What’s the greatest Christmas movie of all time? Update: More options added

posted at 4:01 pm on December 22, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

My wife and I ran across Christmas Vacation on the television last night, and realized that we hadn’t started our Christmas movie viewing season yet.  We’ll probably get cracking tonight, with some annual favorites like A Christmas StoryIt’s a Wonderful Life, and maybe even White Christmas – which I haven’t seen in years, but glimpsed while channel-flipping last weekend.  We will watch The Nativity Story on Christmas Eve, probably after attending Mass, and hopefully can squeeze a few more in, too.

This time of year brings a familiar debate among Christmas-movie aficionados: what is the greatest Christmas movie of all time?  Marist attempted to answer that with a poll released today, and which will almost certainly resolve nothing. However, it does show a swap at the top position that might just poke yer eye out, kid:

According to this Marist Poll, 26% of adults nationally cite A Christmas Story as their favorite holiday movie.  It’s a Wonderful Life is preferred by 24%.  Miracle on 34th Street warms the hearts of 16% while 13% enjoy watching Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney croon in White Christmas.  An additional 13% say A Christmas Carol is their favorite holiday flick, and 9% are unsure.

When Marist last asked this question in 2010, 24% of U.S. residents said It’s a Wonderful Life was their choice for classic holiday movie compared with 23% for A Christmas StoryMiracle on 34th Street received 22% while 13% said A Christmas Carol was their holiday staple.  12% most enjoyed White Christmas, and 5% were unsure.

There is an age gap.  Nearly four in ten adults under 45 years old — 39% — currently prefer A Christmas Story while 31% of Americans 45 and older say It’s a Wonderful Life is their favorite holiday film.

How about the traditional animated features? “Traditional” is the right word.  A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer tie for top honors with 24% each. How the Grinch Stole Christmas — the Boris Karloff version, not the ersatz Jim Carrey monstrosity — comes in third.  Polar Express comes in fourth for its first showing ever, followed by the oddly psychedelic Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.  Frosty the Snowman, alas, comes in last.

That just seems wrong.  Let’s take a look at the sample, where the D/R/I is … aw, I’m just kidding.  But let’s take a poll ourselves here at Hot Air for both categories.  What are the best Christmas movies/specials of all time?  I’ll post a clip of the winners on Christmas Day, so be sure to check back to see how your favorites are doing.

Two notes: I’ve moved Polar Express to the movie list, rather than the TV list as Marist did. Also, if you have any other suggestions in either category, feel free to e-mail them to the tips line, and I’ll add them to the poll.

My selections would probably be It’s a Wonderful Life and A Charlie Brown Christmas, although the little-known Little Drummer Boy isn’t bad, either.  Of course, I have argued in the past that while It’s a Wonderful Life is set at Christmas, it’s really more of an Easter story.  Read my old review at IMDB and see if you don’t agree.

Update: By popular demand in the first 100 comments, I’ve added the following films to the first poll: Die Hard, The Ref, Elf, The Santa Clause, Prancer, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Frost, Bells of St. Mary’s. Loved The Ref myself, but I’m still sticking with my choices above.

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[Reno_Dave on December 22, 2012 at 4:58 PM]

Thanks for the heads up.

Dusty on December 22, 2012 at 5:17 PM

No matter how you voted, you’ve got to give proper credit to Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Anybody can play mean and it is easy to play good. Barrymore brought life and a certain amount of complexity to a character that most people boo.

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2012 at 5:17 PM

No Holiday Inn, Ed??????

That movie only gave us Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” which is still the best selling song of all time.

Chuck Schick on December 22, 2012 at 5:19 PM

How about favorite Christmas comedy sketches? I liked ’89 SNL’s Hanukkah Harry, giving gifts to all the gentile girls and boys as he filled in for Phil Hartman’s puking Santa. They also had a fuuny take on It’s a Wonderful Life, with Dana Carvey as George Bailey: Wa..wa..wal I wanna piece of you, Mister Potter!

86 on December 22, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Coca-Cola commercials?

Tim_CA on December 22, 2012 at 5:21 PM

If you’re not watching the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim, you’re not watching the right one.

kagai on December 22, 2012 at 5:09 PM

A hearty Amen to that.

The Rogue Tomato on December 22, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Just about everyone has grown up knowing Charlie Brown, so people will have a fondness for it because of the events surrounding it. Same for the The Christmas Story. I don’t know of a better movie for so easily letting one relate it to one’s own childhood.

