Top (Rewatchable) Christmas Moviesby kuzzn | created - 30 Aug 2013 | updated - 4 months ago | Public
These motion pictures--theatrical releases, TV movies, animated and live-action, and feature-length to short films (at least 20 minutes long), as well as being from throughout the years--are fun to watch, again and again, especially at Christmastime. Some of these favorites are more clearly Christmas themed, and others have relatively minor or incidental references to the holiday, but they all are definitely connected to the season.
They're in release-year order, following the ones grouped together that are based on "A Christmas Carol" (A.C.C.). I've got another IMDb list--called Various "A Christmas Carol" Film Adaptations (Also Includes Films with Non-Traditional Stories)--which is specifically about "A Christmas Carol" and has more about these and other film adaptations of that story.
This includes just the below entries because of IMDb's unfortunate changed practice of only allowing titles of feature films and series (with some exceptions) to be added to these lists (must have something to do with money). Please enjoy this much for as long as IMDb permits.
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1. A Christmas Carol (1938)
Not Rated | 69 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy
On Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the spirit of his former partner, Jacob Marley. The deceased partner was as mean and miserly as Scrooge is now and he warns him to change his ways or face the consequences in the afterlife.
A.C.C. - This earlier movie about 'Scrooge' is lighthearted entertainment.
There are quite a few movies based on Dickens' novella about 'Ebenezer Scrooge,' and the better ones are included here (in release-year order, separate from the order of the non-"Christmas Carol" films).
2. A Christmas Carol (1951)
TV-PG | 86 min | Drama, Fantasy
Old bitter miser Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.
A.C.C. - Entitled "Scrooge" and also known as "A Christmas Carol," this is the best of many film adaptations of Charles Dickens' novella "A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas." (a.k.a. "A Christmas Carol") (1843). It's a widely familiar fantasy story and takes place on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas. With some inconsequential changes from the original story, this motion picture portrays the most believable filmed metamorphosis of 'Scrooge' from cheapskate to humanitarian.
3. Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962 TV Movie)
Approved | 53 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama
An animated, magical, musical version of Dickens' timeless classic "A Christmas Carol." The nearsighted Mr. Magoo doesn't have a ghost of a chance as Ebenezer Scrooge, unless he learns the ... See full summary »
A.C.C. - This musical version is the first animated adaptation of "A Christmas Carol."
4. Scrooge (1970)
G | 113 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy
A musical retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel about an old bitter miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.
A.C.C. - A live-action musical.
5. A Christmas Carol (1971 TV Short)
28 min | Animation, Short, Drama
An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when spirits visit him on Christmas Eve.
A.C.C. - It's the best animated adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1843 novella.
The best versions of this story for kids: 1 - "The Muppet Christmas Carol" (1992) 2 - "Mickey's Christmas Carol" (1983) 3 - "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol" (1962) 4 - "A Flintstones Christmas Carol" (1994)
6. Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)
G | 26 min | Animation, Short, Comedy
The classic Disney animated characters play the roles in this animated retelling of the Charles Dickens masterpiece.
Votes: 9,473 | Gross: $21.00M
A.C.C. - Disney's 'Mickey Mouse' take on the story.
7. A Christmas Carol (1984 TV Movie)
PG | 100 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy
An old bitter miser who rationalizes his uncaring nature learns real compassion when three spirits visit him on Christmas Eve.
A.C.C. - This is another version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" that is good to watch over and over again.
8. Scrooged (1988)
PG-13 | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
A selfish, cynical television executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.
Votes: 81,588 | Gross: $60.33M
A.C.C. - "Scrooged" is on this list, not because it's an example of especially good cinema; it's a spoof of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" that has its decidedly corny moments, but is fun viewing, nonetheless.
9. Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988 TV Movie)
43 min | Comedy, History
After a genial spirit shows the benevolent Ebenezer Blackadder visions of his unscrupulous ancestors, he resolves to mend his generous ways.
A.C.C. - This 'Blackadder' TV special spoofs the tale about 'Scrooge.'
10. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
G | 85 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption on Christmas Eve.
Votes: 45,475 | Gross: $27.28M
A.C.C. - This muppet-filled musical comedy is one of the better motion pictures about the Christmas ghost story by Charles Dickens. While adults are very likely to appreciate this film, it's certainly kid friendly.
11. A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994 TV Movie)
G | 69 min | Animation, Comedy, Family
Fred is cast as Ebenezer Scrooge in a stage adaption of the story, but is acting a bit stingy in real-life.
A.C.C. - This version of the classic story features the 'Bedrock' gang.
12. A Christmas Carol (1999 TV Movie)
PG | 95 min | Drama, Fantasy
An old bitter miser who makes excuses for his uncaring nature learns real compassion when three ghosts visit him on Christmas Eve.
