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The Snowman

Short Film

Country: UK

Genre: Animation, Short



"I remember that winter because it brought the heaviest snow that I had ever seen. Snow had fallen steadily all night long and in the morning I woke in a room filled with light and silence. The whole world seemed to be held in a dream-like stillness. It was a magical day, and it was on that day I made 'The Snowman'." (Raymond Briggs, opening narration of original version) One winter's day, a boy (whose name is later given by a tag on a present as James) who lives in one of the little villages around Brighton on England's south coast, builds a snowman who comes to life at the stroke of midnight. The snowman takes the boy over his village, the Royal Pavilion and the Palace Pier, and then out over the ocean and north along the coast of Norway. They continue through an arctic landscape and into the aurora borealis, landing in a snow-covered forest to join a party of snowmen, where the boy meets Father Christmas. The next morning, after the return journey, the boy wakes up to find that his beloved snowman has melted.


  • Based on the 1978 picture book of the same name by English author and illustrator Raymond Briggs (b. 1934)
  • First transmitted on 26 December, 1982
  • The original version of this film opens with Raymond Briggs walking through a somewhat bleak field in the English countryside whilst recounting in narration how he came to create the story. An alternate opening was later made in which James as an adult, played by David Bowie, recites a different speech after walking into the attic of his boyhood home and discovering in a drawer the scarf given to him by Father Christmas. In 2002, on the occasion of the film's 20th anniversary, Channel 4 created yet another alternate opening, with Raymond Briggs' interpretation of Father Christmas (voiced by comedian Mel Smith) recounting how he met the boy. This version also had the top and bottom of the original film cropped to give the film a widescreen aspect ratio. (The Amazon links at the top right of this page are to a Region 1 DVD which presents the original version of the film in its uncropped 4:3 aspect ratio.)
  • The song "Walking in the Air" is sung in the film by chorister Peter Auty (b. 1969).
  • A sequel to this film, created to mark the film's 30th anniversary, was entitled "The Snowman and the Snowdog" (2012).
Picture for The Snowman


  • Peter Auty
    (Voice only - boy treble, 'Walking in the Air')
  • Raymond Briggs
    (Opening narration - original version)
  • David Bowie
    (James as an Adult - alternate version)
  • Mel Smith
    (Father Christmas - voice only, 2002 version)

BoyActors Reviews

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Aled Jones made 'Walking in the Air' famous, but Peter Auty of St Paul's Cathedral was the lad who first sang it. Before his soprano days ended he made some recordings, later released on CD as Down the River of Years. He's now an operatic tenor.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Page Last Modified: 12th September 2018
Page Added: 12th September 2018

Page Views: 1026

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