The Best Christmas Movies Ever Made.

From where I am, it is exactly one month before Christmas – and I present a glimpse into my soul – and bring you, in my humble yet startlingly accurate opinion, my list of the best Christmas flicks ever put to print. – Not just ‘really good’ ones, but the ones that over the years, have developed an extra “something” that you can’t do the season without.

Not a fan of Christmas movies? Not to fear, my reviews of the Worst are still coming…

First, The Best “Christmas Movie That Never Appears On Any Christmas List” Movie:
Die Hard (1988) –whether it be a “true” Christmas film list or a humourous Christmas film list, this one has never been on any – and I say for shame. Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” and classics like “Let it Snow…” and “Winter Wonderland” adorn the soundtrack. Bruce Willis says “Merry Christmas” at least once, puts a Santa hat on a dead guy, and uses Christmas tape to assist him with putting a bullet through that guy’s head and also into Hanz. There, it’s a Christmas movie. Stamped it. Yippee-Kiyaay, Mother [Christmas language!]

Now, onto the ‘Real’ Christmas movies in no particular order:

A Christmas Story (1983)– We all know the tongue on the pole scene, and what that actor (Scott Schwartz) was doing until 2000 (naughty, naughty), but this movie is one of the few movies that simply tells a boy’s Christmas memories – that will, guaranteed, ring true for a stew of childhood memories for every guy out there. If anyone knows where I can BUY a lamp like that one, let me know. No, really.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)– Ranked #26 of the best movies of all time on IMDB, this movie is regarded by many, for all intents and purposes, as THE defining Christmas movie. It really could be for any time of year, but the discovery of what’s truly important is so explosive, it could only be delivered in the context of Christmas. Makes me cry every time.

“A Christmas Carol” 1951 with Alastair Sim (or “Scrooge” to some) – This is the ONLY version of this movie I endorse. Simply, and without question my favourite Christmas film, the dark, grainy, black and white picture gives Alastair Sim an ungodly feel and a creepiness that drips from your screen through the glorious mono sound. Absolutely nailing the stuffy, wracked life of a miser, Alastair Sim gives what is possibly my favourite movie performance anywhere. I won’t even argue this. Anyone who disagrees should be shot. Same goes for the guy who colourized this and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Scrooged (1988)– The only Modern version of the above movie that I have anointed with the honour of being watchable, and superbly watchable at that. – Bill Murray squeezes in some trademark humour and wraps it all up with a solid Christmas-defining monologue – and the Annie Lennox & Al Green “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” round-robin sing-along – which, in a number of theatres actually WORKED, put the closing credits over the top – I’ll never forget it.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas (1965)– Not a movie, but so required it can’t NOT be mentioned. Every year as a kid, I would scramble through the tv guide every week of December to find every showing of the Charlie Brown Special. The gang singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing will always be a defining Christmas moment for me, and made it one of my favourite Carols to this day. Linus’s monologue is the calmest reflection on the Meaning of Christmas monologues anywhere. Anyone who doesn’t like “The Brown”, should star in their own version of “scrooge” – which, as I mentioned, I wouldn’t endorse anyway. (Update: We’ve been getting lots of hits from people looking for Linus’ Speech, in which case, find the Good Book and look up the passage at Luke 2:8-14.)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Animated (1966). – Again, not a movie, but you simply must see it every year – they’re even selling the dvd of it cheap. Besides, it spawned a movie – which I still haven’t seen. – It would take an amazing movie on their part, and massive amounts of crack cocaine on my part for me to find it better than the animated version.

Oh sure, you’ll always have Miracle on 34th Street, that Frosty the snowman one – and the Rudolph special that looked like it was made by the David & Goliath people, but they plum don’t have that …. That…. Je ne sais quois that the others have. There’s just something a little extra in the above list that I can’t do without come this time of year. — Honourable mention goes to “Gremlins”.

Coming Soon… The 2nd Worst Christmas Movie of All Time

24 thoughts on “The Best Christmas Movies Ever Made.

  1. I am trying to find the name of a Christmas film my husband and I watched at home in England and in the USA while visiting there one Christmas. The film features a single mother and her two daughters who are homeless and decide to live in a department store over Christmas. They get found out but all ends happily. It was a superb film. Anyone else seen it? And know the name of it? We cannot remember the name……..cheers if anyone can help………Merry Christmas.


  3. Hi! For years I have had this line in my head from a movie, most likely a Christmas one. Everyone I ask says it sounds familiar but no one can think of what it is from. The line is, “And may all you Christmases be White…” and then she starts crying. Christmases is especially broken up. Any response would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

  4. The best christmas flicks (in order, followed by the scene through which no human in proper touch with their senses can keep from shedding at least a bit of a tear) definitively as I see it: ahem:
    The Homecoming (Waltons — scene where John Boy explains his journal to his mom, scene where father gives JB his xmas gift)
    Alistair Sim’s version of Christmas Carol (scene where Scrooge talks for the first time to his nephew’s new wife)
    It’s a Wonderful Life (scene where druggist realizes George saved his skin)
    A Christmas Story (scene where the dad points out what Ralphie has overlooked.)
    The Magnificent Ambersons (scene where Lucy refuses to let George see how she feels)
    Miracle on 34th St (Maureen O’Hara — scene where Susan finds the house)
    Pocketful of Miracles (scene where the party finally gets going)
    Animated Grinch
    Charlie Brown Christmas

  5. You mentioned the brilliant Chuck Jones animated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” BRAVO!

    As for the recent film with Jim Carey. Could be the WORST Chrismas movie of all time (Yes even worse than the Santa Saves Mars Flick).