A.C.C. - It's yet another one of the better film versions of Charles Dickens' story about 'Ebenezer Scrooge.'
13. A Christmas Carol (2009)
PG | 96 min | Animation, Drama, Family
An animated retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.
Votes: 95,972 | Gross: $137.86M
A.C.C. - A computer animated Disney movie about Dickens' classic.
14. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Not Rated | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand each other, without realizing that they are falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.
Votes: 25,578 | Gross: $0.20M
This romantic comedy is an adaptation of Miklós László’s play "Parfumerie" ("Perfumery") (1937), with a good portion of the story taking place during Christmastime. It's a highly satisfying blend of humor, adversity, new love, and holiday enthusiasm. The 1940s had the first releases of many rewatchable Christmas movies.
15. Remember the Night (1940)
Passed | 94 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A shoplifter and her prosecutor fall in love, creating tensions for his career and family.
Votes: 4,247 | Gross: $0.17M
"Remember the Night" is a different kind of romantic comedy (it's much more so a 'dromedy'), and it takes place just before Christmas, through shortly after the New Year. It's where carrying out a good deed grows into a love story. And family holiday celebrations provide perfect situations for its blossoming.
16. Holiday Inn (1942)
Passed | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Music
At an inn which is only open on holidays, a crooner and a hoofer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer.
Votes: 12,408 | Gross: $8.18M
It's a musical romantic comedy and a Christmas classic that is actually about holidays throughout the year, but notably highlights Christmastime (which is the setting for some pretty memorable points in the film). The picture unfortunately has a 'blackface' performance that understandably may be too hard for some to put aside, so as to more fully enjoy the rest of this delightful movie.
17. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Not Rated | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
In the year leading up to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.
Votes: 19,150 | Gross: $7.57M
A musical romance adaptation of Sally Benson’s short stories (1941-1942) that (later in 1942) had been turned into the novel "5135 Kensington," it includes some Christmas scenes, during which the story reaches its peak. The remarkable music, moving story, and picturesque (in Technicolor) scenery and costumes greatly distinguish this period piece about family togetherness.
18. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Not Rated | 101 min | Comedy, Romance
A food writer who has lied about being the perfect housewife must try to cover her deception when her boss and a returning war hero invite themselves to her home for a traditional family Christmas.
This relatively minor classic is a lightheartedly fun and silly romantic comedy that takes place during Christmastime.
19. The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
Unrated | 126 min | Drama
At a big city Catholic school, Father O'Malley and Sister Benedict indulge in friendly rivalry, and succeed in extending the school through the gift of a building.
Votes: 6,672 | Gross: $21.30M
"The Bells of St. Mary's" is yet another of the many films released in the 1940s that are traditionally associated with Christmas and are enjoyable to view over again. Actually, the content of the film only marginally refers to this holiday, with its inclusion of a small Christmas pageant, but the movie became a regular part of Christmastime TV programming.
20. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy
An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.
It's an adaptation of Phil Van Doren Stern’s short story "The Greatest Gift" (1943). Aside from the back story scenes, this fantasy film's setting is Christmas Eve. Although it's not principally about Christmas, "It's a Wonderful Life" does an admirable job of demonstrating Christmas feeling.
21. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.
Votes: 38,400 | Gross: $2.65M
An adaptation of Valentine Davies' novella "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947), it takes place during the Christmas season, from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Day, and incorporates one aspect of Christmas fantasy ('Santa Claus') into a story about taking realism a bit too seriously. This is a funny and heartwarming film.
22. The Bishop's Wife (1947)
Not Rated | 109 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
An angel in human form enters the life of a bishop in order to help him build a new cathedral and repair his fractured marriage.
This adaptation of Robert Nathan's novel "The Bishop's Wife" (1928) is another fantasy story that takes place at Christmastime. It revisits the notion of a beneficent visiting angel, this time rekindling romance and presented with more comedy, with a script that also represents the life of a spiritual leader and his family.
23. Holiday Affair (1949)
Approved | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A young widow is romanced by a sales clerk whom she inadvertently got fired.
Based on John D. Weaver's story "Christmas Gift," the events in this film happen from Christmas Eve to New Year's Eve. It's a fun romantic comedy about a widow, her young son, and a love triangle (more of a love quadrangle, if you count her holding onto the memory of her first husband).
24. White Christmas (1954)
Not Rated | 120 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance
A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.
Votes: 30,820 | Gross: $30.00M
It's not a remake of "Holiday Inn," but the two films have some similarities, including an inn, Christmastime, Bing Crosby, and Irving Berlin's song "White Christmas."
25. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964 TV Movie)
TV-G | 47 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
A misfit reindeer and his friends look for a place that will accept them.
