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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Under TV specials, the two part “Married With Children” Christmas special with Sam Kinison should have gotten an honorable mention.

listens2glenn on December 22, 2012 at 10:54 PM

A Christmas Carol – I remember an old black and white version from when I was a kid that I liked a lot. In recent years I saw the one with George C. Scott. Awesome version.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – It’s got Burl Ives. Trumps everything else hands down.

Dan_Yul on December 22, 2012 at 10:55 PM

Santa riding a Norelco?

I’m glad I stopped in here, just to see that.

Moesart on December 22, 2012 at 10:56 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

Aside from the boorish anti-Americanism (minor scene), excellent movie.

Hm, probably would’ve voted for this movie, but it wasn’t an option earlier and HotAir won’t to allow me to vote twice.

Norwegian on December 22, 2012 at 10:58 PM

NOT that dumb-ask ‘A Christmas Story!!’

locomotivebreath1901 on December 22, 2012 at 11:10 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
.
.
I’m glad I stopped in here, just to see that.

Moesart on December 22, 2012 at 10:56 PM

.
You just know we’re showing our age, right?

listens2glenn on December 22, 2012 at 11:12 PM

Okay I have some different ones that I have to watch.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a must watch, what’s not to like about Gonzo as Charles Dickens.
I also love oldies like The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant and The Man Who Came to Dinner with Bette Davis.
And there are two that are outrageously expensive on DVD. One is We’re No Angels with Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, Aldo Ray, Leo G. Carroll, and Basil Rathbone…what a cast.
The other is A Muppet Family Christmas from 1987, a TV special. Apparently the VHS and DVD have scenes cut out because of issues with song rights. It featured not just the Muppets, but Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock characters and a brief appearance by Jim Henson. It’s worth it to watch just to see the Swedish chef want to cook Big Bird.

Deanna on December 22, 2012 at 11:15 PM

The gift-wrapping scenes is priceless.

BuckeyeSam on December 22, 2012 at 9:55 PM

Oh my gosh–The guy who played silent Mr. Bean playing a talking Mr. Bean working in the department store! He was a hoot with all his gift-wrapping frills and rose-petal/cinnamon weirdness as the boss buying jewelry for his sexy secretary tries to rush him while frantically glancing around for his wife somewhere in the store.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 22, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Harold and Kumar’s Very Merry Christmas is the best Christmas movie evah!

exdeadhead on December 22, 2012 at 11:23 PM

No love for Best Christmas Pageant Ever?
Such a sweet story, gets me misty watching.

WhaleBellied on December 22, 2012 at 11:53 PM

Can’t believe I almost forgot the classic The Night the Reindeer Died.

Rip Ford on December 23, 2012 at 12:08 AM

If Bambi were a reindeer, I’d nominate the weirdest minute ever committed to film:

Bambi Meets Godzilla

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 23, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Humbug! My two favorites, “The Bishop’s Wife” and “Holiday Affair,” aren’t on this list. Booo.

rivlax on December 23, 2012 at 12:42 AM

But here, if this gets dented, then my hair just ain’t gonna look right.

8thAirForce on December 23, 2012 at 12:48 AM

What, no Bad Santa?

“You ain’t gonna s**t right for a week!” Man, that’s classy stuff right there.

ManWithNoName on December 23, 2012 at 1:13 AM

RoboCop

MechanicalBill on December 23, 2012 at 1:39 AM

For the TV portion, I’ll call “A Charlie Brown Christmas” the greatest Christmas TV show of all time.

Ever since I saw it for the first time in 1965, I’ve loved it. I tear up at Linus’s recitation of Luke 2:8-14 without fail every year and I’ve been absolutely dazzled with the soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi since I first heard that as well.

I happen to have the complete piano score for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” soundtrack, and in the introduction, there’s a really cool interview with Guaraldi and how he came to write all the songs for it. One of the many ways that TV special broke many of the established rules for a children’s cartoon was to have a jazz soundtrack, and in the interview, Guaraldi talked about composing music that was light, sophisticated and swinging, and which accomplished his intention of turning kids like me into jazz fans.

