The 9 Best Classic Christmas Movies of All Time

christmas movies list collage

In honor of the Christmas season, I just wanted to share my favorite classic Christmas movies of all time. These movies are so great that some of them have been remade. Not to forsake some great newer Christmas movies, like Elf and Home Alone, but to qualify, movies must be at least 20 years old. Here are ManipalBlog’s 9 favorite classic Christmas movies of all time. If you wish to purchase any of these, just click on the movie title to go to it’s amazon listing.

  • Holiday Inn (1942): This movie features Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as rival “song and dance men,” vying for the affections of the same girl. This is a fantastic movie with one of the most well-known soundtracks in history. It doesn’t get more classic than this.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): This is my favorite Christmas movie, and one of my favorite movies, in general. It’s a Wonderful Life has come to epitomize the Christmas spirit despite the fact that it wasn’t that popular when it was first released (it won zero Oscars). If you can make it from beginning to end without crying, you just might be the Grinch.
  • Miracle on 34th St. (1947): This classic, starring Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood, helped propagate the notion that Kris Kringle and Santa Claus are the same person (they’re not). Regardless, it’s a fantastic movie that is a great argument for the existence of Santa Claus…for children, of course.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964): This TV special, full of stop-motion animated creepiness goodness, is typically a sign that Christmas is just around the corner. Without this movie, there’d be no Isle of Misfit Toys.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): This is probably the most recognizable Christmas cartoon on the planet. It truly is a great show, as Charlie Brown learns the meaning of Christmas. The soundtrack, provided by Vince Guaraldi, is a classic in and of itself. (Interesting fact: rather than use professional voice-over actors, the producers used children to voice the Peanuts gang).
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966): Another TV show, this one was so great that Jim Carrey remade it 35 years later. With animation work by Chuck Jones, and voice-over acting provided by Boris Karloff, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is hard to forget.
  • A Christmas Story (1983): I call this one the “Wonder Years” of Christmas movies. It takes place in the 1940s, but the movie is narrated by the main character as an adult. This one has a classic feel because of the setting, but it also has a timeless phrase, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
  • Scrooged (1988): This movie, starring Bill Murray, is hands-down the best remake of A Christmas Carol, ever…EVER!
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989): Chevy Chase at his finest, this movie is the youngest of these Christmas classics. It can be painful to watch at times, it is the Griswold family after all, but everything works out in the end.

Do you have a favorite movie that didn’t make this list? For a large range of Christmas movies at your fingertips check out this website here.

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