Get excited! Christmas Day is this Sunday. And in case you’re still looking for a movie or two to watch to join in the holiday cheer, look no further than this treasure trove of Christmas films, such as “Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Elf,” “Christmas Vacation,” “A Christmas Carol,” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” Rest assured, you’ll be thinking more of Christmas before you know it.
Oh, did we also tell you that George Bailey, Ebenezer Scrooge, Buddy the Elf, Ralphie Parker, Grinch, Saint Nick and, of course, the fearless John McClane are all here for the celebration?
So get comfy and get ready to feel Christmassy.
George C. Scott, Frank Finlay, Angela Pleasence; directed by Clive Donner
Charles Dickens’ timeless 1843 novella comes to life on Clive Donner’s movie adaptation made for television, starring George C. Scott as the Ebenezer Scrooge, the cold-hearted and cynical miser who despises the Holiday merriment. However, when three spirits visit him on Christmas Eve, he finally learns the true meaning of Christmas. The movie hits all the right notes in terms of music, storyline, humor and candidness.
Ann Altieri (voice), Chris Doran (voice); directed by Bill Melendez
Based on Charles M. Schulz’ comic strip “Peanuts,” the animated TV special became an instant hit when it premiered on CBS on Dec. 9, 1965, delighting viewers with its storyline, humor, even pace and unorthodox musical score suffused with traditional Christmas music and jazz. Looking for a deeper meaning to Christmas? Get excited and follow along as Charlie Brown leads the way to shine a light.
Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven; directed by Henry Koster
In Henry Koster’s Christmas rom com, David Niven plays Bishop Henry Brougham, who prays fervently for guidance as he tries to raise funds for the construction of a new cathedral. An angel by the name of Dudley (Cary Grant) responds the clergyman’s plea.
And so begins the good partnership between Henry and Dudley. But when Julia (Loretta Young)— the eponymous character — enters the picture, a love triangle happens, as Dudley gets smitten with the Bishop’s wife. By the end, does it necessarily mean Henry gets what he wants from Dudley? Or what he needs for that matter?
Certainly, the ironic plot twist sparks the charm, laughter and joy in this Christmas fantasy comedy.
Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis; directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik
Jeremiah S. Chechik’s comedy is the third installment in National Lampoon magazine’s “Vacation” film series. The story follows the Griswold family as they spend their Christmas vacation at home. But their perfectly planned Yuletide celebration gets disrupted when their relatives suddenly show up unannounced, setting in motion a series of fun and disasters just waiting to happen. For sure, you’ll be laughing in no time.
Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Courtney B. Vance; directed by Penny Marshall
Penny Marshall remakes Henry Koster’s “The Bishop’s Wife” in a comedy drama suffused with gospel music.
Whitney Huston delights audiences with her acting and musical performances as Julia, the eponymous character in the movie. Courtney B. Vance plays Rev. Henry Biggs, a pastor who is struggling to keep the church stay afloat financially. His marriage to Julia (Huston) is also in the rocks. Finally, he asks God for help, and the answer comes in the form a suave angel named Dudley (Denzel Washington), who eventually falls for Julia. Will Henry get what he needs or what he wants?
The engaging spin brings all the Christmas feels: warm, sentimental, joyful and inspiring. Plus, Huston will get you singing in no time.
Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson; directed by John Pasquin
Tim Allen stars as toy saleman Scott Calvin, who doesn’t believe in Santa. It’s just a matter of time before his life gets upended when he startles a man wearing a Santa suit. Long story short, Scott suddenly becomes the new Santa by virtue of the eponymous acceptance clause after he dons a red suit that belongs to St. Nick. The movie will charm the whole family with an endearing story. Plus, Tim Allen is on fire with his delightful sardonic wit and dry sense of humor.
Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Tony Cox; directed by Terry Zwigoff
We’ve all heard St. Nick travels from the North Pole to deliver gifts on Christmas Eve. But how about if Santa were ripping off shopping malls on Christmas Eve instead? This is exactly the premise of the Christmas dark comedy “Bad Santa.”
Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie, who moonlights as Santa Claus during the holiday season, along with his little helper Marcus (Tony Cox). The odd pair of cons get together once a year during the Holiday season to rob department stores. But when a mall security staffer (Bernie Mac) gets a wind of the heist, complications arise. Perhaps, one kid (Brett Kelley), whom Willie befriends, will make Willie a good Santa after all.
The movie, which is rated-R, delivers a good dose of irresistible scabrous hilarity. Thornton is on fire, especially with his one-line zingers. Interestingly, you’d be left wanting more of his shockingly outrageous remarks.
Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye; directed by Michael Curtiz
Looking for a Christmas musical extravaganza? Michael Curtiz’s 1954 film hits all the right notes to bring a heartfelt razzle-dazzle, featuring a pair of talented song-and-dance singers and equally brilliant sister act. You’ll be singing and dancing in no time as the foursome brings Yuletide entertainment to rural Vermont to save an inn from financial woes.
Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien; directed by Vincente Minnelli
Have you ever wondered about the origins of the popular song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”? It was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane for Judy Garland to sing in the Vincente Minnelli musical “Meet Me in St. Louis.” In turn, the iconic Garland song made the movie a Christmas favorite for so many romantics who believe that love conquers all, regardless of time and place.
