The Top 25 Christmas Movies Of All-Time!

Christmas Movies

What is your favorite Christmas movie?  These are mine.

Many will disagree, especially over the placement of a certain Bruce Willis movie.  I have learned to accept that Die Hard is a Christmas movie but only for one reason.  But the best of all time? Hardly!  A brand-new movie enters my all-time list.  I just watched it this morning!  Who made the cut?  The answers are below!

  1. Love Actually, 2003: The Richard Curtis directed movie boasts an all-star cast featuring Hugh Grant, Kiera Knightley, Liam Neeson, a VERY young Andrew Lincoln, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, and more.  There are several stories going on throughout the movie with different characters cross-connecting at different points.  Set in London, it has become my favorite Christmas movie of all-time since it came out fifteen years ago.  I get why TBS doesn’t include one of the stories in the televised broadcast of the movie but it is one of my favorites of the movie.
  2. It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946: Whenever I think of Jimmy Stewart, I think of his role as George Bailey first.  This holiday favorite is THE Christmas movie to watch every year.  While most of the movie deals with non-holiday issues, it gets moving into high gear in the last third of the movie and it is ALL about Christmas at that point.  Donna Reed is awesome as Mrs. Bailey!
  3. A Christmas Story, 1983: “You’ll shoot your eye out kid”!  I remember seeing this in the movie theaters when it came out.  I laughed throughout the whole thing.  I saw it with my family and we had a great time that night.  Darren McGavin kills it as the father of Ralphie who just wants a BB gun for Christmas!  There are more comedic moments in this movie that resonated with me than most other Christmas movies.  One for the ages!
  4. Elf, 2003: Will Ferrell can be hit or miss with me sometimes, but in this holiday classic he hit on all cylinders.  The fight between Buddy and Miles Finch (played by the always incredible Peter Dinklage) had me rolling on the floor!  I remember watching this with my son when he was a baby and toddler and he would always make me replay parts of this movie.
  5. A Christmas Carol, 1984: This is probably going to seem sacreligious to some, but for my money the PBS TV movie from 1984 is the quintessential version of A Christmas Carol!  George C. Scott was perfect in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.  Many know the story but to see it acted out the way Scott does it is incredible!  The cinematography was spot-on as well.  You feel like you are in 19th Century London!
  6. The Christmas Chronicles, 2018: I literally just watched this Netflix original movie this morning.  Kurt Russell was born to play Santa Claus!  The younger actors in this movie did superb jobs.  This Santa Claus with a twist tale was perfect!  And when Steven Van Zandt does his thing, you know it’s going to be great.
  7. Collateral Beauty, 2016: This is by far one of the saddest yet most uplifting movies I’ve seen in recent memory.  Will Smith is the lead character in this tear-jerker about a father dealing with the loss of a young child.  When it interferes with the company he runs, his friends have to act fast to save the business.  But their actions have ramifications for their own lives as well.  Must-see!!!!
  8. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989: The first time I saw this was in April of 1992 at a friend’s house.  But I cracked up throughout the whole movie.  You have to be a fan of Chevy Chase to appreciate this movie.  The lights, the hijinks, and the family!  Crazy holiday movie but it will leave you wanting more!
  9. How The Grinch Stole Christmas, 2000: I hated the idea of this movie when it came out.  But then I saw it and Jim Carrey won me over!  The little girl makes the movie as she warms the Grinch’s heart!
  10. White Christmas, 1954: Bing Crosby leads the cast of this holiday favorite.  I love the older Christmas movies.  They are crazy and campy and filled with song and dance.  Nobody really spends the holidays like that but it’s nice to dream.  And the title track is one of my favorite Christmas songs of all-time!
  11. Scrooged, 1988: “Use staples” is one of my favorite lines in any movie!  Bill Murray plays a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge.  He owns a tv station that has to play “A Christmas Carol”.  Murray’s character hates Christmas but he has a soft spot in his heart for Karen Allen’s character.  Will love rule the day?
  12. A Midnight Clear, 1992: This war movie is a very different take on Christmas.  When U.S. soldiers in World War II are stuck in the Ardennes Forest for Christmas, will they make peace with the German soldiers who have been cut-off from their main force?  This one is under the radar for many folks during the holidays!  But it has Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinise,Kevin Dillon, and Peter Berg in masterful roles!
