Best Christmas Movies Of All Time

Posted on 21 Dec 19:30


1)  Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Miracle on 34th Street is a Christmas comedy-movie that was released in 1947. It was previously released as “The Big Heart”. The movie is based on a story by Valentine Davies which takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City and focuses on the effect of a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa.

Plot:  Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) finds the man (Percy Helton), who is to play Santa in the annual Macy`s Thanksgiving day Parade, drunk. Kris complains to the event director Doris Walker (Maureen O`Hara) and she persuades him to take on the role. Kris does so well that he is hired to play Santa at Macy`s flagship New York City store on 34th Street.

Kris has instructions to steer parents to buy from Macy`s, but he ignores the instructions and directs one shopper (Thelma Ritter) to a competitor, Gimbels. She is impressed, and she tells Julian Shellhammer (Philip Tonge), who is the head of the toy department, that she will become a loyal customer to Macy`s. Doris’s neighbor, Attorney Fred Gailey (John Payne), takes Doris' young daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) to see Santa. However, Doris has raised her not to believe in fairy tales, nevertheless, Susan is surprised to see Kris Speaking Dutch with a girl who does not know English. Doris tells Kringle to tell Susan that he is not Santa, but he still insists to be Santa.

Doris demands that Santa tell her daughter that he is not the real Santa which is will not do and she fires him. But, Kris has so much positive publicity and goodwill that Macy (Harry Antrim) promises Doris and Julian Bonuses. Julian tells Granville Sawyer (Porter Hall) to administer a “psychological evaluation on Kris to alleviate Doris’s misgivings but, Kris passes easily. Even so, Sawyer still recommends his dismissal.

The store expands and Kris reconciles Macy and Gimbel (Herbert Heyes) who were bitter rivals. The doctor, Pierce (James Seay) at Kris’s nursing home assures Doris that Kris is harmless, but he suggests that Kris stays with someone, Fred volunteers. Later, Kris confronts Sawyer and he hits him on the head with an umbrella because Sawyer has convinced a young employee Alfred (Alvin Greenman) that he is unstable. Kris is confined to a Bellevue hospital. He is tricked into cooperation and he fails his examination, and he is recommended for permanent commitment. Fred quits his law firm to defend Kris in a case where Kris is to assert that he is Santa. Fred does not have the authority to back Kris’s claim until a courthouse notifies him of mail delivery. The delivery is a letter from Susan and signed by Doris to cheer Kris up. After seeing the mailbags full of letters, Harper (Gene Lockhart) dismisses the case. On Christmas morning at a celebration, Susan loses faith in Kris when he does not give her the house she wants. Doris encourages Susan to have faith and Kris suggests a route home that will allow them to avoid traffic.  Along the way they see Susan's dream house, and both Fred and Doris suggest they get married and purchase her dream house.

Director:  George Seaton

Awards and nominations:  Thhis movie won three Academy Awards and was nominated for Best Picture. In addition, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

2.  It`s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Plot:  In Bedford Falls, the 38-year-old George Bailey (James Stewart) contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve in 1945. But the prayers of his family reach heaven where Angel 2nd class Clarence Odbody is assigned to save George. Clarence (Henry Travers) views flashbacks of George’s life and sees how he has saved people. George’s father suffers and dies from a stroke and George takes over the family business and gives his college tuition to Harry. Harry (Todd Karns) returns from college after four years with a wife. George marries Mary (Donna Reed). Later, George establishes Bailey Park, a housing development financed by the Building and Loan but Potter (Lionel Barrymore) a board member wants to shut down, but George rebukes him.

During World War II, Harry becomes a pilot and earns the Medal of Honor for shooting down a kamikaze plane. George was not eligible since he has a deaf ear. Billy goes to bank money from the Building and Loans cash, he wraps the envelope of money in Potter`s newspaper. Billy discovers that he has misplaced the cash, Potter finds the cash but says nothing. George realizes that there will be scandal and criminal charges that will befall after the Bank examines Building and Loans records. He takes out his frustrations on his family. Potter reports George for misappropriation of funds. Poor George has so many problems he is thinking about ending it all - and it's Christmas! As the angels discuss George, we see his life in flashback. As George is about to jump from a bridge, he ends up rescuing his guardian angel, Clarence - who then shows George what his town would have looked like if it hadn't been for all his good deeds over the years. When the townspeople hear of George's predicament, they come to his rescue in the form of donations, demonstrating that is is truly a rich man.

