10 Greatest Christmas Films
As we continue to hurtle towards Christmas, we decided that our penultimate article of the year would have a festive feel to it, and this year we take a look at the 10 Greatest Christmas Films’ according to a poll that was conducted in 2018 on RadioTimes.com. The poll received 7,000 votes.
We want to know whether you agree with this list, would you have added any to this list, and therefore which would you have taken away to keep it as a top 10. At the end of the list, we have added 2 of our favourite Christmas film, although choosing a favourite Christmas film is an exceedingly difficult task to do.
So, without any further ado, lets get into the countdown!
In 10th place on the poll was the 1951 film, Scrooge.
As the name would suggest this is an adaptation of the famous 1843 novel by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. The film starred Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Of course, the premise of the film is to show Ebenezer the error of his ways and to encourage him to be more generous during the Christmas period. The visit of the ghosts helps Scrooge to see 3 Christmas’ covering the past, present, and future. The journey with the Ghosts helps Ebenezer to see the error of his ways.
The film ends with Scrooge playing a trick on his employee, Bob Cratchit whom he reluctantly gave paid holiday to on Christmas Eve, the trick being that he was firing him for being late into work, which turned into a wage rise instead.
There have been many adaptations of this work of Charles Dickens, this is the only all human cast version to get into the top 10. Interestingly, the film was one of the biggest box office films in Britain, but was a disappointment in the US, although it made its headway in the US market on TV being shown repeatedly over the 50s and 60s in the US, becoming a Christmas favourite over the pond.
Onwards up the results of the poll we go into the 9th favourite film, which is White Christmas released in 1954. The title track of the soundtrack will be of no surprise, but interesting it was a new version of the song used in Holiday Inn in 1942, where Bing Crosby initially introduced the now familiar Christmas tune.
When singers Bob Wallace and Phil Davis join Sister Act Betty and Judy Haynes to perform in rural Vermont, they run into General Waverley, the boys Commander from their World War II army days. They learn that the General is having financial difficulties, his Inn is failing.
So, what do the foursome decide to do? That’s right they put on a Christmas musical extravaganza that is sure to put General Waverley back on steadier ground.
Continuing with the poll, and at number 8 we find the 2004 classic Polar Express. Polar Express is a computer animated Christmas film. The film is based on the 1985 book Polar Express written by Chris Van Allsburg.
The film tells the story of a young boy who doubts the existence of Father Christmas. The story sees a mysterious train bound for The North Pole stop outside the boys’ window, and he is invited aboard by the conductor.
The train is headed for the North Pole where Father Christmas is busy preparing Christmas.
The magic of the train continues when it arrives at the North Pole, with the conductor telling the children that one of them will be lucky enough to receive the first present from the big man in red.
Although we don’t want to ruin the film for those that have not seen it, it ends with a very festive ideal, in that the bell still rings for all who truly believe.
Number 7 in the poll sees Chevy Chase return in his role of Clark Griswold in The National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The film sees the trial and tribulations of the Griswold family as they try to have a big family Christmas. It is fair to say if it can go wrong, it absolutely does for the Griswold family during this Christmas.
Clark really should have seen how his Christmas plans would turn out right from the start when the family drove out into the country to find a tree. Once at the largest tree, they realise they had brought no tools to chop the tree down, and therefore have no choice but to uproot the tree and travel back with it tied to the roof of their car.
To give you an idea of another event that occurs for the Griswold’s is the occasion of the big light switch on, Clark has decorated the outside of the house with 25,000 lights. Once he gets them work, they cause a city-wide electricity outage!
Some would say the poor Griswold family all they wanted was a Family Christmas together! But in true National Lampoon style it was never going to run smoothly.
Onto film number 6 in the chart, we go now, and the 1988 film Die Hard. The idea of a tower block being seized doesn’t make you automatically think Christmas film, however the action is set on Christmas Eve. This makes the film a Christmas Movie and is regularly rated as one of the best Christmas movies of all time!
The movie starts with John McClane going to the tower block to reconcile his relationship with his estranged wife Holly, the movie then follows McClane as he attempts to free the seized tower block from the captures and save his wife. Will he succeed? Will the radicals get their demands met? Well, we aren’t going to tell you as we don’t want to spoil the film for anyone that hasn’t seen this one. All we will say is this is more Action All the Way’ than Jingle All the Way’!
In 1990, one of the most loved Christmas movies of all time was released, and in the poll, it reached number 5. This movie stars a young Macauley Culkin as KEVIN!
The premise of the film is about an 8-year-old boy who is accidently left at home while the rest of his extended family go on a family vacation to Paris. While he is Home Alone Kevin has to learn how to look after himself, as well as defend his house from the Wet Bandits. A duo of burglars who have done their homework, identifying houses that will be empty over the Christmas period.
When they realise that the house is occupied by an 8-year-old, they plan to rob the house anyway, leaving Kevin to think of weird and wacky ways of thwarting their attempts.
It is fair to say in the real world, the stunts used by Kevin would have killed the burglars, but in true Hollywood fashion its laughs and fun all the way in this Christmas classic.
Onto Number 4 in the poll of the 10 Greatest Christmas Films according to Radio Times and we find the 2003 Rom-Com Love Actually.
