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The Best Christmas Movies of All Time

Updated December 16, 2020 334.8k votes 31.7k voters 217.5k 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 Vacation1
    10,324
    3,624

    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....  more

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  • Elf2
    7,755
    3,741

    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...  more

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    #55 of 126 The Greatest Date Movies Of All Time#8 of 151 The Most Rewatchable Comedy Movies

  • Home Alone3
    7,928
    3,815

    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...  more

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  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer4
    6,555
    2,249

    Released1964

    Directed byLarry Roemer, Kizo Nagashima

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a Christmas television special produced in stop motion...  more

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  • Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!5
    6,983
    2,457

    Released1966

    Directed byChuck Jones, Ben Washam

    This special is a 1966 American animated television special directed by Chuck Jones. It is...  more

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    #191 of 369 The Best Movies Based On Books#14 of 244 The Best Movies For Kids

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas6
    6,599
    2,850

    A Charlie Brown Christmas

    Bill Melendez, Peter Robbins

    Released1965

    Directed byBill Melendez

    A Charlie Brown Christmas is a musical animated television special based on the comic strip...  more

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  • A Christmas Story7
    8,689
    5,262

    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...  more

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  • It's a Wonderful Life8
    7,886
    4,707

    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...  more

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  • The Santa Clause9
    5,257
    2,808

    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...  more

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  • Die Hard10
    5,939
    3,650

    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...  more

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  • Miracle on 34th Street11
    4,384
    2,972

    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...  more

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  • Frosty the Snowman12
    3,875
    2,161

    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...  more

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  • The Muppet Christmas Carol13
    3,380
    2,342

    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...  more

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  • Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas14
    4,330
    2,953

    Released2000

    Directed byRon Howard

    This film is a 2000 American musical fantasy comedy Christmas film from Universal Pictures and...  more

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  • The Polar Express15
    4,226
    2,745

    The Polar Express

    Tom Hanks, Steven Tyler

    Released2004

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    The Polar Express is a 2004 American motion capture computer-animated musical Christmas...  more

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  • Scrooged16
    4,043
    3,210

    Scrooged

    Bill Murray, Robert Mitchum

    Released1988

    Directed byRichard Donner

    Scrooged is a 1988 American Christmas comedy film, a modernization of Charles Dickens' A...  more

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  • White Christmas17
    3,703
    2,928

    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...  more

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    #205 of 836 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#236 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York18
    3,575
    2,791

    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...  more

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  • A Christmas Carol19
    3,216
    2,124

    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...  more
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas20
    3,886
    3,131

    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...  more

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  • Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town21
    2,733
    1,978

    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....  more

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  • Mickey's Christmas Carol22
    2,062
    1,875

    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...  more
  • Miracle on 34th Street23
    2,069
    2,189

    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...  more

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  • The Santa Clause 224
    2,199
    1,959

    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...  more

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    #51 of 56 The Best Christmas Rom-Coms#92 of 92 The Worst Part II Movie Sequels

  • The Year Without a Santa Claus25
    1,713
    1,710

    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...  more

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