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Harry Potter Christmas film still

The best films on TV this Christmas

Camp out on the couch with our pick of brilliant movies on TV over Christmas 2016

By Ellie Walker-Arnott, Cath Clarke, Tom Huddleston and Dave Calhoun

Forget about stockings, stuffing and sprigs of holly, we all know Christmas is really about snuggling down on the sofa and refusing to move for days on end. Thankfully, the schedules are on our side and our TVs are set to air hours and hours of cinematic classics. 

Family-friendly animated movies, heart-warming favourites or exciting new releases? Whatever your mood, you're in luck. Here's our pick of the best movies on TV this Christmas. 

RECOMMENDED: The best Christmas TV to watch over Christmas 2016  

Films on TV this Christmas

Frozen (2013)

Film Animation

It’s been three years and we still don’t want to let it go. This Disney movie, about a kingdom cloaked in ice and snow, is anything but chilly. The tale of sisters Anna and Elsa will turn your insides to mush – and have you singing the soundtrack for days to come. It’s a modern Christmas classic.
Christmas Day, 3.10pm, BBC1.

The Jungle Book (2016)

Film Family and kids
This new motion-capture spin on Rudyard Kipling’s tale isn’t as fun or cheeky as the classic 1960s animated version. But the digital recreation of the animals is very impressive, and this version offers a slightly more muscular, scary vision of Mowgli’s adventures in the Indian jungle. It’s fine for kids, but very little ones might need a cuddle during some of the more frightening bits.
Christmas Day, 1.30pm, Sky Premiere.
Pride: orgullo y esperanza es una película basada en hechos reales
Photograph: Nicola Dove

Pride (2014)

Film Drama
Everyone will instantly fall in love with this funny, sad and inspiring '80s-set Brit-com about a group of fun-loving gay activists travelling to Wales from London to help striking miners. It’s based on a true story, and its messages of acceptance, forgiveness and solidarity make for perfect seasonal viewing. It also features loads of recognisable faces, including Imelda Staunton brandishing a dildo.
Boxing Day, 10.30pm, BBC2.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Film Drama
Bankruptcy, frustration and suicide aren’t standard festive fare, but it’s not really Christmas until you’ve sobbed over Zuzu’s petals. A disastrous Christmas Eve sees George Bailey wishing he’d never been born, until a guardian angel shows him what life would be like without him.
Christmas Day, 2.20pm, Channel 4.

Captain Phillips (2013)

Film Action and adventure
A scary drama about a container ship being taken hostage by Somali pirates doesn’t exactly scream ‘Merry Christmas!’ But this is a good option for bringing various adult relatives around the box. Tom Hanks plays the ship’s captain – in one of his best performances – and Somali-American actor Barkhad Abdi was nominated for an Oscar for his role as the terrifying ringleader of the hostage-takers.
Boxing Day, 9pm, ITV.

An American in Paris (2015)

Film Drama
One of the very best musicals that Hollywood ever made, this wonderfully upbeat and colourful comedy stars Gene Kelly as, well, an American in Paris, living off his painting and romancing elusive local beauty Leslie Caron. The climactic fantasy sequence will make your eyes pop out.
hristmas Day, 7.35am, Channel 5.

The Lady in the Van (2015)

Film Drama
It’s a pile-up of national treasures as Maggie Smith plays Miss Shepherd, the woman who lived for many years in a clapped-out van in playwright Alan Bennett’s driveway in Camden. Alex Jennings plays Bennett, and the filmmakers shot this lively, funny tale in the writer’s own former house. It’s not massively deep but it’s very entertaining.
Christmas Eve, 9pm, BBC2.

Saving Mr Banks (2013)

Film Drama
This biopic adds a few heaped teaspoons full of sugar to the story of how ‘Mary Poppins’ writer PL Travers (the P stands for Pamela), travelled to Hollywood in 1961 to sell the rights to her beloved book to Walt Disney. Emma Thompson is on brilliant battleaxe form playing Travers with Tom Hanks all twinkly in the role of Disney.
Fri Dec 23, 8pm, ITV.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)

Film Family and kids
Get ready for a nostalgia-fest. Over Christmas, ITV is showing all seven Harry Potter films over seven days. It all starts here, with two-and-a-half hours of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint looking bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and impossibly young.
Christmas Eve, 1.30pm, ITV.

Jaws (1975)

Steven Spielberg’s endlessly rewatchable psycho shark movie invented the modern blockbuster, and was the most successful film of all time until ‘Star Wars’ came along two years later. It’s basically a perfect film, a tale of suspense packed with charming characters, brilliant boo-scares and that killer score.
Wed Dec 28, 10.25pm, ITV.
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