Top 10 Christmas Movies of All Time

Christmas is the time of year when family and friends make the time to get together and celebrate the festive season, while what better way to get in the mood than to curl up in from of the TV to watch a great Christmas movie. There are many Christmas themed movies both new and old that are firm favourites with viewers. Here we list our top ten in descending order that includes some real Christmas classics.

10. Prancer 1989

Prancer

Prancer is the lovely story of a nine year old girl named Jessica,  who still believes in Santa even though her peers don't plus her family make it known that he doesn't exist. Naturally a girl who believes in Santa obviously still believes in his reindeer therefore when she discovers an injured deer in the woods she immediately thinks he is Prancer one of Santa's own and wants to take him home to look after him.

Jessica's father won't let her do this, while much to her amazement she discovers the deer has made his way into the family barn to try to recuperate. Jessica decides to look after Prancer and even writes to Santa via the local newspaper to let him know that she is looking after one of his reindeer that is injured.

Her father feels humiliated but as we would expect from a feel-good Christmas movie all's well that ends well with much of the hardened townsfolk's attitudes melting in the end. Prancer is a warm hearted movie that will certainly set the Christmas scene in the run up to the Festivities.

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9. Love Actually 2003

Love Actually

If it's a Christmas romantic comedy film you want to watch then Love Actually, a Richard Curtis film is the perfect choice. The film stars Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister no less, with Martine McCutcheon as his love interest. This couple stand out as it’s the tale of lowly housemaid gets the man at the top of the household in a Cinderella kind of way, while the film actually tells the story of eight different couples and their love lives in the run up to Christmas.

All these stories embody how complicated romantic involvements can be with some couples in love, some wanting to separate, some starting affairs in fact all the components that make a good rom com come to life in this movie . There's lots of flirting between couples of all types, some have May-December relationships while others come from differing social backgrounds which causes a problem.

Love Actually also stars Bill Nighy as Billy Mack who is an ageing singer that is the central connection between all the couples featured, while the movie is set in London at Christmas time making the film visually festive looking plus full of atmosphere.

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8. Home Alone 1990

Home Alone

Home Alone has fast become a classic Christmas movie and was the film that catapulted Macauley Culkin to child stardom. Culkin plays Kevin an eight year old little boy who is mistakenly left home alone at Christmas when his family jet off for the holidays. He spends all his time trying to protect the house from a pair of burglars who realise he is alone and want to take advantage while they can.

Kevin gets up to all kinds of hilarious antics, while the hapless rogues played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern provide some laugh out loud belly laughs as they come up against what is a very cute intelligent little boy. Eventually Kevin's mother, played by Catherine O'Hara, realises he is missing and tries to make her way back home from Paris, while coming up against bad weather plus no room on any flights causes real problems.

Home Alone is a superb Christmas movie, full of fun and laughter, while the Christmas message part of the story involves an elderly neighbour who hasn't seen his family for years. Kevin arranges for the old guy to see his family, while eventually Kevin's family do arrive home. With a fabulous sound track that includes such classics as Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, Home Alone is available from bestbuy.com.

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7. Gremlins 1984

Gremlins

When things go inexplicably wrong we allude to there being Gremlins in the works. In this fabulous Christmas movie set in a snowy town in America at Christmas time, we get to meet the Gremlins and find out just where they came from. Gremlins is a great Christmas movie suitable for all the family and personally I never tire of watching it.

Billy Peltzer played by Zach Galligan is given a furry creature called a Magwi from his father for Christmas. There are three rules concerning this cute little animal. Never feed him after midnight, keep him out of bright lights and don't get him wet. Billy breaks two of these rules, albeit inadvertently and mayhem ensues as the creatures mutate into rampaging monsters who get into every nook and cranny in the town destroying everything in their path.

Billy's girlfriend played by Phoebe Cates helps him battle against the creatures to try to save the town. This all sounds very serious but it's not it’s a funny movie filled with excitement and great special effects that include very realistic monsters. All the family will have fun watching Gremlins.

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6. Scrooged 1988

Scrooged

Scrooged is a modern day take on the Charles Dickens classic story A Christmas Carol, while writers Mitch Glazer and Michael O'Donoghue do a fantastic job at bringing this tale of "Bah Humbug" right up to date. The superb Bill Murray plays miserly Frank Cross who runs a TV station that is fighting the ratings battle over Christmas. Just like Scrooge in Dickens Cross is grouchy, miserable and mean to everyone around him but following visits by three ghosts sees the error of his ways.

Scrooged is an amazing Christmas comedy that also shows how Crosses past life made him the person he is today. His love interest Karen Allen runs a homeless shelter, while the Tiny Tim character is the son of Franks PA who suffered a trauma and hasn't spoken since.

