The 25 Most-Loved Holiday Movies

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Gracenote

Christmas movies are a mixed bag, offering everything from heartwarming tales to stories about cantankerous characters that aim to spoil the holidays with their plans. This results in a fun set of offerings that is perfect for every taste and any age.

This list includes Christmas movies released after 1945 with a PrettyFamous score, which quantifies the fame of the film's cast members, of at least 80. The list is sorted by Smart Rating, which accounts for ratings from Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, and Gracenote, as well as inflation-adjusted U.S. box office gross, in descending order.

Note: "A Christmas Story" didn't make the list because of its lack of famous celebrities, but the staff at PrettyFamous still considers it Christmas favorite!

#25. The Polar Express

Release year: 2004

A doubting young boy learns about the magic of Christmas and the power of friendship when he takes an amazing train ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express.

#24. Miracle on 34th Street

Release year: 1994

Six-year-old Susan has her faith in Santa Claus renewed when she encounters a department store Santa named Kris Kringle who claims he’s the real thing; this leads Susan and a young lawyer on a crusade to prove Kris is the real Santa.

#23. Prancer

Release year: 1996

In an attempt to still believe in Santa Claus, a child finds an injured reindeer that she convinces herself is Prancer.

#22. Mrs. Santa Claus

Release year: 2006

A week before Christmas, Mrs. Claus and Mr. Claus aren't doing too well. When he refuses to look over her new Christmas Eve route, she goes on a test trip and lands in New York City.

In disguise as "Mrs. North," she helps people in the city resolve their own marital and personal issues.

#21. The Holiday

Release year: 2006

Iris and Amanda find each other on a house exchange website and decide to swap places in each’s respective countries during the holidays, which leads them to discover their romantic partners.

#20. A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas

Release year: 2011

After burning down Harold’s father-in-law’s Christmas tree, Harold and Kumar go on a goofy adventure through New York City on a quest to find the perfect replacement.

#19. Nutcracker Fantasy

Release year: 1979

A girl's bravery is tested as she tries to help a soldier while under the spell of a two-headed mouse. This animated rendition of the popular ballet features Melissa Gilbert and Christopher Lee.

#18. The Santa Clause

Release year: 1994

Advertising executive Scott Calvin inadvertently becomes Santa and must learn all the tricks and trades of the new job while struggling with his new identity; those struggles result in scrutiny from everyone he knows outside of his son, Charlie, who believes in him and encourages him, resulting in a heart-warming bond between him and his dad.

#17. This Christmas

Release year: 2007

For the first time in four years, Ma’Dere Whitfield’s family reunites during the holidays, where secrets emerge putting strain on relationships.

#16. A Season for Miracles

Release year: 1999

In an act of desperation, a woman takes her sister's children, saving them from a life in foster care. She doesn't know that, in the small town they're moving to, she'll be recognized as a missing heiress.

#15. Love Actually

Release year: 2003

With an intertwined story line, we see how the relationships of nine different people are tied together, showcasing the many meanings of the word love.

The cast is star-studded, including Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney and Alan Rickman.

#14. It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

Release year: 2002

Kermit's valiant efforts to do good are put to the test when he tries to save the theater from a ruthless banker who wishes to replace it with a nightclub.

#13. The Christmas Wish

Release year: 1998

A Wall Street executive visits his hometown when his grandfather passes away. While going through his things, he and his grandmother find out about a woman named Lilian, who he sets off to find.

Neil Patrick Harris and Debbie Reynolds star in this TV movie.

#12. Home Alone

Release year: 1990

Kevin McCallister’s family accidentally leaves him home alone during the holidays, when he encounters a bungling pair of burglars in Harry and Marv and makes them regret ever trying to break into his house.

#11. The Best Man Holiday

Release year: 2013

Over a decade has passed since they were in college, but a crew of former best friends get together for the Christmas holidays. Their reunion reminds them of how quickly the past can become the present as old feelings are stirred.

#10. Bad Santa

Release year: 2003

Partners in crime, Willie and Marcus pose as Santa and his elf, respectively, at malls during the holidays to rob department stores; this plan works until Willie breaks down from emotional strain and an unexpected friendship with a small boy helps him develop compassion.

#9. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Release year: 1989

In this beloved holiday edition in the National Lampoon's Vacation series, Clark Griswold has the plan to give his family the perfect Christmas. True to form, however, things go awry when his cousin's family arrives unexpectedly to move into a camper on the Griswold's property.

#8. Elf

Release year: 2003

Will Ferrell plays Buddy, a human raised by elves, who leaves the North Pole to find his father in New York City; Buddy’s childlike curiosity in his new surroundings makes this a beautiful and silly tale of a man trying to discover his identity.

#7. On Valentine's Day

Release year: 1986

While this film's title might seem like a misnomer, it's actually a story about how the holidays reunite a town that has been embittered since the elopement of two of its residents.

#6. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Release year: 1992

Charles Dickens's beloved story of Ebenezer Scrooge gets a dose of flavor when the muppets tell it from their standpoint.

#5. Arthur Christmas

Release year: 2011

Arthur is Santa’s clumsy son tasked with delivering a forgotten present to a little girl before Christmas morning.

#4. Scrooge

Release year: 1970

On Christmas Eve, the stingy Ebenezer Scrooge receives a rude awakening when he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner warning that ghosts from his past, present and future will show him the error of his ways.

#3. Edward Scissorhands

Release year: 1990

Edward, an isolated man with scissors for hands, tries to adapt when Peg brings him home to live with her family; the result is a struggle for Edward, whose gentleness and artistic talent is inspiring, but his hands keep people away.

#2. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Release year: 1993

Jack Skellington discovers Christmas Town and finds its holiday celebration so intriguing he tries to kidnap Santa Claus in hopes of taking over the role, but poor Jack discovers his plans are much more than he can handle.

#1. It's a Wonderful Life

Release year: 1946

Frank Capra’s classic centers on troubled George Bailey, whose anger and desperation provokes him to consider suicide until an angel, Clarence, shows George what life would be like if he didn’t exist; this revelation gives George a new appreciation of life.

Rotten Tomatoes Scores for Christmas Movies

Research Top-Rated Films on PrettyFamous

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