For some, Christmas Day isn’t CHRISTMAS DAY without at least one GREAT festive movie to complement the turkey.
Back in the days when there was only the four channels, you had to buy a TV-guide and choose what films to watch in the period around Christmas.
Today, you can choose one of the numerous streaming platforms and get back to any Christmas film you like. That’s why we’ve prepared a list of Xmas classics that can be watched again and again every year.
Die Hard (1988)
A perfect choice for Christmas Eve, Die Hard has been one of the most appreciated and adored Christmas films since 1988. Directed by John McTiernan, with Bruce Willis as John McClane and Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, it’s a fast-paced flick set in the intimate environment of the Nakatomi Plaza Tower.
What makes this action film different from others are the witty one-liners and the great camera work. The colours are dim, the explosions are powerful and the setting is minimalistic. Although there’s no snow, the spirit of Christmas is present in the film, as well.
The next two sequels are also set around Christmas time and they’re great films but they didn’t leave such a strong impact on popular culture as the original Die Hard.
Trading Places (1983)
An entertaining and intelligently written comedy, Trading Places is loosely based on Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, perfectly depicting and deriding the yuppie 1980s.
Two old businesspeople, the Duke brothers, decide to conduct a social experiment. As a result, wealthy yuppie Louis Winthorpe II loses all his privileges and has to live as a poor street bum, while a street hobo Billy Ray Valentine is given the chance to indulge in Winthorpe’s lavish lifestyle.
In the end, they find out about the setup and make a trick on the stock exchange so that the Duke brothers lose all their fortune.
Christmas Vacation (1989)
If you like Clark Griswold in other National Lampoon’s films, then Christmas Vacation is the right choice for you.
The plot basically revolves around Mr. Griswold and his clumsy attempt to organize a pleasant Christmas holidays.
With Chevy Chase in one of his finest big-screen roles and great support from Beverly D’Angelo as his wife, this film is brimming with witty dialogs, acceptable slapstick and vivid characters. Also, it’s great to see young Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki as their kids.
So, if you’re in for a bit of ‘80s nostalgia, a bucketful of snow and fine humour and a relaxing Christmas plot, put this film on your watchlist.
Released one year after Christmas Vacation, Scrooged is one of the most popular film adaptations of Dickens’ Christmas Carol.
Directed by Richard Donner (The Goonies, Lethal Weapon) and starring Bill Murray as Frank Cross – the modern embodiment of Ebenezer Scrooge – this film is a real Christmas gem.
Cross is a merciless TV-producer who forces his crew to work on Christmas Day in order to finish a special Christmas show. When visited by three spirits of Christmas who take him back to some pivotal moments of his life, he realises that he still has a humane side.
Well-directed and brilliantly led by Murray, this is a multi-layered Christmas film that will both entertain you and make you think. Also, we recommend that you watch it before Christmas Vacation.
Home Alone (1990)
Most lists of top Xmas films choose Home Alone as the ultimate holiday film of all times. We also think that this Columbus-Hughes collaboration deserves to have a place on every such list since it’s among the best Christmas motion pictures of the 1990s.
The plot is pretty simple: an American family unintentionally leaves their young son Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) at home during Christmas holidays. After the initial joy because of the freedom he gets, his dream-come-true holidays come to an end when a tandem of thieves (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) decides to rob his house.
Then we have a string slapstick gags and smart remarks uttered by the 8-year-old Kevin.
In the end, Kevin beats the bandits, the family returns from France, and they all have a Merry Christmas.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
We’ve seen many large-screen versions of the well-known Dr. Seuss’s book but this one stands out from the crowd. Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas isn’t necessarily the best adaptation of the story but it could be the most eccentric one.
With Jim Carrey in the leading role and the visually rich imaginarium of Whoville, this film is an entertaining rollercoaster, sprinkled with a bit dark humour.
Since it’s a visually attractive film, the feeling is better if you watch it on a top-notch TV-set. So, if you’re planning to add a new device to your multimedia set this Christmas, get yourself a full experience with a new screen on a bargain using these Currys deals.
Also, there are earlier cartoon adaptations of this work, as well as the brand new version from 2018 so you pick out your favourite Grinch and enjoy his untypical view of Christmas holidays. Our votes go to the Howard/Carrey co-production.
Love Actually (2003)
Now that you’ve seen the green creature with a bit unfriendly attitude toward Christmas, it’s time for a relaxing but clever story. When you see that Richard Curtis has directed a film, it’s already a great recommendation.
Love Actually was both written and directed by Mr Curtis. The star-studded cast is led by Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy and many other distinguished British actors.
As for the plot, there are several interrelated couples who are struggling with their problems and relationships in the pre-Christmas period. You can enjoy a myriad of intriguing, interesting characters and an abundance of fine British humour.
The Polar Express (2004)
Produced and starred by Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis (for the youngsters: the guy who directed all three Back to the Future films), The Polar Express is a beautiful Christmas fun for the entire family.
At the heart of the story is a boy named Billy who wants to believe in Santa Clause and all the details around him but is faced with a too realistic family.
However, on Christmas Eve a train comes to his room and takes him and other boys with similar beliefs to the North Pole to visit Santa and his crew of elves.
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
A brand new Christmas film about Santa Claus, The Christmas Chronicles has managed to grasp the spirit of traditional Xmas films.
In a nutshell, brother and sister want to film Santa while he is giving presents but this wish of theirs takes them on a magical journey.
Believe it or not, Santa Claus here is played by Kurt Russell, who gives an outstanding performance as the merry, beardy man from Laponia.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Last, but not least, the last film we suggest you should see not just this but every Christmas is Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.
In case you’ve never seen it, it’s a classic story about George Bailey – a discontented man who falls into financial despair before Christmas. Struggling between a strong urge to commit suicide and the fact that he has a family to look after, he’s saved by an angel.
A complex story about a family and our responsibilities towards it, this film is one of the most remarkable cinematic pieces James Stewart appeared in.
This is our choice for this Christmas and we hope you’ll have some fun and some deep thinking while watching those films. Of course, there are dozens of other great Xmas films that deserve your attention and time so feel free to do your own research and add some other favourites of yours to this list.