I thought I read someone here saying that this could not be produced today because of Linus’s recitation. Well, maybe or maybe not, but in fact, it was no less controversial in 1965 either. This is from IMDB:

When they first saw the show, CBS executives were horrified at the idea of an animated Christmas special with such a blatant message. They also strongly objected to the fact that the show had no canned laughter.

and

[Producer] Bill Melendez tried to talk Charles M. Schulz out of using Biblical references (especially Linus’s speech) in this special. Schulz reportedly won him over by saying, “If we don’t do it, who will?” As it turned out, Linus’ recitation was hailed as one of the most powerful moments in the highly acclaimed special.

PatriotGal2257 on December 23, 2012 at 1:47 AM

The best Christmas films all seem to be from the 1940s:

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
The Bells of Saint Mary’s (1945)
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Holiday Affair (1949)

It’s pretty much been downhill since then.

steebo77 on December 23, 2012 at 2:05 AM

“It’s A Wonderful Life” is a worthwhile movie, but the year when it was thought to be in the public domain and was on TV a zillion times, I saw it so many times that I OD’d on it. I don’t avoid it, but I don’t make any effort to see it.

My fave “Christmas Carol” is the Sim version.

Santa riding a Norelco?

Tim_CA on December 22, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Done in stop motion, to the tune of “Jingle Bells”!

Floating heads, floating heads,
Floating all the way!
Norelco is the [something something etc.]

JimC on December 23, 2012 at 2:09 AM

I have a soft spot for It’s a Wonderful Life. As much as it’s a Christmas movie, it’s a salute to the grinders of America, the guys who forsook their shot at spectacular to instead end up doing enough for their families and being a blessing to all.

At the end of a day of frustration that damn near drives me to tears, no matter what time of year, I picture myself as George Bailey, just trying to raise decent kids and keep my sweetheart in love with me in a world that seems to be sliding away from my dreams.

I can’t think of a better message for 2012. Keep your head up, and grind it out. You can’t change the world, but you can make a difference on your street, in your town, to your workplace, with faith and confidence that the Almighty will bless it.

Sgt Steve on December 23, 2012 at 2:22 AM

Christmas Carol starring Alistair Simms.

The only version worth watching.

Ufdaubet on December 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM

1951 — Alistair Simms
But what’s wrong with
1938 — Reginald Owen
?

Paul-Cincy on December 22, 2012 at 4:46 PM

If the 1938 version is the one produced by Samuel Goldwyn, I think it’s too heavy handed–although it has its good moments. At least that was my impression a few years ago. The George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart versions are well done, but I have trouble believing in the transformation of Scrooge in them–maybe it was the timing of that change. The Alistair Sims one is my favorite.

Honorable mentions: “White Christmas” and “Holiday Inn”

Charlie Brown for an animated TV show, although the animated Grinch is a close second (I root for Max in that show).

For a little off the beaten path, I enjoy the musical version on the Christmas Carol (it was called “Scrooge” when I saw it in the 1970s). And there is also the Mr. Magoo Christmas Carol for good watching.

Kevin K. on December 23, 2012 at 2:48 AM

And please, no “A Christmas Story”. I’ve been known to flee to the (flat) roof to escape the annoying thing.

Kevin K. on December 23, 2012 at 2:53 AM

In case it hasn’t been mentioned earlier in the thread, the house where the external shots (and many internals) for A Christmas Story was restored into a fully functioning museum in the Cleveland neighborhood of Tremont – just directly south of downtown. (The Higbee’s store shown at the beginning and with the Santa scene is now home to the Horseshoe Casino.)

And yes, this museum sell leg lamp replicas.

Myron Falwell on December 23, 2012 at 3:41 AM

It’s tolerable only in the MST3K version.

MichiCanuck on December 22, 2012 at 9:04 PM

I disagree – I found that the MST3K treatment ruined the viewing enjoyment of all of those “bad” films!

