Top 20 Christmas movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more

Christmas only comes once a year, hence the need for making wise entertainment decisions. Whether it's Macaulay Culkin fending off the wet bandits, Will Ferrell slipping into his elf-sized shoes, or Bruce Willis beating up terrorists, some festive films are just as important to Christmas as the tree. But if you don't have the time, space or sanity left to pick up all your much-loved Christmas movies don't worry, because this year it's all about streaming. There's something for everyone on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and a bunch of other places. And as our gift to you, I've rounded up the best movies to stream and where you can watch them. Merry Christmas! 

Just want the best Christmas movies full stop? Here you go. 

20. Happy Christmas (2014)  

Where you can watch: Netflix (UK, US) 

The film: Had enough of the selfless generosity of the festive season? Then this is the film for you. After going through a painful break-up Jenny moves in with her brother, his wife and their two-year-old child. 

Indie queen Anna Kendrick steals the show as that very trainwreck. It's as if the spirit of Christmas has deserted her and she's been replaced by an egocentric, alcoholic robot. Alright, so she's basically Bender. Drinking Buddies director Joe Swanberg enlists the always-brilliant Melanie Lynskey and Girls' Lena Dunham to round out the cast.  

19. Scrooged (1988)

Where you can watch: Netflix (UK, US) 

The film: Charles Dickens' classic gets a blackly comedic do-over with Bill Murray cast as the Ebenezer Scrooge-esque Frank Cross. Instead of being a Victorian miser, here he plays a cynical TV executive who doesn't give a flying hoot about Christmas and is only interested in bettering his career. his high-powered position hangs in the balance on Christmas Eve depending on how successful the network's live TV broadcast of A Christmas Carol goes. 

Coincidentally, that iconic trio of ghosts pay him a visit in the middle of all that. Murray does meta! Yes, it's a little self-referential, and it surprisingly works well due to Murray's dry-as-a-bone comic timing. A cracking slice of black comedy to balance out the scores of syrupy movies clogging up the TV at Chrimbo. 

18. The Polar Express (2004)

Where you can watch: Amazon Prime UK, iTunes US) 

The film: When it first opened, folks weren't sure what to make of Robert Zemeckis' ambitious Christmas flick. An animated caper telling of a magical train that scoops up kiddies, whisking them away on a journey to the North Pole, it escapes the "been there, done that" element through style. 

How so? Well, this is one of the first big-budget motion-capture flicks. Sorry, one of the first that doesn't include Gollum. Tom Hanks' turn as the conductor is absolutely brilliant, and a sign of things to come for the CGI medium. You'll be enchanted by the story and the tech.  

17. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) 

Where you can watch: Netflix (UK), Showtime (US) 

The film: One of the best Christmas horrors also doubles as a terrific seasonal slasher. Santa Claus is a figure to be feared in this eighties stalk n'slash, that essentially recreates Halloween but with someone in a red and white outfit instead of a William Shatner mask. 

The knife-wielding maniac at its heart - the terrifyingly-named Andy - turns into a savage Santa after witnessing the vicious murders of his parents. Takes him a decade or two to let that repressed rage simmer, but once it does, he's out for blood. Perhaps not one to watch with gran. 

16. Jingle All The Way (1996) 

Where you can watch: Netflix (UK), Google (US) 

The film: Two dads go head-to-head at Christmas time in a bid to buy the most sought after toy for sale. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays workaholic Howard Langston, whose long hours in the office mean he has little time for his family. In a last ditch attempt to salvage his sons affections and save Christmas, Howard battles his way through the crowds to get his son the toy of the moment, Turbo-Man. 

It may not boast a sophisticated plot, but if you're looking for some silly fun this film won't disappoint. 

15. A Christmas Carol (2009) 

Where to watch it:  Amazon Video (UK, US) 

The film: This CGI-animation is based on the famous Christmas tale by Charles Dickens. Not only that, it's also Disney's third adaptation of the film after The Muppet Christmas Carol and Mickey's Christmas Carol. The big difference in this retelling is the use of motion-capture, bringing a new edge to the well-trod story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his visit from the Ghosts of Past, Present and Future. 

After putting on a festive frown as the Grinch, Jim Carrey gives his second cranky Christmas performance as Scrooge with Colin Firth, the late Bob Hoskins and Gary Oldman in supporting roles. This is one for the whole family. 

14. Just Friends (2005)

Where you can watch: Netflix US, Amazon Video UK 

The film: As Deadpool 2 is only in pre-production, an eventual Christmas spin-off might be a few years away. Luckily, Ryan Reynolds pretty much did one in 2005's Just Friends. He might not be called Wade Wilson, yet Reynolds' character Chris Brander behaves just like the Merc with a Mouth. 

Once a portly teen, Brander is now a suave, smooth and sophisticated music industry guy who returns home to woo the girl he once loved (Amy Smart). The Christmas setting ups the romance factor and the addition of Anna Faris as a bonkers pop star ups the chuckles. 

13. Love Actually (2003)

Where you can watch: Netflix (US), TalkTalk (UK) 

The film: With the help of an A-list British cast Richard Curtis tells several Christmassy tales at once, all centred on the theme of - you guessed it - love.   

Hugh Grant is the fun-loving Prime Minister with a crush on his assistant, Emma Thompson is the hard-working wife whose husband (Alan Rickman) has eyes for another, Andrew Lincoln is the best man who is in love with his friend's wife (Keira Knightley), and Liam Neeson is the widower whose son is falling in love for the first time. 

Don't miss Bill Nighy's embarrassing old rocker routine too. Cheesier than a gigantic wodge of brie, but charming in its own way. 

12. The Santa Clause (1994) 

Where you can watch:  Netflix (US), TalkTalk (UK), NowTV (UK) 

The film: Home Improvement's John Pasquin and Tim Allen take their audience on a jolly ride, with some seasonal slapstick joy.  

When Scott Calvin (Allen) accidentally kills off Santa he is involuntarily signed up as a replacement. No matter how hard he tries Calvin can't get rid of the spare tyre sitting around his waist, or shave off the enormous beard growing on his face. Allen does what he does best: silly '90s comedy that won't offend anyone, making this perfect for the whole family.  

11. A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

Where you can watch: Netflix (US), Amazon Prime (UK) 

The film: An all-American small town is terrorised by loads of seasonal monsters. Who doesn't like the sound of that? Nah, I'm not talking about Gremlins but a bunch of mythic creatures from Christmas lore who descend upon Bailey Downs which, ahem, sounds like a bit of a riff on Bedford Falls. 

The whole gang is included in the merriment. There's Krampus, zombie elves, a pregnant ghost nun, and some of your bog standard evil spirits. Oh yes, and William Shatner takes a leading role in one of this anthology's vignettes as a DJ. See? Brilliant. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.
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