Top 16 Best Christmas Movies Of All Time 2023
As Christmas gets closer, one of the nicest things to do is to cuddle up with a warm blanket and a hot chocolate and watch some of the best Christmas moviesever. These movies are like special treasures that we enjoy during the holiday season.
You can find all sorts of Christmas movies, whether you like heartwarming stories about love and being good, or funny ones that make you laugh a lot. These movies have become a big part of how we celebrate Christmas, and they always make us feel warm and happy inside. So, let's go on this special journey and discover the magic of these beloved films together.
Home Alone 2, the sequel to one of the most iconic Christmas movies, stands as a rare gem that doesn't disappoint when compared to the original. It takes the daring step of elevating the stakes from the previous film by placing our young hero inan unfamiliar and bustling New York City instead of his home.
While this departure from the familiar setting may seem contrary to the title, it provides a larger playground for our protagonist and a treasure trove of resources within a major department store to outwit his would-be burglars, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.
However, it's hard to ignore the fact that at this point in the story, parents Catherine O'Hara and John Heard should perhaps face some consequences for their apparent negligence. Losing a child once might be considered a tragic mishap, but to let it happen twice could be seen as nothing short of carelessness.
This tale of a determined father on a mission to secure the season's hottest toy likely strikes a chord with many frazzled parents, explaining its high placement on the list of memorable films. What sets it apart, however, is Arnold Schwarzenegger's remarkable ability to take direct, occasionally forceful action in his quest for the elusive and highly coveted plaything, all while delivering the occasional witty one-liner ("Put that cookie down NOW"). Most parents, thankfully, don't find themselves in the kind of competition with the likes of Sinbad that this movie humorously portrays. In hindsight, that's probably a good thing.
It's worth noting that without this film, Jake Lloyd might never have gained the acting experience that ultimately led to his starring role in "The Phantom Menace." It's a thought-provoking perspective on how one film can shape the trajectories of an actor's career.
A more recent addition to the Christmas movie lineup, this film quickly captured the hearts of audiences and rightfully earned its place at the top. Its exceptional quotability alone makes it stand out.
Buddy the Elf, created by the comedic genius Will Ferrell, is undoubtedly one of Ferrell's most memorable characters, ranking alongside the likes of Ron Burgundy. In the years to come, Buddy is poised to become one of those iconic Christmas characters that we all cherish. If you don't adore this film, well, you'd have to be quite out of touch with the holiday spirit.
Robert Zemeckis' inaugural venture into performance capture, "The Polar Express," often receives criticism for its characters' lifeless eyes and occasional forays into the unsettling realm of the uncanny valley. Nevertheless, it boasts exhilarating action sequences, particularly when experienced in 3D on the grand cinema screen. The film also shines with moments of sheer enchantment on board the magical train, transporting children to the North Pole for an audience with Father Christmas.
Moreover, "The Polar Express" grants Tom Hanks the opportunity to portray six distinct characters, a feat that, while not quite reaching the heights of Alec Guinnessin "Kind Hearts and Coronets," remains a commendable endeavor. Undoubtedly, it has earned its place as a cherished classic among Christmas movies.
While it's true that apart from Michelle Monaghan's Santa outfit, this film doesn't revolve heavily around Christmas themes, for many viewers, that iconic fur-trimmed red attire embodies the very essence and spirit of the holiday season, making it significant in its own right. Also, given its relatively lower box-office performance, you might have missed out on this gem. It's well worth your time to discover Shane Black's unconventional and exhilarating twist on film noir.
In this movie, Robert Downey Jr.'s character, a former thief turned actor, and Val Kilmer's private eye character team up to investigate a murder set against the backdrop of Christmas in Los Angeles. Their banter and exchanges of insults are akin to the way most people exchange presents during the holiday season. It's a film that's funny in its own peculiar way, offering a unique and entertaining experience that's both unconventional and filled with humor.
Even though Jim Carreywas buried under lots of makeup in this Dr. Seuss adaptation, his lively personality still comes through. This movie takes some liberties with the original story, but the amazing makeup and design work make up for it, earning an Oscar for makeup artist Rick Baker. The film is also really funny, thanks to Carrey's spontaneous humor in a big, carefully planned production.
Here's a fun fact: The cute little Cindy Lou grew up to be Taylor Momsen, who later became known for her edgy style and her role in Gossip Girl. It seems like she got used to wearing makeup on set and went on to a different kind of fame as she got older.
The good newsis that Santa Claus is real, but the bad news is that in this Finnish film, he's more focused on punishing naughty children rather than rewarding the good ones. In the story, Santa has been trapped in a grave for centuries by misguided scientists, only to break free and embark on a rampage against reindeer.
A local family of reindeer herders manages to capture the monstrous Kris Kringle, but what happens when his loyal elves come searching for him? This film, a recent release, deserves a spot on your must-watch list and is likely to gain even more popularity as more people discover it.
"Home Alone" is essentially a live-action cartoon guided by the comedic genius of John Hughes. It may not be a profound or sophisticated film, but it sure is a whole lot of fun. In its own unique way, it underscores the significance of love and family, much like the classic "It's A Wonderful Life."
Similar to Capra's tale, the young protagonist, Macauley Culkin's character, realizes the value of his family and safety when he's unexpectedly left to fend for himself. The experience of thwarting burglars on his own imparts a one-of-a-kind appreciation for the spirit of Christmas. Plus, he gets to drop a hot iron on a burglar's face, which adds a memorable comedic touch.
