20 Fantastic Winter Movies To Get You Through the Cold
We are smack bang in the middle of winter and that means nights spent on the couch watching the latest blockbuster or binging on Netflix’s new must-see show. There is really nothing better than curling up with your partner or pet and spending a few hours watching a great movie. Throw in some popcorn and soda and you have yourself the perfect at-home date night. While you can choose from literally thousands of different movies, why not watch winter movies, which, as you’ve probably guessed, are movies set during the winter months.
The movies range from Christmas favorites to flicks where winter and the colder months are as important as the plot and characters. There really is a massive range of winter movies available for you to enjoy, so to make things easier, here are our favorite picks.
20 Fantastic Winter Movies To Get You Through the Cold
1. The Shining (1980)
As far as winter movies with a horror plot go, The Shining is at the top of the list. While Stephen King might not be a fan of the adaptation of his best-selling novel, there is no doubt this is one of Stanley Kubrick’s greatest movies.
Jack Nicholson is a struggling writer who takes his family away to a remote hotel for the winter where he plans to write his next great novel while looking after the place during the off-season. When a snowstorm cuts them off from the rest of the world, supernatural forces take hold of Nicholson and turn him into a deranged manic intent on murdering his wife and child.
Placed in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” The Shining is a classic horror with a winter theme featuring one of Nicholson’s best performances.Watch on Tubi
2. Ice Age (2002)
From horror to kid’s movie, Ice Age is a great 2002 animation about a woolly mammoth, sloth, and sabertooth tiger who discover a human baby. Not quite sure what to do with it, they endeavor to return the baby to its tribe, getting themselves into all sorts of mischief along the way.
The Pleistocene ice age setting makes this an easy selection. The animation by Blue Sky Studio is top-notch and the voice cast consists of some of the best actors and actresses in Hollywood, including Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Jane Krakowski, Denis Leary, Goran Višnjić, Cedric the Entertainer, and Jack Black.
If you enjoy this one you can have an Ice Age marathon and watch the four sequels and spin-off movie, The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild.Watch on Disney+
3. Home Alone (1990)
Christmas movies don’t get much better. It doesn’t matter what age you are, nothing beats watching Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) outwit bumbling criminals Harry (Joe Pesic) and Marv (Daniel Stern) with his ingenious traps on Christmas eve.
In another world Home Alone would be a horror movie but in the hands of Chris Columbus (thanks to an assist from screenwriter John Hughes) it’s a family comedy with a positive message and plenty of laughs. The sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, is also worth a watch.Watch on Disney+
4. Groundhog Day (1993)
Imagine waking up every day only to realize you are forced to re-live the previous day again and again. That’s what happens to Bill Murray in this hilarious comedy from Harold Ramis.
Murray’s smart-ass weatherman gets trapped in a time loop and experiences Groundhog Day repeatedly, quickly deciding to make the most of his situation by living a life without consequence while trying to seduce his producer Andie MacDowell.
A huge success, the film did put an end to the partnership between Murray and Ramis who fell out during filming, not that you would know when watching the finished product. Groundhog Day is a smart comedy highlighting Murry’s deadpan humor and is one of the best 90s movies period.Watch on AMC
5. The Thing (1982)
Winter makes for a great setting with it comes to horror movies. Case in point The Thing, an underrated gem from director John Carpenter. Kurt Russell stars alongside an ensemble cast in a movie about an American base in Antarctica that uncovers an alien creature that can imitate anyone it kills. This leads to paranoia and fear amongst the crew as they are slowly picked off one by one, never quite sure who the actual thing is.
The Thing bombed at the box office (it was up against E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) but became a cult hit when released on VHS. It stands as one of Carpenter’s best, with not only a tight screenplay but some of the best special effects of that era from the great Rob Bottin. It also contains this scene, which is one of the tensest moments ever committed to film. Check it out on Amazon Prime now.Watch on Prime
6. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1932)
There are dozens of versions of this movie available, from adaptations of the original story to spin-offs, prequels, and live-action remakes. But if you really want to enjoy Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in all its glory you can’t go past the Disney original.
The first full-length animated feature from Walt Disney, based on the classic Brothers Grimm story, follows the story of Snow White and her interactions with the seven dwarfs, Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey.
