During these months we’re always looking for something to help get us into the holiday spirit. With the help of many television channels we are given a lot ways for this to happen easily, but of course these channels don’t always show us exactly what we want. With so many different holiday films it’s hard to decide which ones are really worth our time, and which ones will help get us into that spirit that we desperately need to get us through the non-stop music and hustle that comes with the time of year. To help with those needs and to cut your to do list at least by one thing, here are the ’10 Best Christmas Movies’.
10. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Produced by Tim Burton, this animated classic is one that so many people over the last few years have seemed to push even harder for when it comes to naming the ultimate Christmas film. The film tells the story of Jack Skellington who becomes bored with scaring people the same way in a fantasy world called ‘Halloween town’ year after year and desperately wants to change something, it’s only when he stumbles upon another world called the ‘Christmas Town’ that he comes up with a plan to do just that.
Directed by Henry Selick, even though it is constantly thought as Tim Burton’s due to the style, the film shows a close adherence to detail that in animation should be hailed, as it is a stop motion picture which can take years to create. The film, being family friendly can be seen as a Christmas classic in some regards, at least for those that grew up watching ‘Beetle juice’ and loving the Tim Burton, Johnny Depp duo. Luckily many agree of its Christmas time worth so it can be found on just about any channel that goes through the rotation of films during this time.
9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Probably one of the most classic figures in modern Christmas time, from the hit song that we can’t seem to get away from, to the classic poem that it’s all based on. The classic stop motion film is considered one of the first films of its kind and first aired on television on December 6th, 1964 and hasn’t stopped its yearly showing on CBS network since. Being just a simple stop motion TV special, it’s pretty impressive to see how important it is when it comes to setting the Christmas mood, and keeping its longevity and connection to the population for over 50 years now.
8. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Obviously not as brilliant as the original play ‘A Christmas Carol’ but a much more fun and cheerful film, ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ is a perfect blend of the absurd antics of the Muppets with the classic Christmas twist. Featuring the classic voices of the Muppets as well as Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, it does a great job of mixing both these worlds into one. Unfortunately, Jim Henson died just before the movie went into production but it’s impossible to see this film without thinking that it still encompasses his spirit and his love for the characters. A great film, and possibly the Muppets best, it deserves the spot on the top 10 of Christmas movies, and the season isn’t complete without watching it once.
7. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
One of the most definitive Christmas films and more than likely seen by almost everyone that celebrates the holiday. ‘Miracle On 34th Street’ tells the story of a man named Kris Kringle, who after filling in for a Santa impersonator during the Macy’s Day Parade, becomes a super star and soon becomes the main Santa in the Macy’s store in Manhattan. During his time as the Santa, he begins to tell others that he is actually the real Santa, all of this soon leads to a court case that seeks the truth of this man’s identity and if he is mentally sound.
A classic that can be looked at as a cute Christmas story or at times even an absurd comedy, the film does a great job in capturing the time and keeping true to its script and making sure it didn’t get goofy as it could have been. All that restraint is paid off as it is now considered one of the all time great holiday films, and was even remade in the 90’s and received pretty fair reviews.
6. Scrooged (1988)
With a classic story like Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’, it’s hard not to have an unlimited amount of renditions, so it’s only natural that we find ourselves back at it. In a modernized version, Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, a highly successful television executive whose actions have caused him to lose the love of his life, and when he fires a man on Christmas Eve; he’s visited by three ghosts that show him why he must change his scrooge like ways. Not spoken of as highly as Bill Murray’s other films, but it definitely should be. Bill Murray’s deadpan comedy and ethos that follows him goes perfectly with this type of film and character. A mix between a Christmas film and a bit of Ghost busters, the film is a perfect modernization of a classic tale. Whether you like Christmas movies or love Bill Murray this is a must see comedy during this time of year.
