Watch These Christmas Classics on VideoThere are plenty of movies to rent for Christmas, but four videos stand out as all-time Christmas classics.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Directed by Frank Capra. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell and Henry Travers.
In Capra's reworking of Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol," Stewart plays George Bailey, a man who is stuck in his hometown of Bedford Falls. Bailey once dreamed of leaving the small town, but one thing after another has kept him at home. He works at the family bank, where he sacrifices himself time and again for friends and relatives. When disaster strikes at work, he loses all hope and wishes he had never been born. An angel named Clarence (Travers) shows him what life would have been like without him.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Directed by George Seaton. Starring Maureen O'Hara, Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood and John Payne.
Based on Valentine Davies's 1947 novel, the film centers around a skeptical six-year-old girl who does not believe in Santa Claus. In one scene, the young Susan Walker (Wood) climbs onto Santa's lap at Macy's Department Store and sighs, "This seems like a pretty pointless exercise." But her doubtful attitude is changed with the help of Kris Kringle's (Gwenn) jolly spirit. Kringle, who is hired as Macy's in-store Santa, infuses a cynical world with the spirit of Christmas. He even wins over Susan's bitter mother, Doris (O'Hara). But when Kringle keeps insisting he really is Santa, other skeptics try to have him declared insane.
A Christmas Carol (1951)
Directed by Brian Desmond Hurst. Starring Alastair Sim and Kathleen Harrison.
In this British production of the Dickens classic, Sim immortalizes the character of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy old miser. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, who take him on a journey through time. Scrooge sees the adverse effect of his actions on the people around him, and is offered the opportunity to soften his steely heart before it is too late.
A Christmas Story (1984)
Directed by Bob Clark. Starring Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin.
Based on Jean Shepard's book, "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash," and narrated by the author himself, this irreverent tale stars Ralphie Parker (Billingsley), a nine-year-old boy whose holiday wish is for a Red Ryder BB gun. But his mother (Dillon) and father (McGavin) think an air rifle is a dangerous gift. "You'll shoot your eyes out," they tell him. But Ralphie is not discouraged and launches a relentless campaign to get his dream toy.
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