Top Twelve Heart-Warming Christmas / Holiday Movies

Top Ten Christmas Movies

Last year Brad listed his list of Top Ten Deranged Christmas Flicks. Well, I had to throw my hat in the ring with a completely different list… a list for the holiday softies. So light the fire, warm the coco and grab a blanket… What follows is my list of the twelve best Christmas/Holiday movies to warm your heart.

When you compare the twelve films that follow to the two lists I just mentioned, three of them can be found on Deranged Christmas Flicks, but perhaps the most interesting fact of them all is that all three lists share the exact same film in the #1 slot. Weird… right?

So browse through these three pages where I say a few words about each film, offer up some clips and trailers and, in the case of three of the movies, I was able to actually include the entire film thanks to the video gurus at YouTube. I hope you enjoy…

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles poster
This is perhaps the best film John Hughes made during his illustrious career other than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s certainly the most poignant and heartwarming.

Ostensibly a Thanksgiving film, Planes, Trains and Automobiles follows two men trying to get home in time for turkey dinner with the family and is a great way to get into the Holiday spirit. The film was greeted with critical applause in 1987, a surprising revelation given that, at the time, Steve Martin and John Candy were both known as relatively low-brow comedians and Hughes was considered a teen angst filmmaker.

Tim Burton’s the Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton's the Nightmare before Christmas
Some people think of this as more of a Halloween film than a Christmas film, but who cares? Nightmare Before Christmas is the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King who rules over Halloween and his attempt to take over Christmas Town and usurp Santa Claus as the keeper of the Christmas holiday flame. Directed, not by Tim Burton, but rather his Cal Arts buddy Henry Selick, Nightmare is one of the most innovative films of the last 20 years and brought stop motion animation back from the dead. The film has gone on to become one of the most successful cult films of all-time with devotees who snatch up Nightmare memorabilia whenever it is made available. Not to mention the film continued to be a hit 13 years after it first hit theaters, snatching up over $23 million in 2006 and 2007 when it was re-released in 3D.

Christmas in July (1940)
Christmas in July
This is technically not a holiday film at all, but it does have Christmas in its title. This screwball comedy is my personal favorite from Preston Sturges and I love almost all of Sturges’ films from The Great McGinty to The Lady Eve to The Palm Beach Story to Sullivan’s Travels.

As for Christmas in July, it stars the one and only Dick Powell and Ellen Drew and clocks in at a blazing fast 61 minutes, putting to rest the notion that quantity is more important than quality. I have no idea what the title means and I couldn’t find anything on the web, either. “If you can’t sleep at night, it isn’t the coffee – it’s the bunk!”

Interested? Well the whole thing can be watched directly below thanks to YouTube.

Scrooged (1988)
This loose adaptation is a demonstration of everything that is wrong, and right about Hollywood films. Overblown, overstuffed and way more expensive than a film should be, Richard Donner’s Scrooged was a minor hit when it came out back in 1988 and most likely lost money at the box-office. But it starred Bill Murray at the height of his powers and gave him free rein to do what he does best. Be Bill Murray. One of the most engaging comic performers of all time.

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