  13. Home Alone, 1990: “KEVIN!!!!!”  I get this a lot since this movie came out 28 years ago.  Kevin McAllister must deal with a home invasion coming his way when his family accidentally abandons him on their way to France.  Will he stop the comedy due of home robbers or will they take the jolly out of his Christmas?  If you’ve never seen it (if you are the one), watch it now!  You will laugh for hours!
  14. Miracle on 34th Street, 1947: This timeless classic will make you believe all over again!  “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” made me believe again.  When Santa Claus gets sent to an institution, the court case surrounding the ordeal is one that will bring tears to your eyes.
  15. The Polar Express, 2004: Like the 2000 Grinch movie, I cringed when I first heard about this.  I love me some Tom Hanks but the thought of a digital Christmas movie made me feel like Christmas was becoming too modern.  Luckily, I was wrong.  This movie is filled with so much wonder and awe!  When the little boy believes, we all believe right alongside him!
  16. Holiday Inn, 1942: Bing Crosby returns on this list!  With Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, and Virginia Dale, this Christmas romance is also a classic!  The music in the movie is awesome!  Definitely worth watch if you like the “old-time” Christmas movies!
  17. Christmas In Connecticut, 1945: As you can see on this list, a ton of Christmas classics were made in the 1940s!  I remember renting this movie in the 1980s.  It was a few days after Christmas but I was still in the Christmas spirit.  Another Christmas romance that delivers on its promise!  For those who are enthralled with Hallmark Christmas movies, their forefathers are solid gold!
  18. The Muppet Christmas Carol, 1992: I went into this movie thinking I would really hate it.  I dreaded going, but I promised a friend I would go.  She brought her little brother with us.  Which wasn’t really my idea of fun night.  Boy was I wrong!  This movie cracked me up.  But the best part was watching my friend’s little brother laughing throughout the movie!
  19. Bad Santa, 2003: 2003 was an awesome year for Christmas movies!  This one stars Billy Bob Thornton as the worst person ever to don a Santa Claus costume.  It is not for the faint of heart or those easily offended.  It is sick and crazy at the same time.  Some of us have a warped enough personality to find a movie like this funny.
  20. Four Christmases, 2008: Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon are forced to go four different places for Christmas.  Both their parents are divorced.  What happens is four distinctly different visits with chaos and craziness at each place!  A funny movie for those looking for lighter Christmas fare!
  21. Daddy’s Home 2, 2017: This is an oddball movie to appear on here, but it is very much a Christmas movie!  What I love the most about the movie is the entire cast singing Band Aid’s “Do They Know Its Christmas Time” at the end of the movie.  I know at least one friend who would take me out to the wood chipper for even bringing this up.  This same friend has a movie that appears last on this list.  But he should be grateful I even put “his” movie on here!
  22. Gremlins, 1984: If I’m going to call “Die Hard” a Christmas movie, you have to do the same for Gremlins.  For a movie that came out in the summer, it actually put me in the Christmas spirit when I saw it.  The best part of the entire movie is Phoebe Cates monologue about how she found out there wasn’t a Santa Claus.  Gizmo rocked though!
  23. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles, 1987: Technically, this is a Thanksgiving movie.  But over the years, I’ve learned to count Thanksgiving as the first part of the holiday season.  I’m sure I will get some naysayers here but it’s my list!  Steve Martin and John Candy are at odds with each other the whole movie as they travel together to get somewhere for Turkey Day.  One of my faves from both actors!
  24. Die Hard, 1988: If I didn’t put this one on this list, my friend would kill me.  That is the ONLY reason I am putting it on.  I don’t think Christmas when I see this.  I see Bruce Willis saving an office building from terrorists.  Most Christmas movies don’t always deal directly with Christmas, but this one is violent and filled with curse words.  But then again, so is Bad Santa.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie.  But not because of Christmas.
  25. While You Were Sleeping, 1995: When a Paul Herdman lookalike man gets his life saved by a toll-booth collector (Sandra Bullock), she gets mistaken as his fiancé.  But she falls for the guy’s brother.  Like a few others on here, not a Christmas movie at heart but with enough of the theme going through the movie to make the list!

