Best Christmas movies of all time

As the year wraps up, we look forward to white wine, prawns and Christmas movies. Here are the 15 best of all time, to get you in the jolly spirit.

The Yuletide season is on the horizon, and we’re anticipating many good hours of watching Netflix. In anticipation, we’ve gathered a list of the best Christmas movies of all time.

Like presents nestled around a tree, these films will have you well on your way to finding the Christmas cheer this year. So without further ado, remember the meaning of Christmas with these 15 cinema classics!

christmas movies

15. Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton’s twist on the usual merry cheer of Christmas injects a dose of much-needed deviancy into this festive season. The hilarious black comedy from Terry Zwigoff is one of those brilliant Christmas movies for adults and an uproarious ride from start to finish.

14. Miracle On 34th Street

This perennial Christmas staple about a man framing himself as Santa Claus is a tearjerking, heart melting icon of Christmas cinema. The 1947 original is classic however the 1994 remake is just as good.

13. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Tragically, Jim Henson died during the pre-production of this puppet classic. In the 1992 film, however, his spirit lives on with the quirky zaniness and endearing multiplicity of his characters.

A wonderful take on a Dickens classic, The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of the best Christmas movies ever conceived.

12. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Whether you think The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas movie or Halloween spook-fest, Tim Burton’s ghoulish classic is a masterpiece of unparalleled proportions.

Jack Skellington is one of the most charming nightmares we have ever come across. If anyone is going to make a skeleton Santa climbing down your chimney charming it’s Tim Burton.

11. Love Actually

Following the intersecting storylines of a slew of lovelorn characters in the lead-up to Christmas, 2003’s Love Actually boasts a star-studded cast and a truly memorable performance from Kiera Knightly. Whether you’re following the hilarious meet-cute of a porn actor and his co-star or tearing up at Emma Thompson’s slow realisation that she’s the other woman, Love Actually mixes Christmas cheer with dramatic romance, and you can’t look past Knightly’s iconic cue card scene with Andrew Lincoln.    

10. Klaus

Chronicling the alternate origin story of Father Christmas, the 2019 Spanish animated film Klaus follows an exiled postman as he discovers his new town’s reclusive toymaker, and joins him on a mission to spread cheer to the otherwise-dreary village people. Klaus offers a unique twist on traditional depictions of Santa (he’s actually quite the hunk in this iteration), and is bolstered by gorgeous hand-drawn animation. 

9. White Christmas

Featuring a new version of the most famous Christmas song of all time, for which the film got its title, Bing Crosby is in fine form in this 1946 musical.

The unofficial statesman of Christmas, Crosby teams up with Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen for an undying classic Christmas movie for the ages.

8. Polar Express

A wise young child lays in bed waiting for the sound of sleigh bells. He has just reached the age where the existence of Santa Claus is up for discussion. Like Wizard Of OZ and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Polar Express creates an entire world unique to itself.

A startling, heartfelt tale with just the right amount of mystery and languish. Based on the original Chis Van Allsburg novel, Polar Express is certainly one of the greats.

7. Happiest Season

Focusing its storyline on queer people’s experience of Christmas, Happiest Season follows lesbian couple, Abby and Harper as they intermingle with their soon-to-be in-laws around a festive feast. Leaning more towards all-out comedy rather than sentimentalism, Happiest Season sees stellar performances from Aubrey Plaza and Kristen Stewart, and is a welcome change of pace from Hollywood’s traditional boy-meets-girl formula. 

6. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Charlie Brown is one of the most recognisable Christmas movies of all time. You can’t really say it’s the festive season if you haven’t yet heard the Peanuts theme play. The accompanying Vince Guaraldi soundtrack is almost as iconic as the movie itself.

Struck by a bout of seasonal depression Charlie tries to put on a Christmas play before being reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.

5.  Home Alone

This timeless classic involves the adorable Macaulay Culkin abandoned to defend his home against two dimwitted thieves, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. This enduring children’s tale is a light-hearted, adorably ’90s film and a must-watch Christmas movie.

4. Elf

It’s hard to go wrong with Will Ferrel. The man has never played a role that’s not hilariously, side-splittingly funny. Even more endearing is this innocently sweet, man-child Ferrel.

The clownish orphan is raised by Santa as an elf in the North Pole before journeying to New York City to find his true father.

3. It’s A Wonderful Life

The unquestionable king of Christmas films, Frank Capra’s 1946 classic is a tender tale for the ages. Jimmy Stewart starring as George Bailey is on the verge of committing suicide before meeting a guardian angel who reaffirms the meaning of life, and indeed, Christmas.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

It’s not very often that a series’ third instalment is as good as its predecessors. However, this is the case with the threequel featuring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galeckis.

Clark Griswold, as per usual, wrecks everything and manages to fix it all by the beard of Saint Nick and it’s one hell of a sleigh ride.

1. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas

It’s hard to top this adorable modern classic. Based on the genius of Dr. Seuss, Jim Carey is at his creative, whimsical best as the Grinch with Taylor Momsen as the adorable Cindy Lou of Whoville.

The film ended up grossing $345 million worldwide and is an undeniable Christmas cult classic.

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