Anti-Control on December 23, 2012 at 4:10 AM

Anti-Control on December 23, 2012 at 4:10 AM

So what are you saying–Tom Servo–Minnesota’s own TOM freakin Servo–was just a gumball machine?

Ha. Next thing you’ll be telling me is that Mike was better than Joel!!!!!

:P

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 23, 2012 at 4:51 AM

Polar Express for sure. I think it is one of the best Christmas movies of all time. I started watching it with my grandkids and finally just bought the DVD. I want to take them on the ‘Polar Express’ train when they are a little bit older. Maybe next Christmas.

DanaSmiles on December 23, 2012 at 6:35 AM

It’s a close call for me between A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life, but I went with A Christmas Carol. I have to watch both every year, and yes I do watch the Muppet version of A Christmas Carol in addition to one of the classic versions (either George C. Scott or Alastair Sim). With It’s A Wonderful Life, I love anything with James Stewart in it. Now there was a class act.

Othniel on December 23, 2012 at 7:33 AM

Christmas in Leuotonia (SCTV, 1980s)

SCTV Sammy Maudlin Christmas Special

Del Dolemonte on December 23, 2012 at 12:00 AM

30 years now and God, I still miss that show. Early 2013 resolution: Must get the entire show on DVD.

98ZJUSMC on December 23, 2012 at 7:42 AM

And please, no “A Christmas Story”. I’ve been known to flee to the (flat) roof to escape the annoying thing.

Kevin K.
on December 23, 2012 at 2:53 AM

.
Blasphemy !

listens2glenn on December 23, 2012 at 8:00 AM

A Christmas Story is one of the most ‘enjoyable’ movies if you can connect to the time frame and the innocence of Ralphie. So yes it gets my vote.

Not on the list is ‘A child’s Christmas in Wales’, narrated by Denholm Elliot. It stands out as a wonderful glimpse into another time and place as well.

Also not on the list but very much in the Die Hard vein is ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’. A terrific action movie regardless of how I feel about Sam L Jackson.

Merry Christmas to all you Hot Gassers, no matter your religious leanings or proclivities.

CitizenEgg on December 23, 2012 at 8:19 AM

You should add “Olive The Other Reindeer” to your TV shows list.

daveundis on December 23, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Without a doubt A Christmas Story. The movie captures so much of being a kid at Christmas. One thing I think people may miss is the father’s facial reactions throughout. They’re subtle and yet perfect. I am guilty of watching the movie 4 or 5 times over the 24 hour marathon. I recite the lines and laugh every time. A perfect movie.

It’s a Wonderful Life is a brilliant movie. Every year it makes me weep at the end because of its powerful reminder of how every life can be so influential and important to those around him.

My favorite Christmas Carol is the 1938 version. I watch it every year on DVD.

As for the tv special: hands down Charlie Brown. I watch it several times each Christmas season. It was always special to watch it in my house as a kid, so it has a lot of sentimental value but as I grew up to appreciate the message more its become more special. Linus reciting the scripture gets me every time especially as he finishes and there’s just this perfect timing of silence to let it sink in. Then Linus says “and that’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.” Indeed.

I love most of the classics. The newer ones I see I find lacking any charm. Polar Express movie wise was good and Nightmare Before Christmas is awesome as well but I don’t really see it as a Christmas movie.

tyketto on December 23, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Also not on the list but very much in the Die Hard vein is ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’. A terrific action movie regardless of how I feel about Sam L Jackson.

Merry Christmas to all you Hot Gassers, no matter your religious leanings or proclivities.

CitizenEgg on December 23, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Love love love that movie. As a matter of fact I think it’s very under-rated as an action movie. It has tons of action, the scenes on the Rainbow Bridge are some of the best ever. The truck chase through town and on the icy road is phenomenal. The lines are great…well lots of swearing but still… And the humor is there as well, cracks me up when she tells the kid to quit smoking. And yes, Jackson is in it but he’s a supporting character as far as I’m concerned Geena Davis is the movie, although the rest of the cast is good too.

