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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

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Film Family and kids
Follow the yellow brick road to this family-friendly classic. This one will keep every generation happy. Judy Garland is Dorothy, the girl from Kansas who finds herself transported to the madcap, technicolour world of Oz.
Christmas Day, 2.10pm, Channel 5.

Great Expectations (1946)

Film Action and adventure
The best ever screen adaptation of a Dickens novel. ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ director David Lean peppers this tale of a young man’s rise from blacksmith’s apprentice to society gent with dashes of gothic horror, swooning romance and slapstick comedy: Alec Guinness’s turn as the goonish toff Pocket is a delight.
Boxing Day, 9.50am, More4.

Ethel & Ernest (2016)


Butter a crumpet and snuggle down with this affectionate animation about illustrator Raymond Briggs’s parents. Briggs, now 82 and drinking tea from a ‘Snowman’ mug, introduces the film, which is based on his graphic novel. There was ‘nothing extraordinary’ about his mum and dad, he tells us. But that’s what’s so lovely about ‘Ethel & Ernest’.
Wed Dec 28, 7.30pm, BBC1.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Photograph: Paramount Pictures/Lucasfilm

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Film Action and adventure
A quarter of a century on, is Steven Spielberg’s first Indiana Jones movie still the greatest action flick of all time? The entire quartet will screen over the Christmas period, but the first one remains by far the best, filled with speeding trucks, evil Nazis, gore, witty one-liners, snakes, monkeys, submarines, biplanes and the greatest screen hero of them all.
Tue Dec 27, 1.35pm, BBC1.

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Film Comedy
Whether they’re aged seven or 87, gather everyone in your house and sit down to enjoy the best-loved musical of all time. Twinkle-toed Gene Kelly plays silent movie star Don Lockwood who falls in love with a chorus girl (Debbie Reynolds) in 1920s Hollywood. Charm-your-socks-off lovely, this is guaranteed to soothe Christmas-frayed tempers.
Christmas Day, 4.10pm, Channel 5.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Film Drama
Matthew McConaughey’s performance in this drama based on real events deservedly won him the Best Actor Oscar in 2014. He plays Ron Woodroof, a homophobic man diagnosed with HIV in 1985, who started a black market club selling life-prolonging drugs to people living with Aids.
Christmas Day, 10.30pm, Channel 5.

The Artist (2011)

Film Comedy
This sweet homage to Hollywood’s silent movie era was a surprise hit at the 2012 Oscars. French actor Jean Dujardin won Best Actor for his performance as arrogant and egotistical Valentin, a matinee idol star. But Dujardin is very nearly upstaged by a jack russell terrier called Uggie – who shamelessly steals scenes as his trusty four-legged best friend.
Christmas Day, 2.25pm, BBC2.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Film Drama
You’ll need to carve out over two and a half hours to squeeze the second instalment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy into your Christmas schedule. Thorin (Richard Armitage) and Bilbo (Martin Freeman) continue their journey to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor from the vicious dragon Smaug – and it concludes with a massive showdown. 
Fri Dec 23, 8pm, ITV.

Groundhog Day (1993)

Pour a sherry and curl up with Bill Murray on top Bill Murray form as a miserable TV weatherman assigned to cover a human interest story in the middle of nowhere – and who becomes cursed to wake up to the same day over and over and over again. A stone cold classic for any day of the year.
Boxing Day, 8pm, W.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

Film Comedy
This feelgood move is a who’s who of British actors. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton – they’re all here, playing pensioners who move to a retirement hotel in India, run by Dev Patel as Sonny. You’ll love it, your nan will love it. It’s a winner.
Christmas Day, 6.35pm, Film4.
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