War Horse, Lone Survivor, Marvel Avengers Assemble, Hunky Dory, Bram Stoker’s Dracula: films on TV today

Animal hero, Wahlberg behind the line, superhero smackdown, class act, and Gary gets the bite: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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ANDREW COLLINS:  FILM OF THE DAY 
War Horse ★★★★
9.00-11.15pm BBC2 

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The animals might not speak but I mean no disrespect when I say that War Horse reminds me of the similarly multi-Oscar- nominated Babe: both share a timelessly bucolic setting with blushing sunsets and infinite rolling hills, and both have their roots in a popular children’s novel with a low opinion of humankind. Michael Morpurgo’s story was first adapted into an ingeniously staged play, but Steven Spielberg’s film was geared to meet the more popular requirements of a holiday-season audience. The story sees farmer’s son Jeremy Irvine adopt a colt, Joey, and bring him to fitness as a plough horse, only for him to be sold to the army in 1914. The film traces Joey’s progress from hellish, machine-gun-strafed battlefield to a French farm and the German trenches, while Irvine enlists and seeks to track him down. The war sequences are not Saving Private Ryan, but neither does Spielberg flinch from the horror, and the required happy ending is hard won


Lone Survivor ★★★
Premiere  9.00-11.25pm C4 

Testosterone-infused war film that sees Mark Wahlberg and his small Navy SEAL team trying to survive deep inside enemy territory as they are hunted down by Taliban insurgents.


Marvel Avengers Assemble ★★★★★
10.20pm-12.35am BBC1 

How many superheroes does it take to stop an alien invasion? Pretty much as many as you can muster, and director Joss Whedon calls on the best of the best in this fantasy thrill ride.


Hunky Dory ★★★
11.15pm-1.00am BBC2 

Minnie Driver stars as an inspirational teacher who directs her pupils in a rock version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in this comedy drama that manages to be both gritty and charming.


Bram Stoker’s Dracula ★★★★
11.15pm-1.45am Film4

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Francis Ford Coppola offers a visually rich take on the legendary horror tale, with Gary Oldman typically intense as the undead count who travels to England after becoming obsessed with Winona Ryder.

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