Last night I mentioned We’re No Angels with Bogart. I think it may be the only sentimental Christmas movie where someone, actually two people, are murdered and the heroes are escaped convicts. It’s an oldie but I loved Bogie, Ustinov, and Leo G. Carroll. And throw in Aldo Ray, very under-rated, with Basil Rathbone as a bad guy and you’ve got a great classic.

Deanna on December 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM

I’ve really been enjoying the Disney Scrooge animation. Yesterday we watched Patrick Stewart as Scrooge, and I have to say he was one of the worst Scrooges evah.

Otherwise, as with fine wines, why be snobby and pick just one, when there are so many fine Christmas bouquets in our movie options? At our house we own copies of It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, A Christmas Story (the best in-flight movie I ever saw), The Ref, and several versions of A Christmas Carol.

Miracle on 34th St never grabbed me in that visceral Christmas-traditiony way.

disa on December 23, 2012 at 9:37 AM

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a surprisingly good treatment of the classic story. Michael Caine is truly amazing.

skidword on December 23, 2012 at 9:43 AM

I almost forgot the best…. Three Godfathers with Mr. John Wayne.

OliverB on December 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM

There is an almost-forgotten version of A Christmas Carol that was animated by Richard Williams (animation director for Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and the legendary, incomplete The Thief and The Cobbler). The animation style was inspired by the original illustrations and Alistair Sims was back to do the voice of Scrooge. It can be found on YouTube.

SagebrushPuppet on December 23, 2012 at 10:24 AM

As far as movie for me the season does not start until I pop my copy of Whate Christmas into the dvd player. Followed closely by one of my new favorites The Christmas Shoes.
On the TV side it has to be the big three in order A Charlie Brown Cjristmas, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer & How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I can still remember being a little kid sitting on the floor at my grandmother’s house watching them every year

JKotthoff on December 23, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Rankin Bass’ “Year Without A Santa Claus” has grown on me over the years. The Miser Bros. are hilarious, even if Rankin Bass was trying to slip a little gay subtext under the radar with them.

Right Mover on December 23, 2012 at 10:40 AM

In the subcategory of great Christmas episodes of TV series, a very underrated one came from the otherwise mediocre “Jeffersons.” George mysteriously sneaks away every Christmas Eve, and Louise starts to worry that he’s cheating on her. So she follows him and finds out that George is anonymously leaving gifts and cash on the doorstep of the tenement where he grew up in Harlem for the poor family that lives there now.

Right Mover on December 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM

I guess I’m weird but I could never get into Charlie Brown at all, not even the comic strip. Now if they made an animation of Calvin and Hobbes, I’d love it. Ya gotta love the snowmen.

Deanna on December 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Shouldn’t “Die Hard” be on this list?

Special K on December 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Why did you misspell Elf 18 out of 19 times?

pauljc on December 23, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I guess I’m weird but I could never get into Charlie Brown at all, not even the comic strip. Now if they made an animation of Calvin and Hobbes, I’d love it. Ya gotta love the snowmen.

Deanna on December 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Bill Watterson gave us a wonderful legacy of humor that will stand the test of time. I shudder to think of what the ‘wrong’ hands would do to butcher the pure genius of his strips. But yes, you’re right, the snowmen are legendary. I did find this gem on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq8iyhMFLYE

CitizenEgg on December 23, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Rankin Bass’ “Year Without A Santa Claus” has grown on me over the years. The Miser Bros. are hilarious, even if Rankin Bass was trying to slip a little gay subtext under the radar with them.

Right Mover on December 23, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Rankin/Bass were sneaking the gay subtext even as far back as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. “Hermie” the elf? Who just wants to be a good “dentitht”? Cmon… ;-)

HeIsSailing on December 23, 2012 at 11:42 AM

I have only managed to watch about half of “A Christmas Story”. I have never been able to make it through the whole thing – for the life of me I do not understand the appeal.

My favorite Christmas TV show/ movie/ whatever is “The Homecoming”, the pilot episode of the Waltons. Nostaligic, funny, meaningful in all the right places. It is not on the survey. If it were, that is my vote.

