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The Best Christmas Movies of All Time

  • The Best Christmas Movies of All Time

    While the holidays represent the perfect time to reconnect with family and friends from near and far, even the merriest of families need a break from the hullaballoo of entertaining.  Enter the Christmas movie, aka the perfect seasonal tune-out. Like the holidays themselves, most Christmas movies keep it wholesome, though a few step boldly outside the box (we’re looking at you, Bad Santa). Ultimately, viewers should expect warm-hearted themes of selflessness and family bonding. Yes, even in Bad Santa.

    With The Last Jedi clogging theaters everywhere, 2017 kept it fairly light on the Christmas fare. Thankfully, there’s still over a century’s worth of holiday classics to choose from. And while you’re more than welcome to watch all 24 hours of A Christmas Story on TBS, some may want to mix things up by throwing on another gem or two.

    To help get you in the spirit, Stacker has put together a list of the 55 Best Christmas Movies of All Time, built from a proprietary index (the ‘Stacker Score’) incorporating IMDb ratings, Metascores and the Tomatometer. To qualify, the film needed at least 1,000 IMDb votes and scores from at least 2 of the 3 sources. Stacker Scores are on 1-100 scale. So whip up the hot chocolate, pick your personal favorite, and enjoy!

  • #55. Why Him?

    Year of Release: 2016

    IMDb Rating: 6.2

    Metacritic Score: 39

    Tomatometer: 51%

    Stacker Score: 59

    Gross: $60.27M

    After taking out scores of people as Walter White in the iconic TV show Breaking Bad, it was time for actor Bryan Cranston to play the victim in 2016’s Why Him? In the movie, Cranston stars as Ned Fleming, a doting father who goes ballistic when he finds out his daughter’s erratic billionaire boyfriend (played by James Franco) wants to tie the knot. It all goes down during the holidays, naturally, lending this somewhat generic comedy a little Christmas flavor. Apparently, there was a lot of improvisation going on when the cameras were rolling. Given the lukewarm reception, maybe they should’ve stuck to the script.

  • #54. Noel

    Year of Release: 2004

    IMDb Rating: 6.3

    Metacritic Score: 29

    Tomatometer: 48%

    Stacker Score: 59

    Gross: N/A

    In the vein of movies like Crash and 200 Cigarettes came 2004’s Noel. Directed by actor Chazz Palminteri and featuring a strong cast that included Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, and Paul Walker, the movie involves the overlapping storylines of five New Yorkers on Christmas Eve, each one searching for a miracle. Perhaps they found that miracle on-screen, but unfortunately not at the box office.

  • #53. The Fitzgerald Family Christmas

    Year of Release: 2012

    IMDb Rating: 6.3

    Metacritic Score: 62

    Tomatometer: 48%

    Stacker Score: 59

    Gross: $0.01M

    Written and directed by Edward Burns (of The Brothers McMullen fame), 2012’s The Fitzgerald Family Christmas features a group of siblings meeting their estranged father for the first time in 20 years. When does it all go down? On Christmas, of course. The movie deals with themes of forgiveness and family, which is really what the holidays are all about.

  • #52. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    Year of Release: 2000

    IMDb Rating: 6.1

    Metacritic Score: 46

    Tomatometer: 55%

    Stacker Score: 60

    Gross: $260.04M

    Jim Carrey as The Grinch was a surefire recipe for success, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas was accordingly a box office smash. For the live-action Dr. Seuss adaptation, Carrey reportedly spent a whopping total of 92 days in make-up. In a show of solidarity, director Ron Howard donned his own Grinch makeup for a full day on the set, though it caused some drama after Carrey confused Howard for an inadequate stunt double. While the movie wasn’t critically heralded, it wasn’t lampooned either. If anything, its greatest crime was paving the way for an atrocious Cat in the Hat remake that soon followed. 

  • #51. All I Want for Christmas

    Year of Release: 1991

    IMDb Rating: 6.0

    Metacritic Score: N/A

    Tomatometer: 59%

    Stacker Score: 60

    Gross: $14.81M

    In 1991’s All I Want for Christmas, all a brother and sister want is for their divorced parents to get back together. In order to make that happen, the siblings hatch a scheme that quickly goes by the wayside, and all sorts of hijinks follow. One might safely assume the movie was trying to capture the same holiday zeitgeist snagged by the previous year’s Home Alone. Ultimately, however, the film ended up making less during its entire run than Home Alone made in its first weekend.

  • #50. Get Santa

    Year of Release: 2014

    IMDb Rating: 6.3

    Metacritic Score: 52

    Tomatometer: 54%

    Stacker Score: 61

    Gross: N/A

    How’s this for a Santa clause? In 2014’s Get Santa, the beloved Christmas character is on the run from the police. He’s found hiding in the garage by a father and son, who take it upon themselves to save Christmas. The cinematic results were fairly forgettable, and indeed audiences have all but forgotten this under-seasoned holiday flick.

  • #49. The Star

    Year of Release: 2017

    IMDb Rating: 5.7

    Metacritic Score: 42

    Tomatometer: 74%

    Stacker Score: 61

    Gross: $32.5M

    What, you haven’t heard of The Star, an animated film about a brave donkey and his heroic friends that’s playing in theaters this very minute? Or perhaps you have heard of it, which would explain the $32M it was able to whip up at the box office. If so, can you tell us if it’s any good?

  • #48. Almost Christmas

    Year of Release: 2016

    IMDb Rating: 6.0

    Metacritic Score: 55

    Tomatometer: 65%

    Stacker Score: 61

    Gross: $41.72M

    The story of a dysfunctional family who gets together for Christmas after their mother’s death might not sound like feel-good holiday fare, but Almost Christmas squeezes in more than a few laughs. Fun fact: this film marks the second time Omar Epps and Gabrielle Union’s’ characters were prom dates (albeit retrospectively this time around).

  • #47. Prancer

    Year of Release: 1989

    IMDb Rating: 6.3

    Metacritic Score: N/A

    Tomatometer: 58%

    Stacker Score: 62

    Gross: $18.59M

    A testament to the power of childhood imagination, 1989’s Prancer sees a young farm girl coming upon a wounded reindeer, whom she’s convinced has come straight out of Santa’s flock. Her effort to nurse the reindeer back to health inspires everyone around her. Everyone, that is, except her father, who sells Prancer to a local shop for display purposes. Call it a hunch, but we’re assuming Daddy eventually comes around. ‘Tis the season, after all.

  • #46. Santa Claus: The Movie

    Year of Release: 1985

    IMDb Rating: 6.1

    Metacritic Score: N/A

    Tomatometer: 66%

    Stacker Score: 62

    Gross: $23.72M

    As it turns out, Santa was a peasant woodcutter and toymaker who died and got transported to the North Pole. At least, that’s the story as 1985’s Santa Claus: The Movie tells it. The film then jumps ahead to the 20th century, where an industrious elf named Patch invents a machine that makes a lot of inferior products. There’s also a villain in there somewhere. Seven years in the making, the big-budget movie was ultimately a box office turkey. Meanwhile, we can’t help but imagine what the John Carpenter version would’ve looked like, whereas the horror legend was originally offered directing duties.

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