50 Unmissable Christmas Movies

16. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Review

John Hughes was well-known for his hearty teen movies, and when he followed up his beloved Thanksgiving film Planes, Trains and Automobiles with his first Christmas classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, he solidified himself as the contemporary era’s greatest holiday filmmaker too.

While Hughes didn’t direct Christmas Vacation, that job going to Jeremiah S. Chechik in his feature debut, his family-first mantra and excellent comedic story beats were on show in the script and his presence could be felt all over the rest of the film, some scenes reminiscent of Planes, Trains and Automobiles (particularly the highway road rage sequence) and other scenes previews of what was to come in Home Alone (the squirrel chase). With superstar comedic actor Chevy Chase pride of place as the patriarch of the Griswold family, and some talented comedy actors there to support him (Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Julia Louis-Dreyfus et al), this Christmas megahit became a cultural touchstone and a fondly remembered funny-old-time at the movies. JW

17. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Edward Scissorhands Review

The first entry into the Christmas movie canon by famed director of spooky creatures and individualistic souls, Tim Burton, brought Frankenstein’s monster into a seasonal context, Johnny Depp’s appropriately named scissors-for-hands creation learning of love, family and responsibility just as so many classic Christmas movie heroes have done over the decades, the townsfolk learning to put their differences aside in the true spirit of Christmas.

Starring an ensemble of hugely respected and iconic names including Winona Ryder, Anthony Michael Hall, Alan Arkin and even Vincent Price, Edward Scissorhands remains an exciting watch for all who want to see a superstar-led film presented in a unique and fun way. It may even tug on your heartstrings too! JW

18. Home Alone (1990)

10 Best Home Alone Moments

When people think of Christmas classics, they think of A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Story, and the John Hughes produced, Chris Columbus directed, Home Alone.

Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin McCallister is left home alone over Christmas after his parents forget him during a mad rush to the airport for their flight to Paris (“Kevin!”), eventually pitting young Kevin against two ruthless burglars, The Wet Bandits (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). What ensues is a tonne of festive fun. 1930s gangsters, pizza delivery boys and Christmas-themed booby traps all set to one of John Williams’ greatest scores equals one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. MC

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19. Batman Returns (1992)

Batman battles to keep Gotham City safe in the lead up to Christmas, coming up against new foes the Penguin, Catwoman and greedy industrialist Max Shreck.

What do you mean it’s not a Christmas movie? The last line of dialogue in Tim Burton’s second outing with the Caped Crusader is literally “Merry Christmas Alfred”. Gratifyingly, for a certain kind of movie goer, Burton made this Batman sequel even more “him”; for all the superhero spectacle and gothic visuals, this is all about a group of loners, costumed freaks trying to belong during the season of goodwill. SSP

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20. Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)

10 Best Home Alone 2: Lost In New York Moments

Another year, another failed holiday for the McCallister family. This time, Kevin makes the flight… but it’s the wrong one. We’re going to New York!

The brand new setting is a nice change that brings with it much more to play with, even if the rest of the film is almost an exact repeat of the first movie. Everything we have come to know and love from Home Alone is right here in this sequel. The same type of humour, another brilliant soundtrack, gorgeous cinematography showcasing NYC at Christmas, and of course the wonderful cast who brought the first movie to life. These qualities, alongside the additions of new cast members like Tim Curry, and the appropriately elevated gags, make Home Alone 2: Lost in New York a terrific sequel that is right there for you once you inevitably finish the first movie and want more of it in your life. MC

VIDEO [YouTube]: Home Alone Movies Ranked

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