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The Best Christmas Movies of All Time

Updated December 16, 2020 337.7k votes 31.8k voters 218.1k views127 items

List RulesVote up your favorite films about or set during Christmas time.

One of the most telling signs that the holiday season is upon us is when classic Christmas movies begin to flood our TV screens and newer ones hit the big screen. Many of the best Christmas movies feature heartwarming tales that families can watch together. And even the weirdest Christmas movies have some redeeming features.

A lot of these movies are dramas or romantic comedies, and feature some of the best known stories in cinematic history. Who can forget James Stewart's portrayal of George Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life? The movie may not have done so well at the box office, but its themes of caring, thoughtfulness, and sacrifice, along with the presence of George's guardian angel, has resonated with many, and it's long been considered the best Christmas movie of all time. This doesn't mean there's not a fair share of funny Christmas movies as well. Home Alone, The Santa Clause, and Elf are three examples of hilarious Christmas movies that people have grown to love over the years. They are also great Christmas movies for kids too – like the Rankin/Bass classics or the animated masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas. In between laughs, the constant within all of these top movies is family, which is what attracts people to these holiday comedies. You will also find some of these films on this list of the best Christmas dinner scenes.

Vote here on this Ultimate List for what you think is the best Christmas movie of all time. There are some great movies to choose from so vote for the movies you think are the greatest Christmas movie ever!

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    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chevy Chase

    Released1989

    Directed byJeremiah S. Chechik

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a 1989 Christmas comedy film directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik. It is the third installment in National Lampoon's Vacation film series, and was written by John...  more

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    Elf

    Zooey Deschanel, Will Ferrell

    Released2003

    Directed byJon Favreau

    Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Berenbaum. It stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, and Zooey Deschanel. It was released in...  more

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    Home Alone

    Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci

    Released1990

    Directed byChris Columbus

    Home Alone is a 1990 American Christmas family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, a boy who is...  more

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    Released1964

    Directed byLarry Roemer, Kizo Nagashima

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a Christmas television special produced in stop motion animation by Rankin/Bass Productions and currently distributed by DreamWorks Classics. It first aired Sunday,...  more

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    Released1966

    Directed byChuck Jones, Ben Washam

    This special is a 1966 American animated television film special directed by Chuck Jones. It is based on the eponymous children's book by Dr. Seuss, the story of The Grinch trying to take away...  more

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    A Charlie Brown Christmas

    Bill Melendez, Peter Robbins

    Released1965

    Directed byBill Melendez

    A Charlie Brown Christmas is a musical animated television film based on the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. Produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez, the program made its...  more

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    8,683
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    A Christmas Story

    Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon

    Released1983

    Directed byBob Clark

    A Christmas Story is a 1983 American Christmas comedy film based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author and raconteur Jean Shepherd, based on his book In God We Trust: All Others...  more

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    It's a Wonderful Life

    James Stewart, Donna Reed

    Released1946

    Directed byFrank Capra

    It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in...  more

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    The Santa Clause

    Tim Allen, Frank Welker

    Released1994

    Directed byJohn Pasquin

    The Santa Clause is a 1994 American fantasy family comedy film directed by John Pasquin. It is the first installment in The Santa Clause trilogy and it stars Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, an ordinary...  more

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    Die Hard

    Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman

    Released1988

    Directed byJohn McTiernan

    Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Die Hard...  more

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    Miracle on 34th Street

    Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara

    Released1947

    Directed byGeorge Seaton

    Miracle on 34th Street is a 1947 Christmas film written and directed by George Seaton and based on a story by Valentine Davies. It stars Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn. The...  more

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    Frosty the Snowman

    June Foray, Paul Frees

    Released1969

    Directed byArthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass

    Frosty the Snowman is an American animated Christmas family television special based on the song "Frosty the Snowman". The program, which first aired on December 7, 1969 on CBS, was produced for...  more

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    The Muppet Christmas Carol

    Michael Caine, Frank Oz

    Released1992

    Directed byBrian Henson

    The Muppet Christmas Carol is a 1992 American musical fantasy-comedy film and an adaptation of Charles Dickens's 1843 novel A Christmas Carol. It is the fourth in a series of live-action musical...  more

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    Released2000

    Directed byRon Howard

    This film is a 2000 American musical fantasy comedy Christmas film from Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, based on the 1957 story of the same name by Dr. Seuss. It was the first Dr. Seuss...  more

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    The Polar Express

    Tom Hanks, Steven Tyler

    Released2004

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    The Polar Express is a 2004 American motion capture computer-animated musical Christmas fantasy film based on the children's book of the same title by Chris Van Allsburg. Written, produced, and...  more

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    Scrooged

    Bill Murray, Robert Mitchum

    Released1988

    Directed byRichard Donner

    Scrooged is a 1988 American Christmas comedy film, a modernization of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The film was produced and directed by Richard Donner, and the cinematography was by Michael...  more

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    White Christmas

    Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye

    Released1954

    Directed byMichael Curtiz

    White Christmas is a 1954 American musical romantic comedy film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen, loosely based on the 1942 film...  more

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    A Christmas Carol

    George C. Scott, Susannah York

    Released1984

    Directed byClive Donner

    A Christmas Carol is a 1984 television film adaptation of Charles Dickens' famous 1843 holiday novella of the same name. The film is directed by Clive Donner who had been an editor of the 1951 film...  more
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    Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

    Donald Trump, Macaulay Culkin

    Released1992

    Directed byChris Columbus

    Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a 1992 American Christmas family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. It is the second film in the Home Alone series and...  more

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    The Nightmare Before Christmas

    Paul Reubens, Catherine O'Hara

    Released1993

    Directed byHenry Selick

    Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D is a 2006 3D version of the 1993 film of the same title directed by Henry Selick and written by Caroline Thompson....  more

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    Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

    Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire

    Released1970

    Directed byArthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass

    Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town is a 1970 stop motion television special, made by Rankin-Bass. The film stars actor Fred Astaire as the narrator S.D. Kluger, Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle/Santa Claus,...  more

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    Mickey's Christmas Carol

    Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman

    Released1983

    Directed byBurny Mattinson

    Mickey's Christmas Carol is a 1983 American animated fantasy short film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and released by Buena Vista Distribution. It was directed and produced by Burny Mattinson. The...  more
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    The Santa Clause 2

    Elizabeth Mitchell, Aisha Tyler

    Released2002

    Directed byMichael Lembeck

    The Santa Clause 2 is a 2002 American romantic comedy-holiday film directed by Michael Lembeck. It is the second installment in The Santa Clause trilogy following The Santa Clause. It was filmed in...  more

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    Miracle on 34th Street

    Richard Attenborough, Mara Wilson

    Released1994

    Directed byLes Mayfield

    Miracle on 34th Street is a 1994 American Christmas fantasy film written and produced by John Hughes, and directed by Les Mayfield. It stars Richard Attenborough, Mara Wilson, Elizabeth Perkins, and...  more
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    The Year Without a Santa Claus

    Mickey Rooney, Shirley Booth

    Released1974

    Directed byArthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass

    The Year Without a Santa Claus is a 1974 Christmas stop motion animated television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions. The story is based on Phyllis McGinley's 1956 book of the same name. It...  more

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