Indie star writer Jon Favreau wasn’t known for his ability to create children friendly movies, like with his sleeper hit Swingers, and really didn’t do much afterwards so when it comes to creating a Christmas film, it probably was seen as a bit of a gamble. The film ‘Elf’ is about Buddy, a human who is mistakenly taken to the North Pole after he crawls into Santa’s magic bag as a child, and is then raised as an elf, though lacking all of the elf skills. Buddy, played by Will Ferrell, after being told that he is not an actual elf, travels to New York City to try and meet his father played by James Caan.
‘Elf’ is a sleeper of a classic, much like Swingers was. It was indeed a monetary success but for it to reach the levels of replays and Christmas time love, and really all year love it has garnered, is no small feat. A funny and charming film, ‘Elf’ is one of Ferrell’s best performances and we can really connect with his character Buddy. His childlike wonder to the world, and feel good, always happy attitude is something that we all need in life, especially in the time the film was beginning its production, which was very soon after 9/11, and was even shot on location in the Empire State Building. A great fun film that will more than likely always be played around the Christmas months, and will always be a Christmas classic.
4.Home Alone (1990)
By far the film most younger generations relate to when it comes to a must watch film during the Christmas season, ‘Home Alone’ has been a classic since its original release. The story of an 8 year old kid whose family is preparing for a Christmas trip to Paris, who is then forgotten to be woken up when the family is leaving for the airport, only noticing this once they are boarding the plane. While home alone, the boy, played by Macaulay Culkin, is wrapped up in a home invasion that he takes up as his duty to stop.
A fun, and absurd plot, is fun and exciting as well as hilarious. The robbers, played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci are really who drive this film into the comedy gold that is holds. Great performances and slap stick set pieces the film is Culkin’s biggest film and helped cap off his run as one of the most famous child actors. As the series continued, the films became less fun, and more of the same thing repeated leaving the first as the best, and really the only one people see as worth watching.
3. A Christmas Story (1983)
Directed by Bob Clark and based of the writings of author Jean Shepherd ‘A Christmas Story’ tells the story of Ralphie Parker as he tries his best not to run into his school bully, and convince his parents to get him his most wanted gift for Christmas. Of all the movies on the list, this is probably the one that is the hardest to avoid during the Christmas season, whether due to its 24 hour marathon running on television on Christmas day or the unlimited references we see in other pop culture, like the leg lamp, the licking of a frozen pole, and the pink bunny suit the child is forced to wear, ‘A Christmas Story’ is one the most influential Christmas movies when it comes to the time of year and pop culture. A fun look at childhood antics and wants from a time that has seemingly gone away, the film still connects with its viewers and remains many top picks for the best Christmas film of all time, it deserving sits within the top 3 of this list.
2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
After leaving SNL, Chevy Chase never got the extremely popular career he and many others thought he would have, but thanks to one character he has found a spot in just about every holiday. Christmas Vacation is the story of lovable odd ball dad Clark Griswold as he tries and creates the perfect Christmas for his family, as the holiday season continues though his plans keep getting derailed. More absurd comedy and crazy antics drive this Christmas classic into the hall of greats that it sits within. With its ability to remind everyone the insanity that comes with the Christmas season and how hard it is to keep you’re cool as your family comes to visit. Chevy Chase gives a great performance as Clark Griswold, and as the eccentric try hard dad who just wants something to go as planned for once. A comedy classic as well as a Christmas classic, the film is truly one of the most iconic Christmas films around and remains at the top of many lists.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
The most iconic and remembered Christmas film not because of the comedy but because it encompasses the meaning of Christmas for many. The idea of being happy with what you have, and being thankful for those that surround you. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ tells the story George Bailey, played by James Stewart, who plans on jumping from a bridge before he is saved by his guardian angel. From there, we are shown in flashbacks and forwards what George’s town would be like if he had never existed. The perfect feel good movie that has one of the most iconic endings to any film. The film has never not been seen as a great film that’s message crosses more than just a Christmas theme and notion. With great performances from James Stewart who would go on to become a super star; it’s an important film from the notion of plot and as well represents the quintessential Christmas film, and I don’t see any possible way that it is dethroned as such.