Top 10 Christmas films ranked!
Can’t believe 2015 is already coming close to the end and it’s Christmas again! Since last year the film reviews have grown (unfortunately recently I’ve been too busy to do a review of Spectre and Bridge of Spies) and I’ve also started ranking films. The Marvel Cinematic Universe and Back to the Future rankings were all the films in their own franchise/collection and today I going to rank the best Christmas films in my opinion, but because there are so many out there, I’ll be ranking the top 10 Christmas films.
These will be films that I have seen and must have some form of Christmas within the film itself, so not The Wizard of Oz! Be aware that there are spoilers; just read the first paragraph (description of film) if you don’t want anything spoiled!
The Polar Express
A young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express. During his adventure he learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.
All aboard!!! One of my favourite Christmas films when I was younger and I still enjoy it to this date. I remember distinctly that my Gran took me to see this at the Glasgow Science Centre (I think maybe twice); it was probably one of the first films I ever went to see there and it was amazing. The scene where the train is speeding almost vertically down the mountain like a rollercoaster was brilliant with the 3D effects. Also remember near the beginning of the film my gran started waving at the screen; I asked her what she was doing and it turned out she was waving at the snowman as the train leaves the main boy’s home (the snowman that’s in the poster). This was one of the first films to fully utilise the power of motion capture for an animation and is astounding how most of the characters are played by Tom Hanks including the Conductor, Santa Clause, the Hobo and even the hero boy!
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch (who hates Christmas and is annoyed with the out-of-control Christmas festivities in Whoville) conspires to deprive the Who’s of their favorite holiday by sneaking into town on Christmas eve to steal everything associated with the holiday.
Dr Suess’ stories are probably up there as the most popular children stories in history for their distinctive and strange style. So far, 4 of his stories have been made into full-length feature films, but only 2 are truly successful in capturing his style and story telling in my opinion. First is Horton Hears a Who which is visually brilliant and captures the unique style of the book’s illustrations, and secondly is the Grinch. A big reason why they are so brilliant, is because of energetic performance from Jim Carrey; neither of them would have been the same without him!
A Christmas Carol
An animated retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.
Yet another Christmas film featuring the talents of Jim Carrey and the first version of “A Christmas Carol” in this list! This is another film created by the creative minds of The Polar Express and so utilises the magic of motion capture as well as featuring Jim Carrey as multiple characters; Scrooge (of course), the younger versions of Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. As I’ve said there are other versions of A Christmas Carol on this list; the reason that this is on the list is because it relates to the original book so much and is an ideal representation of what Charles Dickens was trying to portray; there’s humour, tears, and even some scary bits which I’d say could be quite much for young kids! I remember going to see this at the Glasgow Science Centre IMAX as well; as a change from seeing the Polar Express. Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Future were freaky; wasn’t expecting as many jump scares in this film which was good!
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
It’s Christmas time and the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark, his wife Ellen and their two kids.
This is a film that I only first watched in the last 2 years; my family are big fans of John Hughes films like Uncle Buck, Planes Trains and Automobiles, The Breakfast Club. He didn’t direct this film; he wrote the script and was the executive producer, but this film still shouts out John Hughes motifs throughout like the humour which should be deemed inappropriate for kids, but is just gone with; what other family films can get away with a quote like: “We’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.”
An 8-year old troublemaker must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.
Unlike Christmas Vacation, Home Alone is a John Hughes (written and produced) film that I’ve grown up with and I often thought my wee brother Calum looked like Kevin when he was younger and would leave nails on the stairs or set irons ready fall. This is another example of a John Hughes film which is self confessed a family comedy (“without the family”), but features moments that almost look like the violent humour that you would see in the old 40’s cartoons like Tom & Jerry or the Looney Tunes. As well as the comedy there is a sentimental side to this film; as Kevin realises he misses his family, he advices an old man, he originally misjudged, to speak to his family who he fell out with and misses dearly. The film ends with the old man hugging his family outside in the snow on Christmas day; with the brilliant music of John Williams it is quite an emotional ending.
