50 Unmissable Christmas Movies

21. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Muppet Christmas Carol Review

Over 30 years since first hitting the screens, The Muppet Christmas Carol is arguably the finest Muppet film ever made. The adaptation of the incredibly influential Dickens novel stars Michael Caine as Ebeneezer Scrooge, learning to change his covetous, stingy ways to become warm-hearted and charitable in times of giving, thanks to the help of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, The Great Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, and a host of other characters, both human and fabric alike.

This is somehow one of Caine’s best performances, bringing a delightfully nuanced interpretation of the character, complete with singing. Speaking of singing, the songs are catchy, the direction and cinematography is perfect, and the all-knowing postmodern Gonzo as Dickens with Rizzo as a
sidekick are an incredible duo. The added lines not in the novel fit in flawlessly enough to forget which are added just for the film. It’s pure charm and fun and culture to boot. One of the modern Christmas classics, and the best adaptation of the book. It’s the perfect Christmas Eve family film, and will undoubtedly have helped thousands of GCSE English students in the UK pass their exams as a bonus. KJ

Recommended for you: The Muppets Movies Ranked

22. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas Review

Conceived by Tim Burton but brought to life by Henry Selick, The Nightmare Before Christmas is the story of Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, and his quest for more meaning in life. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, a sparkling landscape where no one’s arm is sewn on with twine and soup isn’t made of frog’s breath and deadly nightshade. Jack makes the misguided decision to bring Christmas to Halloween Town. Shockingly, ghouls, phantoms and beasties aren’t born with the festive spirit ingrained.

Upon its release, The Nightmare Before Christmas was relatively successful, and was the first animated film to be nominated for the Best Visual Effects Academy Award. In the years that have followed, it has garnered a loyal following and has become a Christmas classic. Naysayers may argue that this is a Halloween film, and while it is one of the more gruesome seasonal children’s films, its overarching themes about community, love and self-acceptance place this firmly in the Christmas film category, regardless of how many pumpkins are in the frame. ML

23. Little Women (1994)

Little Women (1994) Review

25 years before Greta Gerwig brought Little Women into the homes of modern audiences, ensuring the lasting impact of Louisa May Alcott’s seminal work, Gillian Armstrong co-wrote and directed her own all-star ensemble version; a movie that is arguably even better than the most recent rendition.

Starring Winona Ryder as Jo March at the head of a cast that includes Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Samantha Mathis, Gabriel Byrne, Eric Stoltz and even Christian Bale, Little Women is more headstrong in its desire to present the values of family and the spirit of togetherness than other versions, sending strong messages about sisterhood and friendship that continue to move and inspire people to this day. JW

24. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

Les Mayfield’s take on the Classic Hollywood Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street wasn’t the out-and-out classic that the 1947 version is, but with Richard Attenborough offering a truly great and wholesome late career performance and Matilda actor Mara Wilson exceptional as the young child who is at first dubious of his credentials as Father Christmas, this 1994 version was a staple of many a childhood.

Bringing this story into a post-1980s context means that it does suffer from some of its wholesome and seasonally appropriate messaging getting lost to more ultra-capitalist themes, but this is a celluloid Christmas as much as any other film on the list – the white beard, the red suit, the Christmas lights and Christmas trees; it’s all there. JW

25. The Santa Clause (1994)

When Santa unexpectedly falls from Tim Allen’s roof and dies, the title of Father Christmas is anointed to Allen, gifting him (or is it cursing him) to an eternity as Santa Claus. That’s the Santa clause…

Fun makeup and costuming moments help the voice of Buzz Lightyear transition from regular old dad to rotund father of all of Christmas in no time, his beard growing at an alarming rate and his hair greying just as fast. It’s a fun movie, with the typical Christmas film theme of the restored father figure being central to its narrative – how can an almost absent father be a good dad when he’s got millions of children to deliver presents to? It might not have been a critical hit, but The Santa Claus belongs in your advent calendar of Christmas goodies this season. JW

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Leave a Comment