The 50 best Christmas movies of all time

The Christmas season is a catalyst for intense emotions. There’s the joy of being with loved ones, the wonder of a first snowfall, the temptation to eat just one more cookie, the rage of hearing Jingle Bell Rock one too many times. No wonder so many filmmakers have found inspiration in this holiday.  

Whether you want heartstrings or hilarity, ire or irony, there’s a Christmas movie to match any mood. And many of them are also really darn good. So have a seat with your cup of cocoa and fire up one of these many excellent options for the very best in holiday viewing.

50. Love, Actually (2003)

The Film: Love it or loathe it, Richard Curtis' selection box rom-com might be the most Christmassy movie of modern times.

Most Christmassy Moment:
Take your pick. All permutations are here, from grand romantic gestures (cue card-laden Andrew Lincoln in the snow) to quiet family bonds (Laura Linney and her mentally ill brother), to the raucous singletons' Christmas of Bill Nighy and Gregor Fisher spending the big day together getting drunk and watching porn.

Watch Love, Actually now on Amazon Prime Video

49. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

The Film: Shane Black, the Hitchcock of inappropriate Christmas movies, adds festive trimmings to his Renny Harlin-directed tale about Samantha Kane (Geena Davis), an amnesiac housewife who remembers her past as hired killer Charly Baltimore.

Most Christmassy Moment:
Samantha's 'cover' is blown when she is recognised playing Mrs. Claus in the local Christmas parade.

Watch The Long Kiss Goodnight now on Amazon Prime Video

48. Millions (2004)

The Film: Danny Boyle's modern-day parable revolves around two brothers who discover a bag of bank notes that are about to become worthless at the end of the year - do they spend, spend, spend or give the cash to charity?

Most Christmassy Moment:
When the robbers ransack the family home for the money (which they'd originally stolen), dad Ronald (James Nesbitt) decides the best way to stop them getting it is a spending splurge on Christmas pressies.

Watch Millions now on Amazon Prime Video

47. 8 Women (2002)

The Film: A wealthy homeowner is killed during the run-up to Christmas, putting the spotlight on eight female suspects - and if you're a fan of French actresses, all your Christmases have come at once.

Most Christmassy Moment:
Everyone's equal at Christmas, as chambermaid Louise strips out of her uniform while singing 'Heads or Tails.'

Watch 8 Women now on Amazon Prime Video

46. Reindeer Games (2000)

The Film: Also known as Wild Christmas in some territories. Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise and Charlize Theron all star in this festive heist movie. Unfortunately for all of them and for director John Frankenheimer it was a commercial flop, which is a shame, as it's rather fun.

Most Christmassy Moment:
The heist is set to take place on Christmas Eve, and the gang are all decked out in Santa gear. This idea would probably have worked better had the film not been originally released in February in the States and June in the UK...

Watch Reindeer Games now on Amazon Prime Video

45. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

The Film: Dr. Seuss' fable about a misanthropic creature (Jim Carrey) who plots to steal the Christmas gifts from the inhabitants of Whoville.

Most Christmassy Moment:
The Grinch waits expectantly to hear the Whos crying at the loss of their presents, only to be flummoxed by a chorus of singing brought on by Christmas spirit.

Watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas now on Amazon Prime Video

44. We're No Angels (1955)

The Film: Three escaped convicts (Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, and Peter Ustinov) hide out in a local grocery store, only to have a seasonal change of heart about their bad-boy behaviour.

Most Christmassy Moment:
The cons make Christmas dinner for their hosts. Yes, the food might be stolen, but it's the thought that counts.

Watch We're No Angels now on Amazon Prime Video

43. Nativity! (2009)

The Film: Primary school teacher Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman) has to put on the ultimate nativity play when a lie about Hollywood filming the event goes viral.

Most Christmassy Moment:
The climactic performance in Coventry Cathedral, featuring schoolkid TJ dangling high above the ground on wires as the Angel Gabriel.

Watch Nativity! now on Amazon Prime Video

42. Rocky IV (1985)

The Film: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) takes on Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in a heavyweight boxing match. At stake - national pride and the memory of the late Apollo Creed. And when does this brutal grudge match take place? Christmas Day.

Most Christmassy Moment:
Rocky gets exactly what he wanted from Santa, as he takes out Drago in the 15th round.

Watch Rocky IV now on Amazon Prime Video

41. Joyeux Nol (2005)

The Film: The story behind one of the famous legends of World War One, as soldiers from opposing trenches agree to a Christmas Day truce to bury their dead and play football.

Most Christmassy Moment:
The ceasefire begins after German private Sprink (Benno Frmann) sings Silent Night and is accompanied by a Scottish bagpipe player from across No Man's Land.

Watch Joyeux Nol now on Amazon Prime Video

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