‘Tis the season for the holiday movie – santa Claus has seized the spotlight in countless films all over the world. Santa on the screen seems to be pretty standard (red robe and hat, white beard, often stout, almost always Caucasian), but his films have varied (snowy Lapland for the city of cave, and even outer space), and his character is certainly the shape-shifted to all kinds of music. Santa is played like a jolly good guy, an unhinged killer, a romantic lead, and, of course, an anti-hero, with the return of Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa 2. Here are 12 Santas of Christmas movies past and present.
The debutThe Visit of Santa Claus, 1898
The Cinema was in its infancy, when santa Claus made his first trail-blazing appearance on the screen in this magical silence British short. The hypnotic black-and-white scenes depict a mysterious, rather meticulous Santa arriving in style through the chimney to leave goodies of socks for the suspension of two children. (Credit: YouTube)
The enigma war-timeThe Killing of santa Claus (The assassination du Père Noël), 1941
At christmas miracles do happen, but not murder in the snow – in this thriller Gothic, with a festive frame. Globe-maker (Harry Baur) to play Santa Claus for the close-knit community in a rural French village, and a shady whodunnit ensues when his body was found in the snow. Pere Noel destiny has an edge darker if you consider that this was the first film to be produced in occupied France.
Cave fabulousMiracle on 34th Street, 1947
British actor Edmund Gwenn from the original portrait plush and elegant department store Santa with this symbol of New York city, the film, mixing realism, feel-good, family drama, and a spirit lifting fantasy twist. The film – and Gwenn person – and have inspired numerous remakes and homages over the years, with Richard Attenborough taking the starring role in the 1994 remake.
Killer SantaSilent Night, Deadly Night, 1984
Even if the 1974 Canadian horror Black Christmas is credited as an influential slasher film, Santa himself is not a murderer until a little later. The first appearance of St. Nick as the serial killer was, without a doubt, this bloody film, in which a troubled youth goes on a rampage while dressed as a store Santa. From here, Santa developed a taste for blood in an avalanche of holiday horrors, including the spooky folklore Dutch Sint (2010) and in the 2015 anthology A Christmas Horror Story.
Down-and-out SantaTrading Places, 1983
When her ex-boss subject him to a cruel bet, full of Philadelphia broker Winthorpe (Dan Aykroyd) loses everything and is reduced to crashing the office Christmas party (and raid the buffet) in a ragged Santa Claus dress. Awesome, managed to hide a whole salmon on the inside of his dirty beard.
The blockbuster nameSanta Claus: The Movie 1985
This big-budget, brand-heavy family film proved to be a box-office flop, even if you do not feature american actor David Huddleston as one of the most of Santa flying his sleigh from New York points of reference, and must adapt to an era of mass production. Dudley Moore shares the spotlight as an ingenious elf helper.
The animated figureThe Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993
Tim Burton’s stop-motion dark feast of fantasy has macabre/cute anti-hero Jack Skellington hijacked Christmas as the self-proclaimed “Sandy Claws”, which has also his coffin-sleigh pulled by skeletal reindeer. A showdown with the confused real Santa Claus comes.
The everymanThe Santa Claus Trilogy, 1994-2006
US comedian Tim Allen plays a normal guy, and divorced father is in charge of representing the real Santa Claus in this family comedy film series. The 2002 sequel is Santa the search for a new “Mrs Claus” (female characters always play support roles in the film Santa), but the response to the follow-up suggested that this series was not the gift that keeps on giving.
Santa in flightDivine Intervention, 2002
Nazareth-born filmmaker Elia Suleiman sets the tone for the surreal for its award-winning Palestinian black comedy/romance with an early scene in which a wounded Santa (George Ibrahim) struggle to escape a group of children, the gifts that fall from his sack, before revealing that he has been stabbed.
The love interestThe Perfect Holiday, 2007
It is worthy of note that, despite many appearances in film and TV, there is little deviation from the Holy white guy. Black American cinema has produced a couple of examples, produced while having flick Black Santa’s Revenge (2007), a shamelessly feel-good modern romance is The Perfect Holiday. In the latter, Morris Chestnut, playing a handsome department store Santa, and aspiring musician, that makes the divorced mother Gabrielle Union’s Christmas wish.
The eco warriorX-mas, Inc., 2008
Courtesy of Santa (the late Latin American screen icon Pedro Armendáriz Jr, in one of his last roles) to take a position against global warming and consumerist greed in this Mexican comedy, such as the North Pole ice caps are melting, and a greedy elf-entrepreneur aims to transform Christmas into a capitalist fiesta.
Naughty, not niceBad Santa 2003 Bad Santa 2, 2016
With the long beard, rude, and strangely charismatic… Billy Bob Thornton’s anti-hero the Saint is more concerned with mall robberies of good will, even if a sort of heart at times of reflections beneath the shabby exterior. The conman returns unreformed, and with an equally-good Mother Claus (Kathy Bates) for a film sequel to this season. Eminem has also taken on the robe in the video for his 2004 hit, Just Missed, including a cameo from Bad Santa’s helper co-star, Tony Cox.