Christmas at the Movies: The Classics, The Best, and a Few of the Worst 

Marc Lapadula / Yale University

As the Holiday Season rolls around, we all have our own favorite Christmas-themed movies.

From the many incarnations of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, to Frank Capra’s perennially televised It’s a Wonderful Life, these beloved stories remind us (or at least try to) that there is much more to Christmas than over-commercialization and extravagant gift-giving. Sort of an ironic message, as the Christmas-themed films rolled out each year by the major studios the day after Thanksgiving have the sole mission of selling as many tickets as they can, while fiercely competing against other holiday films with a vengeance! 

But irony and sarcasm aside, feel-good movies that remind us that our families and loved ones are the greatest gift of all do serve an important purpose.  Christmas is ultimately a time to think beyond personal needs and go out of our way to think about others: family members, friends and colleagues.

This first-time-ever presentation will look at several classic and contemporary examples of how the Christmas Holiday has been portrayed (and sometimes exploited) in movies throughout the decades. Clips from the following will be included and discussed:

Marc Lapadula is a Senior Lecturer in the Film Studies Program at Yale University. He is a playwright, screenwriter and an award-winning film producer. In addition to Yale, Marc has taught at Columbia University’s Graduate Film School, created the screenwriting programs at both The University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins where he won Outstanding Teaching awards and has lectured on film, playwriting and conducted highly-acclaimed screenwriting seminars all across the country at notable venues like The National Press Club, The Smithsonian Institution, The Commonwealth Club and The New York Historical Society.

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