top Christmas movies list

Top Christmas Movies List

ADDucation All Time Classic Top Christmas Movies List

Christmas is a nostalgic time of year and for families choosing which movies to watch it’s always going to be a compromise. Some of us won’t watch animations, others can’t bear to watch black and white films and the last thing some of us want to watch at Christmas is Christmas movies! Compiling the ADDucation Top Christmas Movies List, which has enough movies to fill the twelve days of Christmas, was much harder work than many of our factual lists. We’ve come to the conclusion there aren’t many great Christmas movies but our three top Christmas movies stand out from the crowd because they’re great stories in their own right. Most top Christmas movies are remakes of earlier classics or adaptations of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and, frankly, you’d be better off reading the book.

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Christmas Movie TitleNo:Christmas Movie TrailerYearCategoryMinsPlot Outline / Christmas CredentialsStarring
It’s a Wonderful Life1
1946Nostalgia130An angel appears to help George Bailey, a despairing businessman contemplating suicide, see how things would have turned out if he’d never existed. George eventually makes the right choices to ensure this festive Christmas tale has a happy ending. Nominated for 5 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Leading Actor, James Stewart puts in one of this best ever acting performances.James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell
Miracle on 34th Street2
1947Nostalgia96Beloved Christmas movie about Santa Claus. Doris, Macy’s store events manager, hires a store Santa. She’s told her six year old daughter, Susan, that Santa isn’t real but they begin to notice something special about him. Despairing at the commercial exploitation of Christmas he claims to be the real Santa Claus and is institutionalized until he is defended by Doris’ lawyer friend who sets about proving he is the real Santa Claus – it’s going to a take a miracle but will Susan and Doris believe? The 1994 remake didn’t make it into our top Christmas movies list.Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Gene Lockhart
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas3
1966Animation26A tale about Grinch, a grumpy recluse, who plans to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville. The story has been rehashed many times but this short animated version remains the classic. Directed by Chuck Jones of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote fame. The highest ranked animation on our top Christmas movies list.Boris Karloff, Thurl Ravenscroft, June Foray, Dal McKennon
Die Hard4
1988Action131John McClane is a New York cop who tries to save his wife, Holly Gennaro and several others, who are taken hostage in the L.A. Nakatomi Plaza by terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party. Die Hard is the only action movie to make our top Christmas movies list.Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson
A Christmas Story5
1983Comedy94Like many boys who grew up in the 1940’s Ralphie dreams of getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas and despite his parents, teacher and Santa all telling him he’ll shoot his eye out he’s not deterred – The ending satisfies both kids and parents so it has earned a slot our top Christmas movies list.Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Scott Schwartz
The Snowman6
1982Animation26Christmas classic, Oscar nominated, animated film of Raymond Briggs’s book telling the magical story of a boy whose snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve. Features the popular “Walking in the Air’ song written by Howard Blake and the David Bowie introduction.David Bowie, Raymond Briggs
A Charlie Brown Christmas7
1965Animation25Charlie Brown questions what Christmas is all about after noticing everyone seems obsessed with presents, cards, decorations and Christmas events. Given the responsibility to choose a Christmas tree for the pageant he picks out a feeble undersized tree which ultimately helps everyone understand the true meaning of Christmas.Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer, Bill Melendez
The Nightmare Before Christmas8
1993Animation76Bored pumpkin king of Halloweentown Jack Skellington stumbles across Christmastown and decides it needs a makeover – it doesn’t go well and mayhem ensues until Santa saves the day. Enchanting plot written by Tim Burton with Oscar nominated visual effects.Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey
Frosty the Snowman9
1969Animation25Frosty, a snowman made by Karen and her friends, is bought to life by a magical hat thrown away by Professor Hinkle after he fails to pull his rabbit, Hocus-Pocus, out of it. Now he wants the hat back and a chase ensues. Features the memorable Frosty the Snowman Christmas song. Film by Jeffrey Lee Martin with music by Jimmy Durante.Jackie Vernon, Billy De Wolfe, Jimmy Durante
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer10
1964Animation47Cute Christmas 60’s animated movie told by Sam the snowman about outcast Rudolph and his misfit friends looking for a place to call home. Rudolph visits Santa at the north pole and a plan emerges…Billie Mae Richards, Burl Ives, Paul Soles, Larry D. Mann
The Shop Around The Corner11
1940Nostalgia99Tensions mount between Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) and Alfred Kralik (James Stewart), co-workers in a busy Budapest gift shop as Christmas approaches. What they don’t realise is they’re each others secret pen pal and they’re falling in love by post. It all comes to a head on Christmas eve.Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut
Scrooge12
1951Nostalgia86Ebenezer Scrooge was the meanest employer in Victorian London. On Christmas Eve he was visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley, his former business partner, damned for eternity for his greed. He warned Scrooge the same fate awaited him but that the three spirits of Christmas (Past, Present and Yet-to-Come) would visit him and give him one last chance of redemption.Alastair Sim, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison
