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The Greatest Christmas Movies Ever

Updated on October 5, 2014

Few movies make us feel as good as Christmas movies. Most holiday films are heartwarming and remind us that what's really important in life are the small moments in life with friends and family. Typically, Christmas films highlight how easy it is to get caught up in work, career and other distractions and completely lose sight of our loved ones. Then, they bring us back to reality when we are threatened with losing those special people in our lives.

The holidays create opportunities for us to reconnect with our families and Xmas movies create feel good opportunities to enjoy these times together. Hopefully, these ten classic Christmas movies are also some of your favorites. However, if you have not seen any of these holiday favorites, please check them out because they are all worthy of your holiday viewing time.

This list of the top ten Christmas movies is based on movie rankings of members at Rankography Best Movies.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2011 Rankography

One of the Best Selling Christmas Albums ever

10. The Santa Clause (1994)

Tim Allen is Perfectly Cast as a New Age Santa

Tim Allen created a lasting franchise in this witty Christmas movie. Tim Allen plays divorced father and marginal ad exec, Scott Calvin, in The Santa Clause. During a Christmas Eve with his son, Calvin accidentally startles Santa off his roof and is automatically adopted as his replacement. It is a quite inventive film and in many ways reprises his Shaggy Dog role because his body once again changes beyond his control.

This is one of those light and funny Xmas movies that is fun for the whole family. It is particularly well suited for families with a mix of ages since this Santa appeals to both young and old viewers. Some of the other cast members are equally good in their roles, including Judge Reinhold as the touchy-feely psychiatrist, Dr. Neil Miller and David Krumholtz, as Bernard the Elf.

If you have not seen this witty holiday romp, you will not be disappointed.

9. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

The All Time Greatest Animated Christmas Movie

In 1965, Charles M. Schulz used his popular Peanuts comic strip to write one of the best Christmas movies of all time in A Charlie Brown Christmas. The film soundtrack from this timeless Christmas movie is also a treasure and is performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. It is an all instrumental album with many wonderful holiday songs that you will recognize.

In this cartoon adventure, the Peanuts gang is staging a holiday pageant at their school and Charlie Brown is enlisted to purchase the Christmas Tree for the set. At the Christmas Tree lot, Charlie Brown begins to feel sorry for a sad little tree that no one will ever buy. As the lovable loser of the Peanuts gang, he clearly identifies with this sad little tree. When he buys it and brings it back to the group, they tease him for failing a task again.

However, this little holiday tale has both a happy ending and a wonderful moral in its story. This is a definite must see Xmas movie and must be enjoyed with the whole family. Kids of all ages love this story.

I also enjoy imitating the Peanuts dancers, with my nose in the air and arms down at my sides, frolicking to Linus and Lucy. Of course, my kids get quite a laugh out of watching that!

If you loved Charlie Brown's Christmas, then you should also see Arthur Christmas

8. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

A Truly Special Christmas Film

One of the most famous Christmas movies, Miracle on 34th Street is a charming story about a kind old man with a bushy white beard who calls himself Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) and claims to be the real Santa Claus. Along the way he befriends a child, Susan Walker (Natalie Wood) whose mother, Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) is a cynical special events Director at Macy's.

When Kringle is placed in an insane asylum for claiming to be Santa Claus, Fred Gallery (John Payne) defends him and young Susan helps in ways that only a kid could help. Over time, even Susan's mother, Doris, begins to warm to Kringle and slowly starts to "believe" he might actually be Santa Clause. The courtroom scenes defending Santa Clause are absolute movie magic.

This is a lovely Christmas movie that will warm your heart. Don't let it's age fool you, this film is very entertaining and definitely worth a watch.

7. Scrooged (1988)

A Modern Remake of the Classic Dickens' Christmas Movie

In this modern-day variation of Charles Dickens Christmas Carol , the Scrooge character is named Frank Cross (Bill Murray) and he is a selfish, aggressive TV executive in New York City. Because he did not have a great childhood, he does not like Christmas and considers most of the holiday a hassle. The question is, will he repent his ways before he dies a grizzly and lonely old man.

