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10 Best Christmas Movies of All Time


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Hello Everyone!

I'm new here but have been a TCM fan since it's inception. I thought I would start out by offering a personal "Best" list for one of my fav genre's - Christmas movies. This list is open for discussion and I'd really enjoy any feedback. I know that I've left out a lot of other peoples favs - but hey, that's the fun of these types of forms right? To get others opinions and thoughts. BTW, as the list will suggest, I'm 56 going on 6 and I'm a nut for the holidays! Anyway, here goes:

 

*1. A Christmas Carol - 1951 with Alistair Sims*

In my opinion, this is the best version of the Dickens classic. Black & White, moody, kind of campy with the perfect cast. Alistair Sims is so good & believable in this role from start to finish. My favorite scene is him in the restaurant asking the waiter for more bread. 2nd fav is the scene with his house maid and the junk dealer. Just doesn't get any better than those.

 

*2. The Gathering - 1977 with Ed Asner*

Yeah, I know it's a made for TV film but I'm from around the Cleveland area and the 1st scene in Chagrin Falls, Ohio just screams out holiday feeling. Many of you may not be familiar with this flick as it hasn't been released on DVD yet and doesn't get any air play. It's a real tear jerker about Asner finding out he only has a couple months to live and trying to reconnect with his estranged family. Maureen Stapleton plays his wife who helps him get the family together for a Christmas reunion - aka the title "The Gathering".

 

*3. It's A Wonderful Life - 1946 with Jimmy Stewart*

No reason to go on about this one except to say that no Christmas would be complete without it. I love ALL of Frank Capra's movies but this one is my absolute fav of all time!

 

*4 A Christmas Story ? 1983 with Peter Billingsley*

Ok, I live near Cleveland so how could I not rank this holiday gem near the top. Being nostalgic, it doesn?t get better than Christmas in the 1940?s. I have watched this movie every year with my son who is now 19 and never get tired of it. From Ralphie?s burning desire for a Red Rider BB gun to Darren McGavin?s hilarious cussing at the furnace and his car to the infamous major award leg lamp, A Christmas Story is just a treasure and timeless holiday entertainment.

 

*5. The Shop Around the Corner ? 1940 Jimmy Stewart*

Ernst Lubitsch direction in this film comes as close to Frank Capra?s style as any other I?ve seen. While it?s not a 100% Christmas movie, the final 20 minutes rivals any other holiday fare out there. The flick has it all, including a great love story, snow, the great character actors Frank Morgan as Mr. Matuschek and Felix Bressart as Pirovitch and so much more. It?s just a real pleasant film to cuddle up by a roaring fire with a cup of hot coco and watch with the entire family.

 

*6. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - 1989 with Chevy Chase*

This movie is exactly why we don?t have larger family get togethers during the holidays. Of all the ?Vacation" movies by NL, this is without a doubt the best. Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold and his dysfunctional family have me in stitches every time I watch it. There are parts of the flick that are ? dare I say, pee your pants funny. From the hunt for the Griswold family Christmas tree, to the scene where Clark finally gets his lights to work, forcing the power company to switch on their auxiliary nuclear power, the movie delivers hilarious holiday fun for all.

 

*7. A Christmas Carol - 1984 with George C. Scott*

Yeah, I know I already listed another A Christmas Carol, and this too is a made for TV flick. However, George C. Scott?s tour-de-force performance in this one just can?t be ignored. Just hearing Scott scream out ?*MR. CRATCHIT*? with that snarllly, low voice sends shivers up my spine. Plus, the ghost scenes are really well done and believable. The junk dealer scene with Peter Woodthorpe as Old Joe scratching himself is truly classic.

 

*8. One Magic Christmas - 1985 with Mary Steenburgen*

Although a little hokey, this flick has it?s memorable moments. Especially the acting turned in by little cutie Elisabeth Harnois as Abbie Grainger and by Harry Dean Stanton as the drowned cowboy, turned angle, Gideon. The scene with Abbie at the North Pole with Santa is truly heartwarming. Also, the scene where Ginny Hanks Grainger, (played by Mary Steenburgen), finds her old letter to Santa, is Christmas movie fare at it?s finest.

 

*9. The Bishops Wife - 1947 with Cary Grant*

The Bishops Wife is good clean holiday fun from start to finish. And who better to play the slightly mischievous angle ?Dudley? than the suave Cary Grant. David Niven as Henry Brougham is excellent as the young over his head bishop, trying desperately to get a new cathedral built that is more a monument to his own ego. My favorite scene is when Dudley, Julia (played by Loretta Young) and Sylvester the taxi driver (played by James Gleason) stop to do a little ice skating. Their jovial banter and playfulness is so nostalgic and pure, it sucks you right into the scene. Another fav scene is Dudley?s rendering of David?s Psalm to little Debby Brougham (played by Karolyn Grimes). The tender tone that Dudley delivers it, and the look on Julia?s and Henry?s face while watching, is timeless.

