Christmas is almost upon us and the season of goodwill certainly has arrived and there is nothing better than curling up by the fire, avoiding all the crowded shops and watching the best Christmas movies there are around. But what are the best Christmas movies? This is a question that has plagued humanity since the advent of the Christmas film along with 'what do you even consider a Christmas film?' Here we pick 10 of our favorites and tell you why they should be rated so highly. Did your faves make the list? If not, tell us your top 10 & why in the comments below.
10. Batman Returns
Tim Burton revitalized the Batman franchise with his first film in the series and made it the dark, brooding, nihilistic collection it is today and when he made the follow up to it, he didn't let down with even zanier and darker characters thrown in. That's all well and good, but how is this a Christmas film?
It is set at Christmas time and uses the period perfectly to its advantage as there are candy cane missiles, clowns bursting out of presents with machine guns and fights in the snow. The film is underappreciated for its Christmassy-ness and needs to recognized as a classic of the genre!
9. A Charlie Brown Christmas
The animated classic that comes in at 25 minutes long, this has all your favourite Peanuts characters, an amazing Christmas Jazz score and a jolt of warmth and family-friendly humor to it all in under half an hour thus making it the perfect Christmas film for those busily trying to sort out the rest of their festive preparations.
Witty and charming, it is actually a lot better than many full-length Christmas films.
8. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
An action film where a private detective and a hammy actor team up to track down a missing woman in a Los Angeles beset by Christmas fever. Smart, funny and full of explosions, it makes a nice change of pace to the overtly emotional Christmas fare offered up in most films of the period whilst it also gives some genuine laughs.
With nods to action genre cliches as well, it is a far smarter film than you first might expect and has great chemistry between Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jnr.
7. The Snowman
An Oscar-nominated short film based on the children's book of the same name by Raymond Briggs, this is a beautifully animated piece that works is magic with no dialogue but a strikingly beautiful soundtrack and it is so ingrained in British culture that it is shown almost every year on television during the Christmas period.
Even if you're not a Brit you'll love this touching and heartfelt story of a snowman brought to life and as soon as you're finished with it, watch the equally as good sequel, The Snowman & The Snowdog. No, we're not crying, there's just something in our eye!
6. Edward Scissorhands
Tim Burton strikes again with an unusual Christmas film where he takes Americana into his aim with the spooky, gothic and downright visually stunning Edward Scissorhands which tells of a young lad with...well, scissors for hands. Christmas actually plays a big part in the movie and is vital to the ice sculptures and snow scenes.
It is both heart wrenching and touching at times and may be one of Burton's best pieces of work to date.
5. Home Alone
This is one of the quintessential Christmas movies for millennials everywhere as they got to live out the ultimate kid's fantasy of staying home alone, eating burgers and ice cream and then coming up with cool boobie traps to ward off burglars. It takes place as the parents head off for the Christmas holidays and forget their poor son Kevin.
Ignore the undertones of child neglect and enjoy the funny antics of Macaulay Culkin at his peak, even if that peak was very young.
Cute, furry creatures that spawn monstrous, scaly murders if you feed them after midnight or get them wet may sound more like a Halloween movie but this horror comedy is definitely peak Christmas as the little beasts run around causing havoc. Heck, Gizmo is an actual Christmas present so you can't deny this isn't a Christmas film.
Sweet, funny and full of action, it's perfect Christmas viewing!
3. Bad Santa
Not horror movie creepy but certainly disturbing in the way it picks apart an icon and brings him to his knees as a sex-addicted, alcoholic thief becomes a department store Santa every year so as to get better access to the stock so he might lift it with greater ease. A comedy, of sorts, it doesn't redeem the character or give them an arc but rather shows them further spiraling out of control.
Granted, the idea of the film is to derive dark humor from Santa brought low but it is still unnerving.
The fact that it is a rare comedy starring Will Ferrell that is actually worth watching should pique your interest, but his goofy, man-boyish charms are employed to best effect here when he has to play a naive human being, raised as an Elf with Santa's helpers who is then plunged into a cynical New York setting during the height of the commercial Christmas season.
It's warm and clever and very funny and deserves its place on this list.
1. It's A Wonderful Life
Well, it had to be Number 1, didn't it? The Christmas classic that takes the Great Depression and makes it...well, less depressing. A man who is lost is shown how the world would be without him and he goes on to show others how they can come together at Christmas time even in dire situations.
A tale of love and retribution, it is unashamedly sentimental and plays to it!