Entertainment Movies Our coolest winter films – what’s your favourite?
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Our coolest winter films – what’s your favourite?

Winter Movies
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Living so far away from the brutally cold northern hemisphere winters is a mixed blessings for Australians.

While we don’t get snowed in, we also never get to enjoy the beauty that is waking up to a world blanketed in snow.

We do, however, have access to pretty much every movie ever made, so we can enjoy snow on film during the winter months and make like we live in the mid west of the USA or Canada, which seems to be where most winter movies are filmed.

Here’s The New Daily’s list of the best winter films ever made and where they were shot.

Alive (1993)

Director: Frank Marshall
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Josh Hamilton
Genre: Drama, action
Where: British Columbia, Canada

A frosty disaster based on true events where a Uruguayan Air force flight crashes in the Andes and the remaining passengers struggle to survive low temperatures, little to eat and next to no hope.

A Simple Plan (1998)

Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget Fonda, Bill Paxton
Genre: Thriller, drama
Where: Wisconsin, USA

Some friends in rural Minnesota stumble across an abandoned plane wreck where the only cargo is about four million dollars. They agree to keep the money a secret until the end of winter. In the bitter cold climate of Minnesota, that’s a long time to keep a secret…

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Director: Sharon Maguire
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth
Genre: Romantic comedy
Where: London

How does a girl get Colin Firth’s approval? There’s something particularly romantic about chasing him down the road in a snowstorm… wearing nothing but underwear. For this and more winter survival tips, Bridget Jones has all the answers.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2005)

Winter Movies
Tilda Swinton as the White Witch, with Skandar Keynes as Edmund. Photo: Supplied

Director: Andrew Adamson
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Liam Neeson, James McAvoy, Dawn French
Genre: Children
Where: Filmed in a variety of winter wonderlands, from New Zealand to Poland.

A curse has been placed on Narnia by the wicked White Witch, making it “always winter, but never Christmas” – something quite foreign to us down here in Australia.

Cool Runnings (1993)

Director: John Turteltaub
Starring: John Candy, Doug E. Doug
Genre: Comedy
Where: Alberta, Canada

A film that can not be left off any winter movie list, Cool Runnings captured the efforts of the Jamaican bobsled team at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Dr Zhivago (1965)

Director: David Lean
Starring: Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Alec Guinness
Genre: Drama, romance, war
Where: Alberta, Canada and Finland

This sweeping, cinematic masterpiece is set in Russia during the Revolution. While Julie Christie was undeniably captivating as Lara, it was the cinematography that made this movie shine.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder
Genre: Romance, comedy, drama
Where: Fox Studios, California, USA

Want to know where snow comes from? Apparently it all started with scissors. This gloomy modern fairy-tale reminds us that all though the winter months may be dreary, just be thankful you don’t have scissors for hands.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Director: Michel Gondry
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winset
Genre: Drama, romance
Where: New York

A total mind-bending experience from the great Gondry, Winslet and Carrey are wonderful in this bittersweet, but ultimately thought provoking film about erasing the past. Best scene is when the leads, Clementine and Joel, go on a date to a frozen lake.

The Family Stone (2005)

Winter Movies
Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker in The Family Stone. Photo: Supplied

Director: Thomas Bezucha
Starring: Diane Keaton, Sarah-Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams
Genre: Romantic comedy
Where: Connecticut, USA

Such a cosy, modern Christmas and winter classic. Parker plays the straight-up Merideth, who visits her boyfriend’s close family for Christmas and almost screws everything up. The Connecticut winter is stunning in this chick flick.

Fargo (1996)

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring: Frances McDormand, William H, Macy, Steve Buscemi
Genre: Comedy, thriller
Where: Minnesota and North Dakota, USA

“A lot can happen in the middle of nowhere” – Snow covered scenes give the eerie feeling of isolation in this icy thriller which is said to be based on true events in Minnesota and will chill you to the bone. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and Frances McDormand took home best actress.

