When the weather outside is frightful, there are few things more delightful than snuggling up and staying warm while you watch the perfect winter movie. So here are some streaming suggestions for your winter viewing pleasure to keep those home fires burning.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Genres: Drama, Comedy
Director: Frank Capra
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
It’s not just a Christmas movie. It’s a feel-good movie, an inspiring movie, and a movie that rekindles your hope and makes you believe in yourself and the rest of humanity again.
James Stewart stars as George Bailey, the hapless, downtrodden everyman, who’s ready to throw in the towel and end it all when he is shown by an unlikely angel precisely why he should not.
For the dark winter of your soul, this film is a bright and everlasting light.
▶︎ Stream It’s a Wonderful Life on Fubo TV and Prime Video.
Genres: Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: James Caan, Kathy Bates
On the flip side of the coin, if you’d rather put a little fear into your boots along with all that snow, Stephen King’s got just the right thing for you. It’s a small, unassuming shack in the middle of the woods where an unfortunate writer — injured, lost and alone in the dead of winter — gets “rescued” by his “biggest fan.”
Yes, it’s every bit as creepy as those quote marks make it sound and that’s all we’re going to say about it, but you’ll be riveted by the story.
▶︎ Stream Misery on Fubo TV.
Genres: Crime, Comedy, Mystery, Thriller, Drama
Director: Joel Coen
Starring: Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy
It’s only funny until… oh yeah, no spoilers. Suffice it to say, this winter film is a cult classic for a reason. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll either thank us or hate us for suggesting you do.
The plot is fairly simple: a used-car salesman hires some incompetent thugs to pretend to kidnap his wife so they can all split the ransom. What none of them counted on was the surprisingly competent — and quite pregnant — sheriff in charge of the investigation.
What ensues is some madcap, screwball shenanigans, even though it seemed like a simple plan when they came up with it.
(Oh, incidentally, A Simple Plan is the name of another winter-based comedy of criminal errorsfrom1998 by director Sam Rami. Stream it on Cinemax Go.)
▶︎ Stream Fargo the movie on Prime Video and Kanopy. Then, stream the Fargo TV spinoff series on Hulu.
Happy Feet (2006)
Genres: Animation, Musical, Kids & Family, Adventure, Comedy
Director: George Miller
Starring (the voices of:) Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman
What will get your toes tapping more than a tap-dancing penguin? Especially a penguin who tap dances to some of your favorite, chart-topping pop dance hits!
This musical delight of a film set (mostly) in the antarctic poses that penguins all sing, except for one. As our unsung hero (sorry, we had to) searches for his voice, viewers get stunning visuals of snow-capped glaciers and icy waters, arctic creatures and Northern Lights skies and a genuinely well-told story.
▶︎ Stream Happy Feet on Netflix and HBO Max
Genres: Musical, Animation, Kids & Family, Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy
Director: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
You can never have too many animated films on a list of great films for everyone to enjoy, especially when you’re all stuck home together. What’s more, you can’t have a list of winter films to cozy up to without the one that got a Broadway redux!
It’s the story of two princesses — one gifted with an icy version of the Midas touch — trying to break the spell that has their entire kingdom stuck in eternal winter. The film is as delightful for the eyes as it is for the ears and is far more exhilarating for the spirits than our mere words can convey. Plus, the antics of Olaf the snowman is worth the watch alone.
▶︎ Stream Frozen on Disney+.
Genres: Science Fiction, Action, Thriller, Mystery
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Starring: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt
Snowpiercer is the kind of movie which you can only give the setup for. To say more would be giving away spoilers to the entire rest of the film. So here is the spoiler-free pitch:
- The world is in a dystopian state of nuclear winter.
- Most of humanity is dead.
- The scant survivors all squeeze aboard a train that only keeps them warm by speeding nonstop around the planet.
All we’ll say is that the result, like the speeding train, is non-stop action.
▶︎ Stream the original Snowpiercer the movie on Peacock. Then, stream the Snowpiercer TV spinoff on HBO Max.