50 Unmissable Christmas Movies

41. Carol (2015)

A chance meeting between a department store shop clerk and an elegant, unhappily married socialite soon leads to a Christmas getaway and a passionate but doomed affair.

Todd Haynes crafted one of his finest, most subtly, sensually beautiful films with this seasonal tragic queer romance. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are equally brilliant and have enough chemistry to set the screen ablaze, Haynes sensitively capturing their at first tentative then tender and tactile attraction to each other. SSP

42. The Night Before (2015)

Three lifelong friends spend Christmas Eve night in New York City, drinking, partaking in drugs, and attending numerous parties in the most of-its-era comedy on this list. Think Pineapple Express and Christmas with a hint of director Jonathan Levine’s own 2011 film 50/50.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie head-up this film’s all-star cast which also includes Lizzy Caplan, Jillian Bell, Mindy Kaling, Tracy Morgan, Miley Cyrus, and Michael Shannon in a hilarious supporting role, but it’s the film’s rapid pace and endless run of jokes that make it a seasonal favourite, The Night Before capturing the same erratic energy of similar films from the time and tying that to themes of togetherness and brotherhood that make it a good watch for friend groups and families alike. JW

43. Tangerine (2015)

Tangerine follows the turbulent personal and work lives of trans sex worker Sin-Dee and her associates on Christmas Eve in Hollywood.

Sean Baker loves to document the lives of underclass cultures with unadorned naturalism and captured this unusually grounded Christmas-set tale entirely on iPhones. A grim and sticky donut shop wouldn’t be most people’s idea of a festive location but Baker and his talented non-professional cast fronted by Kitana Kiki Rodriguez elevates the setting to something bittersweet, even romantic, a stable meeting point where friendship and your sense of self can survive any kind of crap day the world might throw at you. SSP

44. Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

If this list of the fifty unmissable Christmas movies proves anything, it’s that Christmas isn’t just for love, joy, goodwill and, of course, presents, it is also for knife-wielding maniacs, gun-toting action heroes, and even zombies!

This isn’t just any zombie film, this is a high school musical Christmas zombie film. Remarkably, Anna and the Apocalypse is even more fun than it sounds, boasting a brilliant soundtrack of catchy musical numbers, a cast of characters that you could spend all day with, and some wonderful gore to go along with it. Though most associate red and white with the colours of Father Christmas, films like Anna and the Apocalypse understand that one alternative association of these colours could be with snow and blood. MC

45. The Christmas Chronicles (2019)

Netflix Original The Christmas Chronicles is a landmark of Christmas franchise for the streaming era, and it all started with this Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn family-first movie about two children who go on a journey with Santa Claus (Russell) after attempting to capture him on camera.

Whilst entertaining and accessible, this film must also be commended for its commentary on the ways we consume media in the current day. Our behaviours have changed and our films have evolved to showcase that (mostly), with The Christmas Chronicles not shying away from modern technological conveniences in an attempt to offer a sense of nostalgia. With an approach to casting that feels as wholesome as the film’s seasonally appropriate messaging, this is one streaming release the whole family can enjoy. JW

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