Dusty on December 22, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Thanks Dusty!

I had not thought of Charlie Brown on those terms. Telling your kids about when you first watched it and connecting their present with your past.

Of course, Charlie Brown came under fire this year for promoting bullying. We are a world gone amok.

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2012 at 5:22 PM

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vcation. A classic. Beats all of the others on the list.

bluegill on December 22, 2012 at 5:22 PM

not my favorite, but my 7 year old enjoys Home Alone.

Goody2Shoes on December 22, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Bing & Bowie?

Tim_CA on December 22, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Christmas Story-despite it being ‘over-shown’. Honestly, most Christmas movies/ shows are too treacly for my tastes. While the message of Christmas is an important one…I’m still a snark.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 22, 2012 at 5:24 PM

I’m going to be grinch and admit I HATE A Christmas Story. The characters are stupid and mean, everything goes wrong, and as a Boomer who has fond memories of wonderful Christmases from the very late ’50′s and the early 60′s, it’s definitely NOT true of any Christmas I EVER experienced, even into the ’70′s and beyond.

I don’t have a favorite Christmas movie, really. I’ve seen the older ones–34th St and Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn and White Christmas. I like the Bing movies. I also like to watch “Meet Me In St. Louis” at Christmas because Judy Garland does a wonderful version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” in it (but then she is magical through the whole movie).

Charlie Brown makes me tear up, because it is wonderful to hear Linus share the true meaning of Christmas in an increasingly secular, vulgar, crude world. It is a message desperately needed in this age (or any age, really).

theotherone on December 22, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Santa riding a Norelco?

Tim_CA on December 22, 2012 at 5:26 PM

how can The Bishop’s Wife not be on this list.

OliverB on December 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Of course, I have argued in the past that while It’s a Wonderful Life is set at Christmas, it’s really more of an Easter story.

And gave us the names of two Muppets.

I’d put Bells of St. Mary’s in the same class. There is a Christmas program included but it is more about faith and inspiration than it is a true Christmas movie. It is on the list because of the many people who remember watching it this time of year.

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Chuck Schick on December 22, 2012 at 5:19 PM

I love Holiday Inn. Fred Astaire. Dancing.

What would you like?

Orchids, the finest you’ve got.

Corsage?

No, no. A dozen, loose, looking like they don’t care!

INC on December 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

At our house, we watch “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” (1962) every year, and sing along to those wonderful songs by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill (who later collaborated on “Funny Girl”). And we get teary-eyed at the same spots each time.

We’ll have the Lord’s bright blessing…with razzleberry dressing.

KyMouse on December 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Always liked the Charlie Brown, he’s the man! :) But for movies, I got tired of Wonderful Life decades ago, it has a happy ending, but boy oh boy, the darkness of some of it was depressing. So I like the Miracle on 34th Street, much more joyful.

scalleywag on December 22, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Christmas in Connecticut? Love Actually not added as well.

OliverB on December 22, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Cal Worthington riding a camel.

(have to be from So Cal to get that one)

Tim_CA on December 22, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Mr. Magoo’

I MISS MR. MAGOO!

scalleywag on December 22, 2012 at 5:31 PM

A Christmas Carol: The Musical version with Albert Finney.
I Like Life!

rob verdi on December 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Wondered if anyone would mention that. One of my favorites. Had the album. The kids know every song by heart.

bluealice on December 22, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Holiday Inn has that real awkward scene on Lincoln’s Birthday….

OliverB on December 22, 2012 at 5:34 PM

At our house, we watch “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” (1962) every year, and sing along to those wonderful songs by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill (who later collaborated on “Funny Girl”). And we get teary-eyed at the same spots each time.

We’ll have the Lord’s bright blessing…with razzleberry dressing.

KyMouse on December 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Me too, me too! I love it second best of the animated ones. The songs are so wonderful. “Great to be back, back, back on Broadway…”

theotherone on December 22, 2012 at 5:35 PM

I’m going to be grinch and admit I HATE A Christmas Story. The characters are stupid and mean, everything goes wrong, and as a Boomer who has fond memories of wonderful Christmases from the very late ’50′s and the early 60′s, it’s definitely NOT true of any Christmas I EVER experienced, even into the ’70′s and beyond.

theotherone on December 22, 2012 at 5:25 PM

I’ll give you a 3/4 Amen! for your post. I don’t hate A Christmas Story but I don’t like it either. It is all about the trappings of Christmas without any nod to the reason for the holiday. Trees, presents, and greed without one nod to Christianity. Or did they cut out the point where Ralphie and his family went to church?

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Movie: Bad Santa

TV show: Star Wars Holiday Special

myiq2xu on December 22, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Movie: Bad Santa

TV show: Star Wars Holiday Special

myiq2xu on December 22, 2012 at 5:36 PM

For what? Worst Of? ;-)

Ed Morrissey on December 22, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Bob Clark (the director of Christmas Story) and his son, Ariel Hanrath-Clark, 22, were killed in a head-on car accident on the Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles on the morning of April 4, 2007.[11] The crash occurred when an SUV crossed the median and struck Clark’s Infiniti I30, causing the closure of the highway for eight hours.[6] Police determined that the SUV’s driver, Hector Velazquez-Nava, had a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit and was driving without a license.

vityas on December 22, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Great topic, but the best TV special of all time has apparently been forgotten. It is the absolute classic, Twas the Night Before Christmas. You know, where the mouse writes a letter to Santa saying he isn’t real, which leads to Santa crossing the entire town off his list, which leads to the construction of a clock tower… Magnificent. We’ll do what’s necessary, cause even a miracle needs a plan! (Sounds like Plan C, now that I think about it.)

reagansoptimism on December 22, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Die Hard ftw

John the Libertarian on December 22, 2012 at 5:44 PM

I’ll give you a 3/4 Amen! for your post. I don’t hate A Christmas Story but I don’t like it either. It is all about the trappings of Christmas without any nod to the reason for the holiday. Trees, presents, and greed without one nod to Christianity. Or did they cut out the point where Ralphie and his family went to church?

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2012 at 5:36 PM

i don’t mean to harp, but it’s a story about a boy and him wanting a certain toy for Christmas. not EVERY Christmas movie has to be about the religious aspect of it. i think the family loves each other and i think the scene where the mother doesn’t rat out her son for swearing and beating up another kid is kinda touching.

GhoulAid on December 22, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Where is Year Without a Santa Clause in the TV poll? C’mon.

rcpjr on December 22, 2012 at 5:50 PM

It’s A Wonderful Life

A Christmas Carol: George C. Scott, the 1950s version, and of course, Mr. Magoo!

Holiday Inn has that real awkward scene on Lincoln’s Birthday….

OliverB on December 22, 2012 at 5:34 PM

True.

INC on December 22, 2012 at 5:50 PM

GhoulAid on December 22, 2012 at 5:45 PM

There is that fact that the day is Christmas.

INC on December 22, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Bing & Bowie?

Tim_CA on December 22, 2012 at 5:22 PM

I remember seeing that live (or at least the first time it was on), and it caused great confusion. As a young teenager, I was forced to listen to Bowie in secret places…he was a freak, a druggie, a hippie, and yes…a commie pinko fag, or so I was told.

And there we sit, the entire family watching 1 of 4 TV channels, staring at White Christmas meets pinko fag.

Huh…..I think, one day I’ll ask the old man about that.

BobMbx on December 22, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Movie: Bad Santa

TV show: Star Wars Holiday Special

myiq2xu on December 22, 2012 at 5:36 PM

For what? Worst Of? ;-)

Ed Morrissey on December 22, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Wackiest alternates?

BobMbx on December 22, 2012 at 5:57 PM

“Now I have a machine gun. HO HO HO.”

Die Hard.

Cloture on December 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM

The Bishop’s Wife.

LilyBart on December 22, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Since “It’s a Wonderful Life” stopped playing 24/7 a few years ago, it makes sense that it would eventually start to slip in the rankings. It’s only on once a year now. Too bad. It’s my favorite.

(I guess Mr. Potter is alive and well somewhere in the world.)

moc23 on December 22, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Every year we watch It’s a Wonderful Life & A Christmas Story. We have been doing this since our kids were actually kids. Our youngest is still at home but she is 20 years old. She just asked me which day we are going to watch our movies. Traditions are wonderful in life!

Conservative4Ever on December 22, 2012 at 6:07 PM

White Christmas. Danny Kaye could do it all.

kingsjester on December 22, 2012 at 6:11 PM

WTF…has anyone mentioned “Lethal Weapon”…please say yes. That movie made Beretta A household name.