Inevitably in the spirit of Christmas he does find his voice and the film ends with a superb Christmas finale on the Christmas show set with everyone joining in the singing. Scrooged is funny, poignant and wouldn't be the fabulous movie it is without Bill Murray.

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5. The Nightmare before Christmas 1993

The Nightmare Before Christmas

This animated Christmas movie is very quirky, atmospheric and a little dark so not one for the smaller kids but that said for the rest of us it’s a superb story from director Tim Burton that is typical of the movies he makes, Beetle Juice and Edward Scissor Hands being other fine examples.

Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin king of Halloween town who discovers a parallel place called Christmas Town that he just doesn't really comprehend. He is bored of celebrating Halloween so decides to persuade the town's folk of Halloween to celebrate Christmas instead.

The inhabitants of Halloween Town don't like the idea at all and want things to stay as they are but Jack carries on regardless and even kidnaps Santa! He decides that he will deliver Christmas gifts to the children with some very funny presents appearing in their stockings.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is visually stunning and is not the usual warm fuzzy Christmas cartoon story we have come to expect. It does however make a refreshing change as it tests the imagination of its viewers.

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4. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation 1989

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

Here we go again with the zany Griswald family as they try to celebrate Christmas like everyone else but inevitably it all goes hilariously wrong! Once again Chevy Chase and Beverley D'Angelo play the loveable Clark and Ellen who seem to have bad luck follow them everywhere they go. This of course makes great viewing for the rest of us, while The Christmas Vacation is one of the best Griswald movies made.

All the family are gathering for the Christmas holidays and Clark is buying everything for the festive season on the strength of his prospective bonus which in the end doesn't materialise. It's a tale we can all identify with as many of us have relied on overtime pay or bonuses to finance Christmas.

In the end it all comes good which gives the viewer a warm feeling of "Joy to the world" as we will Clark and his family to have a happy Christmas time. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation is available to buy from Amazon.

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3. Miracle on 34th Street 1947

Miracle on 34th Street 1947

This Oscar winning Christmas movie includes all the hallmarks that a great Christmas film should have. To start with there's Santa or Kris Kringle as he is known, a department store Santa who really believes that he is the real thing! Is he or isn't he?

Certainly the manager of the store doesn't think so and neither does her daughter but a kindly lawyer is willing to plead Santa's case in court before the city puts Kris away stating he's mad. The little girl played by Natalie Wood wants a daddy for Christmas and doesn't believe it will happen, while her mother played by Maureen O'Hara is just cynical. Edmund Gwenn plays a blinder as Kris Kringle winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance that draws the viewer in to almost believe that he really is Santa.

Miracle on 34th Street is a heart-warming Christmas story that stands the test of time as it is as watchable today as it was back in 1934. It is a sweet gentle movie that really puts us in the mood for the season of good will.

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2. A Christmas Carol 1951

A Christmas Carol 1951

This version of the classic Scrooge tale is by far our favourite. The film was originally released in black and white but was later made available in colour. For us we think the black and white version is by far the more atmospheric. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens tells the story of the old miser Scrooge who is visited by his dead partner Jacob Marley who warns him that unless he changes his ways he too will wander the afterlife with no peace.

Alastair Sim plays a brilliant Ebenezer Scrooge who thinks Christmas is a "Humbug "and his portrayal has not been surpassed since. Scrooge is a mean character who treats his clerk Bob Cratchit, played by Mervyn Johns, badly just as he does with everyone who has the misfortune to come into contact with him. Even his loving nephew is given short shrift by Scrooge but all is about to change as spirits from the past, present and future pay the old miser a visit to try to convince him to mend his ways.

The turn in Scrooges demeanour comes when he sees the crippled Tiny Tim, who is Bob's son, and realises the boy will probably die unless Scrooge helps his family. Scrooge does indeed change his ways and begins to celebrate Christmas as it should be celebrated.

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It's A Wonderful Life 1946 Our Number One Choice!

Its a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life tells the story of a man who is about to end it all on Christmas Eve and is visited by an angel who has to try to save him in order to gain his angel's wings. George Bailey is a businessman whose business is about to go to the wall as his uncle loses $8000 of the company money that should have been banked.

Evil Mr Potter who virtually runs the town finds the money and hides it, while George, played by James Stewart realises that when the books are looked at he will be held responsible for the loss and probably go to jail. George thinks his family will be better off without him and contemplates suicide, so enters the angel Clarence. Clarence, played by Henry Travers, shows George how things would have been if he had never been born making George realise that things would have been far worse than they appear to be now with much of his family dead or in peril.

Clarence does indeed persuade George that all is not lost and George rushes through the town in the snow shouting to all he passes that life is wonderful. It’s a Wonderful life is a real feel good movie that is sentimental and endearing while also promoting the Christmas message in abundance.

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