Director:  Frank Capra

Awards and Nominations:  The movie was nominated for five Academy Awards and recognized as one of the best American movies.

3.  A Christmas Story (1983)

Plot:  Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle as a Christmas gift. However, his mother (Melinda Dillion), his teacher Miss Shields (Tedde Moore), and Santa Claus at Higbee`s department stores reject that idea because he may shoot his eye out. When he opens his Christmas gifts he is disappointed he did not get anything he wanted. But his father “The Old Man” (Darren McGavin) tells him to open one last gift that he had hidden and Ralphie finds the Red Ryder Gun that he wanted.  Ralphie takes the gun outside and fires it at a target on a metal sign in the backyard. However, the BB ricochets back and knocks his glasses off. While searching for them, he believes he may have shot his eye out, he steps on them and breaks them. He lies to his mother that a falling icicle broke his glasses, and she believes him. Ralphie is in bed on Christmas night with his gun by his side. The adult Ralphie narrates that this was the best present he ever received.

Director:  Bob Clark

Awards and Nominations:  This movie has two Canadian Genie Awards and in 2012, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

4.  A Christmas Carol (1938)

Plot:   During the 19th century Christmas Eve in London, Fred (Barry MacKay) is sliding on ice on a sidewalk where he meets his cousins Peter (John O`Day) and Tim Cratchit (Terry Kilburn) when Ebenezer Scrooge appears and they take off in terror. Ebenezer Scrooge (Reginald Owen), Fred’s Uncle, declines an invitation to dine with his nephew on Christmas Eve. He also rejects two gentlemen collecting money for charity. In addition, he allows his employee Bob Cratchit (Gene Lockhart) to have Christmas off with pay, but Bob while playing, he accidentally hits Scrooge’s hat with a snowball. Scrooge dismisses Bob and withholds his pay to compensate for the ruined hat. Later, he fires Bob for damaging his hat.

Later that evening, The ghost of Jacob Marley (Leo G. Carroll), Scrooges deceased business partner, visits Scrooge. The ghost warns him to repent his wicked ways or he will be condemned afterlife like him. The ghost tells Scrooge he will be haunted by three spirits. At one o’clock the ghost of Christmas past visits Scrooge, and takes him back to his early life where he is unhappy and lonely, spending his Christmas alone at school, but his sister enters and tells him that he is to spend his holiday at home. The spirit tells Scrooge that Fran who died some years back is the mother to his nephew.

At two o’clock, The Ghost of Christmas present (Lionel Braham) visits Scrooge and shows him how others keep Christmas alive. The spirit observes Fred and his fiancée Bess in a church service where they seem happy and in love. However, due to financial constraints, they will not marry soon or they might not marry at all justt as Scrooge lost his fiancee early in life. The spirit then shows Scrooge how Bob is troubled by the loss of his job as he confides in his daughter Martha (Bunny Beatty). The spirit also suggests that Bob`s youngest son Tim will die of a crippling illness.

At three o’clock the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (D`Arcy Corrigan), visits Scrooge as a silent cloaked figure. It shows Scrooge what will happen if he does not change. Scrooge discovers that Tim is dead and his family is mourning, and that at his own death, no one cared about him because of his mean and miserly ways. Scrooge promises to repent. He wakes up a changed man and orders a boy on the street to buy a turkey for him to take to the Chratchit`s. He gives a large donation to charity and makes Fred his new partner.

Director:  Edwin L. Marin

5.  The Shop around the Corner

Plot:  Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) is the oldest and most trusted employee and a top salesman at a leather goods shop owned by Mr. Hugo Matuschek (Frank Morgan). Pirovitch (Felix Bressart is Kralik’s friend and coworker. Others include Ferencz Vadas (Joseph Schildkraut, a two-faced womanizer, and a saleswoman Ilona Novotny (Inez Courtney). Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) is hired by Mr. Matuschek, but does not get along with Kralik.