Competing against the rival school for the honor of best reviewed nativity in town, the stakes are raised when Paul Maddens boasts that his ex-girlfriend Jennifer, a Hollywood Producer, is coming to see his school’s nativity with the intention to turn it into a film.
This is another film I’ve only seen in the recent years, but I knew when I watched it I would really enjoy it. It is the genuine performances from all the kids especially wee Bob; their attitude and glee are really what made this a feel-good film. Martin Freeman was great as the ranting teacher too. Ashley Jenson and Martin Freeman were both in their own Ricky Gervais sit-com, and ironically Nativity! almost feels like Extras where the main character is trying to impress everyone and things are falling apart all around him. But in this family film, they manage to pull off a successful nativity with catchy tunes. One thing I will say is that the 2 sequels to this film look no where as good as this was.
Frank Cross runs a US TV station which is planning a live adaptation of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Frank’s childhood wasn’t a particularly pleasant one, and so he doesn’t really appreciate the Christmas spirit. With the help of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, Frank realises he must change.
Here is the 2nd Christmas Carol themed film in my list: SCROOGED! A comedy featuring the brilliant Bill Murray in a modernised version of the Dickensian tale! Anything with Bill Murray is brilliant…well with the exception of Garfield. This is a slightly more adult version of A Christmas Carol, but merges merges spooks with the humour of Bill Murray and it works perfectly! Lew Hayward (Frank’s departed friend) is a back-from-the-dead golfer, the ghost of christmas past is a cabby, and the ghost of christmas present is a mad sugarplum fairy which enjoys whacking Frank especially in the balls! So going by that, you can safely assume that this is comedy that will be memorable!
The Muppet Christmas Carol
A comical retelling of the classic Dickens tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, with the iconic muppets. He is held accountable for his dastardly ways during night-time visitations by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and future.
I think a better way to look at it is Home Alone was more of family favourite with my dad’s side and the Muppet Christmas Carol was more with my mum’s side when I was growing up. My aunt Voirrey (mum’s sister) takes great pride in her impersonation of Miss Piggy as Mrs Cratchit! I absolute love the Muppets, which is what makes this a great version of the Christmas Carol story. Their Treasure Island film was great as well, but unfortunately their other films haven’t been that good. I don’t see why they didn’t continue making more adaptions of classic stories since that’s what seems to be best!
After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity.
One of the funniest films of all time, let alone one of the best Christmas films! The whole film is funny from start to finish, but the part when the manager announces that Santa’s coming to town and Buddy’s over hysterical reaction is probably the funniest. Will Ferrell was made for the role of Buddy the Elf! It’s unbelievable how genuinely childlike Will Ferrell throughout the film from believing the “World’s best cup of coffee” sign to thinking perfume was eatable fruit spray to misjudging a small person as an elf. The scene where everyone is singing to raise the Christmas spirit is very uplifting; so remember, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”
It’s a Wonderful Life
George Bailey is good man who is loyal to his home town, Bedford Falls and it’s residents but during a time of trial he seriously considers throwing away his life. An angel named Clarence comes down from heaven to help George by showing what life would be like if he never existed.
There’s not many films can make me or my dad cry, but this one gets us every time; I’m away at the beginning when George doesn’t deliver the medicine! It’s a Wonderful Life warms the cockles of your heart through it’s humour, charm, jollity and just when you empathise with George in his sorrow, you will rejoice with tears of joy when he is surrounded by all of his loved ones, singing Auld Lang Syne. It is one of the most universally loved films ever made especially at Christmas time (even although a small portion of it is actually set in Christmas time) and probably my favourite of all films. You’ll have seen it featured in other films like Home Alone, Christmas Vacation and many others! If you want to read my full review of it from last year, click here.
Hope you enjoyed my list of the top ten Christmas films! Do you agree with the order that I’ve put these films in? What order would you put them in? Which is your favourite? Comment what you think below and be sure to look out for other ranked films in the future! If you liked this list of ranked films, you may be interested in the Back to the Future and Marvel Cinematic Universe (Phase 1 and 2) lists!
Below are honourable mentions of Christmas films I’ve seen which were close to making the list!: