Top 10 Best Christmas Movies of All Time

Top 10 Best Christmas Movies of All Time

Written by Savannah Sher

Get into the holiday spirit with these fantastic Christmas movies! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Greatest Movies for the Christmas Season Ever Made! But what will take the top spot on our list? Will it be Whit Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Watch to find out!

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Get ready to ring in the holiday cheer. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Another Top 10 Best Christmas Movies of All Time.

For this list, we’re looking at more of our favorite Christmas movies, but focusing on films where Christmas plays a large role in the plot, and excluding “alternative” Christmas movies like “Die Hard”... no matter how awesome it is.

#10: “Love Actually” (2003)

Whether you love it or not, nobody can deny that this rom-com oozes Christmas spirit. While we all know that main story lines, it’s the minor ones that really shine here. The aging rock star who professes his love for his manager? The porn stand-ins who adorably fall in love? The little kid who wants to impress his crush by playing drums and eventually runs through Heathrow airport in a totally unrealistic post-9/11 way? No matter how many times we see it, every holiday season we remember why we actually love this movie.

#9: “Bad Santa” (2003)

Based on the premise alone, you can tell that “Bad Santa” isn’t going to be a conventional holiday movie. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Willie T. Soke, an alcoholic and sex addict who dresses up as a mall Santa in an elaborate scheme to rob department stores. His collaborator is Marcus, who plays one of Santa’s elves. As dark and mean-spirited as this black comedy can be, our main character does manage to a find an eency-weency bit of good in himself and embrace the magic of the holidays. It’s ultimately a tale of redemption and, in Willie’s case, even the slightest good deed could be seen as a Christmas miracle.

#8: “The Bishop's Wife” (1947)

If you haven’t seen this classic Christmas movie, put it on your list this holiday season. “The Bishop’s Wife” stars old Hollywood film stars David Niven, Cary Grant, and Loretta Young, telling the story of a bishop who asks for divine intervention in his quest to build a cathedral. Grant plays Dudley, an angel who comes to lead the bishop onto the right path. The story culminates on Christmas Eve when all the characters have finally realized what is really important to them and all's right with the world.

#7: “The Polar Express” (2004)

Even if you didn’t see this Robert Zemeckis film as a kid, it’ll undoubtedly make you feel young at heart, especially when viewed during Christmastime. Based on a children’s picture book of the same name, “The Polar Express” uses a unique 3D animation style that makes it almost feel real. The story is one rife with childhood nostalgia, following a boy who boards a train headed for the North Pole. Coming out in 2004, this movie is one of the newer releases on our list, but it has all the makings of a perennial holiday classic. If you believe, you know you’ll still hear that bell ring, no matter how old you are.

#6: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

Welcome to Halloween Town... all hail the Pumpkin King! From the mind of Tim Burton, this stop-motion animated film has developed a massive cult following and its hero has become an emblem of misunderstood souls everywhere. Nobody does Halloween quite like Jack Skellington, but he decides to try celebrating a new holiday upon stumbling upon Christmas Town. What ensues is a holiday mashup of epic proportions as the season to be jolly clashes with the season to be scary. The big question is, “do you watch this movie at Halloween, at Christmas, or both?”

#5: “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992)

Based on the classic Charles Dickens story, “A Christmas Carol,” the Muppet version is a perfect adaptation for the younger set. The well known tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, his employee Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim is modernized to feature Muppets in all the major roles - as well as a few welcome additions like Gonzo the Great playing Dickens himself and Rizzo the Rat adding humorous commentary throughout. Oh, and of course there’s Michael Caine as Scrooge. The songs are catchy, the story is time-honored, and the jokes never get old. “The Muppet Christmas Carol” will always be a favorite.

#4: “A Christmas Carol” [aka “Scrooge”] (1951)

Speaking of Dickens, we’ve got another adaptation of this well known story on our list today. There have been multiple live-action movies made retelling this well-loved holiday tale and one of our favorites has to be the 1951 version. Internationally, it was titled “Scrooge,” but in the U.S. it is known simply as “A Christmas Carol.” Starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge himself, the film is a fairly close rendition of the Dickens’ novella, and Sim’s performance is a memorable one. If you want to go old school this Christmas, give this one a try.

#3: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964)

Over the years, Rankin/Bass Productions released a slew of animated specials that went on to achieve Christmas classic status. While there were several worthy candidates for this list, we’re singling out their 1964 stop-motion version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The special won the hearts of many with its timeless tunes, inventive story, and unforgettable cast of characters - featuring an elf who wants to be a dentist, a bouncing bumble, a helpful prospector, and of course the eponymous red-nosed reindeer. No holiday season is complete without it.

#2: “White Christmas” (1954)

Are you dreaming of a White Christmas? No matter where in the world you live, you can have one when watching this vintage holiday movie. The well known holiday tune was previously performed by Bing Crosby in 1942’s “Holiday Inn,” but was reprised in this 1954 film. Crosby also stars in “White Christmas,” which is set during World War II and tells the story of two entertainers who have to work together to save their commander’s lodge. It’s a heartwarming setup that’s sure to bring out the Christmas spirit in you.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Jingle All the Way” (1996)

“Arthur Christmas” (2011)

“A Christmas Tale” [aka "Un conte de Noël”] (2008)

#1: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965)

When it comes to annual Christmas specials, is there any one you look forward to watching more than this? After viewing “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” you could never look at an artificial tree the same way again. You might even be more inclined to pick out the saddest one in the lot. This special has been airing since 1965 and there’s a reason it has never gone out of style. It’s so simple, and yet so poignant, sincere, and touching. Are your dance moves ready for the school Christmas pageant? We hope so!

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