On Christmas Eve Kralik plans to meet his mysterious romantic correspondent for dinner, but Mr. Matuschek demands that everyone stay at work. Later, Kralik is fired because Mr. Matuschek suspects that he is having an affair with his wife, however, he is informed that his wife is having an affair with his employee- Ferencz Vadas. Mr. Matuschek attempts suicide but fails when he is discovered by Pepi, an ambitious delivery boy. Kralik tries to reconcile with Klara Novak, but it does not work out. He then goes to visit Mr. Matuschek at the hospital and he is offered a job as a manager of Matuschek and Company. Matuschek is also grateful to Pepi for saving his life and he promotes him to a clerk. On Christmas Eve, Matuschek Company achieves record sales and Kralik and Miss Novak, separately, plan for their dates later that evening. Miss Novak reveals to Kralik that she was attracted to him when they first met.  Kralik then reveals he has the same feelings for her.

Director:  Ernst Lubitsch.

Awards and Nominations:  Surprisingly, this movie has no awards but was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry.

6.  Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Plot:  Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is a single New Yorker and a food writer. Her articles are admired by housewives across the country. Her publisher Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet), unaware of the charade, insist that she host a Christmas dinner for a returning war hero Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan) following a career-ending scandal. As a result, her editor Dudley Beecham (Robert Shayne) and Lane are forced to comply. Elizabeth agreeds to marry her friend John Sloan (Reginald Gardiner) who has a farm in Connecticut and enlists the help of her uncle who provides her with the recipes for her articles.

On Christmas Eve, Elizabeth meets Norah (Una O`Connor), the housekeeper, as well as a neighbors baby that they pretend is their baby. Elizabeth and John plan to be married by Judge Crothers (Dick Elliot) but the ceremony is interrupted when Jefferson arrives and it is love at first sight for him and Elizabeth. The ceremony is postponed when a different baby is presented. Felix (S.Z. Sakall) claims that the baby has swallowed his watch in order to stop the wedding. Elizabeth and Jefferson spend a night in jail when they are mistakenly charged with stealing a neighbor’s horse and sleigh to take a joyride. They return to the farm the next morning. Alexander fires Elizabeth for negligence.

Jefferson`s fiancée, Mary Lee (Joyce Compton) arrives unexpectedly. Elizabeth packs her things and leaves the farm. Felix learns that Mary Lee is married to someone else and must break the engagement. Alexander hires Elizabeth back. Jefferson pursues Elizabeth, the couple kiss and make plans to marry.

Director:  Peter Godfrey.

7.  It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)

Plot:  Each winter, Aloysius T. McKeever (Victor Moore), a homeless man, makes himself at home in the Fifth Avenue mansion owned by Michael J. O`Connor (Charles Ruggles), the second richest man in the world, while he winters at his Virginia estate. McKeever invites Jim Bullock (Don DeFore) who has been evicted from an apartment and18-year-old Trudy “Smith” (Gale Storm) (O’Connor runaway daughter). Jim later invites Whitey (Alan Hale, Jr), Hank (Edward Ryan) and their families to share the vast mansion since they are not able to find their own homes. Mike, the mansion's owner and Mary, his ex-wife come to live in the mansion as squatters, they still have feelings for each other. Mike works on convincing Mary that he is a changed man and proposes. Mary accepts. Jim, an ex veteran wishes to convert an unused post-war Army barracks into much-needed vet housing. Jim and McKeever raise money from hundreds of other ex-GI`s who are homeless. O`Connor also wants the property for his own purposes. The residents celebrate Christmas Eve together and are caught by two patrolmen. McKeever convinces them to let the families stay till New Year. Jim considers a job offer in Bolivia. Mary and Trudy realize Mike has not changed and they want to leave for Florida. Mike transfers back the camp to Jim for his humane purposes. That night, they all share a New Year’s dinner before restoring the house just as they found it. Mike, Mary, Trudy, and Jim bid farewell to McKeever as he heads off to O`Connor’s estate in Virginia.

Director: Roy Del Ruth

Awards and Nominations: Herbart Clyde Lewis and Frederick Stephani were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Story


Christmas movie buffs are obsessed with their favorite movies. The idea that a person can be saved or rescued is so magical and especially during  Christmas. These movies are lovely gifts that promote hope in human kindness and change

 A Christmas Carol Remakes and Directors

A Christmas Carol (1951) by Brian Desmond Hurst, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962) by Abe Levitow, Scrooge (1970) by Ronald Neame, A Christmas Carol (1971) by Richard Williams, A Christmas Carol (1997) by Stan Phillips, Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) by Burny Mattinson.


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