The Grey (2011)

Winter Movies
Nightmare in Alaska. Liam Neeson in The Grey. Photo: Supplied

Director: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney
Genre: Thriller, action
Where: British Columbia, Canada

When you thought winter couldn’t possibly get any worse – imagine being stranded in remote Alaska following a plane crash… only to discover you are being stalked by a pack of dangerous grey wolves.

Groundhog Day (1993)

Director: Harold Ramis
Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell
Genre: Comedy
Where: Illinois, USA

Ever thought a snow blizzard might change your life? Bill Murray plays a reporter who finds himself stuck in Pennsylvania on February 2nd, constantly reliving Groundhog Day until he becomes a better person.

Home Alone (1990)

Director: John Hughes
Starring: Macauley Culkin, Daniel Stern, Joe Pesci
Genre:
Comedy
Where:  Chicago, USA

This movie taught kids everything they were missing about living in the snow and saving your family home.

The Ice Storm (1997)

Director: Ang Lee
Starring: Christina Ricci, Kevin Kline, Elijah Wood, Sigourney Weaver
Genre: Drama
Where: Conneticut

Ang Lee was behind this cinematic masterpiece, based on an earlier novel, set over a freezing Thanksgiving week in 1973. Following the events leading up to an ice storm in the affluent Greenwich, Conneticut, everything is cool about this movie.

Little Women (1994)

Winter Movies
Little Women is as wintry as a movie can get. Photo: Supplied

Director: Gillian Armstrong
Starring:
Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon
Genre: Drama
Where: Filmed in Canada and Massachusetts, USA

Winter is hard enough without a Civil war taking place. Enchanting story of a family surviving together through a harsh winter, poverty and the absence of a father figure.

Misery (1990)

Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: James Caan, Kathy Bates
Genre: Thriller
Where: Nevada and California, USA

Waking up in the winter forest cabin of his “biggest fan” after a car crash caused by an icy blizzard seemed like a miracle to writer Paul Sheldon. Unfortunately for Paul, nurturing him back to health comes at a price, and this spine-chilling thriller definitely lives up to it’s name. Adapted from a Stephen King novel.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – James Bond (1969)

Director: Peter R. Hunt
Starring: George Lazenby, Dianna Rigg
Genre: Action
Where: The iconic snow scenes at the beginning of the film were shot in Switzerland.

James Bond at his coolest – a 1960’s classic filmed in the mountaintops of Switzerland involving perilous ski chases and wild bobsleigh rides. Get snug and cosy while you enjoy the arctic action!

The Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall
Genre: Thriller, horror
Where: Filmed almost entirely on a set in London, but the outdoor panoramic shots of the hotel were in Oregon, USA.

Thought a holiday with your family was excruciating? The final scenes in this film are earth shatteringly shivery, as we watch Jack Nicholson’s deranged character hunt down his wife and son, in the freezing cold, with the sole intent of murdering them.

Somersault (2004)

Winter Movies
Abbie Cornish in the Australian film Somersault. Photo: Supplied

Director: Cate Shortland
Starring: Abbie Cornish, Sam Worthington
Genre: Drama
Where: Snowy Mountains, NSW, Australia

It’s not often we see a wintery Aussie film, but the snowy setting and harsh climate highlights the appeal of warmth and comfort of the indoors where young lovers can explore the magic of intimacy.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Winter Movies
Out in the cold: Harrison Ford as Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. Photo: AAP

Director: Irvin Kershner
Starring:
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Genre: Action
Where:
Norway and London, UK (soundstage)

After the lavish space adventure that was Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, the opening scenes of Episode V, set on the ice planet of Hoth, were unexpected and brilliant.

White Christmas (1954) 

Winter Movies
Classic American winter movie, White Christmas. Photo: Supplied

Director: Michael Curtiz
Starring: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye. Rosemary Clooney
Genre: Musical, comedy, romance
Where: 20th Century Fox Studios, USA

The quintessential American Christmas film, White Christmas was entirely shot at Fox Studios, making it seem even more kitsch than it already was.

List compiled by Phoebe Crockett and Antonia Acott.

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