DVD Gifts for Your Holiday List

Need a present for a mystery addict? How about a British drama fan or an American history buff? Check out our 2012 picks

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The Costume Drama Classic Collection

For the Downton Abbey fan who can’t wait for the January 6 start of Season 3, here are four Masterpiece Theatre classics: the memorable 2002 Dr. Zhivago with Keira Knightley; Lillie, the story of king’s mistress Lillie Langtry (Francesca Annis); a very young Colin Firth in Lost Empires; and the first season of that Downton servant predecessor, Upstairs, Downstairs. Buy it here.

Downton Abbey: The T-Shirt

What could be more fun for Downton devotees than a t-shirt emblazoned with one of the dowager countess’ classic queries: What is a “weekend”? We also like the Free Bates tee in this clever collection: Buy them here.

 

Want to wrap a shirt next to DVDs of the first two seasons? Buy them here.

Girls: The Complete First Season

Watching Lena Dunham’s innovative HBO series is as comfortable as pulling a band aid off an open wound. And that’s the point. Dunham, 25, created and stars in this startlingly raw look at four young women trying to find their post-college identities. Perfect for the twenty-something female on your own list—or anyone who wants to keep up with the most talked about talent of the year (Season 2 begins January 13). Buy it here.

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American Experience: The Presidents

This PBS series is just about unmatched in its ability to provide fresh insight into the men we elected to the highest office. Biography lovers will find hours of images and information to absorb and debate in these 11 presidential portraits, including FDR, Nixon, Reagan and Clinton. Buy it here.

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Wish Me Luck

For thriller lovers following the exploits of Homeland’s and Zero Dark Thirty’s gutsy heroines—how about a bevy of female spies from a generation past? Based on true stories, this 23-episode, late ‘80s British drama follows the dangerous paths of  British women recruited to work with the French Resistance in WW II. Buy it here.

Katy Perry The Movie: Part of Me

Okay, we confess: We were in it for the costumes. But this admirable documentary is at once a celebration of the pop princess, a look at her unlikely origins (she’s the child of Pentecostal ministers), and a testament to her vision and persistence. There are the expected moments of fun and triumph—but also Perry’s grief as her marriage to Russell Brand falters. Buy it here.

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Waterloo Road: Series 1

Know a fan of Friday Night Lights or the fourth season of The Wire? This hit 2006 BBC drama offers equally compelling characters—and comparable tension and heartbreak. But this time, we’re following the tangled lives of kids and teachers at a troubled English “comprehensive school.” Buy it here.
 

Columbo: The Complete Series

The perfect present for a well-loved friend or relative who longs for the eccentric heroes of TV past? Mystery solved: Columbo: The Complete Series. Peter Falk won four Emmys as the mumbling, rumpled sleuth; the 69 episodes and 24 TV movies starring his character show why. Buy it here.

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A Christmas Story

The story’s so great, they turned it into a new Broadway musical. But here’s a present the family can watch at home. The 1983 comedy about 9-year-old Ralphie’s desperate desire for a BB gun in 1940 Indiana never gets old, just more endearing. Buy it here.
 

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Sunset Boulevard

Faded star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) may have been “ready for my close up” in Billy Wilder’s 1950 noir classic, but she’d need extra prep time for a Blu-ray lens. This newly restored version is a treat for older film fans—and a revelation to younger generations. Buy it here.

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Ted

When a little boy wishes his teddy bear would come to life, it does—in the form of Ted, who grows up to be foul-mouthed, pot-inhaling, and still by his side. Raucous, raunchy—and unfailingly funny—this R-rated feature from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane may be the ultimate buddy movie. Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis costar in a perfect gift for a guy on your list. Buy it here.

 

Feelin’ flush? There’s a trash-talking Ted stuffed toy available too. Buy it here

Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection

Vampires, werewolves, the walking dead—monsters have never been more in vogue. But these eight films (includingFrankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman) are time-tested, and offer legendary performances by such giants of the genre as Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Buy it here.
 

The War: A Ken Burns Film

For the history buff on your list, and maybe even someone who lived the history, consider Burns’ 15-hour documentary on World War II.  Showcasing citizens from four American towns, the 2007 project offers a ground-level tour of the brutality, loss and heroism that marked a generation. Buy it here.

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Titanic

The 1997 romantic saga that made Leonardo DiCaprio a worldwide superstar gets a 2012 Blu-ray update, including cast commentary and deleted scenes.  A nostalgic treat for women who remember their girlhood crush—and a still-breathtaking gift for teens today. Buy it here.

Next: 37 Gifts They Won't Forget

 

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