Friday, December 06, 2013

My Ten Favorite Christmas Movies

I haven't watched a single Christmas movie yet, and a whole week of December has passed already.  Argh!  Anyway, I decided to list my favorite Christmas movies even though several of these will show up on other lists too.  I don't think of a couple of these as strictly Christmas movies, but they either occur during Christmas or involve Christmasy stuff, so in they go.

I was originally doing these lists in order of how genres are arranged on my shelves, but I'm skipping over a few sections to get to this one because it wouldn't make much sense to post these in February, hee.


1.  White Christmas (1954)

A team of showbiz stars (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) try to rescue a retired general (Dean Jagger) from bankruptcy by staging a show at his ski lodge.  I've watched this almost every single Christmas season for two decades, and I never get tired of it.

2.  We're No Angels (1955)

Three escaped convicts (Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, and Aldo Ray) try to rescue a bumbling businessman (Leo G. Carroll) from his unscrupulous cousin (Basil Rathbone).  Possibly the funniest movie I have ever seen, and also one of the most heart-warming.  DO NOT get the 1989 remake by mistake.

3.  While You Were Sleeping (1995)

When a lonely train fare collector (Sandra Bullock) rescues a handsome stranger (Peter Gallagher) from being hit by a train, his family mistakes her for his fiancee.  My favorite romantic comedy, my favorite Sandra Bullock role, my favorite Bill Pullman role, and another of the funniest movies I've ever seen.

4.  It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

George Bailey (James Stewart) decides he's worth more dead than alive, and it takes an unlikely angel (Henry Travers) all of Christmas Eve to convince him otherwise.  There's a reason it's so famous -- it's really that good.

5.  A Christmas Carol (1999)

Ebenezer Scrooge (Patrick Stewart) learns not to be so stingy.  A stellar performance from Stewart elevates this above the usual made-for-TV Christmas movie.

6.  The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

Father O'Malley (Bing Crosby) is tasked with shutting down a Catholic school run by Sister Mary Benedict (Ingrid Bergman), who is determined to save it.  I like this a lot better than Going My Way (1944), Crosby's other turn as O'Malley.

7.  Love, Actually (2003)

Lots of Londoners (played by a star-studded cast) learn that love is actually all around us.  This is my guiltiest pleasure, as it's chock full of naughty bits.  But it's so sweet and so funny that I can't help loving it.

8.  The Santa Clause (1994)

When single dad Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) accidentally kills Santa Claus, he's informed by Bernard the Elf (David Krumholtz) that now he'll become Santa Claus instead.  Silly, with some overly childish humor, but very enjoyable.

9.  Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

A skeptical little girl (Natalie Wood) meets a man named Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) who tries to convince her he's the real Santa Claus.  One of my favorite Maureen O'Hara movies.

10.  The Nutcracker (1977)

A beautiful version of Tchaikovsky's ballet about a little girl who dreams her toy nutcracker comes alive and takes her on an adventure.  Starring the amazing Mikhail Baryshnikov, who also choreographed it.

Do you have any favorite Christmas movies?  Got any recommendations of things I should try to find and watch?  Please share!

26 comments:

  1. It's a Wonderful Life is one of my favorite Christmas movies as well. James Stewart does such a fantastic job in the film.

    The Santa Clause is a fun movie. I liked it a lot when I was a kid. :)

    While not exactly a Christmas movie, Die Hard is probably my favorite since it takes place on Christmas with music. It is also one of my favorite action movies. But my favorite that is strictly a Christmas movie has to be National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It is somewhat dumb, but I laughed so much while watching it!
    Elf is another favorite of mine and Home Alone is another one of my favorites that I also loved watching as a kid.

    Of the movies I have seen, I agree with you, great picks!

    -James

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    1. Thanks! It's hard to beat James Stewart.

      I do want to see Elf sometime. And Die Hard rocks, I just don't think of it as a Christmas movie, lol. I kind of avoid National Lampoon as a rule, but I know their Christmas Vacation is on a lot of favorites lists. I've seen the first Home Alone and liked it okay.

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  2. Oh Christmas movies! So fun! I just watched "It's a Wonderful Life" last year and LOVED it :)

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    1. I think I was like eleven before I ever saw it, and I remember being transfixed. It still makes me cry.

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  3. How cool! I was going to post mine next weekend because I'm going to see "It's a Wonderful Life" on the big screen, and it's my favorite Christmas movie, but maybe I should post it earlier. This weekend they're showing "White Christmas," but the timing is bad, and I'm not going to be able to get to the theater. Would love to see that one too! I haven't seen three of these, Santa Clause, Christmas Carol, and Bells of St Mary.

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    1. I see you've posted yours now too :-) I would love to see either IAWL or WC on the big screen! You lucky thing.

      I think of the 3 you haven't seen, you'd most like "Bells of St. Mary's."

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  4. Oh, I love White Christmas! We own it, but I actually haven't seen the entire thing because last year when my mama and my older sister watched it for the first time, it was Nutcracker week and I was always running in and out of the house so I only caught bits of it. : ) But this year I'm going to watch the whole thing!
    Yeah, Love Actually really IS chock-a-block full of naughty bits-- and I've only seen about ten minututes of it! (That was on vacation in a hotel room-- long story, that. : P)
    One of my favorite Christmas movies is The Preacher's Wife with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. It's adorable and hilarious and it has some wonderful music!

    ~Emma

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    1. Enjoy your first viewing of "White Christmas" this year! That must be an enchanting prospect :-)

      My mom loves "The Preacher's Wife" and the movie it's a remake of, "The Bishop's Wife." I like them too, but they're not favorites.