The film explores 10 individual stories, starting 5 weeks out from the big day culminating in an epilogue 1 month after Christmas. As the stories develop it is seen that many of the stories and characters are inter-linked in some way.
The film is probably most well known for the silent door scene, as the character holds up large cue cards with the message, he wants to get across to Juliet informing her of his love for her. Alternatively, the most recognisable scene is set in the airport as Sam slips through security and catches up with Joanna, who calls him by name and reveals that she likes him too.
Need a little light relief after all that love? Well lucky for you at Number 3 in the poll we find Kermit and Miss Piggy, staring in the 1992 film The Muppet Christmas Carol, the second of the movies on the countdown that is based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Although, The Muppet Christmas Carol has some artistic licence allowing for the Muppets, the film broadly follows the original story. Michael Caine stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, alongside Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy as Bob and Mrs Cratchit, respectively.
So, I hear you cry, what could possibly beat these brilliant films but not be top of the pile? Well, we can reveal that in second place is the 2003 masterpiece starring Will Farrell as Buddy the Elf.
Without giving too much away for those that haven’t seen it, if not where have you been?!, Buddy leaves the North Pole to find his biological dad, Walter Hobbs, who wants nothing to do with his son, who arrives dressed as an Elf, having been brought up as an Elf by Papa Elf and the Elves in the North Pole. Not only does Buddy bring his dad around, but he also finds love with Jovie.
We also learn that the magic to make the sleigh fly is Christmas Spirit!
And so, we arrive at the Best Christmas of all time according to the poll, and the accolade of the Greatest Christmas Film goes to 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life.
In It’s a Wonderful Life, we meet George Bailey. George is a man that has given up his own dreams and aspirations in order to help others in the community. On Christmas Eve, George has seen his life spiral down further and further and sees no choice for himself other than to attempt suicide. Although, before he can attempt this, his Guardian Angel, Clarence Odbody, appears to show George how he has affected people’s lives, and what the lives of his loved ones would look like had he never been born.
The irony of the film is that it is called It’s a Wonderful Life, and for 120-minutes of the 130-minute running time, it doesn’t look like it actually is a Wonderful life for George. Happily, the film ends with a happy ending. Where we see George at home with his family.
We learn at the end of the film, courtesy of George’s youngest daughter Zuzu, that every time a bell on the Christmas Tree rings it means an Angel has earned its wings.
So, there we have it the result of a poll to find the Greatest Christmas Film of all time. Do you agree with these choices? Would you add any or even remove any of these from the list? Let us know in the comments section below.
The list in full reads:
10. Scrooge (1951)
9. White Christmas (1954)
8. The Polar Express (2004)
7. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
6. Die Hard (1988)
5. Home Alone (1990)
4. Love Actually (2003)
3. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
2. Elf (2003)
1. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
We thought about Christmas films, and we feel that there are 2 films missing off the list, again let us know if you agree with us.
One of the films that we would add is 1988’s Ernest Saves Christmas. When a man claiming to be Santa Claus himself turns up in Orlando and jumps into Ernest P. Worrell’s cab a series of events get unleashed and a comedy of errors begins.
Ernest being a man who loves Christmas, takes Santa Claus on the journey in his taxi, collecting a fallen Christmas tree from the carriageway as he goes. We learn that Santa in in Orlando to find the man chosen as the next Santa Claus, Joe Carruthers.
Santa accidently leaves his sack in the back of the taxi, and Ernest then tries to track him down to retrieve it, along the way meeting Harmony. We also find that dock workers have a crate addressed to Helper Elves for collection on Christmas Eve, again Ernest helps to deliver these to the right place.
We won’t give away whether a new Santa is found is not, but definitely a fun film to watch over the festive period, if it can be found being shown, as this appears to be a gem that is often missed off the schedules.
Lastly, ladies and Gentlemen, we leave you with a film that says, Its Christmas, and it definitely isn’t Christmas at Fox Towers if this film has not been watched. The film in question is Santa Claus: The Movie.
David Huddleston is Santa Claus in this film and has to be the best depiction of the big man on film.
The film starts by showing the origins of Santa Claus, when we meet Claus a wood cutter who delivers hand crafted wooden toys to children of his village at Christmas accompanied by his wife Anya and his reindeer, Donner, and Blitzen. As they get caught in blizzard, they are saved and taken to the North Pole, as prophesied according to lead Elf Dooley.
As the film develops, Santa looks for an Elf to be his Assistant and Patch wins the competition, having made a machine that helps automate the toy making process. Unbeknownst to Patch and Santa, the machine malfunctions and makes shoddy toys which are then returned to the North Pole. Patch resigns in disgrace and moves to New York City, where he meets and falls under the spell of B.Z.
Next Christmas Eve, Santa meets Joe, a homeless child. It is Joe that helps lead the redemption of Patch and encourages Santa to help Patch when he gets into a sticky situation.
Sadly, both David Huddleston who played Santa Claus and Dudley Moore who portrayed Patch have both passed away in recent years, but their Christmas legacy carries on in the movie.
All it leaves us to do is to wish you enjoyment of watching festive films over the coming days,
To wish you all,
Customers, Suppliers, Family and Friends
A VERY Merry Christmas
Happy New Year for 2022.