WOW – I just found it on YouTube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dbHhqXwLAE

HeIsSailing on December 23, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Die
Hard

/thread

corujodp on December 23, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Rankin/Bass were sneaking the gay subtext even as far back as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. “Hermie” the elf? Who just wants to be a good “dentitht”? Cmon… ;-)

HeIsSailing on December 23, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Not to mention the magician in Frosty The Snowman.

Right Mover on December 23, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Opus & Bill — A Wish for Wings That Work

Socratease on December 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Linus, in his own words:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w22ttNcxYlU

Whiterock on December 23, 2012 at 12:26 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

Yeah, there is a great scene in The Homecoming where Edgar Bergen is listening to the radio and laughing at the program with his grandkids. What is on the radio? Edgar Bergen.

HeIsSailing on December 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM

But yes, you’re right, the snowmen are legendary. I did find this gem on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq8iyhMFLYE

CitizenEgg on December 23, 2012 at 11:41 AM

ALways wanted to build one of those snowmen, maybe this year.

Deanna on December 23, 2012 at 12:45 PM

The Jim Carrey “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Best Christmas movie ever, and I don’t care what you think of it, Ed.

Dunedainn on December 23, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Scrooged.

Bill Murray’s monologue at the end of the movie is understatedly classic.

Yes, it can happen to you.

FlaMurph on December 23, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Picking only one greatest Christmas movie … that’s a real toughie.

I would probably nominate “A Christmas Carol,” the 1984 George C. Scott version. Everything about that production is superb, imho — the casting, the set and costume details, everything. Frank Finlay is hands down the best Jacob Marley ever.

That said, my sentimental favorites are both “White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” “White Christmas” brings back very happy memories of Christmases when I was a kid; it was the movie in which we’d stop everything and watch as a family. The ending of “It’s a Wonderful Life” never fails to choke me up. It was actually years before I saw the entire movie all the way through, which makes the ending that much more powerful.

PatriotGal2257 on December 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Scrooged.

Bill Murray’s monologue at the end of the movie is understatedly classic.

Yes, it can happen to you.

FlaMurph on December 23, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Agreed. I think Bill Murray and crew did an excellent job of putting a unique and hilarious twist on the Dickens classic. I always thought David Johansen as the Ghost of Christmas Past was a riot.

PatriotGal2257 on December 23, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Hello, Die Hard. Not even close.

JamesB on December 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Die Hard. The greatest action movie and Christmas movie ever.

Reggie1971 on December 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM

A Christmas Carol any version?? Not hardly. The glitzy MGM version, for instance, is terrible. And the story has been hijacked with a lot of truly dreadful results through the years. No, Scrooge starring the incomparable Alastair Sim is the version (although George C. Scott’s is a fine rendering). Scrooge and Miracle (the original, non-colorized version) tie for top place with the wonderful Christmas Story not too terribly far behind (not a fan of It’s a Wonderful Life I’m afraid).

And there are many others on my annual viewing list that deserve a look: Meet Me In St. Louis; The Shop Around the Corner (and its remake In the Good Old Summertime); Ben Hur; Come to the Stable; The Bishop’s Wife (the original); Holiday Inn (superior to White Christmas, I think); the tearjerker I’ll Be Seeing You; The Man Who Came to Dinner. And two starring my favorite actress Barbara Stanwyck: The frothy comedy with a great supporting cast Christmas in Connecticut and the tearjerking story of redemption costarring Fred MacMurray Remember the Night. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas and God bless us everyone!

SukieTawdry on December 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM

A missed TV special was the opera, that was written to be broadcast, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” for NBC in 1951. (Back when the networks tried to have quality shows.)

Kevin K. on December 23, 2012 at 1:39 PM

So no votes for the Star Wars Christmas Special?
/s

CitizenEgg on December 23, 2012 at 1:45 PM

So no votes for the Star Wars Christmas Special?
/s

CitizenEgg on December 23, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Life Day, Bea Arthur, Harvey Korman, a cartoon Boba Fett, ten minutes of Chewbacca’s family dancing and singing (with no dialog) and a storyline that makes Lucas’ prequels look intelligible in comparison?