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  5. Awww, what a sweet list of movies. I'd forgotten that "Love Actually" is a Christmas movie. I haven't seen it in years! And I LOVE the classic version of "Miracle on 34th Street." John Payne is divine!

    As for recommendations, have you seen "Prancer?" I think it's from the 1980s, and it stars Sam Elliot (one of my favorite actors) as the dad. Such a sweet story about a little girl from a broken home who finds a reindeer and believes with all her might that he is Prancer because he matches the Prancer in the Santa set of pictures strung across her window. When Sam Elliot reads part of the "Yes, Virginia" letter to his daughter, oh, it makes me cry every time, in the best possible way.

    And, don't forget to try "The Christmas Card." This one's newer, maybe 5 years old, and ADORABLE! It's about a soldier who receives a letter from a "write to a soldier" project. When he has an opportunity for leave, and his commander makes him take it, he goes to find the woman who wrote the letter. It is the sweetest little romance ever!

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    1. Oddly enough, I have never seen "Prancer," even though I really enjoy Sam Elliot. My mom loves it, but we didn't have it when I was a kid and it just hasn't crossed my path yet. Someday! "The Christmas Card" sounds lovely -- I'll keep an eye out for it too :-)

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  6. There are so many on this list that I haven't seen... I guess we don't really have a Christmas movie tradition in The Netherlands. Though the Sissie movies, Sound of Music and more recently Lord of the Rings are always broadcast around Christmas time. But I do love Love Actually! You remind me I should really watch it again these weeks. Preferably with a friend ofcourse, who loves and knows it just as well as I do!

    A more recent favourite is A Princess for Christmas (actually I only watched it last year, but I love it to bits). It's really sweet and has a fairytale-like quality. Definitely recommended!

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    1. I always get in the mood to watch the Lord of the Rings movies in December, I guess because that's when they were first released, so I'm used to watching them then.

      I'll have to keep my eye out for "A Princess for Christmas." I think after Christmas, I'll hit up Amazon to see if they've got a good sale price on any of these titles people are recommending here.

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  7. Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life are definitely among my favorites. The best version of A Christmas Carol as far as I'm concerned is the 1951 British version starring Alastair Sim. He's terrific—one of the best acting performances I've even seen in any film. The 1938 version is nice too, though much shorter and lighter. And there's The Bishop's Wife, too. The ice-skating scene in that always makes me long to go skating!

    The most recently-added item on my family's favorites list, though, is the Hallmark movie A Dog Named Christmas. I really haven't watched many Hallmark movies, but this one is great!

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    1. I have to admit the only versions of "A Christmas Carol" I've seen are this one and "The Muppets Christmas Carol." Which I almost put on this list, except I decided I like "The Nutcracker" better, hee.

      My mom loves both "The Bishop's Wife" and "The Preacher's Wife," but I only like them, they're not favorites. Both sweet, though!

      Adding "A Dog Named Christmas" to my list of things to seek out. I'm betting my mom and Grandma watched it last year, as they had the Hallmark channel on pretty much every hour they were awake all during the Christmas season, hee.

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  8. No "A Christmas Story" Hamlette? It's a family favorite at my house. :) You have a very good list there though! I love "It's a Wonderful Life" too, it never gets old. :D

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    1. I have to admit I've never seen "A Christmas Story." Not all of it, anyway. I've seen bits here and there, and I know the basic story. One of these days!

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    2. "A Christmas Story" marathon is usually broadcast on TBS Christmas Eve/Day...at least in the US.

      Definitely going to have to do some investigative work on your picks, Hamlette! Vera neat stuff.

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    3. Thanks, but that would require having cable or satellite TV of some sort, which we don't. I'm sure I'll see it some day! It's not hard to find :-)

      Have fun watching some new Christmas movies!

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  9. I love White Christmas, and While You Were Sleeping is so fun. :)

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    1. I couldn't decide which of those two I was more in the mood for last night! So ended up finishing a friend's Christmas present instead. Perhaps I'll have decided between the two by the time my kids go to bed tonight.

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  10. Oh, I really like "While You Were Sleeping" and "It's a Wonderful Life" is probably my all-time favorite Christmas movie. I've seen "Love Actually" but I don't remember much of it... "The Holiday" with Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Jack Black is my "guilty pleasure" Christmas movie. Definitely some "naughty bits" there too (love how you put that! hehehe). Cameron Diaz isn't my favorite, but Kate Winslet, Jack Black and Jude Law are just great!

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    1. I haven't seen "The Holiday" yet even though a friend gave me a copy years ago. Maybe this is the year to break it out and watch it at last! Cameron Diaz is one of my least-favorite actresses, but for the sake of Kate Winslet and Jude Law, I really should put up with her and give it a try. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  11. The Santa Claus! I should have put that on my list :) I love that movie! - Maggie @ An American in France

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    1. I'm particularly fond of Bernard, the Elf. There are a few lines ("C'mon, everybody likes Denny's!") that we quote rather a lot, even though I probably haven't watched it in six years.

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  12. Fabulous list. What's your opinion of the Miracle on 47th Street remake?

    As for recs, here are a few: Elf (2003), Christmas Vacation (1989), and It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947).

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    1. My opinion of the Miracle on 34th Street remake is that I haven't seen it and have no desire to, but if someone wanted to watch it with me around, I wouldn't run away screaming.

      I hear good things about Elf a lot -- need to try that. And I do want to see It Happened on Fifth Avenue, but haven't managed to you. I've seen part of Christmas Vacation and it wasn't my style, but I know a lot of people who like it. Thanks for the ideas!

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