 

*10. Miracle on 34th Street ? 1947 with Edmund Gwenn*

Ah, bet you thought I?d leave this one out huh. This has to be the quintessential ?I Believe? Christmas classic. Although the theme has been done over and over in other films, Miracle on 34th drives home it?s message better than the rest. The court room US mail scene is truly one of the best in this genre.

 

Honorable mention:

Pocket Full of Miracles - 1961 Another Capra great

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - 1966 with Boris Karloff narating

A Charlie Brown Christmas - 1965 Worth seeing for the jazz music alone

 

 

Well that?s it. Do you agree ? disagree? What are your favorite Christmas movies? Classic or contemporary, full holiday or with just a smattering of Christmas visuals or dialog. It?s the perfect time of year to discuss. As I already said, I?m 56 going on 6! Happy Holidays and "God Bless Us, Every One!"

 

Edited by: ClassicCoCoNUT on Nov 20, 2009 9:54 PM

Fixed some typos to make the list easier to read and added an honorable mention section.

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I?ll agree with the majority of your list, but I would replace the George C. Scott version of *A Christmas Carol* with Albert Finney?s *Scrooge* based upon the fantastic music and lyrics. I would also have to include somewhere in the list *Holiday Inn* and *The Man Who Came To Dinner*. Get ready to hear many other opinions that will include such favorites as *Christmas in Connecticut*, *Come to the Stable*, *Meet Me in St. Louis*, *White Christmas* and *A Charlie Brown Christmas*.

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Welcome Classic Coconut! I agree with most of your choices. I would also add Holiday Inn, White Christmas, & Christmas in Connecticut. I have two favorite Christmas Carols; The one with Patrick

Stewart & Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. I Think I was in my teens before I realized there were other

versions (

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Great list classicCoCoNUT...

I rarely see mentioned in these boards a wonderful Christmas film from 1986 called "Christmas Eve" starring Loretta Young. Has anyone in here seen it or have any thoughts on it? I pop it in every holiday season and though I've seen it numerous times it still affects me upon each viewing.

 

There is just something about this film that sums up the holiday spirit. Ok, the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol seems to be the most mentioned and rightly so but Loretta Young's performance in Christmas Eve will get you every time. Any one else agree?

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IMHO, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER are clearly the best films on your list. The only problem is that neither has a Christmas theme until the very end. It's tough to define what exactly is a "Christmas" movie..

 

Edited by: finance on Nov 21, 2009 10:14 AM

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This is a hard one, but here it goes:

 

1. It a Wonderful Life

2. Miracle on 34th Street

3. A Christmas Carol (1951)

4. The Bell's of Saint Mary's

5. Christmas in Connecticut

6. The Man Who Came to Dinner

7. Little Women (1933)

8. The Shop Around the Corner

9. The Bishop's Wife

10. Holiday Inn

 

No Particular Order

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Wow, Coconut, that's an awesome list, and welcome to the boards, btw!!!

 

Here are mine, in order:

 

1. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE

2. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

3. A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938)

3. MEET JOHN DOE

4. HOLIDAY INN

5. WHITE CHRISTMAS

6. THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER

7. BABES IN TOYLAND

8. THREE GODFATHERS (any version

9. REMEMBER THE NIGHT

10. THE HOMECOMING (Waltons premiere movie)

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Hello Classic CocoNUT, welcome to the boards and thanks for starting this very seasonal thread. The weather has finally turned cooler in my hometown, which has me thinking about Christmas and the films that I look forward to each year. This year I was especially looking forward to seeing *Holiday Inn*, but I notice that TCM hasn?t included the film on the schedule. My list includes the films I enjoy most, but isn?t necessarily in order (too many films tied for favorite).

 

newchristmasfilms1.jpg?width=450&height=

 

*Christmas in Connecticut* (1945)

*The Man Who Came to Dinner* (1942)

*Remember the Night* (1940)

*Holiday Inn* (1942)~Fred Astaire and Irving Berlin, need I say more?

*Scrooge* (1970)~the ghost of Christmas present sequence is my favorite

*Holiday* (1938)

*Meet John Doe* (1941)

As a group because I can?t choose just one: Charlie Brown?s Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Mr. Magoo?s Christmas Carol.