Boris Karloff, Thurl Ravenscroft; directed by Chuck Jones and Ben Washam
The 1966 animated movie, based on the Dr. Seuss classic children’s book, is a perennial favorite. At the center of the story is the curmudgeon Grinch, who absolutely detests Christmas — so much so that he slithers down the chimney and steals the gifts and every last morsel of Christmas dinner from the residents of Whoville. However, much to the sourpuss’s surprise, the whole town celebrates the season together anyway. Having realized the true meaning of the holiday spirit, he returns the stolen gifts and joins everyone for the celebration.
Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman; directed by Leo McCarey
Leo McCarey’s dramedy highlights the essence of benevolence in our lives through the eyes of two opposing characters, Father O’Malley and Sister Benedict, as they indulge in a friendly rivalry. Their disagreement? How to save the Roman Catholic inner-city school of St. Mary’s Parish from being shut down. Their approaches might be different, but their intentions are the same in the spirit of giving.
Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara; directed by George Seaton
An annual holiday favorite, George Seaton’s “Miracle on 34th Street” is about a Macy’s department store Santa named Kris Kringle who claims to be the real deal. This one will remind you what it was like to believe in old Saint Nick.
James Stewart, Donna Reed; directed by Frank Capra
A movie about self-compassion, this holiday classic reminds us that we must be kind to ourselves, as told through the story of George Bailey (James Stewart), a bank executive who has long considered himself a failure. As he faces financial ruin and arrest, an angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers), descends from heaven to save George from his agony, jogging his memory of all his selfless acts of kindness done for the common good.
Michael Caine, Dave Goelz; directed by Brian Henson
The Muppets’ take on the classic Dickens tale comes alive in this charming movie. It stars Michael Caine as the penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge, along with Kermit and Miss Piggy as the Cratchits. Oh — and Paul Williams’ songs will delight you, too.
Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon; directed by Bob Clark
This holiday classic follows the exploits of Ralphie Parker, a young boy in 1940s Midwestern America with his eye on a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. It’s a comedy that is nostalgic and hilariously witty.
Will Ferrell, James Caan; directed by Jon Favreau
“Elf” is the story of an orphaned human boy named Buddy who was raised as an elf at the North Pole. When Buddy (Will Ferrell) leaves for New York City to find his true family, equal parts chaos and Christmas cheer ensue. This holiday comedy is full of warmhearted cheer, and Ferrell’s comic genius will delight the whole family.
Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson; directed by Richard Curtis
From Richard Curtis, the writer of “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” comes his first directorial debut, a comedy with eight interwoven tales about love, romance and life in London during the holidays. Can everyone find love on Christmas Eve?
Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer; directed by Bharat Nalluri
Ever wondered how the classic character Scrooge came about? It’s October 1843 in Victorian London, and Charles Dickens is suffering from writer’s block. After three failed novels in a row, the world-renowned English author desperately needs a bestseller. Intent on solving his financial woes, Dickens conjures up Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) and begins to toil day and night to create his timeless Yuletide novel, “A Christmas Carol.” This movie is filled with so much Yuletide magic that you’ll almost feel the snowflakes brushing your cheeks as you watch it.
Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon; directed by Henry Selick
The King of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, discovers Christmas Town in this dark classic and decides to celebrate the holiday. The movie is a stop-motion animated musical with visually stunning special effects.
James McAvoy, Bill Nighy; directed by Sarah Smith and Barry Cook
Have you ever wondered how Santa delivers all those presents in one night? And did you know that Santa has two sons, the elder named Steve (Hugh Laurie), the younger named Arthur (James McAvoy)? Well, this animated Santa biopic tackles those yearning questions as it highlights Saint Nick’s Christmas operation in the North Pole.
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman; directed by John McTiernan
Balance out the heartfelt holiday classics with this legendary Christmas thriller. Bruce Willis stars as NYPD officer John McClane, who tries to save his wife and her co-workers from German terrorists as they are taken hostage at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. While not everyone agrees that this is your average Christmas movie, many argue that it is a holiday classic, given that the plot takes place on Christmas Eve.
Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman; directed by John Turteltaub
In this offbeat romantic comedy set during a snowy Christmas in Chicago, Sandra Bullock stars as Lucy, a lonely toll collector who falls in love in the most unusual way. This holiday charmer will give you all the feels and remind you that family is what it’s all about this time of year.
Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates; directed by Joe Dante
Perfect for those who don’t crave your typical warm-and-fuzzy Christmas movies, “Gremlins” takes mischief to a new level and borders between comedy and horror. It’s a story about a young man who gets a special gift from his father, a cute pet creature called a “mogwai.” Before long, the mogwai spawns other malevolent creatures and tears up the town on Christmas Eve.
Macaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Pesci; directed by Chris Columbus
Hoping for a Christmas romp that is great to watch all year round? Look no further than this 1990 instant classic, which made then-10-year-old Macaulay Culkin and his cuteness a household name. At the center of the story is Kevin, an 8-year-old boy who accidentally gets left behind when his harried extended family heads off for France over the holidays. Suddenly, the boy is home alone, waking up to an empty house. Will he be able to stop a pair of goons (Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci) from breaking into his family’s home?
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