Unlike in other versions of this classic tale, the ghosts of Past, Present and Future have received a modern-day remake. Christmas Past is a psychotic cab driver brilliantly portrayed by David Johansen. Christmas Present is a ditzy female ghost played by the excellent Carol Kane (who is most known for playing Simka on the TV Show, Taxi)

Bill Murray is fantastic as the sarcastic, hard charging Frank Cross. He is funny throughout this interesting adaptation but outrageously funny in the first half of the film. If you are looking for a sarcastically funny Christmas film that will both keep you laughing and make you feel good in the end, Scrooged is just the ticket.

If you liked Scrooged, you might also like A Nightmare Before Christmas

6. Christmas Vacation (1989)

The Griswolds' Host Christmas at Their Place

Chevy Chase reprises his role as the Griswold family patriarch, Clark Griswold, in this nutty Christmas movie. It seems nothing ever goes quite right for the Griswolds and when they host the holidays for family and guests, disaster strikes again. Chevy and Beverly D'Angelo, who plays Clark's wife Ellen, continue their great onscreen chemistry in this holiday comedy. Clark Griswold may be Chevy Chase's best role as a comedian and this film does not disappoint in the humor department.

The original kids have been swapped out but Juliette Lewis is a trade-up as daughter Audrey. Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his wife Catherine (Miriam Flynn) are back as the hilarious and progressive hillbilly relatives. Clark's parents make a showing in this installment played by John Randolph and Diane Ladd.

If you like your comedy of the slapstick variety then this Christmas film is for you. Just don't get hung up looking for a deep or complicated plot. It is in-your-face bumble-headed comedy to the core.

Christmas movies griswold blackhawks
Christmas movies griswold blackhawks

Hilarious Griswold Blackhawks Jersey

In Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold is a huge Blackhawks fan. This is a very funny Mock Griswold Blackhawks Jersey.

5. White Christmas (1954)

Bing, Danny and Rosemary Weave a Classic

White Christmas is a remake of the 1942 film, Holiday Inn, but while Holiday Inn starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, White Christmas featured Bing, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney. They are both light, but fun Christmas movies that kept me entertained.

The films follow the story of two war veterans that were former stage performers. On vacation in Vermont, they meet up with their former commanding officer who runs a Vermont lodge. Because there is little snow, the lodge is empty and they decide to put on a show to help out their friend and draw vacationers to the lodge.

While the story is not deep, they are both feel good holiday movies with excellent singing and dancing. Featuring Irving Berlin songs, including the Christmas favorite White Christmas, they are both family-oriented films that are perfect for sharing with your loved ones over the holidays.

If you liked White Christmas, you might also like

4. A Christmas Story (1983)

A Holiday Classic That Takes us All Back to Our Youth

Another of the enduring Christmas movies, A Christmas Story is a heart warming film set in Indiana in the 1940s. It is a simple time and Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) has a simple request for Christmas, a Red Ryder BB gun. Unfortunately, all the adults in his life say no to the BB gun because he will "shoot his eye out".

While the BB gun is the dominant storyline, the theme of the movie is much more about the nostalgic Christmas of our youths. The beauty and simplicity of Christmas warmth.

We can remember the holidays of our youth through this charming Christmas film and you can't help feeling good after watching it.

3. Elf (2003)

A Gem of a Christmas Movie

Elf is one of my favorite Will Ferrell comedies and one of the best holiday movies. This was one of the first movies directed by Jon Favreau and a very funny Christmas movie.

In this holiday film, Buddy (Will Ferrell) plays a human that has been raised by elves at the North Pole. However, as Buddy grows (to over 6' tall) it becomes difficult for him to live with the elves and Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) tells Buddy about his real parents.

Buddy decides to make the quest to New York City to meet his real father. As you can imagine life in the big city is very different from life at the North Pole and this hilarious comedy follows Buddy's trials and travails living in NYC.

This film is filled with a wonderful cast including Zooey Deschanel as Buddy' love interest, James Caan as Buddy's no-nonsense father, Mary Steenburgen as Buddy's stepmother and Ed Asner as Santa. This is one of the best family-oriented comedies that any age can enjoy. Definitely near the top of my list of Xmas movies.