What could go wrong?

Myron Falwell on December 23, 2012 at 1:51 PM

I like A Christmas Story, but I could never let my kids watch it, especially when Ralphie’s (Jean Shepherd’s) dad uses the GD word.

Ward Cleaver on December 23, 2012 at 1:55 PM

A Christmas Carol any version?? Not hardly. The glitzy MGM version, for instance, is terrible. And the story has been hijacked with a lot of truly dreadful results through the years. No, Scrooge starring the incomparable Alastair Sim is the version (although George C. Scott’s is a fine rendering). Scrooge and Miracle (the original, non-colorized version) tie for top place with the wonderful Christmas Story not too terribly far behind (not a fan of It’s a Wonderful Life I’m afraid).

SukieTawdry on December 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Orson Wells and Lionel Barrymore collaborated for a radio play of A Christmas Carol back in 1941. (One AM station in my hometown has aired it every year, on Christmas Eve, for decades.)

There’s also the Mr. Magoo version, but NBC’s airing of it last night cut out so much material (including the fact that Magoo and everyone involved was presenting the story in a community theatre production) that the original meaning of the special was totally destroyed. All so they could air a WWE special and an SNL rerun.

At least ABC has the fortitude to air the entire “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for about 40 minutes, followed by segments from other Peanuts specials to fill out the rest of the hour.

Myron Falwell on December 23, 2012 at 2:01 PM

A missed TV special was the opera, that was written to be broadcast, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” for NBC in 1951. (Back when the networks tried to have quality shows.)

Kevin K. on December 23, 2012 at 1:39 PM

I have an old TV magazine from 1957 somewhere that has a picture from Amahl and the Night Visitors on the cover. It aired in color that year, on NBC’s Matinee Theatre.

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Ward Cleaver on December 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM

I like A Christmas Story, but I could never let my kids watch it, especially when Ralphie’s (Jean Shepherd’s) dad uses the GD word.

Ward Cleaver on December 23, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Oooooooooh, fuuuuuuuuudge….

Myron Falwell on December 23, 2012 at 2:04 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

Yeah, there is a great scene in The Homecoming where Edgar Bergen is listening to the radio and laughing at the program with his grandkids. What is on the radio? Edgar Bergen.

HeIsSailing on December 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Yeah, that’s a cute touch in the movie.

A great two-reel silent comedy is Laurel and Hardy’s Big Business. Stan and Ollie are Christmas tree salesmen who run afoul of their frequent antagonist James Finlayson. No message, just big laughs.

SagebrushPuppet on December 23, 2012 at 2:08 PM

My personal favorite is The Bishop’s Wife. As a family tradition we watch Muppets Christmas Carol every year. Michael Caine is the best Scrooge and the music is wonderful.

Rose on December 23, 2012 at 2:15 PM

First post since the STING of election night.

Is it me, or has anyone else noticed that none of the oldie goldies in B&W are shown anymore?

Shame, they’re the best.

The classics are best for a DVD though, so many darn commercials on TV that even with a DVR and skipping the ads, it still ruins them.


Merry Christmas everybody and may the Lord continue to Bless YOU, your FAMILY, and your FRIENDS.

GreatCommunicator on December 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM

A favorite TV episode I taped on VHS years ago is the “Wonder Years” episode where Winnie Cooper gives Kevin Arnold a small gift in the last days of school before Christmas and tells him he cannot open it before then.

The subsequent shopping trip that Kevin takes in Kmart to find Winnie a bottle of her favorite perfume is hilarious (“It smells like leaves … in the ocean … at night.”) and touching all at the same time, as is the interaction between older brother Wayne and their father about wanting a color TV. It was an excellent representation of the late 60s era as experienced by most of us average American families.

Too bad it isn’t going to see DVD release anytime soon.

PatriotGal2257 on December 23, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Whaaaaaaaat?! No Home Alone 2!