 

newchristmasfilms2.jpg?width=262&height=

 

Honorable Mention~Recent Discoveries: I?m really looking forward to seeing *It Happened On 5th Avenue* for the first time this year, which reminds me of other recently discovered Christmas films. *The Cheaters* (1945), *Lady on a Train* (1945), *Christmas Eve* (1947) and *Holiday Affair* (1949). I would also like to mention a contemporary film that has become a favorite, *The Holiday* (2006) with Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Eli Wallach. The presence of veteran actor Eli Wallach, and his storyline, save this film from being a bit of fluff and will remind fans why they fell in love with classic films.

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1. Miracle on 34h Street (1947 only please)

2. It's a Wonderful Life

3. A Christmas Story

4. Lady on a Train

5. Christmas in Connecticut

6. Holiday Affair

7. Elf

8. Trading Places

9. The Sound of Music

10. Four Daughters

 

maybe not in that order, but must sees at my house

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Hi Cinemajestic, I have seen "Christmas Eve" with Loretta Young, and I, too, loved it. I borrowed it from a friend about 20 years ago, and only watched it a couple of times, but I thought it was very moving. I would love to see it again. And, speaking of Loretta Young, I was very disappointed today when looking at my Now Playing guide to see that "The Bishop's Wife" is not scheduled to play during December, but "A Christmas Carol" and "Christmas in Connecticut" will be shown three times during the month. I love TCM, but some things just don't make sense.

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  • 4 weeks later...

ClassicCoCoNut - I agree with almost every one of your picks. I haven't seen One Magic Christmas or if I have I don't remember it very well. I can't tell you how disappointed I am that TCM isn't playing the Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim which has been a staple Christmas movie for my family ever since I was a kid in the 1960s. I've never liked the one with Reginal Owen and most of the others are just okay.

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I was interested to see your mention of the Cleveland connection to "A Christmas Story" and "The Gathering." My parents moved to Chagrin Falls, Ohio in the late 70s, after I went off to college, and those two movies were often mentioned because they were filmed nearby. I've never seen the Asner film, unfortunately, but I've seen "A Christmas Story" almost every year since it came out. Whenever I see that shot coming up the wooden escalator in Higbees dept. store, I remember being on that same escalator myself.

 

Each year at our house, we spend two solid months (Nov. and Dec.) watching Xmas movies, and we now have a list too long to watch every year. Anyway, here are some Xmas favorites of mine, in no particular order -- I had to put 11 on the top favorite list, with many more as honorable mentions:

 

1. Love Finds Andy Hardy - The very best of the Hardy Family series, with Andy in a mess because he has three potential dates for the Christmas Eve dance (Lana Turner, Judy Garland, and Ann Rutherford), but no car to get there. This very entertaining movie demonstrates why this wonderful series was so popular and why the supremely talented Mickey Rooney was the top male box-office star around this time. It features a pre-Oz Judy Garland singing her heart out.

2. White Christmas - Berlin, Bing, Danny, and Rosie can't be beat. Love the backstage view of 50s show biz

3. Christmas in Connecticut (1945) - Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, and Reginald Gardiner make the holiday quite cozy in a house that I'd love to live in.

4. The Shop Around the Corner - Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, along with Frank Morgan, Felix Bressart, Joseph Schildkraut, and William Tracy, all give close to their best performances under Lubitsch's masterful direction.

5. The Bishop's Wife - Cary Grant is the perfect charming angel, magnificently supported by Loretta Young, David Niven, and Monty Woolley.

6. The Man Who Came To Dinner - Monty Woolley's crowning glory as the guest who takes over the house and won't leave. Bette Davis and Ann Sheridan, as well as Reginald Gardiner, Billie Burke, Jimmy Durante, and Grant Mitchell provide brilliant support. I love the veiled references to celebrities of the time (Alexander Woollcott, Harpo Marx, Noel Coward, etc.).

7. A Christmas Story - No need to describe why this one is a popular favorite.

8. It's a Wonderful Life - Capra proves why he was one of the great directors, and Stewart why he was one of the great actors, showing astonishing range in this one role. Jimmy has a lot of competition here: Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, and Donna Reed give their all, too.

9. Holiday Inn - Some of the best song and dance on film, introducing perhaps the greatest holiday song.

10. Holiday Affair - Robert Mitchum shows that he can be a really nice guy, someone you'd want as your friend, with excellent support from Janet Leigh, Wendell Corey, and, as Janet's son, a very cute little guy whose name I can't remember.

11. Remember the Night - I'm glad that this film has finally been rediscovered. Stanwyck and MacMurray are both comic and touching, supported by Beulah Bondi, Sterling Holloway, and Elizabeth Patterson.

