8 must-watch Czech Christmas films to stream in 2020

Settle in with a plate of Christmas cookies and a cup of mulled wine for a holiday binge-watch, Czech style!

Expats.cz

Written by Expats.cz
Published on 23.12.2020 12:00 (updated on 23.12.2020)

Tři bratři (Three Brothers)

While this isn’t a Christmas movie per se, it is a fairy tale and fairy tales are to Czech Christmas what Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or The Snowman are to Anglophone countries. This one follows three brothers, played by Vojtěch Dyk, Tomáš Klus, and Zdeněk Piškula, through three different tales and a series of musical numbers. Narration is provided by beloved Czech actor Zdeněk Svěrák whose son, Jan, directed. Great fun for kids (who may want to cover their eyes when the big bad wolf shows up!). Now streaming on Netflix.

Pelíšky (Cosy Dens)

Probably one of the most beloved Czech films and soundtracks of all time, Pelišky (Cosy Dens) provides a snapshot of Czech family life leading up to the 1968 Prague Spring. The 1999 film directed by Jan Hřebejk portrays the wonderfully dark and quirky Czech sense of humor toward family and the communist regime. It’s also teeming with Czech Christmas traditions – chlebíčky, carp… and quality plastic spoons from East Germany. Now streaming on Nextflix.

Anděl Páně and Anděl Páně 2 (Angel of the Lord)

This 2005 film features respected actor Ivan Trojan as the angel Petronel who manages to destroy everything he touches, including his role as the Guardian of the Heavenly Gate. To teach him a lesson God banishes the errant angel to earth where he manages to meet up with Uriah the Devil and continue on with a series of merry mistakes. A sequel, Anděl Páně 2, came out in 2016 and is now streaming on Netflix with English subtitles.

Přijde letos Ježíšek? (Is Jesus Coming this Year?)

This film from 2013 is quite possibly the Czech answer to a Hallmark movie, though given that it’s set in romantic snowy locations throughout the Lesser Town and the Old Town, including a sweeping opening shot of snow-dusted Prague, the rom-com’s holiday appeal is hard to resist. Real-life spouses Josef Abrhám and Libuše Šafránková, famed for her leading role in 1973’s Three Nuts for Cinderella, lead a cast of notables in a tale of two cross-cultural families, many of whose members harbor big secrets, meeting at the holidays. Now streaming on Netflix.

Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku)

Adapted from a Božena Němcová story and directed by Václav Vorlíček, 1973’s Three Nuts for Cinderella is a classic version of the Cinderella tale that will be familiar to most, and the wintry forest setting gives it extra appeal. With a memorable score by Karel Svoboda and the late Karel Gott’s stirring rendition of “Kdepak ty ptáčku hnízdo máš” it's a must for the holiday watchlist. Now streaming on Netflix with English subtitles.

S tebou mě baví svět (I Enjoy the World with You 1982)

Newly streaming on Netflix this year, this 1982 holiday classic takes place at a mountain cottage in the Beskids where every year, three middle-aged friends, spend their vacation. Typically the holiday is a bachelors-only affair but when the wives force the men to take their children along hijinks ensue. Featuring the catchy tune Sladké mámení performed by Helena Vondráčková.

Mrazík (Father Frost)

Mrazík isn't a Czech film but a 1964 Soviet-made production based on the traditional Russian fairy tale Morozko. It's still beloved by a generation of Czechs for its forest setting and quality dubbing which many believe brings an added satirical layer to the story. Directed by Alexander Rou, Father Frost tells the story of the young wanderer Ivan and his search for the lovely Nastya, which is thwarted by Baba Yaga and her enchanted chicken-legged hut, along the way. A version with an English dub was released in 1966 in the U.S. The original can be streamed for free with English subtitles at The Russian Film Hub.

Princezna ze mlejna (The Watermill Princess (Princezna ze mlejna)

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A 1994 fairytale by director Zdeněk Troška revolves, as fairy tales do, around a cursed princess and a young suitor who sets out to save her. The fairy tale was filmed at scenic Dobříš chateau and at Helfenburk castle. This traditional Czech Christmas fairytale was such a success a sequel was made in 2000. Stream it on YouTube, the sequel "Princezna ze mlejna 2" can now be streamed on Netflix.