Cameo Cinema, Wed Dec 9
The Edinburgh Drive In Movie Spectacular, Sat Dec 19 & Tue Dec 22
Edinburgh Zoo, Sat Dec 26 & Mon Jan 4
An almost pornographically soppy but, nonetheless, hearty and humorous 1954 festive romp in which Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye take their astonishingly popular two-man lounge-comedy-dance revue to rural Vermont. It’s as sickly-sweet as an eggnog tsunami, but Bing’s brandy-butter baritone and Kaye’s incessant, proto-Jim Carrey clowning always manage to raise a smile.
Screening at the Cameo Cinema, Sun Dec 13
Again, not especially Christmassy, but the spectacular snowy landscapes, sentimental storyline and thoroughly warming Morgan Freeman voiceover will get you halfway there anyway. See it at the Zoo, meet the stars (orn their lookalikes) afterwards.
Screening at Edinburgh Zoo, Fri Dec 11 & Sun Dec 27.
Acted to the parsimonious hilt by the human Scrooge (Michael Caine), and framed by author-narrator Charles Dickens (the Great Gonzo) addressing his rodent audience (Rizzo the Rat), the classic Christmas story survives.
Cameo Cinema, Sat Dec 12
Edinburgh Zoo, Sat Dec 12 & Sat Jan 2
The Edinburgh Drive In Movie Spectacular, Sun Dec 20 & Wed Dec 23
Set to spend Christmas in Paris with parents and assorted relatives, young Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) wishes everyone would just disappear, a desire granted when he is accidentally left behind by his preoccupied parents. A confident mix of precocious self-awareness, childlike wonderment and slapstick violence.
Odeon Fort Kinnaird, Sat Dec 12
Odeon Wester Hailes, Sat Dec 12
Cameo Cinema, Wed Dec 16 (as a double bill with 'Home Alone 2')
The Edinburgh Drive In Movie Spectacular, Sat Dec 19 & Tue Dec 22.
A hi-tech thriller with a human heart, offering slam-bang entertainment on a par with 'Lethal Weapon' or 'Aliens'. On Christmas Eve, visiting New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) enters the high-rise LA office block where his estranged wife works, not realising it's about to be taken over by sadistic smoothie Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his ruthless terrorists.
Filmhouse, Sun Dec 13
Odeon Fort Kinnaird, Tue Dec 15
Odeon Wester Hailes, Tue Dec 15
The Edinburgh Drive In Movie Spectacular, Wed Dec 23
Cameo Cinema, Thu Dec 24
The only Yuletide favourite to pivot around an attempted suicide, Capra’s post-war fable is a fascinating melange of social and personal impulses and the questionable charms of home. Funny, compelling and moving.
Odeon Fort Kinnaird, Tue Dec 15
Odeon Lothian Road, Tue Dec 15
Cameo Cinema, Sun Dec 20 & Thu Dec 24
Padding the deluxe avenues of Manhattan, kindly gentleman Kriss Kringle (Richard Attenborough) confirms to a child that he is in fact the real Father Christmas. The movie that follows - in which he must prove his claim in court - is a shaky business, but all kids love it. The appeal must lie in the Santa-as-fantasy-grandfather-figure - with bottomless pockets.
Screening at the Edinburgh Drive In Movie Spectacular, Sun Dec 20.
Eight or nine plotlets, a castlist the size of a rugby scrum and a tone that's alternately sentimental and silly, Richard Curtis's Christmas romcom isn't to everyone's taste, but there's no denying it has an audience.
Screening at the Edinburgh Drive In Movie Spectacular, Sun Dec 20
Admittedly, this black comedy about a hard-drinking, safe-cracking mall Santa is pretty much a one-joke film. But it is, for the most part, quite hilarious in its foul-mouthed malice and disenchantment with all things wholesome and familial; few films have been as funny about greed, lust, incontinence, midgets or kicks to the balls.
Screening at the Edinburgh Drive In Movie Spectacular, Mon Dec 21