Mary Evans Picture Library


Mary Evans Picture Library, Collections Crossover: Christmas movies

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la. ‘Tis the season to be jolly well sitting on a comfy sofa binge-watching Christmas movies with a large tin of Quality Street.

To that end, in this week’s Collections Crossover, we bring you a round-up of stills from some of the best, worst, and most magical Christmas films, from the combined celluloid might of the Ronald Grant Archive, The Everett Collection and AF Archive.

There are Christmas classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), A Christmas Carol (1951), and Meet Me in St Louis (1944) which introduced the perennial favourite, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, sung on screen by Judy Garland. The musical film Holiday Inn (1942) includes the iconic Bing Crosby hit ‘White Christmas’, while the White Christmas (1954) film itself, released twelve years later in Technicolor, provided another Yuletide box office smash.

Animated or puppet-led films can lend a particularly magical air to Christmassy subject matter. Favourites include The Snowman (1982), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Polar Express (2004) and, of course, The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), in which Michael Caine is upstaged by Gonzo, Kermit and the rest of the Muppet performers.

Understandably, there’s a strong tendency towards feel-good or humorous movies at this time of year. Some – Scrooged (1988), Home Alone (1990), Bad Santa (2003), Elf (2003) – are more successful than others: Surviving Christmas (2004), The Perfect Holiday (2007) or the gloriously-named Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964). Occasionally the silver screen presents some more grisly fare with Christmas horrors of a different kind, namely such offerings as Black Christmas aka Silent Night, Evil Night (1974), and Krampus: The Christmas Devil (2013).

Finally, if there’s nothing else on, you can rely on Bruce Willis’s singlet-clad John McClane to save the day in Die Hard (1988), which has become a Christmas classic in its own right.

Mary Evans Picture Library will be open over the festive period, save for bank holidays, so do get in touch by email at or by phone on 020 8318 0034 if we can help with any last-minute requests.

Image credit: THE SANTA CLAUSE, Tim Allen (6), 1994©Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / Mary Evans