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Top 10 Christmas Movies Countdown

The concept of a "Christmas movie" is not a new one. Here are some of our top picks.

Brandon Norgaard, Entertainment Editor

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Happy December everybody! My name is Brandon Norgaard and in this article, I’m going to be counting down the top ten best Christmas films of all time. I am excluding TV specials, sequels, and movies with an MPAA rating of PG-13 or above. So, without any further ado, here we go.


#10. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)



Brief Description/Summary: Jack “The Pumpkin King” Skellington (Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon) is tired of being in charge of Halloween every year, and decides that he wants to give Christmas a try, but in order to do that he must get the big man himself, Santa Claus (Edward Ivory) out of the way. Let’s just say that things don’t go quite as planned.


Cast: Danny Elfman, Paul Reubens, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Sarandon, Ken Page, Glenn Shadix


Memorable Songs: This Is Halloween, Jack’s Lament, What’s This?, Kidnap The Sandy Claws, Making Christmas, Oogie Boogie’s Song, Poor Jack


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%


#9. Jingle All the Way (1996)



Brief Description/Summary: After missing his son Jamie’s karate belt advancement ceremony, Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) decides that he must make it up to Jamie (Jake Lloyd) by getting him the must-have toy of the year: A Turbo-Man doll. However, with the toy being extremely popular, on top of it being Christmas Eve, the doll is sold out everywhere. Although it proves to be quite the task, Howard is determined to do whatever it takes to get the toy for Jamie: even if that means breaking a law or two.


Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman, Rita Wilson, Jake Lloyd


Memorable Scenes: Santa Warehouse Battle, Stealing Turbo-Man/Howard vs. The Reindeer, The Entire Parade Sequence


Memorable Prop: The Turbo-Man Doll


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 16%


#8. The Polar Express (2004)



Brief Description/Summary: On Christmas Eve, a boy (Josh Hutcherson, Daryl Sabara), let’s call him Steve, travels to the North Pole to put in a good word with Santa because Tom Hanks told him to.


Cast: Tom Hanks, Nona Gaye, Eddie Deezen, Josh Hutcherson, Daryl Sabara, Michael Jeter


Memorable Song: Hot Chocolate


Memorable Scenes: “All Aboard!”, Going Downhill, Off the Rails, The Entire North Pole Sequence


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%


#7. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)



Brief Description/Summary: This is a live action comedy loosely based on Dr. Seuss’ classic storybook.


Cast: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Christine Baranski, Josh Ryan Evans, Jeffrey Tambor, Molly Shannon


Memorable Song: You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 53%


#6. The Santa Clause (1994)



Brief Description/Summary: After accidentally causing the death of Santa Claus (John Pasquin) on Christmas Eve and putting on his coat, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) unknowingly takes on the role of Santa Claus.


Cast: Tim Allen, Eric Lloyd, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, David Krumholtz, Paige Tamada, John Pasquin


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%


#5. Elf (2003)



Brief Description/Summary: After being raised as an elf all his life, Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) heads to NYC in hopes of finding his father (James Caan).


Cast: Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan, Peter Dinklage, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay


Memorable Scenes: Buddy Leaves, Welcome to NYC, Welcome Santa!, The Snowball Fight, Miles Finch: The Angry Elf, The Entire Central Park Sequence


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%


#4. Home Alone (1990)



Brief Description/Summary: After accidentally being left at home while the rest of his family travel to Paris, young Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) must defend himself and his home from a pair of bumbling burglars (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) whom call themselves the “Wet Bandits”.


Cast: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara, Devin Ratray, Roberts Blossom


Memorable Scenes: Aftershave, Going Shopping, Harry & Marv Learn the Truth, The Entire “Battle Plan” Sequence


Memorable Quotes: “Keep the change ya filthy animal”, “You guys give up; or are ya thirsty for more?!”


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 62%


#3. A Christmas Carol (2009)



Brief Description/Summary: This is one of Disney’s takes on the classic Charles Dickens tale.


Cast: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Daryl Sabara, Ryan Ochoa


Memorable Scenes: All Ghost/Spirit Scenes


Memorable Quotes: “Bah Humbug!”, “This boy is Ignorance, this girl is Want; beware them both.”, “Have they no refuge, no resource?!”, “Are there no prisons?!”, “Are there no workhouses?!”, “God bless us, everyone.”


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54%


#2. A Christmas Story (1983)



Brief Description/Summary: All Ralphie (Peter Billingsley, Jean Shepherd) wants for Christmas is a Red-Ryder BB gun, but everybody keeps telling him that: “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out”.


Cast: Peter Billingsley, Jean Shepherd, Zack Ward, Scott Schwartz, Ian Petrella, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, R. D. Robb, Tedde Moore, Jeff Gillen


Memorable Scenes: Triple Dog Dare, Flat Tire, Beating Up The Bully, Visiting Santa, Duck for Dinner


Memorable Quotes: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”, “Fra-ge-lay- must be Italian.”


Memorable Props: Red-Ryder BB Gun, Leg Lamp


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%


#1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)



Brief Description/Summary: After wishing that he had never been born, George Bailey is visited by his guardian angel who shows him all of the catastrophes that he prevented.


Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Karolyn Grimes, Henry Travers, Thomas Mitchell


Memorable Quotes: “Teacher says: “Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings””


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%


So, there you have it, ten movies that you should watch before December 26th. And remember, if you ever want to make a great Christmas film, just cast Jim Carrey, Catherine O’Hara, and/or Daryl Sabara; they’ve proven to be a factor more than once. Good memorable things such as scenes, songs, quotes, props, etc. help as well. Merry Christmas!

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Top 10 Christmas Movies Countdown