For clips and trailer for many of these films click here.
Our Annual Christmas Movie Extravaganza
What better way to get in the holiday spirit than to fire up the DVD, Blu-Ray, Tivo, Wii, XBox, Laptop, IPad, or Smart Phone and watch your favorite Christmas movie.
Every year we try to compile a new list of favorite Christmas movies. Many remain the same from last year. However, each year brings a few new treasures (which we’ve marked with an *) based upon suggestions from members of the THW community.
We divided them between ‘sacred’ views of Christmas focused more on the birth of Jesus, and ‘secular’ versions focused more on Santa Claus. Then we listed them chronologically within each category.
We hope they inspire as much holiday cheer in your household as they do in ours.
GREAT Movies with a (More or Less) “Sacred” View of Christmas
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra’s masterpiece is not just a great Christmas movie, it is one of the ten best films ever made.
White Christmas (1954) Not much Jesus (or Santa), but a wonderful tale of friendship and loyalty. We watch it every year as it chokes us up every time.
Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) Charles Schultz’s enduring glimpse at the meaning of Christmas. Set the DVR and experience the least commercial Christmas tale ever told on network TV.
The Nativity Story (2006) Not everything you’d hope it would be, but does a marvelous job of capturing the incredible faith (and sacrifice) of Mary and Joseph.
GREAT Movies with a Sacred View of Christmas as Part of Larger Film
Ben-Hur (1959) Charlton Heston’s character’s life parallel’s the life of Jesus, (even if he actually misses his birth). Also, one of the best films ever made. As an added plus, that chariot scene can really get you in the mood to face the mall.
GOOD Movies with a More or Less Sacred View of Christmas
The Bishop’s Wife (1947) Samuel Goldwyn’s romantic comedy about a Bishop’s fundraising prayer that nets a lot more than cash. Cary Grant plays the angel with more on his mind than money. (The 1996 remake, The Preacher’s Wife, featuring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston isn’t bad at all.)
A Christmas Carol (1951) When you hear them singing The Most Wonderful Time of the Year in the Mall, you know it’s time for “scary ghost stories.” You don’t get any scarier than the original adaptation of this “Dickens Horror Picture Show.”
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and the gang in an offbeat, but faithful retelling of Dickens’ classic.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) Okay, it’s cheating a bit, but there is a Christ figure, and a Christmas, and presents, and everything. Just don’t let the White Witch hear you talking about it.
*Christmas Angel (2012) A young girl’s wish that her single mom find someone she can call dad leads to mysterious abandoned house and a Christmas angel (played by Touched by an Angel star, Della Reese.) Act One graduate Andrea Gyertson Nasfell’s second Christmas movie, after Christmas with a Capital C (2011).
GREAT Movies with a “Secular” View of Christmas
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Classic, “Do you believe in something you can’t prove” premise. Many remakes, none come close to the original.
A Christmas Story (1983) I don’t know why we all get such a kick out of this admittedly B movie. A pitch-perfect coming-of-age story surrounding the hopes and fears of a nine-year-old boy. Just don’t shoot your eye out.
The Santa Clause (1994) Can you be drafted into the ranks of Father Christmas? Apparently, yes. Tim Allen’s best role since Home Improvement.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1996) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) Both the television classic and Jim Carrey’s (over the top) psycho-drama-remake are well worth an evening. “I’m feeling!”
GOOD Movies with Secular View of Christmas
*Christmas in Connecticut (1945) A New York food writer’s false personal brand as the perfect housewife is in danger of being exposed as a shame when her bossboss invites a returning war hero for a traditional family Christmas at her home in Connecticut. Only one problem, she doesn’t have a home n Connecticut.
Ernest Saves Christmas (1988) We kid you not, this a great, clean laughfest for you and your kids.
Prancer (1989) A bittersweet, but poignant tale of loss and redemption. (See more in photo caption, above.)
Christmas with the Kranks (2004) The best of a bad lot of recent (tragic) attempts to create a new Christmas classic. Gary loved John Grisham‘s original story Skipping Christmas, so this passable adaptation makes the list.
GREAT Movies set During Christmas Season
Die Hard (1988) Police Officer John McClain thwarts a ring of Euro-terrorists who crash a corporate Christmas party. Bruce Willis is at his smarmy best, but Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber almost steals the show… and the dough.
*Family Man (2000) Turns the “what if” premise of It’s a Wonderful Life on its head. With Don Cheadleas an angel on the edge, and some of the best acting of Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni’s careers. We watch it every year and ponder our own what it?
*Joyeux Noel (‘Merry Christmas’ in French, 2005) Remarkable true story of the ‘Christmas Truce’ of 1914. Christmas Eve during world War I, the Germans, French, and Scottish fraternize and get to know the men who live on the opposite side of a brutal war, in what became a true lesson of humanity. (Subtitles.)
*Children of Men (2006) Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece confronts us with a tale of a miraculously pregnant unwed mother and her reluctant protector set amidst the most horrific violence an empire can throw at them: in short, a stark retelling of the Christmas story.
Now you know our favorites. Based upon past years, I’m sure we missed a lot of great ones.
Be sure to list some of your fav’s in the comments!
Tis the season,
Gary & Sue