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You may not have streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime. Perhaps you’ve unsubscribed this year to save some money. In either case, don’t worry! We have been dutifully looking for some free Christmas films for anyone to watch. You don’t need to pay anything as these are free services (although you may be required to log in to some of them).
Rooting around YouTube will give you a ton of ideas as to what movies are out there: you may find something unexpected. In 1971, the not-quite-yet ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ animator Richard Williams created this wonderful version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
It is animated in the style of 1800s engravings and features the voices of Alistair Sim, Michael Redgrave, and even Michael Hordern, reprising his 1951 performance as Marley’s Ghost. There are a few adaptations of this festive morality tale of course, and this is one of the best.
If you prefer a live action version of A Christmas Carol, there is an excellent version of Scrooge from 1935 over on this great oldies website. The site also has reams of TV and film titles. Whether you fancy a comedy, drama, war film or western, there are many exclusive titles you can’t find anywhere else.
You know the story by now: Ebenezer Scrooge (Seymour Hicks) is persuaded to change his ways at Christmas through visitations from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come.
Channel 4 is available on Freeview and on-demand via the All4 service. It is free and requires quick registration so that you can watch it on smartphones, tablets, computers or your TV. You have to sit through ad breaks but that’s a small price to pay to get so much content for free.
We’re going with the best Christmas film of all time (except for that one with Bruce Willis) – It’s A Wonderful Life. Originally a post-war flop in 1946, none other than Humphrey Bogart was partly responsible for creating the buzz around Frank Capra’s magnum opus by screening it to his family every year.
You really can’t get better than James Stewart’s heartbreaking performance as George Bailey, and the film has been an influence on everything from Gremlins to Back to the Future.
We didn’t say these would all be good Christmas films, did we? A case in point is Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964). If you are a bit tipsy or up for a laugh with some egg nogg, this film may be for you. This is pure schlock (in our opinion!) from director Nicholas Webster.
Mr Webster was definitely channeling Ed Wood with this kitsch nonsense. John Call is Santa and an eleven-year-old Pia Zadora is Girmar, one of the Martian children. Trust us: once you’ve experienced this, you won’t ever have quite the same Christmas again.
This channel, formerly IMDB TV, is owned by Amazon. Thus, it has many famous films on it, and it’s free to watch as a Prime Video Channel or as a standalone Amazon Fire TV plugin.
It’s free because you don’t need to subscribe to Prime, which is what Amazon charges for. Plus, they have some cracking Christmas fare, including our choice A Street Cat Named Bob, a thoroughly beautiful tale based on the true story of James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, who has his life transformed when he meets a stray ginger cat. A really feel good watch, this one.
Plex has both an on-demand movies & TV section and a live TV section. There are also lots of genuinely great Christmas classics. If you’re like us and you don’t just want only cheesy feel good films, we recommend Black Christmas (1974), a sneeringly nasty festive horror about a group of sorority girls who are stalked by a stranger during their Christmas break.
It’s made up of a fantastic cast, including Olivia Hussey and Margot Killer, who add a touch of class to this well-made, memorable chiller. Disclaimer: not one to watch with the kids!
Filmzie boasts films and TV shows, with the unique selling point of indie films from lesser-known filmmakers. Said filmmakers will benefit when you watch something they have created, usually outside of the film industry system.
They also offer an app for smartphones, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung TVs and more.
Our final free recommendation is Shelby, The Dog Who Saved Christmas (2014) which has the benefit of a wisecracking Chevy Chase and a cute orphaned dog (voiced by Rob Schneider) who is taken in by a kind family on Christmas Eve. He has to hide from a dog catcher and a nasty great dane. One for all the family.
So, there you have it, a wide range of Christmas films to enjoy, and new platforms to explore – all for free!. There are many more great watches on these sites, so have a root around. We hope you enjoy this cross-section of truly great Christmas movies that won’t cost you anything to watch.
Happy festive season!