3. Home Alone 3 (1997)
Home Alone 3 was far from as good as the first few films, and it did feature an entirely new cast of characters and actors. But, if you were to judge it as a standalone holiday movie for kids, it was fine.
Written by the same John Hughes who wrote Home Alone 1 & 2, Home Alone 3 featured glimmers of the heart that went into the original films, though many of the creative (and somewhat ludicrous) set pieces devised for the original films seems to have been sorely missing for this Raja Gosnell (Never Been Kissed; Scooby-Doo; The Smurfs) directed entry.
Nevertheless, this movie is a huge step up from the two on this list so far, and even if it doesn’t feature the same level of creativity and sophistication of Home Alone 1 & 2, it does have enough about it to keep you interested, including an appearance from a very young Scarlett Johansson.
2. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
How could they forget poor Kevin again?!
This time misplacing the poor prepubescent cheeky chappy (played by original actor Macaulay Culkin) at Chicago airport and then boarding a flight to the torrential downpours of Florida, it is (to be fair) probably the flight company that is to blame for Kevin’s misfortunes this time as they let him board a plane to New York instead.
Questionable narrative trigger aside, this is one of the Home Alone franchise’s definitive holiday classics, the streets of New York showcasing the wonder and spectacle of Christmas (snow and all), while the narrative of the picture keeps the heart and spirit of the holiday at its core, Kevin ultimately realising that living it up on his Dad’s credit card in a Trump-owned hotel (watch out for the President’s cameo) is hardly as worthwhile or life affirming as befriending a homeless pigeon lady in Central Park. Oh, and The Wet Bandits Harry and Marv (Pesci and Stern) are back for all of the usual shenanigans.
With Chris Columbus and John Hughes teaming up behind the camera once again, this is one of those truly memorable children’s films that combines grown up themes with child-like wonder to offer a Christmas movie still watched year after year over a quarter of a century later.
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1. Home Alone (1990)
Home Alone (1990) remains the absolute pinnacle of the Home Alone franchise and arguably one of the all-time great children’s Christmas movies.
Combining the heartwarming talents of director Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire; Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone), screenwriter John Hughes (The Breakfast Club; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Planes, Trains and Automobiles) composer John Williams (Jaws; Star Wars; Jurassic Park; Harry Potter) and the innocence of star Macaulay Culkin and supporting talent John Candy, this movie was the once in a lifetime collaboration of talent that you’d likely only ever see on a 20-film franchise these days, only this was a totally fresh and original idea. It boggles the mind.
Every iconic image people hold in their heads of the Home Alone franchise comes from this movie, whether it’s Marv stepping on a nail, Harry being hit in the head by an iron, Kevin screaming after applying aftershave to his face or the creepy neighbour turned hero that likes to clear his driveway in the hope his family will soon visit him.
Above all, this Home Alone has the purest of ideas underpinning it: that Christmas is about love, forgiveness, sharing and family – there are simply no substitutes. This is an absolute classic in every sense of the word, a perfectly orchestrated holiday movie for all the family and absolutely the best Home Alone movie in the franchise.
“Keep the change ya filthy animal.”
Recommended for you: 10 Best Home Alone Moments
And there goes our list. Let us know if you agree by leaving a comment down below or tweeting us @thefilmagazine.