Lists

Top Twelve Heart-Warming Christmas / Holiday Movies

Cozy up to these holiday favorites

Top Ten Christmas Movies

 

Last year Brad listed his list of Top Ten Christmas Movies and in 2007 David listed the ten films he considered the Top Ten Deranged Christmas Flicks. Well, I had to throw my hat in the ring with a completely different list... a list for the holiday softies. So light the fire, warm the coco and grab a blanket... What follows is my list of the twelve best Christmas/Holiday movies to warm your heart.

When you compare the twelve films that follow to the two lists I just mentioned, three of them can be found on Brad's top ten and two on David's list of Deranged Christmas Flicks, but perhaps the most interesting fact of them all is that all three lists share the exact same film in the #1 slot. Weird... right?

So browse through these three pages where I say a few words about each film, offer up some clips and trailers and, in the case of three of the movies, I was able to actually include the entire film thanks to the video gurus at YouTube. I hope you enjoy...

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles poster
This is perhaps the best film John Hughes made during his illustrious career other than Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's certainly the most poignant and heartwarming.

Ostensibly a Thanksgiving film, Planes, Trains and Automobiles follows two men trying to get home in time for turkey dinner with the family and is a great way to get into the Holiday spirit. The film was greeted with critical applause in 1987, a surprising revelation given that, at the time, Steve Martin and John Candy were both known as relatively low-brow comedians and Hughes was considered a teen angst filmmaker.

Tim Burton's the Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton's the Nightmare before Christmas
Some people think of this as more of a Halloween film than a Christmas film, but who cares? Nightmare Before Christmas is the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King who rules over Halloween and his attempt to take over Christmas Town and usurp Santa Claus as the keeper of the Christmas holiday flame. Directed, not by Tim Burton, but rather his Cal Arts buddy Henry Selick, Nightmare is one of the most innovative films of the last 20 years and brought stop motion animation back from the dead. The film has gone on to become one of the most successful cult films of all-time with devotees who snatch up Nightmare memorabilia whenever it is made available. Not to mention the film continued to be a hit 13 years after it first hit theaters, snatching up over $23 million in 2006 and 2007 when it was re-released in 3D.

Christmas in July (1940)
Christmas in July
This is technically not a holiday film at all, but it does have Christmas in its title. This screwball comedy is my personal favorite from Preston Sturges and I love almost all of Sturges' films from The Great McGinty to The Lady Eve to The Palm Beach Story to Sullivan's Travels.

As for Christmas in July, it stars the one and only Dick Powell and Ellen Drew and clocks in at a blazing fast 61 minutes, putting to rest the notion that quantity is more important than quality. I have no idea what the title means and I couldn't find anything on the web, either. "If you can't sleep at night, it isn't the coffee - it's the bunk!"

Interested? Well the whole thing can be watched directly below thanks to YouTube.

Scrooged (1988)
Scrooged
This loose adaptation is a demonstration of everything that is wrong, and right about Hollywood films. Overblown, overstuffed and way more expensive than a film should be, Richard Donner's Scrooged was a minor hit when it came out back in 1988 and most likely lost money at the box-office. But it starred Bill Murray at the height of his powers and gave him free rein to do what he does best. Be Bill Murray. One of the most engaging comic performers of all time.

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  • Rashad

    It's a Wonderful Life has the biggest copout ending ever

  • Ian

    I think the fact that It's a Wonderful Life is #1 on all three lists you mentioned speaks to just what a great film it is. You really can't think of Christmas films without It's a Wonderful Life. I've watched it on Christmas Eve every year for probably close to fifteen years now and I don't see that tradition ever stopping. It's one of my favorite films and I think Jimmy Stewart gives one of the best film performances ever.

  • Tom

    Great list! A bunch of my favorites on there. Home Alone, A Christmas Story, and Christmas Vacation are always must watches for me.

    Just this year I saw the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street for this first time (loved it) and Scrooged (liked, but didn't love).

    Bad Santa is another must-watch for me, but it's not necessarily heartwarming. Home Alone 2 is great too, although the original is my favorite. Strong mention to The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine, too.

    • MWHollywood85

      YES Muppet Christmas Carol!
      Also, honourable mention to Elf, Family Man, The Santa Clause, Love Actually, Die Hard and the claymation Rudolph.

  • Badge

    CHRISTMAS IN JULY isn't a Christmas film, period. If that one's going to be in there on title alone, then why not put in X-MEN? (Look! The X from X-mas is there!)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Cody/686740046 Bill Cody

      Yeah, but you can't deny it is a great film.

  • Jeff

    This was both an interesting article. It also killed every English and grammar teacher in the world. At the same time!