    My personal favorite is “A Christmas Story”

  6. Third,
    Yeah that’s true. I actually saw Christmas Vacation in in theatres.. and perhaps it’s a case of timing, I never grew up watching it. I was already into my teens by the time it was released.

    I’m sure it will be a classic to some one day, if not already, but to me, it doesn’t have that “must see / Memories of Christmas” qualities to it.

    However, I would put Christmas vacation on the “Christmas Movies that are actually good” movie list. Just not the “best of my life” list.

  7. Can’t believe Christmas Vacation wasn’t mentioned. Chevy Chase’s squirrel in the tree, etc., provided many classic scenes.

    Also Home Alone, the first one was great, too bad the sequels and MacCauley’s future work tainted our memories.

  8. Well, that movie is almost definately “Holiday Affair” with Janet Leigh (miss Psycho). And you’re right about the 40’s and 50’s thing, its release was in 1949…
    Here’s the listing for it on the Internet Movie Database in case you want to double check.

    If that’s not it, someone’s copying.

  9. Interesting list and agree with many of them. But perhaps everyone reading this can help me track down a Christmas movie I’ve only seen once and not on any lists.

    The movie has several similarities to Miracle on 34th. That is a woman (widower) has a son and is struggling to make ends meet. She meets a man who is seemingly out of work and down on his luck. The stranger man buys her son a very expensive train set for Christmas. The boy trys to take the train back to the department store but the train gets broken in the process. The store manager hears about it and helps out. Meanwhile the woman has fallen in love with the poor man, but decides to marry someone else who is a steady provider. Mean while back at the train store, I don’t remember how but the store managers actions make the woman realize she should follow her heart not the money.

    This was set in the late 1940’s or 50’s might have been black and white. Does anyone know what this movie is called?

  10. You know what my favorite Christmas movie is that no one ever mentions? Mixed Nuts. Steve Martin, Rita Wilson, it’s got a good heart, plenty of physical comedy, and it’s a lot of fun.

  11. Helpful Elf,

    You are good, kind and wonderful elf.

    May you aquire all the macking from the elves of your gender preference this Christimas.

    This is a wonderful wonderful site. I feel slightly happier.
    Goody goody.

  12. Oh I didn’t miss Gremlins — I gave it special mention at the bottom of the post. as for Trancers, I’m shocked I haven’t seen something with such a fantastic plot.

  13. You missed two of my favorites:
    “Gremlins” (Phoebe Cates recounting her father’s death, and all those happy Mogwai singing Christmas Carols)and “Trancers” (nothin’ says loving like a zombiefied Santa running amok in a department store).

  14. Zoe,
    I’m not too sure – There was a Rankin-Bass production “Santa Claus is Comin to town” that was released in the late 60’s/early 70’s about breaking Santa out of jail with reindeer — although Mrs. Claus did the jailbreaking.

    Was the movie you’re referring to live action? or animated?

  15. I need help with finding a certain christmas film. I do not know the name, but the plot involves Santa getting arrested and put in prison, then being rescued by a boy who frees him by tearing the prison wall down with Santa’s reindeer and sleigh. There is also a cop that recieves a “Flash Gordon Ray Gun” after stating he does not believe in Santa – and it then falls from the sky…….Can anyone help me? It would be greatly appreciated.

  16. The inclusion of ‘Die Hard’ is a brilliant choice. I suppose it never occurs to anyone — myself included — because it’s primarily an action movie. But all I have to remember is Alan Rickman’s eternal quote: “I have a machine gun… ho… ho… … ho.” Oh, and Argyle grooving to Run-DMC.

  17. Roddo, that spinoff is called “It Happened One Christmas” – it aired (made for TV movie ) in 1977 and was moderately recieved at best. I’d assume simply because there was nothing wrong with the original, why tinker with it? I’ve never actually seen this, but had heard about its existance here and there. – It’s obviously not good enough to become a Season staple – it has had 26 years to become one: time’s up.

  18. Just a note on the “Davey and Goliath” Rudolf. Toys R Us is now carrying a line of collectable “posable action figures” from that series. Since it was created with stop motion animation, the figures look EXACTLY like the characters in the cartoon.

    I once saw this spinoff version of Its a Wonderful life that took place with the exact same characters with the story revolving around the Mary Hatch Bailey character, and how life would have been had she not existed. Am I nuts or can someone tell me if they saw it too. I might have had a bit too much Nog that night.

    My vote is tied with It’s a Wonderful Life and the Christmas Story. But only one featured a fishnet convered leg.

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