Published: 03 December 2021

Surrey’s favourite festive films: Top Five Countdown

Like unwrapping the biggest and best presents last, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – as we reveal Surrey's top five festive films as voted for by University staff and students.

No.5: Love Actually

“I make sure I watch this every Christmas. It always makes me feel happy and warm – and a bit embarrassed but I try to look past the cringey bits. The scene where Emma Thompson is in her bedroom and has just realised Alan Rickman is having an affair is acting perfection. I also love Bill Nighy’s “Ant or Dec” line! And the airport scene at the start and the end makes me cry every time!”

Dr Emily Williams, School of Health Sciences

No.4: The Holiday

“This romantic comedy from 2006 stars Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law. Although some of it’s based in California, quite a bit of it was also shot in the village of Shere, which is just outside Guildford. It features beautiful scenery from both locations. And who doesn’t crave a holiday for Christmas 2021?”

Dr Bing Guo, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

“This is the perfect combination of romance, snow, sunshine, festivity, beautiful Surrey and a star-studded cast. It’s feel-good to the max and everything that you want to happen happens. It’s the ultimate Christmas wrapping backdrop and I challenge anyone to come away from that film not smiling and ready for the festive season!”

Richella Homer, Head of Marketing

No.3: The Muppet Christmas Carol

“Like an avalanche of bittersweet joy, this 1992 version of the Charles Dickens classic sweeps all other adaptations – and, in fact, all other movies – aside. There are songs, heartbreak, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy as Bob and Mrs Cratchit, dance numbers and a rubber chicken factory. There’s also an actor called Michael Caine, who started his career in a theatre in Horsham before starring in The Ipcress File, The Italian Job and The Swarm. He may have won an Oscar, but his portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge alongside the Muppets is the highlight of his career. All movies should be this good.”

Paul Brooks, FEPS Faculty Content Officer

No.2: Die Hard

“It’s not necessarily the most cinematically outstanding movie, but it has so many good memories attached. As a kid, we’d religiously watch it every Christmas. We’d excitedly grab the Radio Times, circle the film's listing with a big felt tip and look forward to it all week. Then as a family – well, my dad and my brothers at least (a bit gory for mum!) – we’d watch it. There’s a great mix of action, the best-ever bad guy and one of the best movie quotes of all time. We weren’t allowed to swear as kids, so we’d shout “Yippee-ki-yay…” then mouth the profanity that followed. Die Hard reminds me of those precious childhood memories.“

Dr Zoe Harris, Centre for Environment and Sustainability

No.1: Home Alone

“Christmas is a time for family and every year, without fail, our Home Alone movie marathon is the one night we can be sure that the social calendars will be cleared, and parents and kids will be there. Who would have thought a story about repeated child neglect could be so funny, heart-warming and full of the Christmas spirit? In our house, Yuletide is about good food, decorations, presents and Home Alone.”

Dr Andrew Crossan, Department of Computer Science

“Why is Home Alone my favourite Christmas film of all time? For me, it just has that complete festive feel that warms the soul on a wet and grey December afternoon. While its slapstick scenes are fun to watch, there are also some darker themes underneath Kevin’s entrapment of the Wet Bandits. For example, regret, forgiveness and repentance feature heavily throughout, and this, mixed with the slapstick comedy, just clicks! I also think, for me, there’s something extremely enchanting about films that can take on new meanings at different times in our lives. Growing up, I can remember my brothers and I begging our dad to watch it on repeat over the Christmas period. Now, a number of years on, I have two daughters who often demand to watch it on repeat with me! It’s incredibly nostalgic to hear them giggle and laugh at this movie like I did at their age. Magic!”

Dr Alex Seal, Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

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