Bishop on December 22, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Since “It’s a Wonderful Life” stopped playing 24/7 a few years ago, it makes sense that it would eventually start to slip in the rankings. It’s only on once a year now. Too bad. It’s my favorite.

(I guess Mr. Potter is alive and well somewhere in the world.)

moc23 on December 22, 2012 at 6:06 PM

I think it was NBC that bought the rights to it and promised someone who had been associated with film that they would not exploit it by the 24/7 playings and would only show it once a season. I have no idea where I read that.

JPeterman on December 22, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Oh, and, at 54, I still get goosebumps when Linus recites the 2nd Chapter of Luke.

kingsjester on December 22, 2012 at 6:14 PM

i don’t mean to harp, but it’s a story about a boy and him wanting a certain toy for Christmas. not EVERY Christmas movie has to be about the religious aspect of it. i think the family loves each other and i think the scene where the mother doesn’t rat out her son for swearing and beating up another kid is kinda touching.

GhoulAid on December 22, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Bells of St. Mary’s or It’s a Wonderful Life don’t have a religious aspect beyond priests/nuns in the former and angels in the latter. Yet there is inspiration to be found.

A Christmas Story has a greedy self-absorbed family who cares most about material things, turkey, and the trappings of Christmas. Yes, the boy wanting a certain thing for Christmas (a BB gun is not exactly a toy as Ralphie learned) has a certain nostalgic charm but it cheapens the real meaning of Christmas. They may love each other but there is no evidence that they love anything else.

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2012 at 6:18 PM

A Christmas Carol, Alistair Sims version.

Blake on December 22, 2012 at 4:14 PM

THIS ^

Definitely my all time favorite version of ACC. Sims did an awesome job and he was hilarious at the end ! :)

cableguy615 on December 22, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Home Alone

cableguy615 on December 22, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Oh, and, at 54, I still get goosebumps when Linus recites the 2nd Chapter of Luke.

kingsjester on December 22, 2012 at 6:14 PM

King James Version, I might add.

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2012 at 6:19 PM

One that is lesser known but is very, VERY, well done is “The Homecoming”. The pilot for the Waltons. Patricia Neal played the mother and was spot on for a depression era mom in the Appalachins. I rank that one high up but not a lot of people remember it, or have seen it.

ultracon on December 22, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Joyeaux Noel. I love that film.

hungrymongo on December 22, 2012 at 6:23 PM

TV show: Star Wars Holiday Special

myiq2xu on December 22, 2012 at 5:36 PM

I’m not calling it greatest but it really needs to be noted that there was a year in the late 1970s when the “W” word banned by Hot Air had a holiday special.

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2012 at 6:23 PM

I always found George Bailey to be an abusive husband.

OliverB on December 22, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Bah HUMBUG!

GarandFan on December 22, 2012 at 6:26 PM

One that is lesser known but is very, VERY, well done is “The Homecoming”. The pilot for the Waltons. Patricia Neal played the mother and was spot on for a depression era mom in the Appalachins. I rank that one high up but not a lot of people remember it, or have seen it.

ultracon on December 22, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Good addition.

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2012 at 6:28 PM

I think an honorable mention goes to Bob Hope and all the Christmas specials from the years he entertained the troops. I especially remember the ones from the VietNam era.

My favorite part of White Christmas is when Danny Kaye and Bing sing Sisters, Sisters in semi-drag. They probably couldn’t do that today.

TxAnn56 on December 22, 2012 at 6:28 PM

I voted for Nightmare. The imagination displayed makes it a classic to me.

Merry Xmas.

FOWG1 on December 22, 2012 at 6:32 PM

I have to speak up for the Grinch. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is pretty perfect in every way.

Charlie Brown is of course wonderful too and bless them for getting the real Gospel in there, amazing enough even so many years ago.

Also the Mr. Magoo version of a Christmas Carol is a real marvel. The songs are wonderful and the Ghost of Christmas Future scared the heck out of me when I was little. It is an excellent example of capturing the real spirit of a thing even while transforming it a great deal. And Mr. Magoo, as always, is perfect in his part!

Merry Christmas to all the good folks here.

PS-for live action I don’t think you can beat Miracle on 34th Street.

