Nation’s favourite festive film is 1940s weepie It’s A Wonderful Life

Love Actually? Home Alone? Die Hard? Nope! The nation’s favourite festive film is 1940s weepie It’s A Wonderful Life

They are the films that families happily gather round to watch every Christmas. 

So perhaps that is why the nation’s favourite festive movies tend to be those that have stood the test of time – in some cases for generations.

Top of the list is a film as full of Christmas spirit now as it was when released more than 70 years ago.

The uplifting, sentimental It’s A Wonderful Life, made in 1946, beat modern box-office smashes such as Love Actually to be named our favourite.

The uplifting, sentimental It’s A Wonderful Life, made in 1946, beat modern box-office smashes such as Love Actually to be named our favourite

Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, it tells the story of bank manager George Bailey. 

Facing ruin, Bailey sets out to kill himself on Christmas Eve, but changes his mind when a guardian angel helps him realise he has made a difference in the world. The film, directed by Frank Capra, was nominated for six Oscars.


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Giving further proof that British viewers love the classics as much as modern movies, two films from the 1950s – White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, and Scrooge, the 1951 adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim – were also in the top ten in a RadioTimes.com poll of 7,000 readers.

Love Actually is at number four in the list, behind Elf and The Muppet Christmas Carol. 

Scrooge, the 1951 adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim – was also in the top ten in a RadioTimes.com poll of 7,000 readers

Love Actually (pictured) is at number four in the list, behind Elf and The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Richard Curtis romcom features ten separate Christmas-themed stories, including Bill Nighy as veteran rocker Billy Mack, whose festive version of The Troggs’ Love Is All Around becomes a surprise chart-topper.

US comedy Home Alone, with Macaulay Culkin as an eight-year-old defending his house against burglars when his family leave for Paris without him, is fifth in the list.

Perhaps surprisingly, action film Die Hard is sixth. There has been debate over whether the 1988 Bruce Willis blockbuster, which is set on Christmas Eve, can be classified as a festive film.

Elf (pictured) and The Muppet Christmas Carol are other festive films on the list

US comedy Home Alone, with Macaulay Culkin as an eight-year-old defending his house against burglars when his family leave for Paris without him, is fifth in the list

The top ten is completed by National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, starring Chevy Chase, in seventh place and computer animation The Polar Express in eighth.

RadioTimes.com editor Tim Glanfield said: ‘If there’s one thing that’s certain to bring the whole family together, it’s a good Christmas film. It’s A Wonderful Life, sitting effortlessly alongside more modern classics like Elf and The Muppets, proves just that.

‘It turns out there’s no sell-by date on Christmas spirit – and a film that encapsulates it will stay with us for generations.’

The top ten on the list is completed by computer animation The Polar Express in eighth

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