40 Best Christmas Movies of All Time, Ranked
Did your favorite flick make the list of the all-time best?
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40. The Polar Express
This whimsical, dreamy animated tale follows a group of pajama-clad kids, roused from slumber, and pulled aboard a train bound for the North Pole. Tom Hanks voices a variety of characters, including the conductor who looks just like him. The kids end up on a variety of adventures where they confront whether or not to believe in Santa—especially once they awaken. It’s a magical classic, based on a storybook, that families enjoy watching together again and again. Here are 15 of the best Christmas movies for kids.
39. The Holiday
This star-studded rom-com features the ol’ switch houses over the Christmas holidays plot line. Kate Winslet stars as the owner of an English cottage who trades it with Hollywood mogul, Cameron Diaz, for a stay in her mansion. Both women find love while vacationing in their new abodes. Jack Black and Jude Law star as the leading men on hand for some holiday romance.
38. Christmas in Connecticut
Return to classic Hollywood in this fun rom-com from 1945 starring screen legend Barbara Stanwyck as a woman who pens the popular “Diary of a Housewife” column. Her writing features sumptuous recipes and tales of her life on a farm with her husband and child. The only problem? It’s all lies. Bigger problem? When her publisher insists she host a Christmas dinner on the farm for a vet returning home from the war, she may just fall in love with him. This movie is one of the best Christmas movies for lovers of fluffy holiday romance. Here are 17 Christmas cookie recipes you’ll want to make this year.
37. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Steve Martin and John Candy both give stellar performances in this classic comedy about making it home for Thanksgiving. Both play stranded businessmen who end up on a disaster-filled trek to finally get home. Candy plays the hapless and sweet salesman set against Martin’s exasperated curmudgeon. The clash works to create laughs galore and just enough holiday sentiment to make your eyes tear up.
36. The Shop Around the Corner
One of the best Christmas movies is this classic love story from 1940 that inspired multiple mistaken identity rom-coms, including You’ve Got Mail. Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan play shop co-workers who fully annoy one another. Little do they know they are also exchanging lovestruck, but anonymous letters with one another that started up through a newspaper ad. Christmas Eve revelations finally bring love to light.
35. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
It’s one of the best Christmas movies that seems to gain fans as it grows older; it premiered in 1964 and everyone has been watching it ever since. Based on the classic song of the same name, this stop-motion animated television special captures audiences with its motley crew of characters from the island of misfit toys, including the goofy, but lovable Abominable Snow Monster. The sweet story about accepting differences captures the heart of Christmas.
34. Babes in Toyland
Contemporary children may not be as enraptured by its Mother Goose-inspired whimsy, but this 1934 classic still lulls with a nostalgic merriness and impressive visuals. Recent restorations are colorized and filled with iconic scenes like the three little pigs, and the cat with its fiddle playing alongside a delightful, if bizarre Mickey Mouse. You’ll also see magical set pieces and lots of toy soldiers. Famed comedians Laurel and Hardy star. Don’t miss these 18 photos that show what Christmas looked like one hundred years ago.
33. Four Christmases
Reese Witherspoon shines as the star of this comedy about heading home for Christmas—to four different homes, that is. Vince Vaughn plays her longtime boyfriend. They’re perfectly matched because they hate spending the holidays with family—they’d rather head to Fiji. But when they get stranded, they’re forced to make the visits home. Prepare for hilarious family scenes and sweetness when it counts.
32. The Merry Gentleman
Michael Keaton directed this art-house drama that features gorgeous visuals that capture the stark isolation for those who are alone at Christmas. Kelly Macdonald gives a lovely performance as a woman who has fled an abusive husband and tries to find some joy, however bleak, during the cold holiday season in Chicago. A darker one of the best Christmas movies, Keaton also stars as a suicidal hitman who comes into the woman’s life after she unwittingly saves him on a snowy night. This film offers a brooding and lyrical vision of the Christmas season for those in the shadows of conventional society.
31. The Best Man Holiday
The whole cast returns in this sequel to the 1990s hit The Best Man. Meet up with the group of friends as they descend upon a Christmas estate for tense dinners, some choreographed dancing, and plenty of melodrama. Starring an ensemble featuring Taye Diggs, Regina King, and Morris Chestnut.