You probably don’t need an explainer about the plot considering how famous this story is, but for those living under a rock, it involves an evil Queen, a handsome Huntsman, and plenty of Disney magic. Despite being over 90s years old, the animation still holds up, with the story one of the great fairy tales.Watch on Disney+
7. The Holiday (2006)
Two women (Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz) struggling to find love from opposite sides of the world decide to house swap over the holiday season. While living in their new surroundings both meet new men (Jude Law and Jack Black) that become love interests and help them to feel loved again.
The Holiday was a surprise hit, grossing over $205 million at the box office. This is your standard American rom-com that doesn’t offer anything too different, besides a fantastic performance from Black, who shows he can play more than just the funny man.Watch on Paramount+
8. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The opening of this sci-fi epic takes place on the winter planet of Hoth, making it worthy of being included on this list. Although it ends on a downer with Han Solo encased in carbonite and on his way to Jabba the Hutt, the Rebel fleet in crisis, and Luke Skywalker struggling with his training, The Empire Strikes Back is arguably the best film in the Star Wars franchise.Watch on Disney+
9. Knives Out (2019)
Chris Evans and his cable knit sweater, Daniel Craig as a southern detective, and Ana de Armas in her breakout role are the three big takeaways from Rain Johnson’s murder mystery Knives Out. The whodunit has helped elevate the genre and already spawned a sequel and plenty of ripoffs that have failed to live up to the genius of the original.Watch on Netflix
10. Winter’s Bone (2010)
Get past the title and its reference to the cold months and you have yourself a thrilling story concerning a young woman looking for her father. This is the movie that turned Jennifer Lawrence from a nobody to a somebody and continued character actor John Hawkes’ progression from a bit player to a bonafide actor.
Lawrence looks after her two sisters in the harsh Ozarks of Missouri and is forced to head out into the wild to find her missing father to save the family from being evicted. A real emotional journey with great performances all round.Watch on Peacock
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11. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Not only is Trains, Planes and Automobiles a winter movie, but it’s also a Thanksgiving movie. And not just any Thanksgiving movie, but the greatest of all time.
A comedy classic from legendary 80s director John Hughes, the movie follows Neal Page (Steve Martin) and Del Griffen (John Candy), two complete opposites who decided to team up to make the journey from New York City to Chicago for Thanksgiving after their flights are canceled due to bad weather.
What follows is a three-day odyssey as the two constantly bicker and fight while taking every form of transportation possible to arrive before Thanksgiving. The chemistry between Martin and Candy is incredible to watch and the movie is jam-packed with laughs, with the recent release of 75 minutes of deleted scenes providing even more entertainment for fans.
If you want more John Candy in a winter setting, check out Cool Runnings, the true story of Jamaica’s first bobsled team.Watch on Prime
12. The Revenant (2015 film)
If you want a reminder of how harsh winter can be, give this Oscar-winning feature from Alejandro G. Iñárritu a watch. The plot follows Leonardo DiCaprio (who would win his first Oscar after five attempts with this movie for Best Actor) watching his son murdered by Tom Hardy and then being left for dead after a bear attack. Somehow he survives and seeks vengeance against Hardy.
There isn’t much to the plot but it’s the visual element of this movie that excels. The cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki is absolutely breathtaking and really captures the enchanting landscapes of America, even though most of the film was shot in Canada. A brilliantly provocative movie with a fantastic cast.Watch on Netflix
13. Frozen (2013)
What says winter more than a movie set entirely in the snow? Disney’s monster hit Frozen certainly fits that bill. Princess Anna (Kristen Bell) joins forces with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff ) the iceman, his reindeer Sven, and a snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad) to find her estranged sister Elsa (Idina Menzel).
This animated comedy musical has grossed $1.2 billion at the box office around the world, making it one of Disney’s biggest successes of the 2000 era. Not only is the animation fantastic, but the voice cast is incredible, and they can all sing, which helps considering there are several musical numbers throughout the movie.Watch on Disney+
14. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)
In 2005, director Andrew Adamson decided to adapt C.S. Lewis’ classic children’s novel The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for the big screen. Although not the first person to have a crack at the book, Adamson’s version of Narnia is stunningly beautiful and magically shot, bringing the winter wonderland right inside your home.