Santa Claus: a universally recognized figure, right? Typically portrayed as jolly and kind-hearted, despite his annual breaking-and-entering spree. However, in this unconventional tale, Santa is far from the usual image we have in mind. He's foul-mouthed, heavy-drinking, intimidating, self-loathing, chain-smoking, promiscuous, and even a skilled safe-cracker and store robber. Surprisingly, he's more endearing than ever in this role.
Billy Bob Thornton is perfectly cast as this cantankerous character, who gradually finds himself won over, not by a cute and perky child, but by the quirkiest, most unusual kid you've ever seen. If he happens to learn anything along the way, it's mostly by accident. And if he adopts a hint of the Christmas spirit, it's mostly as a means of self-preservation. This film is ideal for those who may think they're immune to the usual holiday cheer.
Debatably the finest action movie of all time has now staked its claim as the greatest Christmas movie as well. Bruce Willis' character, John McClane, might not resemble Santa Claus with his bald head, but what better holiday gift is there than watching terrorists thwarted while attempting to seize Nakatomi Plaza during a Christmas party, all to execute an elaborate heist?
Empire readers aren't in it for the typical Christmas movie clichés like festive trees or folks in questionable sweaters sipping on eggnog. For this audience, nothing says "deck the halls" quite like leaping off a building tethered to a fire hose, and nothing embodies the "season of goodwill" quite like a trusty machine gun.
Gremlins sizzling in a microwave, mischievous creatures causing chaos, and holiday songs giving way to terrified screams. It's a bit like that, at least. This delightfully festive monster movie takes immense pleasure in dismantling the traditional trappings of Christmas and reveling in the chaos it creates.
It also features one of the memorable monologues reflecting on the sad fate of fathers attempting to impersonate Santa Claus, although we won't delve into any peculiar chimney odors. The key takeaway here is to exercise caution with any new pets you might receive this holiday season and, for heaven's sake, avoid feeding those little troublemakers after midnight.
The beauty of Henry Selick's stop-motion masterpiece, inspired by Tim Burton's story, is that it's perfectly suitable for viewing from Halloween onward. This versatility allows you to satiate those early Christmas yearnings (we can't be the only ones, can we?).
What's even more remarkable is how Selick and Burton, through the character of Pumpkin King Jack Skellington, manage to subvert the overly sentimental aspects of the holiday while highlighting the core elements that truly matter. In the process, they remind us of the significance of simple joys, like receiving toys that won't bite or transform into snakes - a crucial part of the holiday experience, to say the least.
Numerous adaptations of "A Christmas Carol" have graced the screen, but when it comes to movies, this one reigns supreme. Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes a modern transformation from a heartless businessman to a yuppie TV executive, and remarkably, Bill Murray manages to make him somewhat likable despite his initially obnoxious demeanor, all while delivering his trademark sardonic and sarcastic wit.
What's truly remarkable is that the film even gets away with a heartwarming sing-along at the end, which usually isn't everyone's cup of tea. The Most Valuable Player award, besides Bill Murray, must go to Carol Kane's Ghost of Christmas Present, who adds a delightful twist by occasionally bopping her charge with a toaster, whether it's warranted or not.
Absolutely, it's undeniably a Christmas movie: it kicks off with "Jingle Bell Rock," features a scene at a Christmas tree lot, and culminates with the family gathered around a beautifully decorated tree on Christmas day. Much like the best Christmas films, it serves as a moral tale.
In this story, Riggs comes to understand the value of life over giving in to despair, while Murtaugh learns not to judge unconventional police officers based on appearances and not to blindly trust old acquaintances. Furthermore, it boasts one of the most poignant Christmas gift exchanges ever: Riggs offers Murtaugh the bullet he had originally intended to use to end his life. Granted, it's a peculiar gift, and we're not entirely sure where Murtaugh will keep it or if he might have preferred a nice pair of socks, but it's the sentiment behind the gesture that truly counts.
The narrative of this entire story is framed by a grandmother recounting to her grandchild the reason behind the perennial presence of snow during Christmas. While the most vivid recollections from the tale are primarily sun-soaked and painted in pastels, befitting the 1950s California backdrop, both the beginning and end of the story, as well as one particularly poignant scene along the way, are drenched in snow and carry a distinct Christmas ambiance.
One of the most heartwarming moments features Edward, the protagonist, sculpting ice for the girl he deeply cares for, creating a magical flurry of snow within which she gracefully dances. And when it's revealed at the story's conclusion that he has faithfully continued making snow for her every year despite their long separation, well, let's just say it's understandable if you find yourself getting a tad emotional with something inexplicably in your eye.
This film, another gem from the '80s, may not be widely recognized in the UK, but it enjoys immense popularity in the US, where the adventures of young Ralphie, played by Peter Billingsley, have become an integral part of what they fondly refer to as "the holiday season." Set in the 1940s, the story essentially follows Ralphie's relentless efforts to persuade his parents, family, and even Santa Claus that a BB gun would be the perfect Christmas gift for a nine-year-old.
Despite everyone, from his teacher to Santa himself, being convinced that Ralphie will "shoot his eye out," he remains steadfast in his belief that it's the only acceptable present. It's a heartwarming reminder of what it's like to be a child, absolutely fixated on the gifts you've wished for during the holiday season.
During the holidays, the best Christmas movies are like old friends that make us feel warm and happy. They teach us important lessons that stay with us for a long time.
These movies remind us of what Christmas is really about - love, togetherness, and joy. So, as we celebrate the holidays and keep our traditions alive, let's cherish these wonderful movies that make our hearts light up with happiness every year.