If you’re a a resident of the UK, you may currently be suffering from a colossal case of ‘snowmaggedon’ drudgery. Yes, it happens every year without fail, yet the government and transport councils are still never quite prepared. If you’ve been fortunate enough to skive off school or work today, rather than play out in the disgusting white stuff, why not sit in the comfort of your own home, light the gas fire and watch some of these excellent snow movies? It’s certainly more cosy than the snow and will almost definitely be more enjoyable in the long run (spoiler alert: snow melts).
10) The Fearless Vampire Killers (dir: Roman Polanski, UK/USA, 1967)
Released a year prior to his phenomenally cruel career best Rosemary’s Baby, French-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski tackled classic Medival folklore with this comedy horror classic. It’s dated, for sure, but still a crassly enjoyable gothic romp, on ice.
9) Downhill Racer (dir: Michael Ritchie, USA, 1969)
An underrated early film starring Robert Redford as a cheeky race skier pitted against Gene Hackman as the angry team coach. The kind of unspoiled sports film the likes of which we haven’t seen in years. Great stuff.
8) Doctor Zhivago (dir: David Lean, USA, 1965)
David Lean’s Russian epic is drenched in grandiose set design, telling Pasternak’s lengthy Russian Revolution novel to great effect. Filmed in Spain, surprisingly.
7) Touching the Void (dir: Kevin MacDonald, USA, 2003)
This isn’t documentary tokenism, Kevin MacDonald BAFTA award winning 2003 film is one of the most tense cinematic experiences I’ve ever had. A stranger than fiction tale of two brave climbers and their journey across the Peruvian Andes. Not for the weakhearted or vertigo/claustrophobia suffering.
6) Let the Right One In (dir: Tomas Alfredson, Sweden, 2008)
An unparalleled Scandinavian horror drama that, much like del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, could be seen as an allegory of turbulent adolescence. A real mood piece, the snowy veneer matches the sense of stinted emotion in the two leading characters, bullied school boy Oskar and the vampiric temptress Eli.
5) The Idiot (dir: Aki Kurosawa, Japan, 1951)
Japanese maestro Kurosawa’s adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s Golden Age Russian novel, is as stunning as one would expect. A complex love triangle with moralistic consequences. The film may be over sixty years old, but it really stands up as a piece of pure cinema.
4) Murder on the Orient Express (dir: Sidney Lumet, USA, 1974)
Not only the ultimate Agatha Christie/Poirot adaptation, Lumet’s 1974 mystery is the classic whodunnit movie, which lovingly nods to old fashioned cinema styles of the Hollywood studio era.
3) The Thing (dir: John Carpenter, USA, 1982)
Nevermind the horrendous 2011 remake, this original existential sci-fi horror is still a serious remedy to the inevitable frost bite. It also sees Kurt Russell rocking some Best in Show facial hair.
2) Fargo (dir: The Coen Brothers, USA, 1996)
Perhaps the most expected entry on our list, the third best Coen Brothers movie is perhaps their most hilarious. William H Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stirnare, Frances McDormand, their all putting in some career best performances in this quintessential, bungling crime caper.
1) The Shining (dir: Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1980)
An obvious choice, perhaps, but an essential one. My personal favourite Kubrick movie, this psychological drama-horror-thing is an audacious cinematic experience. With bloodied elevators, creepy twins and brilliantly garish Art Deco interiors, it’s the final snowmaze showdown that gets me every time. Jack Nicholson, who can say no to that face?
That’s ours. A rather existential-heavy list, isn’t it? Any that we have missed? Send in your favourites and we’ll be sure to check them out.
PS – We vetoed quote-unquote ‘Christmas films’, hence why this list doesn’t feature Home Alone, Black Christmas, and the like. Honorable mention should go to Rob Reiner’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery.