“The Snowman”released in 1982, is a timeless 27-minute animated masterpiece, crafted by Dianne Jackson for Channel 4 and based on Raymond Briggs’ enchanting 1978 illustrated children’s book. This non-verbal gem immediately captivated audiences, earning accolades such as selection at the prestigious 1983 Annecy Festival, a BAFTA win, and a nomination for the U.S. Oscar® for Animated Short Film. Since its debut, this heartwarming tale has become an integral part of Christmas traditions, embraced by both British and international audiences.

Remaining true to the book’s charm, the film is devoid of spoken dialogue, relying on visuals, action, and the evocative music of Howard Blake, who not only scored the film but also composed and conducted the orchestral score with his ensemble, the Sinfonia of London. The only exception is the hauntingly beautiful song “Walking in the Air,” penned by Blake and performed by the uncredited St Paul’s Cathedral choirboy, Peter Auty.

Set against the backdrop of a snowy landscape, “The Snowman” weaves a captivating narrative without words, drawing viewers into the magical world of James and his newfound frosty friend. In recognition of its enduring appeal, the film secured the 71st spot in the British Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes. Additionally, it claimed the 4th position in UKTV Gold’s “Greatest TV Christmas Moments,” solidifying its status as a cherished classic in the realm of festive storytelling.

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5 Fun Facts About The Snowman

(1) Aled Jones, the singer of the chart-topping “Walking in the Air” released in 1985, is more widely recognized than Peter Auty, who sang the same song in the film. Jones recorded the chart version for an English toy store’s Christmas campaign, accompanied by new animation.

(1) When aired on PBS in the United States, David Bowie provided a newly filmed introduction instead of Raymond Briggs. The decision was based on the belief that the animation needed a star-studded touch.

(3) Apart from the introduction and the lyrics of “Walking in the Air,” the film remains entirely devoid of spoken words.

(4) Adapted from Raymond Briggs’ wordless book, the film unfolds its narrative entirely through a series of captivating pictures.

(5) The beginning of the flying sequence pays visual homage to the painting “Over the Town” by Marc Chagall.