This musical and stop motion animated TV special, which is an adaptation of Robert Lewis May’s story "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1939) and May’s brother-in-law Johnny Mark’s song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1949), is all about preparations for 'Santa's' biggest day of the year, and especially 'one foggy Christmas Eve.' It's a great film, particularly for kids.
26. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965 TV Movie)
TV-G | 25 min | Animation, Comedy, Family
Depressed at the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find a deeper meaning to Christmas.
Based on Charles Shulz's "Peanuts," a comic strip that first appeared in 1950, this is one of quite a few animated TV Christmas specials that first aired in the 1960s and '70s. The film has quintessential Charlie Brown et al, in a nice story about the secular fun of Christmas, with a touch of biblical reference.
27. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966 TV Movie)
Not Rated | 26 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy
A grumpy hermit hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville.
Another animated TV special, this is an adaptation of Dr. Seuss' (pen name of Theodor Suess Geisel) children's book "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" (1957) and features events on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The overall rhyme, plus the stylized animation and a catchy song, together comprise a highly imaginative short-film masterpiece.
28. Frosty the Snowman (1969 TV Short)
TV-G | 25 min | Animation, Short, Family
A living snowman and a little girl struggle to elude a greedy magician who is after the snowman's magic hat.
This musical and animated Christmas special is based on a song that was first recorded in 1950. The presentation's target audience is clearly kids, but it has appeal for adults, as well. It's about a fantastic tale that takes place just before Christmas, where characters in the story experience friendship and holiday fun, along with concern for another's welfare.
29. The Snowman (1982 TV Short)
G | 26 min | Animation, Short, Adventure
On Christmas Eve, a young boy builds a snowman that comes to life and takes him to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas.
This TV film is an animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs' children's book "The Snowman" (1978), another fantasy story that features happenings on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It's got a story that is somewhat reminiscent of "Frosty the Snowman," but with an unforgettably much more sophisticated presentation, in the narrative (which is mostly silent), the music, and animation.
30. A Christmas Story (1983)
PG | 94 min | Comedy, Family
In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift.
Votes: 126,413 | Gross: $20.61M
"A Christmas Story" is a comedy that's based on writings by Jean Shepherd, which include material from his books "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash" (1966) and "Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters" (1982). It's about the days leading up to and including Christmas and very humorously depicts a boy's perspective of this special time of the year, plus his working class family's celebration of the holiday.
31. Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1991 TV Movie)
PG-13 | 95 min | Drama
Inspired by the famous 1897 editorial that has become a holiday staple, Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus tells the story of young Virginia O'Hanlan.
It's a feature-length live-action retelling of the story about a little girl who wrote to the New York Sun in 1897, at Christmastime, asking, "...is there a Santa Claus?" While based on actual events, this portrayal is largely a fictionalized story. It's a bit slow moving, but the ending certainly makes up for that, in this heartening TV movie.
32. Father Christmas (1991 TV Short)
G | 25 min | Animation, Short, Comedy
Father Christmas on vacation and on the job.
An animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs' graphic novel "Father Christmas" (1973) and another of his books, "Father Christmas Goes on a Holiday" (1975), it's an apparent sequel to the 1982 film "The Snowman." As such, it naturally has to be compared to this other movie, where "Father Christmas" (the film) has some similarities in style, but with a more humorous and down-to-earth flavor, as distinct from the poetic nature of "The Snowman." It's a 'blooming' fine companion film.
33. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
PG | 76 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy
Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.
Votes: 277,934 | Gross: $75.08M
This stop-motion animated musical is a fantasy story that involves the interaction of characters from Halloween and Christmas. The artfully presented animation delightfully augments this unique imagining about these holidays. The movie is based on a 1982 poem by Tim Burton.
34. The Santa Clause (1994)
PG | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
When a man inadvertently makes Santa fall off of his roof on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.
Votes: 90,324 | Gross: $144.83M
Taking place over a particularly eventful Christmas and beyond, this mostly comedic fantasy film regarding 'Santa Claus' and 'Santa' lore is a fun picture, with memories, hopes, and adventure during Christmastime, plus childhood and shared family joy about the holiday.
35. The Christmas Tree (1996 TV Movie)
93 min | Drama, Family
A story about a forming friendship between an elderly nun, Sister Anthony, and New York's Rockefeller Center's head gardener Richard Reilly, who wants to fell a tree she's been growing for ... See full summary »
This is a very poignant movie about love, affection, loss, cherished memory, and taking risks. It takes place over many months, including different years, even outside the flashbacks, but reaches it highest point at Christmastime. "The Christmas Tree" is a dramatic film that is not so much about celebrating Christmas as it is about realizing the value of relationship, within a Christmas-themed story.