I’ve been disenfranchised.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7fqaNNXQMk

Lawdawg86 on December 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Linus, in his own words:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w22ttNcxYlU

Whiterock on December 23, 2012 at 12:26 PM

One of the great things about this scene is that it is one of the only times in the tv specials or cartoon strips that Linus voluntarily puts down his security blanket and speaks, and it is when he is speaking the Word of the Lord.

txmomof6 on December 23, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Santa riding a Norelco?

Closer shave, closer shave, closer all the way!

JannyMae on December 23, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Christmas Story, hands down. It captures so many universal family stereotypes and holiday traditions. The cursing powerful father figure, the devoted loving mom. The schoolyard antics, holiday events, etc. Of course, as America continues to decline morally the concept of the two-parent, single income household will fade away making this movie seem odd to newer generations. So sad.

TheLoudTalker on December 23, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Born in 1980, I personally like Christmas Story the best, but with the way the poll question is worded by asking which is the “greatest of all time” I voted for It’s a Wonderful Life because it truly captures the spirit of Christmas the best.

The Grinch is my favorite Christmas show, I love that song.

Die Hard is the best action film ever made, but I wouldn’t consider it the best Christmas film, lol. I like Home Alone as well.

Daemonocracy on December 23, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Merry Christmas everybody and may the Lord continue to Bless YOU, your FAMILY, and your FRIENDS.

GreatCommunicator on December 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM

.
That’s what I call a “great communication” . . . . .

and nice to see you back ! … : )

listens2glenn on December 23, 2012 at 5:31 PM

The Grinch is my favorite Christmas show, I love that song.

Daemonocracy on December 23, 2012 at 4:55 PM

.
That’s just great, Daemon’. Now I can’t get that song outta’ my mind . . . . . . . .
.
.
.
.
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nope, it’s still there.

listens2glenn on December 23, 2012 at 5:36 PM

In no particular order for me:

White Christmas
Holiday Inn
The Santa Clause
either version of Miracle on 34th St
The Nativity Story
Home Alone
Jim Carrey’s The Grinch that Stole Christmas
Charlie Brown Christmas
It’s a Wonderful Life

Ones I don’t like:
that one with the Griswolds (don’t like any of those movies)

A Christmas Story – I find the kid annoying and I’m about the same age as the actor that played the kid. Besides, why be a follower?

Elf- can’t stand Will Ferrell

cebj25 on December 23, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Are you serious. “The Homecoming” isn’t listed?

hawkdriver on December 23, 2012 at 6:33 PM

We need a seperate thread for Greatest Christmas Song of all time.

My vote gets this version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

Trust me, it’s worth it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk5ufApUArQ

St Gaudens on December 23, 2012 at 6:52 PM

It’s a tie between A Muppet Christmas Carol and Friday After next.

I’ve already watched the Muppets this year. I’m saving Friday After Next for Christmas eve.

Ampersand on December 23, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Not exactly sacred music, but the 1981 animation, A Chipmunk Christmas was just on cable, and I forgot how hearing the Chipmunks singing makes me think of Christmas. It pre dates computer animation, but has the correct Chipmunk voices.

Their big hit was a Christmas song , Christmas don’t be late
Ready boys ….
Christmas, Christmas time is near,
Time for toys and time for cheer.
We’ve been good, but we can’t last,
Hurry Christmas, Hurry fast.
Want a plane that loops the loop,
(Alvin:) Me, I want a Hula-Hoop.
(Chipmunks:)
We can hardly stand the wait,
Please Christmas don’t be late. ….Alvinnnnn

entagor on December 23, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Trapped in Paradise, with Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey.

blackgriffin on December 23, 2012 at 8:00 PM

No “Scrooged?”

And if we’re doing TV (A Charlie Brown Christmas) what abvout the Waltons?

urban elitist on December 23, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Very happy to see Die Hard on the list which is my personal favorite. I also love Bad Santa.

Hera on December 23, 2012 at 8:26 PM

No “Scrooged?”