White Christmas13
1954Nostalgia120Song and dance duo, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye), hook up with sisters Betty and Judy Haynes (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and follow them to their next show at an inn in Vermont. The inn is struggling and it’s run by their former WWII army general so they organise a big Christmas Eve show to help which includes “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.” aaaah.Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen
A Christmas Carol14
1938Nostalgia69This black and white version of Charles Dickens’s classic tales remains one of the best. Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley, his former partner, and given one last chance of redemption by the spirits of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet-to-Come. The oldest movie in ADDucation’s top Christmas movies list.Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Terry Kilburn
Holiday Inn15
1942Nostalgia100Singer and dancing trio Jim Hardy, Ted Hanover and Lila Dixon (Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Virginia Dale) split after Jim buys a farm for him and his fiancée Lila to retire to. Fred has other plans and runs off with Lila. Jim turns the farm into a nightclub where he meets singer/dancer Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds) and falls in love. Ted turns up and drunkenly dances with Linda setting up a second love triangle. Won an Oscar for best music including “White Christmas”.Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale
The Muppet Christmas Carol17
1992Family85Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and other Muppet characters tell their family fun version of the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” about miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) being visited by spirits on Christmas Eve.Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson
Christmas in Connecticut18
1945Nostalgia102Journalist Elizabeth Lane earns her living writing about her cooking and family life on a farm in Connecticut. It all goes bad when her boss invites an heroic sailor and himself for Christmas. She’s unmarried, without kids, can’t cook and lives alone in New York!Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, Reginald Gardiner
Elf19
2003Comedy97A man raised as a naive elf (Will Ferrell) at the North Pole is sent by Papa Elf to New York to find his birth father. He’s forced to re-evaluates human culture and his place in the world. Includes songs “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”.Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel
Bad Santa20
2003Comedy91Bad department store Santa (Billy Bob Thornton) and his sidekick abuse their position of trust every year but this year there’s a new head of security, sexy Santa, and an innocent kid who insists on believing in Santa. Sexual innuendos and bad language punctuate this Christmas crime comedy caper, will there be a Christmas miracle?Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, John Ritter
Home Alone211990Family103A family accidentally leaves their eight year old son, Kevin, behind as they jet off for a Christmas family holiday leaving him home alone. The luxury of having the house to himself is short-lived when Kevin discovers two idiotic burglars plan to rob his house and he sets about turning the house into a fortress.Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard
The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe222005Family143Classic CS Lewis story about four children evacuated to the county from London during WWII. Lucy discovers a door to Narnia at the back of a wardrobe during a game of hide and seek and the adventure unfolds. They meet Aslan, a sagely lion, and struggle to end the 100 year winter imposed by the evil White Witch. The longest movie on our top Christmas movies list.Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, William Moseley
Arthur Christmas232011Animation97Christmas with the Clauses goes bad when Arthur, Santa’s clumsy but enthusiastic son, notices a present to Gwen has gone missing. Everyone tries to help and mayhem ensues. When they eventually arrive at Gwen’s house they hilariously squabble over who delivers the present. Arthur is given the honor because he was the person who most wanted to make Gwen happy and becomes the new Santa. The most recent movie in ADDucation’s top Christmas movies list.James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Hugh Laurie
A Christmas Carol242009Animation96Relatively faithfully animated version of Charles Dickens’ novel about miserly moneylender Ebenezer Scrooge who hates Christmas. It’s a tale of redemption as apparitions from Christmas past, present and future influence Scrooge and he wakes up on Christmas morning a changed man.Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Steve Valentine
L.A. Confidential251997Crime Drama138Three LA policemen, one who plays by the book, one who bends the rules and the other brutal investigate a series of murders set over Christmas 1952. There’s a Hollywood Christmas party, Santa’s sleigh and reindeer decoration being torn from the roof of a house and a fight described in the press as “Bloody Christmas”. L.A. Confidential is the only cop drama to make our top Christmas movies list.Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger
The Santa Clause261994Comedy97Santa is accidentally killed by ad-exec Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) on Christmas Eve and ends up taking his place in this predictable but enjoyable yuletide romp – the first of a trilogy.Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd
Scrooged271998Comedy101Thanks to a less than perfect childhood Frank Cross (Bill Murray) TV station boss was short on Christmas spirit for their live performance of Christmas Carol until the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future helped Frank see the error of his ways.Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, Solid Gold Dancers

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