36. Santa vs. the Snowman (1997 TV Short)
21 min | Animation, Short
A lonely snowman finds Santa's workshop. But when he sets off the perimeter alarms and is chased away, he wonders why he couldn't be Santa and get all the love and fun this year. With the ... See full summary »
Votes: 127 | Gross: $10.23M
This amusing Christmastime science fiction and fantasy film about 'Santa,' his 'elves,' and a sentient snowman (who's no 'Frosty'), in a 'North Pole' adventure, is an example of earlier computer animation.
Great Performances (1971– )
115 min | Music
A re-staging of the Royal Ballet's 1985 production, with Anthony Dowell - this time as Drosselmeyer - and a new supporting cast.
There are many filmed adaptations of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet "Schelkunchik" ("The Nutcracker") (1892), another famous, fantasy-packed, Christmastime story. And this feature-length TV show episode is the best filmed interpretation of "The Nutcracker" that I've seen.
38. Silent Night (2002 TV Movie)
TV-PG | 100 min | Biography, Drama, War
Fact-based World War II story set on Christmas Eve, 1944, finds a German Mother and her son seeking refuge in a cabin on the war front. When she is invaded by three American soldiers and ... See full summary »
This is a reality-based wartime (WWII) drama that is among the best TV movies ever broadcast. Based on a true story, it takes place on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, not far from a battle front. A heartwarming movie, with a good amount of tension, it is nicely scripted and acted.
39. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
PG-13 | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo find a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents.
Votes: 27,927 | Gross: $0.13M
"Tokyo Goddofazazu," a.k.a. "Tokyo Godfathers," is set in Tokyo (mostly in the streets), at Christmastime; this is a good example of Japanese animation. Even though it is an animated Christmas film, it's not so much a movie for the kiddies (there's some bloody violence, for example). Also, there are an awful lot of coincidences in the movie, but this fact is excusable, because it IS a Christmas film. It depicts good heartedness and the value of family (of different kinds) and shows some of the faces and realities of homelessness.
40. Love, Actually (2003)
R | 135 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.
Votes: 406,677 | Gross: $59.70M
A romantic comedy about events that occur during and directly after Christmastime in England, it has humor, music, drama, and what the movie's all about: many kinds of 'love,' including physical affection, adolescent infatuation, adult attraction and romance (both fleeting and enduring), and also the importance of family and friendship.
41. The Polar Express (2004)
G | 100 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.
Votes: 163,310 | Gross: $183.37M
This is a computer animated, musical adaptation of Chris Van Allsberg's children's book "The Polar Express" (1985) and involves a fantastical train trip that takes place on Christmas Eve, to 'Santa's' workshop at the 'North Pole.' It incorporates holiday excitement, along with impressive visuals, traditional and original music, and overall good feeling, plus wonderment that is especially alive in children.
42. Joyeux Noel (2005)
PG-13 | 116 min | Drama, History, Music
In December 1914, an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allows soldiers from opposing sides of the First World War to gain insight into each other's way of life.
Votes: 26,513 | Gross: $1.05M
"Joyeux Noël," a.k.a. "Merry Christmas," is a live-action motion picture that's based on an actual event, during what would become known as World War I, where three armies, in one of the bloodiest wars the world had yet seen, had a temporary truce, in honor of Christmas.
43. Terry Pratchett's Hogfather (2006 TV Movie)
189 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Thriller
It's Hogswatch (equivalent to Christmas) on the Discworld and the Hogfather has gone missing, requiring Death to take his place while his granddaughter Susan endeavors to find out what has happened.
The picture "Hogfather" has fantasy, science fiction, adventure, suspense, dark humor, as well as elements of horror and some PG-13-level action. This two-part, made-for-TV miniseries is an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel "Hogfather" (1996). While not explicitly about Christmas, it's a satirical tale about a solar festival called 'Hogswatch,' which occurs in a 19th-century-looking alternate world ('Discworld') and is directly comparable to Christmas. The story takes place primarily on wintry 'Hogswatch Eve' (a parody of Christmas Eve) and includes the sleigh flight of 'Hogfather' (who is analogous to 'Santa Claus'). It's a very well done and captivating movie that is kind of like a cross between 'Harry Potter' films and "The Nightmare Before Christmas"... and then some.
44. Yes, Virginia (2009 TV Short)
TV-Y | 22 min | Animation, Short
An eight-year-old girl living in New York City in 1897 learns about belief and Christmas when her classmates question if Santa is even real.
It's a computer animated TV movie based on the story about eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon and her official inquiry into the existence of 'Santa Claus.' As with the live-action film from 1991, the movie is a fine tribute to that historic event, but with this version likely being more entertaining for kids.
45. Arthur Christmas (2011)
PG | 97 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy