Holiday Movies –The BA’s Top 10 Picks

If you’re looking for a great holiday movie, consider this list of the BA’s top ten favorites. We have strong standards for the movies we show here, so we review options from a variety of film categories carefully, and ask questions such as:
  • Does the movie support the BA’s healing atmosphere?
  • Does the story have a positive message?
  • Is it a film for thinkers?
  • Does it leave you with a sense of uplift and hope?
We think these are gems – a nice mix of classic and contemporary – that we hope your family and friends will enjoy. All are available through Netflix, Amazon, etc.
Which holiday movies are your favorites? Post your comments at the end of this blog. Here is our list in alphabetical order:
The Bishop’s Wife (1947) with Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young. An angel arrives at Christmas time to help a bishop reexamine his life and career priorities, including appreciating his wife. The Preacher’s Wife is an award-nominated 1996 remake with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.
  The Christmas Card (2006) Edward Asner received an Emmy nomination for his role in this holiday drama from the Hallmark Channel about a soldier stationed in Afghanistan who gets a Christmas card addressed to “Any Soldier.” When the veteran returns home, he finds the sender in her small town, where he ends up saving her father and falling in love with her, even though she’s engaged. Includes a bonus feature about a similar real-life story.
A Christmas Carol (1951) British film with Alistair Sim as Scrooge, is usually considered the best version of this classic. The 1984 production with George C. Scott is also recommended. Do you have a favorite version? Post your comments below.
Christmas in Connecticut (1945) Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, and Sydney Greenstreet star in this classic romantic comedy. A journalist who has invented an ideal home life for her magazine column must entertain her boss and a returning war hero for the holidays, even though she really doesn’t know how to cook and actually has no “farm in the country!”
It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947) A homeless man occupies a millionaire’s posh New York mansion each year while the family winters in Florida. The plot thickens when he gives shelter to former servicemen and their families at Christmastime, and the owners return sooner than expected.
  It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), with Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore.  On Christmas Eve, a man who is feeling desperate is rescued by a guardian angel who shows him how difficult life in his hometown would be had he never lived.
  The Music of Leroy Anderson: Once Upon a Sleigh Ride (2000) A wonderful biographical documentary about a Boston-area composer, much of whose popular, light-classical music was written for and made world-famous by the Boston Pops Orchestra.  Some familiar tunes include “Sleigh Ride,” “The Syncopated Clock,” “Blue Tango,” “The Typewriter,” “A Trumpeter’s Lullaby,” and others.  The separate interview of Anderson in his home by a Connecticut TV station is also enjoyable.
The Shop Around the Corner (1940), a romantic comedy with Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan.  Based on a Hungarian play set at Christmas, the characters of Stewart and Sullavan hold an intense dislike for each other, while maintaining a secret letter-writing relationship, neither realizing who their pen-pal is. They eventually fall in love via their correspondence.  You’ve Got Mail, the 1998 remake with Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Jean Stapleton and Greg Kinnear, has the two main characters communicating by email.
Under the Greenwood Tree (2005) Adapted from Thomas Hardy’s novel, this delightful 19th-century story begins at Christmas and follows schoolteacher Fancy Day as she returns home to her village to look after her ailing father.  Three disparate suitors—blue-collar bloke Dick Dewy, crass but wealthy landowner Mr. Shiner, and the ambitious Parson Maybold—soon come a-courting. Which will she choose?  Includes some Christmas carols of the period.
  White Christmas (1954) This beloved musical with songs by Irving Berlin features Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. Crosby and Kaye play war buddies turned entertainers who fall for a pair of sisters. The boys follow the girls to a resort, which is owned by their former commanding officer who is in danger of losing the place. What better reason to stage a show than to save it? With such wonderful songs and dancing, it’s no surprise that this film was recently turned into a stage musical.

2 Responses to Holiday Movies –The BA’s Top 10 Picks

  1. kelly fadel says:

    Wonderful to see your movie list! My father was the ice skater in the first make of the Bishop’s Wife, as Cary Grants double. Lovely movie.

  2. Frederick Hillman says:

    It’s inevitable that when you publish a “top 10” list, you will leave out some movies that others think are indispensible! One of my favorites is “Miracle on 34th Street” (Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and a young Natalie Wood). There is warmth, humor, and wit; and somehow I never feel that Christmas has completely arrived until I have seen it each year. The scene with the Dutch girl in Macy’s always makes me mist over a bit! I heartily recommend it.

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