Top 5 Christmas Films

1) A Christmas Story
2) It’s A Wonderful Life
3) A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott)
4) National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
5) How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Runners up:
– Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
– Frosty the Snowman
– Miracle on 34th Street
– A Charlie Brown Christmas
– Scrooged

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43 thoughts on “Top 5 Christmas Films

  1. Go back and watch Christmas Vacation. It belongs to that special genre of movies (with Goonies, et. al.) that you remember being great, but upon inspection proves to be pretty lame.

  2. 1) A Christmas Story
    2) How the Grinch Stole Christmas
    3) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    4) Die Hard
    5) Scrooged

    Yeah folks will quibble with Die Hard – but admit it. That’s when you first heard Run DMC’s Christmas song.

    Ryan, how can you say the Goonies is lame? It’s not the materpiece one remembers – but partially because it is targeting kids. I saw it a few years ago and while it didn’t quite bring the spirit of excitement it once did I’d have a hard time calling it lame. I’ll admit Christmas Vacation isn’t that great. In my opinion only the first one was really that great – and even it isn’t as good as many films of that period.

  3. I may be the only person alive who has never seen It’s a Wonderful Life.

    My list is:

    1. Scrooged
    2. Muppet’s Christmas Carol (it’s actually funny!)
    3. Die Hard 1
    4. Die Hard 2
    5. Christmas Story

  4. Amen to Die Hard, which should be on ANY top 5 list of involving movies of any kind whatsoever. Top 5 musicals? Check. Top 5 documentaries about algae? Check.

    How about The Nightmare Before Christmas? Incredibly creative and entertaining…

  5. I considered putting Die Hard on there but it’s only tangentially related to Christmas. The subject matter of all the other ones IS Christmas.

    Ryan, you’re probably right about Chrstmas Vacation. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, though I remember loving it in high school.

  6. I fail to see how annoying in-laws crashing at your house during Christmas is any different from annoying East German terrorists crashing your work Christmas party.

  7. I sure hope that you’re referring to the cartoon Grinch and not the Jum Carey version.

    My List:

    1) It’s a wonderful life
    2) The Polar Express
    3) Rudolph
    4) Christmas Vacation
    5) A Christmas Story

  8. I like the Nightmare Before Christmas but it just isn’t, in my opinion, as good as folks make it out to be. It’s fun. It’s enjoyable. It’s worth seeing. But I’d have a hard time making it an annual event.

  9. Polar Express!?!??!?

    Man, that is one of the WORST movies ever, in my opinion. Crappy script, EXTREMELY creepy animation, cheesy dialogue, and Tom Hanks?? No thank you. UGH.

  10. Ditto. I watched it for the first time over the weekend when it came on TV. Those “emotionless” faces really creeped me out. But my kid loved it. (He’s 2 and I’ve been testing all the rebroadcasts of the classic holiday movies from ABC Family on him) The point where the train went into the cave they cut to commercial and he ran around the room yelling “oh no, oh no!”

  11. Ned (#9), especially since my relatives happen to be operatives for the Volksfrei movement. And Asian Dawn, too.

  12. The only reason I’ve seen “It’s a WOnderful Life,” is becasue they showed it to us in the MTC on Christmas Day.

    “Hey Griswold. Where you gonna put a Christmas tree that big?”

    “Bend over and I’ll show ya.”

    “Hey, you gotta a lot of nerve talking to me like that…”

    “I was talking to her.”

    Great movie.

  13. Random John just pointed out to me, and I whole-heartedly agree, that we’ve forgotten Bad Santa. A HUGE omission, although an undeniably filthy one.

  14. My favorite Christmas Carol version was the one with Henry Winkler. It isn’t on very often but it is a great rendition. I think it was called An American Christmas Carol.

  15. I’ll have to revisit Polar Express. We saw it on Christmas eve when it was in theatres and it may have been my two year olds train euphoria rubbing off on me. The North Pole scenes were very cool though.

