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The Snowman [DVD]

Peter Auty , David Bowie , Dianne Jackson , Jimmy T. Murakami    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
Price: 3.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Peter Auty, David Bowie, Raymond Briggs
  • Directors: Dianne Jackson, Jimmy T. Murakami
  • Writers: Raymond Briggs
  • Producers: Iain Harvey, John Coates
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: None
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Nov 2004
  • Run Time: 26 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00061RZXI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,189 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The Snowman has been a Christmas staple ever since its original release in 1982. Based on Raymond Briggs' classic children's book, the tale of a solitary little boy whose snowman comes to life in the night and takes him on a series of adventures which culminate in a meeting with Father Christmas. It's uncluttered by modern standards and told with a gentle simplicity which renders it utterly poignant.

The Snowman deservedly won awards for its animators. But they had the best material to work with: Briggs' softly absorbing original illustrations which magically combine Christmas fantasy with the stark realities of life and death.

For this new special edition a new audio narration has been provided by Mel Smith which will help to bring it alive for younger children. The rest of us will probably be satisfied with Howard Blake's evocative soundtrack and, at the cynic-damning moment when the snowman takes the boy's hand and they soar into the sky, the tingling strains of "Walking in the Air" sung by Peter Auty, (not Aled Jones who had the chart hit on the strength of a commercial). It's enchanting, from beginning to end.

On the DVD: The Snowman Special Edition is presented in 16:9 aspect radio with a stereo Dolby Digital soundtrack, fusing Raymond Briggs' soft, glowing pastel work with Howard Blake's sympathetic score in 26 minutes of animated perfection. The extras are fascinating: David Bowie's original introduction, demanded by the US producers who needed a celebrity to front the project (he looks ridiculously exotic); and a documentary in which the surviving collaborators and Briggs talk with touching awe about the little bit of magic they created. The commercial might of The Snowman as a marketing brand is also revealed. The lumpen vox-pops are the only irritation. --Piers Ford

Product Description

This charming British animated short film (its just 23 minutes long) is a 1982 production of Londons Channel 4, based on the classic childrens book by Raymond Briggs and crafted with a colored-pencils-on-paper look, like fluffy, hand-drawn illustrations. Small children should be entranced by the story of a small boy in rural England whose lovingly constructed snowman comes to life and takes him flying over the white-blanketed landscapes, in a beautiful rotoscoped (traced) sequence based on live-action flying footage. Part of the charm of the film is the gentle, everyday quality of its fantasy adventures: the snowman is invited in to try on clothes and play with the Christmas decorations, then plays host to the boy at a party in the woods, at which his snowy relatives do English country dances. This is one of the very few Christmas tapes on the market that really deserves to be a holiday perennial, a gentle fable of friendship and the power of imagination. --David Chute

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
206 of 210 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cropporama 25 Dec 2003
By A Customer
The Snowman was, and still is, a fantastic animation for Christmas, and until last year, was shown in it's original aspect ratio of 4x3.However, with this being the digital age, somebody has taken it upon themselves to convert this classic into widescreen, by brutally cutting off the top and bottom of the screen. This leaves many scenes with heads and faces missing, and in the flying scene, the Snowman and the boy are nowhere to be seen. Beware of this so-called special edition - get the version bundled with the other Raymond Brigg's tale Father Christmas, which is presented in it's original aspect ratio.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Snowman blu-ray 6 Nov 2012
By AV1
Whilst the colours do look a little brighter on this HD release it's worth noting that the video is the cropped widescreen version. Tops of heads are cut off, detail at the bottom of the screen missing. Also all 3 of the introductions are on the bonus features menu, the story itself starts without any intro at all from the title screen. Dissapointing considering they could have included all 3 versions on 1 blu-ray disc (a cropped and the original version too) for the viewer to choose their favourite version. (it is after all only 25 minutes long). 30th anniversary special edition? Cheap & poorly produced disc of a much loved classic more like.
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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where is the truly original introduction? 5 May 2008
By nicktgb
The rubric for this disc describes "David Bowie's original introduction". Not so - the introduction of the original film was truly atmospheric: a lone figure (Raymond Briggs?) walking through a winter landscape with the sky heavy with impending snow. This was later replaced by the appalling tosh by David Bowie and still later by an animated "Father Christmas" introduction. The true original now seems impossible to acquire - a dreadful act of cultural vandalism.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Snowman is a beautifully illustrated classic film so what on earth has been done to it?! You can find the original introduction with David Bowie under "Extra Features" and "Alternative Introduction". Firstly, how CAN they call it an alternative introduction - it's the original!! I never liked the "Father Christmas" film so was hugely disappointed to see they have Father Christmas introducing it instead of David Bowie. The other thing is that if you choose the alternative introduction it cuts off just as the films starts!!! So, you have back up to the main menu to choose the Father Christmas introduction so you can watch the whole film! And, totally agree with the other reviewers - the film has been chopped top and bottom so heads are cut off.

If you know and love the original Snowman don't buy this so called special edition DVD. However, if you are introducing your kids to The Snowman they won't know any different!
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unhappy with the edition.. 11 Dec 2010
No original introduction ! DVD features the Father Christmas introduction rather than the one we all remember. I'm not sure why after all this time they had to alter it ? Watched my old VHS tape instead.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A sadly mutilated classic 16 Dec 2011
Raymond Briggs's The Snowman is one of the most beautifully atmospheric Christmas stories. The animated version reaches even greater heights, enhanced as it is by Howard Blake's truly moving score.

However, the version presented on this DVD has been mutilated by converting the original's 4x3 aspect ratio to 16x9. This has been done by brutally cropping the top and bottom of the screen.

It would be barbaric enough to have so thoughtlessly edited an animated classic, where the visual element is so rich, but it also results in some scenes that now hardly make any sense. One such example is when the little boy - waking in the morning and realising it is snowing - dresses so quickly he forgets to put on his shoes and socks, which is pointed out by his mother. However, and somewhat farcically, the brutal cropping has resulted in the boy's feet being out of view when his mother does this and she may as well be pointing at the floor.

The really annoying issue here is why this change to 16x9 has been done. My guess is that the publisher has decided that we are now all so philistine that we would simply refuse to watch an "old-fashioned" 4x3 picture, unable to comprehend why two black bars appear down either side of the screen. Better to mutilate a classic to make sure that our gargantuan wall-mounted plasmas are filled to the brim.

Whatever you do, avoid this release, and seek one that has the original 4x3 - as I will now be doing.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ice man cometh to melt hearts. 13 Dec 2004
Can it really be over twenty years since this delicate, captivating animation graced the screens of the fledgling Channel 4? As a voice-over announcer with the station I have introduced The Snowman many times, along with its permutations such as 'the making of' (which I'm glad to see is a bonus programme included here) yet I've never tired of its pastel wintry landscapes and sublime music.
Kids love it, but grown ups will love it even more, especially those of a certain age who yearn for open fires and a simple rural childhood.
As with all Raymond Briggs' stories there is pathos and poignancy, but you're left wanting to watch it again and again and I'm afraid that lump in the throat will remain like a stubborn frost.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Steve
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Okay, it's The Snowman, a classic. I had to get this version because it has the original intro and is not cropped from the original presentation, this being 1.33. However, the bluray being at 1.78 is not a simple crop - it actually has more width - so although both are compromises from the original film frame, I firmly believe the 1.33 version as shown originally and as intended is still the best ratio.

But here's the problem with this disc. The disc is only 1/4 full. Whoever encoded this video was basically an idiot - it's covered in MPEG2 artifacts. All while the disc lays mostly empty. How on earth did they manage this? Who knows.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A bad blu ray, less beautiful than the DVD
I'm very disappointed by picture quality compared to the original version cinema. This film is so beautifulI. I d'ont understand the publisher.
Published 20 days ago by Eric
5.0 out of 5 stars great for xmas
great top up for my grandsons xmas present. He just loves it , It helps him not get bored during school holiday as he has square eyes as watches tv so much, he is not an outdoors... Read more
Published 25 days ago by mazda 2
3.0 out of 5 stars Love the video but...
I ordered DVD from the US- couldn't find a copy here. Good price unfortunately I can't use it. It has a pal 2 rating and only pal 1 will play in the US. Read more
Published 1 month ago by B. Meza
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy, happy memories
I loved watching this film with my daughter and now I have the joy of watching it with my lovely grand-daughters. It is magical to watch their faces.
Published 1 month ago by Eileen Pierrepont
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
My children loved this DVD, the whole family gathered around at Christmas to watch it - it will become a little ritual every year I am sure. Read more
Published 2 months ago by MonCom
1.0 out of 5 stars BAD SERVICE
I Ticked on the one star because there was no lower rating , The truth is the book was damaged on arrival and since the beginning of December I have tried to get it picked up. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr R A legon
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Brill book My children just loved it.I really do not what else to say.I shall be buying more books from you.
Published 3 months ago by Celia Ann Greenslade
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly as expected and then some
The Snowman is our family's Christmas classic and now that we've finally given up on the video-player this was the perfect update for the collection. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jenna
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the story. Couldn't play the DVD.
Read this to my daughter's when they were children (20+ yrs ago). Also had the DVD. Was hoping to give this to my granddaughter for Christmas this year to go along with copy of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jane Keil
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy these DVD's if you live in USA, or Region 1
The seller did not specify that the dvd's would only work in Region 2 (not the USA which is Region 1). They make money on the dvd... Read more
Published 3 months ago by suzie
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