Holiday Films in IC Library Video Collection

Movie Watching During the Holidays

Santa is watching​The Holiday season is here, and with it for many of us there will be lots of movie watching. Listed here are both traditional and non-traditional holiday films (more than 40 of each) that can be found in the Ithaca College Library. They span almost 90 years of movie making, with pictures from every decade from the nineteen twenties to the twenty teens. Some are appropriately sappy. Others use the holiday season as a backdrop for satirical, biting, or sinister reasons. A few have nothing to do with the holidays except for a scene or two -- but oh, those scenes are what make those movies worth watching.

If you are not a member of the Ithaca College community, you could purchase or download the films, but perhaps first you should check with your local library. If it doesn't have a film you want, request it.

Happy Holidays!

Non-Traditional Holiday Films

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John Henderson

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For Traditionalists

sssThe Ithaca College Library has quite a few conventional holiday movies, too, including these feature films.

This Century (in reverse chronological order):
  • Black Nativity (2014) DVD 10233
    -- based on a Langston Hughes play -- with music
  • New Year's Eve (2011) DVD 9063
    -- A "Love Actually" wannabe set in NYC. More of a clone of Valentine's Day (2010) DVD 8429, if you are desperate to extend the holiday season.
  • The Holiday (2007) DVD 4245
    -- house swapping and romance during the holidays, and even one Hanukkah scene. 
  • Joyeux Noël (2006) DVD 4564
    -- Christmas in the trenches of WWI, based on a true story that occurred 100 years ago.
  • The Family Stone (2005) DVD 9181
    -- It's fiancée versus future in-laws for this year's Christmas combat.
  • Polar Express (2005) DVD 3209
    -- creepy or delightful? You decide.
  • Just Friends (2005) DVD 4531
    -- will an unplanned hometown Christmas visit convert an old platonic love to something else?
  • Love Actually (2003) DVD 733
    -- now in its second decade, no longer non-traditional, but a classic.
  • Elf (2003) DVD 8321
    -- enjoyable in a grating sort of way.
  • The Santa Clause 1, 2 & 3  (2002,2003,2007) DVD 7794​
    -- you don't have to watch the sequels.
  • Serendipity (2001) DVD 3313
    -- This feel-good romantic comedy begins and ends with Christmas shopping in a New York City department store.
Last Century (in chronological order):
  • Little Women (1933) DVD 5731
    -- it opens with a snowy Christmas scene, and the Christmas wish sentiment never seems to depart (the same is true for the 1994 version, DVD 9371)
  • Remember the night (1940) DVD 9169
    -- a shoplifter and a D.A. and Christmas good will
  • Holiday Inn (1942) DVD 6379
    -- the film where the song "White Christmas" first appeared.
  • Shop around the corner; Christmas in Connecticut; and It happened on 5th avenue (1940,1945,1947) DVD 6811
    -- as sappy, sentimental, and charming as only 1940s movies can be.
  • Going my way (1944) DVD 4284
    -- perhaps the sappiest, most sentimental and charming of them all. The final scene is set on Christmas Eve.
  • It's a wonderful life (1946) DVD 3944
    -- too grim for its time; now the No. 1 favorite Christmas film
  • Bishop's wife (1947) DVD
    -- Another '40s Christmas film with an interfering angel.
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947) DVD 5744
    -- I do believe in Santa.
  • White Christmas (1954) DVD 5734
    -- as sappy and sentimental as any of the films of the 40s, but in color.
  • Amahl and the night visitors (1955) DVD 4145
    -- the only made-for-TV opera I've ever heard of.
  • Desk set (1957) DVD 744
    -- A Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn romantic comedy set in pre-Christmas days and comes to a climax at an iconic Christmas office party. Be careful or Katherine Hepburn's character will make you want to grow up to become a librarian.
  • [the Sixties and Seventies were decades filled with TV holiday specials, but pretty much devoid of feature-length holiday films]
  • Jean Shepherd's A Christmas story (1983) DVD 497
    -- we've graduated from sappy to droll, but we haven't lost charming and heart-warming
  • Trading Places (1983) DVD 5610
    ​-- A comic morality play set in wintry Philadelphia, with lots of holiday imagery and spirit.
  • When Harry Met Sally (1989) DVD 3088
    -- wherein twelve years of non-courtship end happily at a New Year Eve's party. [Oops, have I included a spoiler?]
  • Sleepless in Seattle (1993) DVD 3958
    -- with two holidays, Christmas at the beginning and Valentine's Day at the end.
  • Home alone [1-4] (1990,1992,1997,2003) DVD 5081
    -- once was cute; twice was fine (if you've never grown up); more than that is getting a bit sadistic.
  • Mrs. Santa Claus (1996) DVD 2112
    -- a TV movie with Angela Lansbury in the title role.
  • Hav Plenty (1997) DVD 306
    -- what is supposed to be a quiet New Year's Eve gathering becomes a weekend filled with plenty.
  • You've got mail (1998) DVD 9193
    -- an update of Shop around the Corner [see above] with tree decorating and everything.
  • How the Grinch stole Christmas (2000) DVD 7946
    --the movie, not the old TV special 
Plus these variations on A Christmas Carol:
  • A Christmas carol (1938) DVD 6811
    -- with Reginald Owen as Scrooge, in what some say is the most authentic representation of Dickensian England
  • A Christmas carol (1951) DVD 488
    -- with Alistair Sim as Scrooge, in what some say set the standard for film adaptations of this classic.
  • Scrooge (1970) DVD 5608
    -- with Albert Finney as Scrooge, in a musical version of the story
  • Black Adder's Christmas Carol (1988) -- this episode is buried on Disc 5 of a multiple disc Black Adder compilation.
  • Scrooged (1988) DVD 8590
    -- with Bill Murray as Frank Cross, a modernized Scrooge.
  • A Muppet Christmas Carol (2005) DVD 2384
    -- with Michael Caine playing it straight as Scrooge against the songs and antics of the Muppets. 
A few Nutcrackers: And there's at least one Handel's Messiah (excerpts at least):