What do you love about Christmas? Is it the promise of presents? A child’s face as they sit on Santa’s lap? Driving around looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights? The smells of pine and scented candles? Eating until you can eat no longer? Or perhaps it is watching Christmas movies on TV and having good time with your family.
We all love movies, Each year millions of people prepare for the holidays by watching their favorite Christmas movies. There are some Christmas movies that should be avoided at all costs. With that thought in mind, here are our 15 most favorite Christmas movies. Most of these are all classics. We’re sure some of your favorites aren’t on this list, but we did our best to find the ones that everyone agrees about.
Enjoy! And if you haven’t seen any of these, please make an effort to watch at least one before Christmas. And also share your favorite Christmas movie below!
This will probably our top choice. It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, that was heavily adapted from the short story “The Greatest Gift”, written by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1939, and privately published by the author in 1945. The film is considered one of the most loved films in American cinema, and has become traditional viewing during the Christmas season.
A Christmas Story is a 1983 American Christmas comedy film based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author and raconteur Jean Shepherd, based on his book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, with some elements derived from Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories. It was directed by Bob Clark.
Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan. It is an adaptation of the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp and follows New York City Police Department detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) on a Christmas Eve as he takes on a group of highly organized criminals performing a heist under the guise of a terrorist attack, using hostages, to keep the police at bay.
A Christmas Carol is a 1938 American film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s novelette A Christmas Carol, where Ebenezer Scrooge (Reginald Owen), an elderly miser, learns the error of his ways on Christmas Eve, when he reflects on his past, present and future collectively, whereupon the mean old miser undergoes a radical change of heart and is “awakened” on Christmas morning a changed man.
Home Alone is a 1990 American family comedy film directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy, who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. While initially relishing time by himself, he is later greeted by two would-be burglars.
The Nightmare Before Christmas, often promoted as Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a 1993 American stop motion musical fantasy horror film directed by Henry Selick and produced/co-written by Tim Burton. It tells the story of Jack Skellington, a being from “Halloween Town” who opens a portal to “Christmas Town” and decides to celebrate the holiday.
Miracle on 34th Street is a 1947 Christmas film written and directed by George Seaton and based on a story by Valentine Davies. It stars Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn. The story takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City, and focuses on the impact of a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa. The film has become a perennial Christmas favorite.
The Polar Express is a 2004 motion capture computer-animated fantasy film based on the children’s book of the same title by Chris Van Allsburg. Written, produced, and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film’s human characters were animated using live action performance capture technique. This is the story of a young hero boy on Christmas Eve who boards on a powerful magical train that’s headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus’s home.
Gremlins is a 1984 American horror comedy film directed by Joe Dante. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a mogwai as a pet, which then spawns other creatures who transform into small, destructive, evil monsters.
Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 American romantic fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. The film shows the story of an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation, who has scissors for hands. Edward is taken in by a suburban family and falls in love with their teenage daughter Kim.
A Christmas Tale is a 2008 French comedy-drama film. It tells the story of a family with strained relationships which gathers at the parents’ home for Christmas, only to learn that their mother has leukemia.
Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau. The story is about one of Santa’s elves who learns of his true identity as a human and goes to New York City to meet his biological father, spreading Christmas cheer in a world of cynics as he goes.
Bad Santa is a 2003 American Christmas crime comedy film written and directed by Terry Zwigoff. It is the story of two conmen who go on a road trip to malls dressed as Santa and his elf. Rather than spreading good cheer, the duo’s motive is to rob each establishment, a strategy that becomes complicated when they encounter an 8-year-old who teaches them the true meaning of Christmas.
Black Christmas is a 1974 independent horror film directed by Bob Clark. It follows a group of college students who must face a deranged serial killer lurking in their sorority house. The movie was inspired by an urban legend called “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs“, but was also largely based on a series of murders that took place in Quebec, Canada around Christmas time. It is generally considered to be one of the first slasher films.
The Bishop’s Wife (1947) is a Samuel Goldwyn romantic comedy feature film in a story about an angel who helps a bishop with his problems.
While compiling this list, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other good Christmas movies. Feel free to share it with us.