And if we’re doing TV (A Charlie Brown Christmas) what abvout the Waltons?

urban elitist on December 23, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Right. You’d watch a bunch of country people living their simple lives. You detest us, remember?

hawkdriver on December 23, 2012 at 10:10 PM

My favorite is Donovan’s Reef with John Wayne, Lee Marvin and Ceasar Romero. More of a story line that takes place at Christmas rather than a Christmas stroy as such, but it is classic John Wayme stuff. Lee Marvin has a smaller backup role, but it was his breakout movie.

Dozer_Tx on December 23, 2012 at 11:03 PM

I like ‘Fitzwilly’ from 1967. A very family friendly con & capers comedy. Directed by Debert Mann and a great brass and harpsichord orchestral sound track by a young John Williams.

With Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Feldon and a solid cast of veteran character actors. Pulling off all kinds of cons in high end stores to keep the old monied matron they work for living a life of luxury.

Also old school. so I went with “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”.

Jack Deth on December 23, 2012 at 11:06 PM

I think you should add Gremlins to the list… and maybe also Night of the Comet.

Die Hard is also a fantastic Christmas movie.

Ukiah on December 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM

Bad Santa

M240H on December 24, 2012 at 1:08 AM

That’s just great, Daemon’. Now I can’t get that song outta’ my mind .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nope, it’s still there.

listens2glenn on December 23, 2012 at 5:36 PM

How about:

I’m Mister White Christmas,
I’m Mister Snow.
I’m Mister Icicle,
I’m Mister Ten Below.
Friends call me Snow Miser,
Whatever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch!
I’m too much . . .

Axe on December 24, 2012 at 4:21 AM

No chance to vote for “The Santa Clause,” 1994? Tim Allen? Aw, man…

Dustin Siggins on December 24, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Like Eddie Murphy. Jim Carrey acting odd but still natural (for them): entertaining. Jim Carrey playing Wacky Jim Carrey playing a role: lame and unfunny.

Wonderful Life could be cut to the final 30 min and still be coherent and worthwhile. It takes a while to get going though.

Charlie Brown has retired the trophy but the greedy types at the networks – first CBS and then ABC – have razored entire segments out of it in order to squeeze in ads. No doubt it’s a passive aggressive reaction to passages from the Bible being recited. You just know there is a cadre of heathens on Manhattan Island who resent broadcasting any mention of Scripture.

I admit A Christmas Story left me a bit cold (no pun intended) nut as I got older it resonated more and that’s probably by design. Despite its period setting and accuracy it’s a bit surreal – the same way Christmas is for kids who struggle to separate fact and fiction.

jangle12 on December 24, 2012 at 8:55 AM

For movies I have a tough choice. It’s a Wonderful life and Miracle on 34th Street.

My favorite Christmas TV show isn’t listed! It’s “The Snowman,” featuring the music “Walking in the air.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubeVUnGQOIk

dogsoldier on December 24, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Die Hard is also a fantastic Christmas movie.

Ukiah on December 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM

It is! Tough sell though. “Oh the weather outside is frightful…”

dogsoldier on December 24, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Holiday Inn?

Is this the edited version or the version with Bing Crosby singing Abraham in Black Face.

The wife and I first watched this move last year, but it was edited. Some of the waitstaff on Lincoln’s Birthday were in blackface, but they cut the musical number.

This year we saw the unedited version. Wowza!

GadsdenRattlers on December 24, 2012 at 9:33 AM

A Christmas Carol … the old black and white versions.

Ward Cleaver, yes. Amahl and the Night Visitors, set near Bethlehem. The chosen name “Amahl” is more Arabic than Hebrew, interestingly.

“This is an opera for children because it tries to recapture my own childhood. You see, when I was a child I lived in Italy, and in Italy we have no Santa Claus. I suppose that Santa Claus is much too busy with American children to be able to handle Italian children as well. Our gifts were brought to us by the Three Kings, instead.”

Merry Christmas Eve around the world, and particularly in your hearts and homes.

maverick muse on December 24, 2012 at 9:37 AM

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