Andrew Collins: my favourite Christmas film

The best festive movies are not gooey and sweet...

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Apologies if, King Canute style, you are attempting to stave off the tide of Christmas until, I don’t know, the start of Advent. But we are currently trying to ascertain the nation’s favourite festive movie.

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As is the traditional way of these things, we created a longlist, based upon the suggestions of as many interested parties we could find in the RT office. 

Considering it was still October when we did this, it was a heart-warmingly unseasonally enthusiastic response. This is partly, I think, because we’re not just after the kind of film you always see on the telly at Christmas – this is a poll of films that either take place at Christmas (or a significant part of them does), or have a Christmassy theme. 

So…sorry, Jason and the Argonauts, as much of a yuletide staple you may be, your name’s not down and you’re not coming in; conversely, pull up a chair, Die Hard!

I hope I am not breaking any election rules by admitting that Die Hard is my favourite Christmas movie. It is. 

In it, Bruce Willis’s weary NYPD cop is simply trying to make it back to his estranged family in Los Angeles in time for the present swap and the turkey, but gets waylaid – wouldn’t you know it? – by an apparent terrorist attack on a skyscraper, the Nakatomi Tower. Actually, his estranged wife works there, so there’s double jeopardy.

It’s not the most festive-seeming Christmas set-up, but there are a handful of seasonal gags, including an ironic, black-comic use of the traditional festive cry, “Ho, ho, ho!” (You remember.)

Indeed, films need not be gooey and saccharine to qualify for our poll. Bad stuff happens at this time of year. Ask the family in Gremlins. Or the drug dealers chased down by Gene Hackman dressed at Santa Claus in The French Connection.

The final choice will not be mine; it’s yours. So if you haven’t voted yet, follow the link and have your say. Christmas may well be irretrievably commercialised, and the high street lights go on earlier and earlier, but a Christmas movie really doesn’t work until December, so in many ways it’s our last line of defence against yuletide starting in September next year.

In Die Hard 2, Bruce turns up at Dulles International Airport to intercept his estranged wife. Terrorists turn up and put all incoming planes into a holding pattern while their demands are met. Guess what day it is? Christmas Eve. And do you remember the name of his estranged wife?

Holly.

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Cast your vote in our poll to find the best Christmas film