Christmas movies are not always about superior cinematic quality. Rather, they are often about nostalgia, family gatherings, and yearly traditions. For some individuals and families, the season just isn’t Christmas without watching a particular film. Everyone has their sentimental favorite, but here are a few of the best Christmas movies of all time.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Christmas movies really start and end with this classic starring Jimmy Stewart. It is a story about life, family, and maintaining a perspective on the good things that exist in a person’s life.
Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
There are many versions of “A Christmas Carol” but only this one features a frog, a rat, and a whatever (Gonzo the Great). Michael Caine is superb as Scrooge and the classic Muppet humor permeates the entire film.
Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
This is less of a movie and more of a television show, but it is classic Christmas cinema. Charlie Brown and the gang must deal with Christmas tree shopping, a chaotic school play, big Eastern syndicates, and the true meaning of Christmas.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Some people like the classic version (1947) of this film, but Richard Attenborough is extremely good at playing the whimsical Santa Claus that must prove his own existence in a modern courtroom.
This is a different take on the classic “Christmas Carol” as television executive Bill Murray is forced to examine his life when three spirits visit him. It is not a traditional interpretation, but it has some extremely funny moments.
The Santa Clause (1994)
Tim Allen is forced to grapple with the reality of a divorce while trying to raise his son and support the boy’s belief in Santa Claus. The movie is cute and amusing, and it has fun with some of the traditional assumptions about the nature and abilities of Santa Claus.
Home Alone (1990)
This is not strictly a movie about Christmas, but the setting makes it feel like a holiday film and Macaulay Culkin slapping his cheeks and howling has cemented this movie into the Christmas collection of many families.
A Christmas Story (1983)
People love this film for the nostalgic look at yesteryear, the quirky humor, and wonderfully quotable lines. This film reminds people of the good old days but it also taught everyone that certain behavior would result in “shooting your eye out.”
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Who cares if the stop-motion animation is a bit outdated? This Christmas classic has Burl Ives singing, a character named Yukon Cornelius, and an antagonist called “The Bumble.” What could be better?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)
With apologies to Jim Carrey’s entertaining 2000 version, the classic cartoon rendition of the Grinch is hard to follow. The animation remains very enjoyable to watch and Boris Karloff’s voice makes this a must-watch during the holiday season.