It’s the most wonderful time of the year – when you get to pick the perfect present for the loved one in your life. If you’re Christmas shopping for the movie buff in your life, there’s a whole glut of Blu-rays and 4K Ultra HD discs sure to make them happy on the big day – and Empire has gathered the cream of the crop in one handy gift guide.
Whether you’re shopping for a partner, a parent, a sibling, a friend, or even yourself (hey, why not be your own secret Santa), we’ve got something for everyone – the latest releases, must-have cult favourites, special collector’s editions, 4K remasters, binge-able boxsets and more. Anything listed here should delight the cinephile in your life, so get ready to bag a Blu-ray that goes beyond the basics to deliver some real-life movie magic this Christmas. Happy shopping!
Oppenheimer – Blu-ray
The feel-bad movie of summer is a mightily impression bit of filmmaking from Christopher Nolan – a near three-hour biopic of the atomic bomb and the man who forged it into being. An ideal rewatch in those time-doesn’t-exist days between Christmas and New Year.
Barbie – Blu-ray
This year’s blockbuster sensation was something of a miracle – a toy story that proved to be so much more, in the hands of director Greta Gerwig. Frankly, any Christmas gathering will be improved by sticking on Barbie after eating a mountain of turkey and roast potatoes.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio – The Criterion Collection 4K + Blu-ray
Handcrafted in every millisecond, del Toro’s take on the puppet-boy is a stunning piece of animation that smartly reframes the original narrative. Now it gets the lavish Criterion treatment, with stunning cover art and tons of deep-dive special features (including a brand-new making-of doc, ‘Handcarved Cinema’). A worthy addition to your shelf.
The Mandalorian: Season 1 – 4K Steelbook
For the first time ever, Mando comes to disc. The first eight adventures of Din Djarin are gathered in a collectible steelbook set, with the episodes on 4K Ultra-HD and Blu-ray Discs. No Star Wars fan’s shelf will be truly complete without it (and Season 2 is arriving early in 2024).
Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse – 4K Ultra-HD
Thought they couldn’t top Into The Spider-Verse? Think again. The Spider-Man sequel ups the ante in every way – especially the mind-blowing animation, best seen in super-crisp 4K. Get ready to watch it over and over while we wait (not so) patiently for the concluding Beyond The Spider-Verse.
The Last Of Us: Season 1 – Blu-ray
Here it is: the greatest game-to-screen adaptation probably ever, with incredible casting – Pedro Pascal as Joel, and Bella Ramsey as Ellie – and the game’s emotional (and terrifying) atmosphere intact. Oh, and mushroom-zombies. Lots and lots of mushroom-zombies. Cushions and tissues aplenty required for this one.
The Wolf Of Wall Street – Arrow Video Limited Edition Blu-ray
An undoubted highlight of both Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese’s respective careers, The Wolf Of Wall Street remains a masterpiece. The packaging on Arrow’s re-release is impeccable – presented in a deluxe wallet-style sleeve, with a credit card, business card, and more, reversible artwork for the film itself, a 60-page book, and an entire disc of extras. More value than a penny stock.
Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny – Blu-ray
The Indy movies are the sort you end up rewatching every Christmas – and now, there’s a brand new one to add into the rotation. Grave-robbing, supernatural shenanigans, thrilling chase sequences, and Harrison Ford grunting it up a storm – it’s all here.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One – Blu-ray
One to jolt you out of your Christmas dinner fug – another ripping Mission, with Tom Cruise doing the wildest things (driving a bike off a cliff, and then parachuting off the bike; doing donuts in Rome in a tiny yellow mini; escaping a steam train as it crashes off a cliff) in the name of your entertainment. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is… well, just watch this. Not hard really.
After Hours – The Criterion Collection Blu-ray
An underrated Scorsese movie, After Hours finds him in ever-energetic form, as everyman Paul Hackett unspools a wild night in New York City filled with rogues and outcasts. This fresh Criterion release features a brand new 4K restoration of the film, and is bursting with extras that dig into the filmmaking process of one of the greatest directors of all time.
Everything Everywhere All At Once: Collector's Edition – A24 Blu-Ray
The best film of last year – and Best Picture at the Oscars – is available to stream. But bafflingly, it has no official UK release on disc. Thankfully, A24’s stunning Collector’s Edition is region-free, meaning you can watch Everything Everywhere, well, anywhere. It’s beautifully presented too, in a tax folder with a nihilistic everything bagel on the disc itself – and it’s packed with extras.
It Follows – Second Sight Limited Edition 4K And Blu-Ray
Fresh from the news that They Follow is coming, now’s the perfect time to revisit David Robert Mitchell’s instant-classic original. Second Sight has a stunning new edition with a hardback slipcase, a 150page hardback book, tons of extras, and the film on both 4K and Blu-ray. You won’t mind this one following you home.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem – Blu-ray
Already worn out Spider-Verse? Then you’ll love the expressive animation of the Turtles’ return – all pencil scrawls and off-kilter choices, paired with a super-charming tale of shell-heads looking for friendship (and taking down a giant mutant fly – we’ve all been there).
Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves – Blu-ray
Frankly, not enough people saw Dungeons & Dragons on the big screen. This needs to be rectified as soon as possible. Take a roll of the d20 and stick it on your Christmas list – this is a blast, a comedic action-adventure in the Guardians vein. And you’ll never forget Jarnathan. Thank us later.
Interview With The Vampire: Season 1 – Blu-ray
No disrespect to Neil Jordan's sumptuous nineties take but Anne Rice's gothic romance finally gets the adaptation it deserves with this AMC series. With Jacob Anderson playing Louis as a man of colour in 19th century New Orleans, the story takes on a whole new dimension, while finally being able to properly explore the queer love story at the centre of the novel. A compelling seven-part series you can really sink your teeth into.
Past Lives – Blu-ray
Bundle up in a big blanket, set out all of your remaining festive chocolate, and get lost in Past Lives – a quietly beautiful story of love, life, and the paths not taken. Gift this to a fan of sumptuous character-driven cinema and they’ll thank you for years to come.
Boyhood – Arrow Video Limited Edition 4K
Fans of Richard Linklater’s seminal coming-of-age film – shot with the same actors across the span of 12 years – will love this limited edition from Arrow. It’s beautifully presented in a hard sleeve, the disc is packed with extras – featurettes, a visual essay, unheard interviews with Linklater himself, a BFI talk – and also comes with a double-sided poster and 60-page bound book. Everything the film deserves, basically.
BFI Ghost Stories For Christmas Vol. 2 – Blu-ray Box Set
Spook it up this festive season with another collection of creepy Christmas tales originally broadcast on the BBC in the ‘70s, and now scrubbed up on Blu-ray. This one comprises five terrifying tales – The Treasure Of Abbot Thomas, The Ash Tree, The Signalman, Stigma, and The Ice House – sure to chill your bones more than a winter blizzard.
Happy Valley: Complete Series 1-3 – Blu-ray
Sally Wainwright's Yorkshire-set series may not live up to its feelgood title, but it's among the most lauded TV dramas to ever grace British screens for good reason. With knockout performances from Sarah Lancashire as world-weary Sergeant Catherine Cawood and James Norton as loathsome criminal Tommy Lee Royce, these three series were eked out over a decade, coming to a devastating climax this year, not in a bloody firefight but over a cuppa at the kitchen table. Perfection.
The Lighthouse – Arrow Video Limited Edition Blu-ray
Nothing says festive fun like Robert Eggers’ monochromatic fantasy-horror delve into the psyches of two miserable lighthouse keepers. Okay, maybe not. But hey, this is a recent masterpiece from one of our greatest rising filmmakers, and with the full Arrow treatment – deluxe packaging! Tons of extras! A lovely bound book! – it’s a top-tier gift.
Dark Winds: Season 1 – Blu-ray
While you might be tempted to see it as yet another reason The Winds Of Winter didn't come out this year, Dark Winds (which counts George R. R. Martin as producer) is also a sharply-written detective series based on the novels by Tony Hillerman. A seventies-set crime show set on a Navajo reservation in the American Southwest, it's rich, beautifully shot and kicks off with a heist set piece that even Michael Mann might tip his hat to.
Mean Streets – Second Sight Limited Edition 4K And Blu-Ray
Full disclosure: this isn’t due for release until January, so won’t arrive in time for the big day. But for the Scorsese-head in your life, they won’t mind – his seminal ‘70s crime drama, the one that really started it all, gets an incredible Second Sight set – with rigid slipcase, 178-page book, art cards, extras galore and more. It’ll be worth the wait until the new year.