It’s A Wonderful Life, Christmas Eve, Channel 4, 2.35pm

Although a box office failure in its day there is no better Christmas movie than Frank Capra’s 1946 fantasy and it’s one of that elite club of English language films – see The Wizard Of Oz, ET, Star Wars, The Magnificent Seven etc. – that everyone should watch at least once in their lives. Always guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye it’s a sublime piece of work, from James Stewart’s pitch-perfect performance as George Bailey, who is prevented from killing himself on Christmas Eve by a guardian angel, to its over-arching themes of kindness, charity and redemption. It’s amazing to think it was nominated for the Best Picture, Director and Actor awards at the 1947 Oscars and didn’t win any of them, losing in each case to The Best Years Of Our Lives. Still, its standing today is perhaps a greater legacy.

Tangerine, Christmas Day, Film 4, 1.35am

This early into Christmas Day you would hope no child would be already ripping into their stocking but if they were it’s safe to say this isn’t the sort of orange they would be likely to find tucked in at the bottom. But for any adults who fancy an alternative early morning Christmas treat this piece of bravura film-making is well worth a watch. It was shot on three iPhone 5s smartphones by director Sean Baker and follows a day in the life of transgender sex worker Sin-Dee Rella (transgender actress Kitana Kiki Rodriguez). It’s Christmas Eve, Sin-Dee Rella is just out of prison and has parked herself at her favourite Hollywood doughnut shop with her friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor) when she finds out that Chester, her drug-dealer boyfriend (also her pimp) has been cheating on her. Chaos ensues and she sets out for revenge. Funny, moving, breathtakingly kinetic and defiantly vulgar, this a gem of a film.

La La Land, Christmas Day, BBC Two, 10.10pm

Ryan Gosling is Sebastian, a jazz-loving pianist in Los Angeles who’s eking out a soulless living playing cheesy standards in a piano bar when he meets Mia (Emma Stone), a struggling actress doing the rounds of the auditions. Director Damien Chazelle hit critical and commercial paydirt with this 2016 romance by grafting a very modern boy-meets-girl story onto an out-of-time cinematic template, namely the song-and-dance musical of the Hollywood Golden Age. Some critics thought Gosling’s dancing a little out of time too, but there’s no denying the chemistry of the leads. And in musicals, as in vaccine research, chemistry is everything.

Grand Budapest Hotel, Christmas Day, Channel 4, 11.15pm

Always a delight, Wes Anderson’s Oscar-nominated 2014 film even has a vaguely Christmas-y feel thanks to a snowy final chase sequence featuring stars Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori. They play Monsieur Gustave (Fiennes) and Zero (Revolori), respectively the suave concierge and naïve young lobby boy at the hotel of the title, located in a fictitious European country. The action flits between the present day and the 1930s, with F Murray Abraham playing Zero as a much older man regaling a writer (played by Jude Law) with tales of his adventures with Monsieur Gustave. Among a glittering supporting cast of regular Anderson helpmates are Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan and Léa Seydoux.

Dunkirk, Boxing Day, BBC One, 9.05pm

As the UK government prepares to turn its unseemly and inglorious retreat from the European Union into something resembling a victory, what better time to watch an early iteration of the same story? Christopher Nolan’s war film uses sparse dialogue and an ensemble cast – Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and a certain Harry Styles all feature – to tell the story of the Dunkirk evacuation from multiple viewpoints. Like all of Nolan’s film it’s better suited to the cinema screen, but it’s a decent enough spectacle anywhere and its eight Oscar nominations were well deserved.

Wonder Woman, December 29, STV, 7.30pm

With sequel Wonder Woman 1984 “in cinemas” as of last week (in other words now streaming on a platform near you) it’s a good time to check out the first instalment in the ongoing franchise, originally released in 2017 and starring Gal Gardot as Amazonian warrior goddess Diana, the wonder woman of the title. Some reviews were a little sniffy but it’s an above average effort and director Patty Jenkins (who also helms Wonder Woman 1984) is certainly a name to watch. The year is 1918 and the first world war reaches the shores of Diana’s island homeland bringing with it Steve Trevor, an American spy/flying ace/all round good guy. Together they take on Ares (David Thewlis), the chaos-loving God of war. You can guess who comes out on top but it’s good fun along the way, and there’s a sterling turn from Trainspotting star Ewen Bremner as Charlie, the drunken sharpshooter.

Point Break, December 29, BBC One, 12 midnight

You can argue the toss about whether or not Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 film is the best surfing movie ever made – Big Wednesday and Endless Summer will have their boosters – but it’s certainly the best one featuring Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Big Wednesday star Gary Busey, Lori Petty, a breathless sky-diving sequence and a bunch of bank robbers who dress up as former US presidents. Endlessly quotable – “This morning I caught my first tube” – and endlessly enjoyable, it’s up there with The Matrix in terms of career high performances from Reeves though his character, FBI agent Johnny Utah, is closer to Bill And Ted territory. The plot: Johnny has to learn to ride in order to infiltrate Swayze’s gang of surfer dude stick-up artists. He does. He likes it and he likes them – a little too much, in fact.

Withnail & I, December 31, Film 4, 11.15pm

Definitely the best British film of the 1980s and arguably one of the best ever made, Bruce Robinson’s 1987 black comedy made stars of Richard E Grant and Paul McGann as, respectively, Withnail and I (we never learn his character’s name) and gave to popular culture such gems as the Camberwell Carrot (just Google it). Three decades on it seems unlikely to lose its cult status any time soon, at least among those of us who still wander around quoting huge chunks of the dialogue (“We’ve come on holiday by mistake” and “Those are the kinds of windows faces look in at” are your correspondent’s favourites). There’s not much to the plot – it’s 1969 and two out-of-work actors swap Camden Town for a weekend in the Lake District – which makes the film even more impressive.

Charade, January 1, ITV 3, 11.50am

Cary Grant is at his twinkling, trickster best in this beauty from Stanley Donen, best known as the choreographic genius behind On The Town and Singin’ In The Rain and as the director of Funny Face but here showing himself pretty adept at the comedy-thriller genre. Released in 1963 and notable for its Henry Mancini score and animated title sequence it has been described as the best film Alfred Hitchcock never made and it certainly keeps you guessing until the very end as Grant, playing a man of many faces, comes up against Audrey Hepburn’s rich girl Regina Lampert. The Paris setting adds to the charm and there’s a great supporting cast in James Coburn, George Kennedy and Walter Matthau.

The Witch, January 2, Film 4, 11.50pm

Set among British Puritans in New England in the mid-17th century this is the directorial debut from Robert Eggers, the man behind acclaimed 2019 film The Lighthouse (Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe going bonkers in moody black and white). Anya Taylor-Joy, who would go on to play the title role in this year’s Emma, takes on a very different character here: Thomasin, the eldest of four children in a family of Puritans who have been banished and forced to set up on their own in a wood they’re gradually trying to clear – which is where things start to take a turn for the weird and the bloody. Scottish actress Kate Dickie and Ralph Ineson (more recently in Game Of Thrones but best known as Keith Finch from The Office) plays Thomasin’s parents, Katherine and William.