4 thoughts on “The Top 25 Christmas Movies Of All-Time!

  1. It’s not Christmas without watching John McTiernan’s classic action film so here are some of the reasons why Die Hard is the greatest Christmas film of all time.
    1) Much like Joseph and Mary, John McClane was a weary traveller

    If it hadn’t been for Holly McClane’s persuasive argument for her husband to “come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs” then we might have never had the greatest Christmas film of all-time. God, we don’t want to even think of a world without Die Hard.

    Much like the parents of our lord and saviour, John was tired after a long trip from New York and needed a place to unwind, which he did by by taking off his shoes and socks whilst in his hotel room.

    What’s the worst that could happen? Cue all Die Hard fans saying in unison, “Shoot the glass”.

    2) The film is a perfect reflection of a Christmas party

    The film takes place on Christmas Eve as all the employees in the Nakatomi Plaza unwind with a few festive drinks and a well earned party following a tough financial year.

    We’re fairly sure that this type of rampant excess, drug taking and casual sexism would never be allowed to occur in the Irish financial system. *Cough, cough*

    This Christmas party though is a million times rowdier and louder than most office shindigs because the ‘exceptional’ thief Hans Gruber has crashed the festivities in pursuit of the $640 million in bearer bonds lying in the vault.

    The greatest similarity to real-life office parties though is that the Christmas party in Die Hard also features an office jerk that no one can stand.

    Die Hard Christmas film

    Harry Ellis is the arrogant and self-proclaimed ‘white knight’ stockbroker who believed that he was the only man capable of talking some sense into Eamon De Valera Hans Gruber because, in his own words, he “negotiates million dollar deals for breakfast.”

    Oh, how wrong he was.

    Ellis thought he could convince McClane to hand over the detonators but he forgot the golden rules of any negotiation:

    1) Don’t insult Germans with guns by saying “sprechen ze talk?” 2) Don’t call Hans Gruber “bubby” and 3) Don’t pretend to have personal ties with the cop that all the bad guys are desperately trying to kill.

    Ellis did redeem himself though, his final line before dying is probably one of the greatest ever; “Hans, baby, put away the gun, this is radio, not television.”
    3) John McClane also came bearing gifts

    It was Christmas Eve and not a mouse was stirring in Nakatomi Plaza…apart from a rogue NYPD police officer who wages a one man war against a highly organised terrorist cell as he lays waist to henchmen and an entire building in a rampaging action epic featuring bullets, blood and bombs.

    Now that’s a Christmas story worth telling.

    We all know that three wise men came with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to honour the birth of Jesus. McClane also offered up a few festive treats for the terrorists that took over the building.

    We’re fairly certain that they didn’t want C4, bullets and strangulation by chain though. Worst. Gift. Ever.

    4) Both tales feature a pregnant woman

    A slightly tenuous link but it’s still one that merits a mention. Joseph decided to rest in a manger because it was the only available location for the Virgin Mary to give birth to Jesus Christ.

    Holly McClane also went out of her way to ensure that her work colleague was made to feel as comfortable as possible during her pregnancy because she pleaded with Hans Gruber for a couch so her friend could rest her aching back.

    Both good Samaritans and even Holly’s name is enough to get you into the festive spirit.

    Die Hard Christmas film
    5) The value of family

    The holidays are a perfect time for families to come together and enjoy each others company which is why McClane came out in the first place to meet his estranged wife.

    Holly also brought their two kids with her and the NYPD cop really just wants to spend time with his family. Even the weaker future Die Hard films sees Willis team up with his son and daughter so it’s clear that family ties are strong.

    The McClane’s attempt at marriage reconciliation isn’t given as much time as the brilliant action, but it’s there in the background, motivating John’s actions.

    The film is pure adrenaline and bravado but you’ll have to have a heart like Hans Gruber not to be moved by John’s statement that his wife “was the best thing that ever happened to a bum like him” or the moment when he’s reunited with Holly.

    Also, Karl’s reaction after learning that his brother is dead makes him more formidable and shit scary at the same time. Best. Jumper. Ever.

    Die Hard Christmas film
    6) The spirit of friendship

    It’s obvious that McClane has a small band of friends that he relies upon to get him through Christmas Eve like his trusted driver Argyle (and that pimptastic Christmas bear) but the real friendship is with Al Powell.

    Al and John are probably the best representation of male friendship on screen after Red and Andy in The Shawshank Redemption despite the fact that they only spend a few minutes on screen together.

    We met most of our mates through college, football or the bar but we wouldn’t be adverse to finding a new drinking buddy during a terrorist siege like these lads did.

    Die Hard Christmas film
    7) Hans Gruber is a greater Christmas villain than The Grinch

    There isn’t enough superlatives or a film journalist that’s talented enough to describe the sheer levels of brilliance that Alan Rickman brought to this character.

    8) It has the best use of Christmas wrapping tape ever

    9) The music features some Christmas classics.

    Reacquaint yourself with the Christmas themed soundtrack and some of the films best moments here. Oh, we also ranked some of the best supporting Die Hard characters here.


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