 

Honorable mentions: Star In the Night (one of the best short subjects ever, a modern-day telling of the Nativity story set at a desert diner/motel, available on the Christmas in Conn. DVD); Meet Me In St. Louis (not strictly Christmas, but introducing one of the best holiday songs in a touching scene); Lady in the Lake (film noir Christmas); Since You Went Away (war-time family saga culminating on Christmas Eve); A Christmas Carol (Alistair Sim, of course); Three Godfathers (John Ford remakes a Nativity-derived story with some of the most beautiful screen photography ever); Period of Adjustment (a Tennessee Williams Christmas comedy? Believe it or not...); Diner (the week between Xmas and New Year's, 1959); Fanny and Alexander (Bergman shows a joyful Swedish Xmas, before the story becomes a bit grim); Susan Slept Here (showing that Dick Powel can do light comedy very successfully); The Cheaters (loved it the one time I saw it - Jos. Schildkraut gives a beautiful performance as a washed up actor); It Happened On Fifth Avenue (entertaining performances by Victor Moore and Don Defore, among others); Beyond Tomorrow (wonderful romantic fantasy starring three of the best character actors, Charles Winniger, Harry Carey Sr., and C. Aubrey Smith).

 

As soon as I post this, I'm sure that I'll remember some favorites that I haven't listed...

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Sure enough, I did forget a few very good Christmas movies in my listing below.

 

One is I'll Be Seeing You, a romantic drama with Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten. They meet on a train trip to a small town where she's visiting, under unusual circumstances, her aunt and uncle for Christmas; he's a soldier who's trying to recover from a war-related trauma. It's a beautiful story.

 

Speaking of Ginger Rogers, there's also the enjoyable comedy Bachelor Mother, in which she's working in a big dept. store over the holidays, and ends up with a baby very unexpectedly. David Niven is the son of the store owner (Charles Coburn), who tries to help Ginger with the baby. I won't spoil the ending, but it's not the ending that's so much fun -- it's how they get there.

 

Never Say Goodbye is an entertaining Errol Flynn comedy, where he's a famous magazine illustrator trying to woo his ex-wife, with the full support of their young daughter. S.Z. Sakall joins in, always welcome.

 

Speaking of S.Z. Sakall, he does a great job as the shop owner in In the Good Old Summertime, the remake of The Shop Around the Corner, which is set in a music shop rather than a leather-goods store, and starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson, with support from the genius Buster Keaton.

 

Speaking of leather-goods stores, Larceny Inc. is an extremely funny comedy about small-time crooks who buy such a store because of its proximity to a bank. Edward G. Robinson stars as the mastermind of the plot, with Broderick Crawford, Edward Brophy, Jane Wyman, Jack Carson, and Anthony Quinn providing very able support. Because it's set at Christmas-time, you'll even see Edward G. dressed as Santa. Based on a play by the renowned humorist S.J. Perelman and his wife, Laura.

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Well, there's A CHRISTMAS STORY and then there's everything else. Glad to see the love for Alastair Sim's Scrooge, too.

 

We watched part of ELF on Thanksgiving Day and found it surprisingly funny. Maybe it's the thought of what would happen if I answered the phone at work, "Buddy the Elf speaking. What's your favorite color?"

 

DONOVAN'S REEF has a funny Christmas sequence with Lee Marvin as a wise man.

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I'm with Steve Hayes and his pitch for THE BISHOP'S WIFE as my favorite Christmas movie.

It's Hollywood hokum and glorious glamour and wonderfully nostalgic all at the same time.

 

STEVE HAYES:Tired Old Queen at the Movies, THE BISHOP'S WIFE

 

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> {quote:title=ClassicCoCoNUT wrote:}{quote}

> Hello Everyone!

> I'm new here but have been a TCM fan since it's inception. I thought I would start out by offering a personal "Best" list for one of my fav genre's - Christmas movies. This list is open for discussion and I'd really enjoy any feedback.

>

 

I'm surprised more people haven't been mentioning two Christmas movies that are among my top favorites:

 

SCROOGE (1935 version starring Seymour Hicks) and BEYOND TOMORROW (1940).

Anyone seeking out the former be sure to see the original 78-minute British version, not the 65-minute edited version released in the USA.

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> {quote:title=BingFan wrote:}{quote}

>

> 1. Love Finds Andy Hardy -

> 10. Holiday Affair - Robert Mitchum shows that he can be a really nice guy, someone you'd want as your friend, with excellent support from Janet Leigh, Wendell Corey, and, as Janet's son, a very cute little guy whose name I can't remember.

> 11. Remember the Night - I'm glad that this film has finally been rediscovered. Stanwyck and MacMurray are both comic and touching, supported by Beulah Bondi, Sterling Holloway, and Elizabeth Patterson.

>The Cheaters (loved it the one time I saw it ...

I never seen 1 during Christmas and 10 I saw for the first time 2 years ago and 11, where can I see that one? The Cheaters I caught last year on TCM, what a find. _Thanks_

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