2. Home Alone (1990)

One of the Funniest Christmas Films Ever!

This wonderful holiday comedy was written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus and was a huge box office hit when it came out in 1990.

Set in the north suburbs of Chicago, Home Alone follows the story of the McCallister family and more specifically, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin). When the family sets off on a European holiday vacation, Kevin is accidentally left behind to fend for himself. Peter (John Heard) and Kate (Catherine O'Hara) McCallister do not realize that they are missing Kevin until they are on the plane over the Atlantic Ocean.

What really sets this holiday movie apart though is Macaulay Culkin's performance as a very-adult 8 year-old living on his own. When two crooks, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, try to rob the McCallister home, Kevin is left to defend the house with a wide variety of devious plans and inventions.

This is one of the funniest comedies of all time and it also happens to be one of the best holiday movies because of its Christmas setting. I guarantee many laughs throughout this hour and a half comedy movie.

If you loved Home Alone, you should also see Gremlins

1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

The Grandaddy of Christmas Movies

One of the greatest films of all time, it is hard to believe that this film was not a box office success in 1946. This Frank Capra classic has grown in stature over the years to become the best feel-good Christmas movies ever.

It's a Wonderful Life is the story of George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) who has spent his entire life in Bedford Falls, a mythical town in the Northeastern US. Despite having a wonderful family, a beautiful wife (Donna Reed), a good job and lots of friends, George has become bitter about never having left Bedford Falls. He had always dreamed of becoming an engineer and traveling the world, but because of his father's untimely death George was forced to take over the Bank that his father managed.

When his absent-minded Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell), misplaces an $8,000 deposit for the bank, a scandal unfolds with the potential to ruin George's life. At wits end, he decides to end his life off a bridge into icy water. However, George is saved by a crazy angel, Clarence (Henry Travers), and shown what would have happened if he had never been born.

This is one of the best examples of a "second chance" movie and is beautifully acted by Stewart, Reed, Mitchell and of course, Lionel Barrymore as the old curmudgeon and slumlord Mr. Potter. Most of the world has already seen this Christmas movie, but if you have not, it is an absolute must see film.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I just watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and was charmed once again by the Peanuts Gang. It's a Wonderful Life is at the top of my list too!

    • profile image

      myspace9 5 years ago

      Good morning and have safe and happy holidays.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Merry Xmas. Joy is better shared with friends! :))

    • h4v0c6 profile image

      h4v0c6 5 years ago

      I'm shocked that Die Hard did not make the top 10 list!!!

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 5 years ago

      A good selection of classics, serious and comedy.

    • OrlandoTipster profile image

      OrlandoTipster 5 years ago

      Great choices

      I agree with most

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      I love all the sappy old Christmas movies ... the older and sappier, the better!

    • profile image

      dellgirl 5 years ago

      Beautiful choices of Christmas movies, I like them all! This is a really nice lens,

    • Tugee profile image

      Tugee 5 years ago

      Home alone! I've been watching that show since I was born! Great show. Love The Santa Claus shows too.

    • bhavesh lm profile image

      bhavesh lm 5 years ago

      Amazing collection! I voted for Die Hard - I guess I am more in the mood for some action now that the Holidays are gone.

    • profile image

      scss 6 years ago

      `*Ë°*°**°**`*Ë°*°**°Ë°`*Ë°*°**°*`*Ë°*°**°*`

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      *Ë°*°**°* MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!! â¥

      Helene Malmsio aka. SCSS

    • garyrh1 profile image

      garyrh1 6 years ago

      Fantastic. This is similar to a list I would make :)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 6 years ago

      Nice job and some good choices.

    • APackageAtTheDoor profile image

      APackageAtTheDoor 6 years ago

      Love your list. White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life are our favorites. One you don't hear about often, Holiday Affair with Robert Mitchum is another that we really like. Thanks!

    • katemiya profile image

      katemiya 6 years ago

      Great list of Christmas movies. I am a fan of all of them except for "White Christmas" which I have never been able to get into.