What can you do when the family is stuck at home because of a big, heavy snowfall? Watch a movie about being snowbound, of course. In addition to being entertaining, it could make the time pass more quickly, because the characters in the movie have the same problems with the white winter stuff. All of the films are available on DVD, some online and others free.
The Gold Rush (1925) The Gold Rush is a classic starring Charlie Chaplin, set in the 1890s during the Alaska gold rush period. The Little Tramp is a prospector who shares his snowed-in cabin with a partner, portrayed by Mack Swain. They run out of food, resulting in the famous scene where Charlie cooks and eats his shoe, daintily using the tacks as toothpicks.
Battleground (1949) Battleground is an entirely realistic and intimate story of American soldiers caught in heavy snow and surrounded during the 1944-45 Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. Van Johnson heads the cast of GIs who must survive the bitter weather and German attacks.
The inspiring story tells of how they endure the horrors of war, and win out in the end, when the dreary winter mists clear away to sunlight. With it comes the promise of help from the air and fresh American forces.
Alive (1993) Alive is based on the true story of Uruguayan rugby team members who were passengers on a flight that crashed in the snow-covered Andes Mountains in 1972. After 70 days of endurance, watching companions die and cannibalism, the surivors are finally rescued.
This story is not for small children nor those easily dismayed by the survivors’ need to take such drastic actions. However, for the dramatic snow scenes and eventual satisfying ending, this film can be a rewarding experience while gathered around a warm fire on a snowy night.
Fargo (1996) As can be expected, most of the action in Fargo takes place in snowy Fargo, North Dakota. The town police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) goes about her duties in a calm, low-key manner, whether it involves financial thievery or murder. The fact that she is pregnant doesn’t deter her from her official duties.
Driving through snowstorms on snowy roads, she eventually tracks down crooked car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) and his two hired hit men. Their job was to kidnap the salesman’s wife in a phony ransom set-up, but it all went wrong when one of the bad guys kills the other and feeds him to a wood-chopping machine. Despite the intricate plot, the police chief solves it all in her quiet, unassuming manner, and brings the criminals to justice. Considering she is seven months’ pregnant, it all happens just in time.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004) You couldn’t find a snowier film, because the futuristic Day After Tomorrow depicts much of America turning into a totally frozen-over wasteland. The plot explains it to be a natural follow-up to global warming, when the weather patterns reacted violently as they did during prehistoric Ice Ages.
Environmental scientist brothers Sam Hall (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) attempt to warn Washington of the coming massive snowstorm. However, their predictions are at first rejected by politicians closely resembling George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The film could make for some brisk fireside debate by family members who have strong opinions about whether this snowbound disaster could ever happen.