Jocon307 on December 22, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Sorry, Ed. I’m a fan of Bad Santa, too.

trigon on December 22, 2012 at 6:34 PM

One that is lesser known but is very, VERY, well done is “The Homecoming”. The pilot for the Waltons. Patricia Neal played the mother and was spot on for a depression era mom in the Appalachins. I rank that one high up but not a lot of people remember it, or have seen it.

ultracon on December 22, 2012 at 6:23 PM

This is an excellent TV movie. Edgar Bergen was also quite good as Grandpa Walton (proving he was more than just a ventriloquist and Candice Bergen’s dad).

SagebrushPuppet on December 22, 2012 at 6:35 PM

a ventriloquist and Candice Bergen’s dad

SagebrushPuppet on December 22, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Almost redundant.

Tim_CA on December 22, 2012 at 6:39 PM

As but wee little Chicago girl growing up, THIS was my favorite Christmas movie.
What?

annoyinglittletwerp on December 22, 2012 at 6:43 PM

“Now I have a machine gun. HO HO HO.”

Die Hard.

Cloture on December 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Getting ready to watch this one…my fave Christmas movie!

ladyingray on December 22, 2012 at 6:52 PM

This is no list without Bad Santa.

Not for the kids, though.

kim roy on December 22, 2012 at 7:00 PM

kim roy on December 22, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Nor for some of us adults. I’m as snarky as they come-but that movie was just too totally moral bereft for me.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 22, 2012 at 7:03 PM

These days my favorite Christmas movie would be The Merry Gentleman. Starring Michael Keaton and Kelly Macdonald it’s the heartwarming tale of a suicidal hit man and an abused woman who is the sole witness that might be able to put him at the scene of his last job.

Rip Ford on December 22, 2012 at 7:08 PM

I voted for “Die Hard” because, somehow, “Home Alone” was not one of the choices. Seriously, how could y’all forget that one?

BigWillieStyles on December 22, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Nor for some of us adults. I’m as snarky as they come-but that movie was just too totally moral bereft for me.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 22, 2012 at 7:03 PM

That was the point. ;) Nobody does morally bereft better than Billy Bob and it’s nice to see John Ritter and Bernie Mac in a movie.

It’s not for everyone.

kim roy on December 22, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Hark !, Harold the angel sings. – Charlie Brown Christmas

That’s my TV favorite in large part to the fantastic Vince Guaraldi Jazz Trio soundtrack. In second place for me would be The Grinch which has had me ordering “roast beast” sandwiches since I was about six.

viking01 on December 22, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Elf is the best Christmas movie since A Christmas Story.

It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story were the holiday movies of my childhood. I saw the latter over Thanksgiving weekend with my brother, sister and dad in an all-but-empty theatre. We laughed our butts off. When we walked outside, we discovered the year’s first snow. Of course, we had a snowball fight.

I’m sure most here remembers when It’s A Wonderful Life was played on a loop on Christmas Eve. I always watched it at least once all the way through and caught the ending two or three more times during the day, including when we got home from Midnight Mass.

The other option I’ll throw out there — though it’s not a movie — is The Snowman. The animated short about a child being flown over the English countryside by a magic snowman was one of my favorites growing up. Walking in the Air has a permanent spot in my Christmas playlist.

Tom_Shipley on December 22, 2012 at 7:35 PM

A Christmas Story has to be the best movie, worth viewing even in July.

But I have to add in A Charlie Brown Christmas though it’s not a movie.

Call me sentimental.

Liam on December 22, 2012 at 7:38 PM

I voted “A Christmas Story”. But I will be watching “Die Hard” tonight — thanks for that reminder.

My favorite film that is set in this season is “A Lion in Winter” with Katherine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole.

Mutnodjmet on December 22, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Rudolphs Shiny New Year

and lets not forget:

The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus

johnnyboy on December 22, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Feature film: A Christmas Carol, the George C. Scott (1984 TV) version. Followed by Reginald Owen (1938), Alastair Sim (1951), Patrick Stewart (1999 TV) and Rich Little (1978).

Rusty Bill on December 22, 2012 at 7:52 PM

My favorite part of White Christmas is when Danny Kaye and Bing sing Sisters, Sisters in semi-drag. They probably couldn’t do that today.

TxAnn56 on December 22, 2012 at 6:28 PM

For your viewing enjoyment, and for those who haven’t seen it yet–classics:
first the original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG7x8HWbDzU
then the lip sync: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE589gkOYz0

theotherone on December 22, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Mr. Magoo’
I MISS MR. MAGOO!

scalleywag on December 22, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Starting now in NBC.