  16. I would’ve loved to see Polar Express as a live-action special-effects extravaganza. It’s a cute little idea. The animation was terrible, though. It’s the Uncanny Valley effect that Ebert mentions every time he gets a chance: we’re creeped out by representations that are very close to human but not quite.

    Christmas Vacation isn’t real great but I still like it. I usually watch it a couple times during the season.

    My top five:
    1. It’s a Wonderful Life
    2. A Christmas Carol (the one with George C. Scott)
    3. Nightmare Before Christmas
    4. The Muppet Christmas Carol
    5. Christmas Vacation

  17. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who prefers the George C. Scott version of “A Christmas Carol”.

    As for “The Goonies”, every time I see it in its uncut version, I’m dismayed by the language in such a movie that is obviously targeted at children.

  18. Greg,

    I thought Elf started out really well, but seriously fell apart somewhere around 2/3 of the way in. After that point, I thought it was basically unwatchable.

  19. I didn’t mind the 3rd act of Elf. I thought it was only so-so compared to the genius of the first two acts. But for some reason while I love Elf it just isn’t in my top 5. By the same measure I love the Charlie Brown Christmas but it’s not in that top 5 either.

  20. You guys are soooo jaded.

    1. It’s a Wonderful Life
    2. Miracle on 34th Street (original)
    3. The Snowman (Raymond Briggs)
    4. Christmas Story
    5. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

    OK,OK. And Die Hard.

  21. “It’s a Wonderful Life” (a masterpiece in story telling, by the way)

    “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” (animated–the live action is a piece of crap)

    “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

    Those are my top three.

    “Rudolph” is weak story-wise but is packed with wonderful songs–I enjoy it though for nostalgic reasons.

    “Santa Cause is Coming to Town” is probably the best of the Rakin-Bass productions.

    “A Christmas Carol” with George C. Scott is the best one I’ve seen–though I haven’t seen a great one yet.

    “A Christmas Story” is a peice of junk. Get over it you eighties junkies.

  22. I guess that’s supposed to be “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Oops. A gem–one of Chuck Jones’ best.

  23. 1. It’s a Wonderful Life
    2. A Christmas Story
    3. The Muppet Christmas Carol (Light the lamp, not the rat!)
    4. Elf
    5. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Boris Karloff narration)

    Honorable mention:

    Love Actually (yes, too many characters, yes, I would prefer that Hugh Grant not dance – but badly needed sentiment set around the holidays & the use of the Beach Boys at end never fails to make me tear up.)

  24. Jennifer,
    Yes, I love Love Actually, I’ll have to watch it again this season. I don’t even know what it is about it that I love but it just makes me feel human and feel good.

  25. A Christmas Carol is far and away the best Christmas story, and probably should figure on the list. I like both the Alistair Sim version (from 1951) and the George C. Scott version (from 1983), with a nod to Mr. Magoo (1960 animated).

    1. Scrooge/Christmas Carol tie (1951 and 1983)
    2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 animated)
    3. It’s A Wonderful Life
    4. The Miracle on 34th Street
    5. Charlie Brown Christmas (1965 animated)

    I’ve never been able to sit all the way through A Christmas Story. Scrooged has its moments, but that’s all.

  26. I don’t actually hate Love Actually, but something about it drives me nuts. The Alan Rickman and Colin Firth storylines can stay, the rest must go. Especially Keira Knightley.

    Yet another Christmas movie that Alan Rickman was the best part of.

  27. D.,

    You’re right that “A Christmas Carol” is the best *story*. But no film version (imo) is as good a *film* as “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

    Rusty,

    By “eighties junkies” I mean it seems that those who are the biggest fans of “A Christmas Story” are those who grew up in the eighties–those who were kids when it first came out. C’mon, even I, a sixties junky, have learned to live with the fact that “Rudolph” is a lousy story–even though (as I said before) I still love it for nostalgic reasons.

  28. How does Better off Dead always get left off everyone’s list? Am I really the only person left who appreciates the genius of that movie?

  29. Go back and watch it Clark, I think you’d be surprised at how well it holds up.

    MCQ, oh well, that’s a shame.

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