50 Unmissable Christmas Movies

31. Love Actually (2003)

A rather depressing universal truth seems to be that Christmas just isn’t what it used to be. This may be because we are no longer kids and the magic of that time of year has naturally suppressed itself, but when you watch films like White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street and Home Alone something seems missing. A possible answer as to why or how this happened is simple: Love Actually used up the rest of our collective Christmas cheer.

Telling ten individual stories of love at Christmas, Love Actually truly feels like it exudes pure happiness, like it’s the last remnant of what Christmas used to be. With love aplenty in this marvellous British classic, there are also tears and laughter, each response as visceral as the last. With a wonderful cast, some sweet writing and a beautifully snow-covered London, Love Actually is a film that never fails to break you out of the blues. MC

Recommended for you: 10 Best Love Actually Moments

32. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Tokyo Godfathers Review

An unconventional found family living on the streets in Tokyo at Christmas find and care for an abandoned baby girl before questing to reunite her with her parents.

An under-seen holiday classic for many years, Satoshi Kon’s film finally seems to have been embraced by a new audience thanks largely to some passionate online cheerleaders. Its vividly memorable characters, rough and energetic animation style and raucous humour paired with a righteous socially conscious fury makes it quite unlike anything else you’re likely to watch this time of year. SSP

Recommended for you: 10 Great Anime Films for Newcomers

33. The Polar Express (2004)

The Polar Express Review

Although divisive in its day and arguably more critically panned in our current moment largely due to its reliance on the underdeveloped motion capture technology that underpinned the presentation with an odd uncanny valley version of CGI children, The Polar Express is at its heart a traditional Christmas story filled with the wholesomeness of the season.

Directed by Back to the Future’s Robert Zemeckis, and starring Tom Hanks in a number of key roles, The Polar Express is perhaps most fondly remembered for its iconic original Christmas music written by famed composer Alan Silvestri and performed by soothing vocalist Josh Groban. Even so, there is plenty to enjoy here, especially for those who can suspend their disbelief long enough to look beyond the effects of relatively primitive technology. JW

34. Joyeux Noël (2005)

Joyeux Noël Review

French director Christian Carion brought together actors from across Europe to illuminate his movie about the true circumstances surrounding the famous armistice of World War I in which allied soldiers and German soldiers agreed to a ceasefire on Christmas Day.

Starring would be Marvel Cinematic Universe actor Daniel Brühl and Billy Elliot’s Gary Lewis at the head of an eclectic cast, this moving depiction of commonality shared amongst people with opposing missions is a heart-wrenching depiction of true to life events that is bound to bring a tear to your eye at this most nostalgic and thankful of holidays. JW

35. The Holiday (2006)

The Holiday Review

Writer-director Nancy Meyers, known for The Parent Trap and Something’s Gotta Give, brought together acting juggernauts Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black for a seasonal romance that had more in common with its British cousins Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually than the Hollywood movies of the era. The result was a film that has become a beloved must-watch for millions each and every year.

When Kate Winslet’s British journalist Iris and Cameron Diaz’s American film trailer editor Amanda do a house swap at Christmas, they experience vastly different winters to the ones they’re used to and find all that they’re looking for in the mysterious men that become parts of their lives. Filled with emotional highs and a heap of movie references, this is one for film fans and rom-com lovers alike. JW

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