Wethal on December 22, 2012 at 7:58 PM

What, No “Bishop’s Wife”?

LeftCoastRight on December 22, 2012 at 8:07 PM

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vcation. A classic. Beats all of the others on the list.

bluegill on December 22, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Of course it is. :)

I swear. What kind of upside down world is it where you have to uptwinkle bluegill?

*uptwinkles*

Axe on December 22, 2012 at 8:10 PM

My selections would probably be It’s a Wonderful Life and A Charlie Brown Christmas, although the little-known Little Drummer Boy isn’t bad, either.

Nice. I also went for ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’.

Nephew Sam on December 22, 2012 at 8:14 PM

I stll think the made for television opera Amahl And The Night Visitors is pretty terrific.

GreenBlade on December 22, 2012 at 8:14 PM

GreenBlade on December 22, 2012 at 8:14 PM

I sang one of the ‘teenage’-I was 14-shepards in a local, early ’80′s production of ‘Amahl’.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 22, 2012 at 8:21 PM

I had to read the thread first to see if anyone would mention three films I believe deserve consideration (well, if not serious consideration, at least a mention!), and I was not disappointed! :)

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians gets neglected again.

viking01 on December 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Oh yeah, every year my old high school crowd meets up
to to watch Silent Night, Deadly Night. We rented it for a Christmas party in 1992, and reenact the party for fun. Its the corniest Christmas slashed film ever!

portlandon on December 22, 2012 at 4:29 PM

what, no Black Christmas or Silent Night Deadly Night fans in here???

GhoulAid on December 22, 2012 at 5:05 PM

You can’t beat this

“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” theme song

Anti-Control on December 22, 2012 at 8:27 PM

There is a difference between, “What is the greatest Christmas movie of all time,” and, “What is your favorite Christmas movie.”

I voted “Wonderful Life” to answer the question. But “A Christmas Story” is my favorite. I can watch it all day, happily.

It was on the other night, and I was thinking: Part of the reason this movie is so popular, I think, is it harkens back to the days when we just naturally had Christmas in school and everywhere, and it was okay to have fun.

Today, the government tries to ruin any fun they ever run across. (The Hemingway cats,for instance.). Now, when anybody wishes someone else a merry Christmas, it’s practically a federal case, and if anyone tries to do anything about Christmas in school, it IS a federal case. We’ve got atheists making sure people can’t practice local traditions (the city with the crèche scenes, for instance), while putting up grinchy billboards telling people their beliefs and their traditions are stupid. We’ve got people out the wazoo declaring they are “offended” by the very existence of, mention of, or sign of, Christianity. (Offending Christians, though, is okay.)

A Christmas Story is about a time when people were allowed to have fun without the government, its many fans and statist minions, and sundry atheists trying to make people feel guilty about it.

Alana on December 22, 2012 at 4:29 PM

More simply, it’s a Christmas movie a lot of us can relate to.

BillH on December 22, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Has anyone seen “Pocket Full of Miracles”? It’s not a Christmas movie but that’s when they use to show it. It’s good.

Cindy Munford on December 22, 2012 at 8:56 PM

I agree with several others that the 1951 “A Christmas Carol” with Alistair Sim is the best Christmas movie of all time. Definitely not sweet and syrupy, with its uncompromising cinematography and gutsy musical score. It also sports terrific narration by Peter Bull and has a small part for John Steed (aka Patrick McNee). Watch for a great performance by Michael Hordern as Jacob Marley.

I’d like to put in an honorable mention for “A Christmas Without Snow”. This is a 1980 TV movie with Michael Lerned, but the actor who steals the show is John Houseman as a crusty old choir director who whips a church choir into shape to “Handel” the Messiah. I particularly like it when he explains to the choir what the true meaning of “amateur” is. A very young James Cromwell does a nice job as the church minister. The movie has funny bits, but also is very sad and gritty in spots. Definitely reminds you what Christmas is all about.

As a Canuck, I just never fell in love with “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Frankly, I prefer Donna Reed in “From Here to Eternity”.

MichiCanuck on December 22, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians gets neglected again.

viking01 on December 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM

It’s tolerable only in the MST3K version.

MichiCanuck on December 22, 2012 at 9:04 PM

#1 The Ref (“Your husband’s not dead, lady. He’s HIDING.”
#2 Love, Actually (“Who’s at the door?” “It’s carol singers!” “Give them a quid and tell ‘em to bugger off!”)

:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 22, 2012 at 9:11 PM

My list would include:

It’s a Wonderful Life
Home Alone
Die Hard
Christmas Story
The Lion in Winter
Miracle on 34th Street

But another one that I haven’t seen mentioned is Holiday Affair. That was a really sweet movie with Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh. The boy who played her son Timmy was just adorable. This is a must see for me every year.

macblanegirl on December 22, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Christmas specials from Bob Hope.

Ann Margaret and all the other babes of the day, and the college football players of the year.

And can you imagine a network letting something like the intolerant Linus reading from THE BIBLE?????

PappyD61 on December 22, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Love Actually?

reshas1 on December 22, 2012 at 9:28 PM

It’s a Wonderful Life is a downer but you are considered a Grinch if you don’t like it.

… I HATE A Christmas Story. The characters are stupid and mean, everything goes wrong, and as a Boomer who has fond memories of wonderful Christmases from the very late ’50′s and the early 60′s, it’s definitely NOT true of any Christmas I EVER experienced, even into the ’70′s and beyond.
theotherone on December 22, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Agree. It is terrifically nostalgic for anyone who was a kid in the era, but devoid of the religion of the era. Bells ringing on Sunday, and High Holy church services on every channel until noon Christmas Day. Mormon Tabernacle Choir on one channel. the Pope celebrating mass on another, and choirs, choirs. It was so Holy until noon, you did not have to be a church mouse to pick up the vibe. When Turner started running A Christmas story 24/7 I thought he was trying to erase the other part of Christmas from memory. Christmas Total Recall.

A Christmas Carol, Alistair Sims version.
Blake on December 22, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Agree. who had color tv? The original B&W Sims Christmas Carol was tradition, when tv stations switched from Mormon Tab’s Halleluia Chorus to phase two: the moral lessons and the meaning of the season

Great topic, but the best TV special of all time has apparently been forgotten. It is the absolute classic, Twas the Night Before Christmas. You know, where the mouse writes a letter to Santa saying he isn’t real, …
reagansoptimism on December 22, 2012 at 5:43 PM

many kids now do not even know the poem

I love the EWTN Christmas classics: Clay-mation The First Christmas, the story of Handel’s Messiah, The World Over Christmas Special, with Aaron Neville (tears), Keely Smith, Sinatra, and the Star of Bethlehem documentary

entagor on December 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Jean Shepherd, the author of and narrator in A Christmas Story, was a comedic genius. I remember flipping channel one Saturday afternoon in December 1983 and stumbling on to this movie. Within five minutes, I was laughing so hard I was losing bladder control. Shepherd was a comedic Norman Rockwell.

In Rudolph, Burl Ives is outstanding as the narrator. Who hasn’t felt Rudolph’s sense of isolation at one point in their lives?

In It’s a Wonderful Life, Donna Reed is totally awesome as Mary Hatch. The scene in which she and George share the phone while speaking to Sam Wainwright in her mother’s home is one of the more moving scenes involving a couple in American cinema.

In Miracle on 34st Street, the courtroom scenes are priceless: “Because my daddy told me so. Didn’t you, Daddy?”

BuckeyeSam on December 22, 2012 at 9:50 PM

What about the Very Special Schwarzenegger Christmas Special?

Chuck Schick on December 22, 2012 at 9:45 PM

OK, I can’t un-see that. Thanks!

SagebrushPuppet on December 22, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Love Actually?

reshas1 on December 22, 2012 at 9:28 PM

I had to watch that two or three times to get all the humor. The humor can be pretty risque, but there are some great scenes. The gift-wrapping scenes is priceless. At a minimum, you have to watch the first five minutes to catch Hugh Grant’s initial naration. It’s very moving. And the final five or so minutes, to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” are tremendous.

BuckeyeSam on December 22, 2012 at 9:55 PM

Santa riding a Norelco?

Tim_CA on December 22, 2012 at 5:26 PM

.
Boy … does that ever bring back memories. : )

listens2glenn on December 22, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Bad Santa

elowe on December 22, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Went with “A Christmas Story” but “The Homecoming” is my favorite. Watched it for the second time this year this evening.

windbag on December 22, 2012 at 10:28 PM

Lethal Weapon

Moesart on December 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM

It’s a Wonderful Life and Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown.

Ted Torgerson on December 22, 2012 at 10:48 PM

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