What can you do when the family is stuck at home or in the airport 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. All of the films are available on DVD, some online and free on your smartphone.
The Gold Rush (1925): A classic starring Charlie Chaplin, set in 1890s Alaska. The Little Tramp is a prospector who shares his snowed-in cabin with 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): A realistic story of American GIs caught in heavy snow and surrounded during the 1944-45 Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. Van Johnson heads the soldiers 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 ground forces.
Alive (1993): Based on the true story of Uruguayan rugby team members 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 an icy night.
Fargo (1996): Most of the action 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’s pregnant doesn’t deter her from official duties.
Driving through snowstorms, 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. It all went wrong when a bad guy 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.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004): You couldn’t find a snowier film, because the futuristic story 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) try 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.