Its-A-Wonderful-Life

Top Ten Christmas Films

As we’ve tackled what makes up a good Christmas film, it is only reasonable that we devised a list of some of the most loved, and best Christmas flicks around. Films that will have you singing Christmas songs, reaching for the hot chocolate and gazing up at your Christmas tree wishing the days to go faster.

However, there are so many wonderful Christmas films, it is hard to hand-pick a few, so many will disagree with the list! Prepare to nod your head in gleeful agreement or roll your eyes in complete and utter disapproval as we roll through the Top Ten Christmas Films. 

  1. It’s A Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)

Frank Capra’s classic, It’s A Wonderful Life may not be the typically joyful Christmas film you expect it is, but without a doubt, it will remain one of the greatest.

Set around the festive season, it explores the troubles many of us face the happy – but overly stressful time of year in incredibly depth and honesty, that leaves the audience feeling how they do on boxing day; tired, bloated, but ultimately satisfied and content.

Don’t let the sad nature of its narrative deter you from watching this stunning masterpiece. It is an utter must see, and if anything it’s far more truthful and optimistic than many other Christmas films that follow a stereotypical plot.

2. Love Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003)

Almost 13 years after Richard Curtis released the now, Christmas classic, it seems that Britain still remains utterly besotted with the infectious plot.

Curtis uses the much under-looked fact that we are all different and therefore Christmases can be substantially different to create a realistic account of the British Christmas.

Once again, at its core, is strong messages about love and community, with the end giving the audience a sense of great appreciation and understanding of what Christmas is really all about. Which is just what a Christmas film should do, isn’t it? 

3.  The Muppets Christmas Carol (Brian Henson, 1992)

As much as it seems impossible to decide upon the best adaptation of Charles Dickens’ legendary novel, A Christmas Carol, pretty much everyone has a soft spot for this version.

The Muppets Christmas Carol is, unlike some of the other adaptations, one of the truest to the spirit of Christmas, with it having a fantastic mixture of the seriousness behind the narrative, the social commentary but also The Muppets unique humour.

As a form as well, surprisingly, this adaptation works magnificently because it is a musical. Non-musically led versions just don’t seem to possess the same gut feeling or the same atmosphere to them.

4. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Ron Howard, 2000)

How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a film that never tires. Not only does it star the hilariously outrageous, Jim Carrey, a very young and innocent Taylor Momsen, but it is beautifully heart-warming.

At its basis, it has a very Scrooge-esque narrative, but with a twist. With it being quite an overly exaggerated one, involving a euphoric town that comes alive at Christmas and how an isolated, green creature tries to bring misery and wreak havoc due to his past experiences.

Although not the most ground-breaking of films, How The Grinch Stole Christmas encapsulates everything that fuels excitement for the season.

5. Elf  (Jon Favreau, 2003)

Elf  has been a favourite Christmas film for audiences since its release in 2003, with pretty much everyone in the world having seen this spectacle.

Filled with humour, family and loveable characters, there’s nothing better than snuggling on the sofa with friends or family to watch this classic.

It is simply one of those films, be it a Christmas film or not, that audiences around the world are able to love and feel connected to, but at the same time, it is the ideal film to place in the background as friends or family gather to chat. Its narrative means that, in a good way, it is simple and doesn’t require too much attention which often leads to the best Christmas films around.

6. The Polar Express (Robert Zemeckis, 2004)

Polar Express is definitely a Christmas film that has the potential to rip friendships apart, with some absolutely adoring the Tom Hanks’ extravaganza while others think it ‘weird.’ But, we love it.

It really helps that the story feels as though an original Christmas classic. The events and situations that unfold are a great representation of some of the typical dreams that many of us have thought up during our childhoods.

Granted, the film itself does feel a little strange, with the animation looking almost, ‘too life-like’, but it’s that what makes Polar Express so intriguing.

It’s inventive, captivating and above all else, it captures the heart of Christmas magnificently.

7. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick, 1993)

Although, Tim Burton has stated that The Nightmare Before Christmas is technically a Halloween film, this doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the quirky film around the festive season as well.

From the odd but loveable brain of Tim Burton, and mastered by Henry Selick, this film is unlike any other Christmas film, even though it does have the same themes resonating in its plot.

The film follows the process of Jack Skellington, living in Halloween Town as he discovers Christmas, and tries to bombard all Halloween legends to come to love all things festive.

If you love unique films, and are a fan of Tim Burton’s other works, then The Nightmare Before Christmas is the Christmas film that has been missing from your life.

8. The Holiday (Nancy Meyers, 2006)

Who doesn’t love a romantic comedy, especially around the Christmas time?

The Holiday is the perfect romance that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy. With its simple concept, and overly familiar plot twists and turns that the we expect, the film is comfortable viewing and perfect with a hot chocolate.

9. The Snowman (Dianne Jackson, Jimmy T. Murakami, 1982)

The Snowman is an absolute classic, with the combination of the beautiful song, ‘Walking in the Air’ and timeless animation, it is a lovely film that will keep children quiet from start to finish.

10. The Santa Clause (John Pasquin, 1994)

The Santa Clause is another opinion splitter, with some loving the Tim Allen story to others hating it immensely.

But, the plot itself is heart-warming. Following the story of a typical man, who wants to impress his son and improve their relationship, he wakes up one day to discover the he now is the new Santa. What could go wrong?

Throughout the film we see the natural, Christmas evolution of a film from an incomplete family – to a new, and refreshed one with a heightened sense of Christmas and, importantly, of life.

Of course, we acknowledge that there are masses of brilliant Christmas films out there, with many not making this list. *cough, Home Alone, cough.*

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