A group of kids finds a mysterious door inside a wardrobe that leads to the magical world of Narnia. The White Witch has put a curse on the land so that it is always winter but never Christmas. The children must team up with the lion Aslan, who created Narnia, to break the curse and return home safely.Watch on Disney+
15. Fargo (1996)
This classic from the Cohen brothers is a crime thriller that hits all the right notes. Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) is a pregnant Minnesota police chief investigating a triple homicide. The movie involves a botched kidnapping, death by woodchipper, crime noir influences, and an incredible performance from the “funny-looking” guy, known to most as Steve Buscemi.
This is an ensemble piece with a cast that includes not only McDormand (who won an Oscar for her performance) and Buscemi, but William H. Macy, John Carroll Lynch, Peter Stormare, and Steve Reevis. The script is tight with a great balance of menace and humor and is one of the best crime movies of the 90s. It’s also set in Minnesota during the winter, hence the winter movie connection.Watch on Vudu
16. Miracle (2004)
Kurt Russell makes his second appearance in this true-life story about the U.S.A. men’s ice hockey team. Russell plays Herb Brooks, a former player turned coach who is given the chance to take over the American men’s ice hockey team with the 1980 Winter Olympics in sight.
Brooks selects a team that doesn’t reflect the committee’s choices but is entrusted with taking the team to glory. This is exactly what he does, beating the highly fancied Soviets 4-3 in a thrilling semi-final before claiming the gold in a 4-2 win against Finland.
As far as sports movies go, Miracle has everything you could ever want. An underdog story? Check. Fighting amongst the players before they bond and become a real team? Check. An eccentric coach with different methods that prove invaluable? Check. A rousing soundtrack that will have you cheering along? Check.
Miracle is one of the best sports movies of the past two decades thanks to its real-life inspirational story about rooting for the underdog and Russell’s dynamic performance as Brooks.Watch on Disney+
17. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
While not exactly a winter movie, it is set during the colder months of the year. Coming from the mind of Charlie Kaufman and director Michel Gondry, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a somber look at relationships and second chances. When Jim Carrey discovers his former flame Kate Winslet is having her memories of him erased, he decides to do the same in an act of revenge.
Their relationship is told in flashbacks as Carrey undergoes the procedure, with the ambiguous ending leaving you wondering if you would choose the same path.Watch on iQIYI
18. The Harry Potter Series (2001–2011)
What has Harry Potter, a movie series about kids with magical powers fighting evil wizards got to do with winter? Not much really, but there is plenty of snow throughout the movies so the connection is valid.
The Harry Potter franchise is one of the most successful book to movie adaptations that turned Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson into movie stars and made author J. K. Rowling more money than she knows what to do with. There isn’t really a weak link in the eight movies, with each more exciting and engaging than the next.Watch on HBOMax
19. Snowpiercer (2013)
Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s Hollywood debut is a masterful science fiction thriller with standout performances from Chris Evans, Son Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, and Jamie Bell. Set in a future where climate change has turned the Earth into a winter wasteland, the remaining survivors live on a train that continuously circles the planet.
Divided into lower-class and upper-class sections, those at the end of the train decided to rise up against those in the elite cabins, slowly making their way to the front of the train. Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, the film sticks fairly close to the original plot, with the obvious Hollywood touches to help it appeal to the mainstream.
Its success led to a Netflix TV series set seven years after the global apocalypse and stars the likes of Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, and Sean Bean.Watch on Netflix
20. The Hateful 8 (2015)
Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film is a violent Western about a group of eight strangers who all converge on Minnie’s Haberdashery during a blizzard. Things start to go array when one of the characters dies a violent death via poisoning as a battle of wits unfolds between the remaining strangers to discover who everyone really is.
As you would expect from a Tarantino movie, The Hateful Eight is chock full of witty dialogue, extreme and sudden violence, and a cast of fantastic actors putting in Oscar-worthy performances. Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Walton Goggins are in particularly noteworthy form, while a final act cameo from an unexpected actor is a welcome surprise.Watch on Netflix
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