Favorite Christmas Films

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Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

I’ve been driving my family crazy since the end of October watching Christmas movies. I can’t help it. I love them. To me, movies set in the winter in some sleepy little town where Christmas is the most important time of the year, and anything is possible, put me in the holiday spirit.

Christmas in the movies is magical. Dreams come true. Dysfunctional families see the light, or get on the right meds. (Oh, how that only happens in fiction.) I watch every chance I get.

Here is a list of some of my favorite Christmas movies in no particular order:

A Christmas Carol (Starring Alastair Sim He’s the best Scrooge.)

Miracle on 34th Street The 1947 version. Not that remake. Who would remake a classic like that?

White Christmas

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Hard not to like something with Henry Winkler in it.)

Scrooged

The Family Stone (Here’s a dysfunctional family trying to be on their best behavior for the holidays.) I like movies with large families. Not sure this is in my top ten Christmas movies even though it’s set at Christmas time.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

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18 thoughts on “Favorite Christmas Films

  1. I like those movies, as well, and The Family Stone is one of my all time faves. “What’s so great about you guys?” Good stuff.

    1. That’s a fantastic line! I also love the scene where the brothers chase each other around the house then knock over the table with the turkey on it. Diane Keaton is priceless. I always cry at the end of that movie.

  2. Love it! My adult daughter and I drive the family crazy watching Hallmark Christmas movies and classic Christmas movies. It’s hard to pick a favorite. We have at least 4 versions of a Christmas Carol, including the Muppet one. I love the Albert Finney Scrooge. He’s so happy at the end. Enjoy your holidays!!

    1. No shame in watching the Hallmark channel. I watch all the time. I have a few Hallmark favorites besides The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Christmas Detour, One Christmas Eve, Matchmaker Santa because the lovely and talented Florence Henderson is in that one. You’re always welcome to come over and watch with me!

    1. You only watch one Christmas movie? That’s discipline. But if you’re only going to pick one, you picked a good one. Happy Holidays! Thanks for stopping by. I’m always glad to see you visit.

  3. Well, I’m either one month late or eleven months early to this post, but if we’re talkin’ movies, I have to weigh in!

    My favorite version of A Christmas Carol is the one with George C. Scott from 1984 (which I have fond memories of watching with my father back when it first aired on television). It’s a Wonderful Life and Babes in Toyland also evoke happy memories of Christmases Past, because both aired in constant rotation on WPIX in New York around the holidays in the eighties. I love the John Hughes classics Christmas Vacation and Home Alone (the latter of which I wrote about here). Love Actually never gets old (I’m not among those who hold it in disdain). And of course there is a long tradition of Christmas-themed action movies from Lethal Weapon to Die Hard to Batman Returns to The Long Kiss Goodnight to The Last Boy Scout (among many, many others) that offered the best of both worlds to the twelve-year-old boy I was when I first saw (most) of them! All of those are among my Christmastime perennials!

    1. I don’t care if you come late to the party or arrive early. I’m grateful for your constant support of this blog.

      I like Love Actually too! I thought I was the only one. Of course, Home Alone is a classic. And who doesn’t enjoy Lethal Weapon and Die Hard? The action movies that take place at Christmas, but don’t have a lot to do with the holiday are nice because they can be watched any time of year. Not that Christmas movies can’t be seen in July, but when I do that my family usually says something like, “Christmas movies now?” As opposed to, “Die Hard? Cool.” And they sit down next to me.

      I’ve been spending a little time with Scrooged starring Bill Murray recently. He’s fun in that one. I’m usually watching alone.

      1. There’s been an inexplicable backlash against Love Actually, but I think it’s a remarkable — and extremely emotionally affecting — piece of storytelling. (The look on Andrew Lincoln’s face as Keira Knightley is watching that wedding tape — he’s witnessing a train wreck of his own making about to happen and he’s powerless to stop it — makes me want to crawl under the couch and die of embarrassment.)

        The other wondrous thing about Love Actually, of course, is that no matter how many times you watch it (typically just once a year, speaking for myself), it’s never a rote experience, because you can never quite recall which subplot they’ll be cutting to next. In a more linear, conventional narrative (like Home Alone and Scrooged), you retain the rhythm and story beats from previous viewings because there’s a causality that links each scene to the next; that’s not the case with Love Actually, which makes you “rediscover” it with each subsequent screening.

  4. So well put, I don’t know if I can follow that up with anything as meaningful. What I enjoy about Love Actually are the connecting plot lines. Every character is somehow tied to someone else. The story feels like real life. We are all caught up in our own desires, but those that we know and possibly love have tangles of their own.

    Oh, and let me add the scene where Emma Thompson goes into the bedroom to cry when she figures out her husband is having an affair makes my heart break for her. She needs to have her melt down, but she knows that isn’t the time or the place. Her children need her. Heartbreaking.

    1. Love Actually is what Save the Cat! would classify as Institutionalized — specifically, an “Issue Institution” story, because all the plotlines are ultimately about the part of ourselves we sacrifice to love someone else. So, for example, in the Andrew Lincoln/Keira Knightley subplot, it’s really about Mark’s love for Peter, not Juliet: He loves his friend so much, he would never think about making a move on Juliet. And we empathize with Mark for a lot of reasons: He’s loyal; he hides his pain; he’s sensitive to the beauty of art; etc.

      Love Actually is a master’s class in empathy techniques, like the scene with Emma in the bedroom: When she emerges, she has to put on a happy face for her children despite having had the emotional wind knocked out of her. You could teach an entire course on Love Actually, studying all the scene- and character-deepening techniques that each and every scene is stacked with. It’s very rich storytelling — deceptively so.

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