Best films to watch on TV today, tonight – and this week

From festive treats to classic musicals, there's something for everyone on television this week

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Bruce Dern is Woody Grant and Will Forte is David Grant in NEBRASKA, from Paramount Vantage in association with FilmNation Entertainment, Blue Lake Media Fund and Echo Lake Entertainment.

With the abundance of rival streaming services on the market these days, it can be easy to forget that one of the cheapest ways to watch movies is through good old-fashioned terrestrial television.


This week, that includes the festive fun of Arthur Christmas and Love Actually, the sublime thrills of Memento and a whole host of old and new movies from almost every genre.

Take a look at our top picks of what to look out for over the coming days.

Saturday 7th December

Holiday Inn – 2:45pm, Film4

That Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire are legends of the screen is undeniable, and this 1942 musical saw the pair share the limelight for the first time. With large chunks of the film set around Christmas and New Year it’s perfect for getting into the festive spirit – especially given it features the first ever rendition of classic Christmas ditty White Christmas. Read our full Holiday Inn review

The Lady Vanishes – 7:40pm, Talking Pictures TV

This is not the original Alfred Hitchcock version of the classic train mystery, but is a very competent 1979 remake with an excellent cast including Elliott Gould and Angela Lansbury. Read our full The Lady Vanishes review

Trumbo – 11:30pm, BBC2

Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston was nominated for an Oscar for his turn as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was famously blacklisted by Hollywood in the 1950s as a result of his communist sympathies. Directed by Jay Roach – whose latest film Bombshell will be in UK cinemas soon, the film also stars Helen Mirren, Elle Fanning, John Goodman and Michael Stuhlbarg. Read our full Trumbo review

Memento – 12:15am BBC1

Christopher Nolan has become arguably the most reliable director of blockbusters in the world, but Memento, only his second feature, remains one of his very best. With a complex narrative and highly original approach to storytelling, it’s the kind of thriller that doesn’t crop up all that often. Read our full Memento review

Sunday 8th December

Time Bandits – 11:00am, Film4

An excellent and irreverent fantasy adventure from former Python Terry Gilliam, Time Bandits follows the story of a schoolboy as he joins a group of outlaw dwarves as they journey through time. Read our full Time Bandits review 

Arthur Christmas – 4:30pm, Channel 4

At this time of year, many people’s usual film-watching habits are thrown by the wayside to gorge instead on as many Christmas films as possible. And this animated offering from Aardman is one of the best festive flicks of the decade – as the son of Father Christmas races against time to deliver a forgotten present. Read our full Arthur Christmas review

Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadows – 8:00pm, ITV2

The second of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films sees Robert Downey Jr. return to the role as the iconic detective in another action-heavy adventure. The film sees Holmes and Watson (Jude Law) embark on a European excursion to prevent Professor Moriarty from bringing about a world war.  Read our full Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadows review

Nebraska – 1:05pm, Channel 4

This masterful black and white road movie notched a handful of Oscar nominations including Best Actor for the outstanding Bruce Dern and Best Director for Alexander Payne. A man accompanies his elderly father across the US to claim prize money he thinks he’ has won.  Read our full Nebraska review

Monday 9th December

Le Week-end – 12 noon, Channel 4

Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan and Jeff Goldblum all star in this 2013 picture which sees a British couple returns to Paris many years after their honeymoon, in an attempt to salvage their marriage. Read our full the Le Week-end review

American Honey – 10:50pm, Film4

Andrea Arnold is one of the best British directors working today, and in her first film shot across the Atlantic she crafts an excellent tale of a wandering teenager, played superbly by debutant Sasha Lane, who travels the country in a van selling magazine subscription. Read our full American Honey review

Maps to the Stars – 11:15pm, BBC2

David Cronenberg provides a characteristically unsettling tale about a Hollywood family chasing celebrity. Julianne Moore stars as a fading star who wishes to be cast in a remake of a film that had originally starred her abusive mother.   Read our full Maps to the Stars review

Tuesday 10th December

The China Syndrome – 4:50, Sony Action

Having decided to bring an accident at a nuclear plant to public attention, a reporter finds herself being deliberately embroiled in a conspiracy by officers bent on keeping the accident a secret. Starring Jack Lemmon.  Read our full The China Syndrome review

Love Actually – 9:00pm, ITV2

No Christmas would be complete without a customary viewing of Richard Curtis’s extremely popular festive film. With an incredible cast boasting many of the greatest British actors of their generation, this film never fails to charm. Read our full Love Actually review

You’re Next – 9:00pm, Horror Channel

If the sentimentality of Love Actually isn;t for you, then instead turn your attention to this 2011 horror film. When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of the victims harbours a secret talent for fighting back.  Read our full You’re Next review

Wednesday 11th December

The Hitman’s Bodyguard– 9:00pm, Film4

This buddy movie brings together Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds for a riotous action-comedy adventure, with Gary Oldman starring as a mass-murdering  villain. Read our full The Hitman’s Bodyguard review

Scrooged – 9:00pm, Comedy Central

One of the less traditional adaptations of Charles Dickens’ festive fable, this 1988 films sees Bill Murray deliver a reliably excellent performance as a miserly TV executive, who is visited by a series of ghosts. Read our full Scrooged review

The Edge of Seventeen – 11:15pm, BBC2

The second half of this decade has seen a wealth of excellent coming-of-age comedies, with Booksmart, Eighth Grade and Ladybird all winning plaudits in the last couple of years alone. The Edge of Seventeen deserves to be mentioned amongst the very best of them, with Hailee Steinfeld excellent in the lead role and Woody Harreslon turning in a memorable supporting performance. Read our full The Edge of Seventeen review

Thursday 12th December

Mary, Queen of Scots– 11:00am, Film4

Not to be confused with the more recent film starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. This historical and biographical picture dates from 1971 and stars Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson and takes considerable liberties with history. Read our full Mary, Queen of Scots review

Only the Brave – 6:20pm, Film4

When a hotshot crew from California ignores a warning by Superintendent Eric Marsh about a wildfire, he decides to get his crew certified as wildfire hotshots.

Analyze This – 9:00pm, Paramount Network

Featuring an excellent comic performance from Robert de Niro, this film follows a Mob boss seeking therapy from a psychiatrist played by Billy Crystal. Read our full Analyze This review

Friday 13th November

The Imitation Game – 6:45pm, Film4

Benedict Cumberbatch received a lot of attention for his turn as Alan Turing in this awards season biopic from 2014. Alan Turing, a British mathematician, joins the cryptography team to decipher the German enigma code. With the help of his fellow mathematicians, he builds a machine to crack the codes. Read our full The Imitation Game review

22 Jump Street – 9:00pm, 5STAR

In this comedy sequel, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return as two undercover cops, Schmidt and Jenko, who are sent on a mission to a college to investigate the use of a recreational drug known as WHYPHY. Read our full 22 Jump Street review

World War Z – 9:00pm E4

Out of nowhere, Gerry, an ex-United Nations employee, finds himself in a race against time as he investigates a threatening virus that turns humans into zombies. Read our full World War Z review


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