Empire's 30 Best Christmas Movies

by TristanMitchell | created - 23 Mar 2011 | updated - 23 Mar 2011 | Public

Christmas 2010

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1. Die Hard (1988)

R | 132 min | Action, Thriller

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
70 Metascore

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson

Votes: 654,971 | Gross: $83.01M

2. Elf (2003)

PG | 97 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
64 Metascore

After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel

Votes: 166,085 | Gross: $173.40M

3. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
89 Metascore

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 312,441 | Gross: $7.27M

4. Home Alone (1990)

PG | 103 min | Comedy, Family

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
63 Metascore

An eight-year-old troublemaker must protect his house from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.

Director: Chris Columbus | Stars: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard

Votes: 357,706 | Gross: $285.76M

5. Scrooged (1988)

PG-13 | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

7.0
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38 Metascore

A selfish, cynical T.V. executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, John Glover

Votes: 69,244 | Gross: $60.33M

6. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy

7.6
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49 Metascore

The Griswold family's plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.

Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik | Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki

Votes: 118,409 | Gross: $71.32M

7. Bad Santa (2003)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

7.1
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70 Metascore

A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss discovers the plot.

Director: Terry Zwigoff | Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, John Ritter

Votes: 119,651 | Gross: $60.06M

8. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

PG | 76 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

8.0
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Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home cause confusion.

Director: Henry Selick | Stars: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey

Votes: 246,998 | Gross: $75.08M

9. Love Actually (2003)

R | 135 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.7
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55 Metascore

Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.

Director: Richard Curtis | Stars: Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney

Votes: 350,633 | Gross: $59.70M

10. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

G | 85 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

7.7
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The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption on Christmas Eve.

Director: Brian Henson | Stars: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson

Votes: 37,878 | Gross: $27.28M

11. A Christmas Story (1983)

PG | 94 min | Comedy, Family

8.0
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77 Metascore

In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun really is the perfect Christmas gift.

Director: Bob Clark | Stars: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Scott Schwartz

Votes: 112,741 | Gross: $19.29M

12. Gremlins (1984)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

7.2
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70 Metascore

A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, John Louie

Votes: 160,325 | Gross: $148.17M

13. Jingle All the Way (1996)

PG | 89 min | Comedy, Family

5.5
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A father vows to get his son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas, however, every store is sold out of them, and he must travel all over town and compete with everybody else in order to find one.

Director: Brian Levant | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman, Rita Wilson

Votes: 75,803 | Gross: $60.57M

14. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

6.1
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46 Metascore

On the outskirts of Whoville, there lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch who plans on ruining the Christmas holiday for all of the citizens of the town.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Kelley, Jeffrey Tambor

Votes: 159,116 | Gross: $260.04M

15. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

7.9
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When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.

Director: George Seaton | Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Gene Lockhart

Votes: 33,335 | Gross: $2.65M

16. Batman Returns (1992)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

7.0
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68 Metascore

When a corrupt businessman and the grotesque Penguin plot to take control of Gotham City, only Batman can stop them, while the Catwoman has her own agenda.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken

Votes: 234,684 | Gross: $162.83M

17. The Santa Clause (1994)

PG | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

6.4
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57 Metascore

When a man inadvertantly kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.

Director: John Pasquin | Stars: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd

Votes: 73,857 | Gross: $144.83M

18. The Polar Express (2004)

G | 100 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

6.6
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61 Metascore

On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Chris Coppola, Michael Jeter, Leslie Zemeckis

Votes: 137,282 | Gross: $183.37M

19. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

PG | 120 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

6.6
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One year after Kevin was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself in New York City, and the same criminals are not far behind.

Director: Chris Columbus | Stars: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara

Votes: 231,193 | Gross: $173.59M

20. Trading Places (1983)

R | 116 min | Comedy

7.5
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69 Metascore

A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.

Director: John Landis | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche

Votes: 113,067 | Gross: $90.40M

21. White Christmas (1954)

Not Rated | 120 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

7.6
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A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen

Votes: 24,135 | Gross: $30.00M

22. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

R | 103 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
72 Metascore

A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.

Director: Shane Black | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, Corbin Bernsen

Votes: 190,306 | Gross: $4.24M

23. Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)

G | 26 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

8.1
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The classic Disney animated characters play the roles in this animated retelling of the Charles Dickens masterpiece.

Director: Burny Mattinson | Stars: Alan Young, Wayne Allwine, Hal Smith, Will Ryan

Votes: 7,882 | Gross: $21.00M

24. Lethal Weapon (1987)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

7.6
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67 Metascore

A veteran policeman, Murtaugh, is partnered with a younger, suicidal officer, Riggs. They both have one thing in common: hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan

Votes: 206,389 | Gross: $65.21M

25. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

PG-13 | 105 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

7.9
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74 Metascore

A gentle man, with scissors for hands, is brought into a new community after living in isolation.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall

Votes: 388,694 | Gross: $56.36M

26. The Snowman (1982)

G | 26 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

8.2
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On Christmas Eve, a young boy builds a snowman that comes to life and takes him to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus.

Directors: Dianne Jackson, Jimmy T. Murakami | Stars: David Bowie, Raymond Briggs

Votes: 9,879

27. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Approved | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In the year leading up to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer

Votes: 16,480 | Gross: $7.57M

28. Brazil (1985)

R | 132 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

8.0
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88 Metascore

A bureaucrat, in a retro-future world, tries to correct an administrative error, and becomes an enemy of the state.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond

Votes: 164,490 | Gross: $9.93M

29. Rare Exports (2010)

R | 84 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Horror

6.7
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71 Metascore

In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 metres deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up! This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus.

Director: Jalmari Helander | Stars: Jorma Tommila, Onni Tommila, Peeter Jakobi, Tommi Korpela

Votes: 21,864 | Gross: $0.26M

30. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965 TV Short)

TV-G | 25 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

8.4
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Repelled by the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find the true meaning of Christmas.

Director: Bill Melendez | Stars: Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer, Bill Melendez

Votes: 24,709