For many people, watching movies is an integral part of the holiday season. For some, this means watching the same Christmas classics every year. Others are drawn to newer films, heading to the local theater or streaming the latest festive Hollywood release.
24/7 Tempo has identified the 45 best Christmas movies ever made — one for each day until Christmas — based on critics and audiences movie ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and user rating on Internet Movie Database.
The 45 films illustrate that there is a type of holiday film for everyone. Numerous genres are represented, ranging from action to comedy, romance, and horror. There are at least some surprises.
For example, “Die Hard” is not on the list and “Iron Man 3” is. (Bruce Willis has insisted “Die Hard” is not a Christmas movie, so we omitted it, and Marvel has officially declared the third installment of the Iron Man franchise is, so we included it.)
There is also an almost perfect split between older and newer films — 23 of the 45 movies on the list were released after 2000. The older holiday flicks were released between 1938 and the late 1990s, and most of them are ranked in the top 20 of the best Christmas movies ever.
In a rush to produce a hit movie, however, sometimes filmmakers miss the mark and make mistakes. For every now considered classic Christmas movie, there is a flop few movie fans remember — these are the worst holiday movies ever made.
To determine the essential films to include in your Christmas movie marathon, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of November 2021. All ratings were weighted equally. Only movies with at least 25,000 audience votes on either IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes were considered. Only films in which the Christmas season plays an important role in the plot, or were otherwise identified as Christmas movies by Box Office Mojo, the Countdown Until Christmas Christmas movie database, and Vulture magazine were considered. Information on directorial credits comes from IMDb.