After returning from a blasphemous remake of "Miracle on 34th Street" thanks to false advertising, I realized that having good Christmas movies to watch at this time of year is essential. So I have compiled a list of movies that have been put through a rigorous test (by "rigorous" I mean I've seen them more than once and loved them)
They may not be the best movies but they make me smile.
Edit: December 9/08 - Melanie over at The Indextrious Reader has reminded me of several movies that I've left off this list.
"A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Every Christmas we get a tree license and go cut down a tree in the wild and every year I've made sure we never came home with a "Charlie Brown" tree
"A Christmas Carol"
This is the Alastair Sim version, the truly creepy and classic one. If you want to go authentic then this is the one. This is also the one that I never stayed in the room for when I was a kid. Sim and this movie terrified me on a level not seen until I experienced the Sesame Christmas special.
"A Christmas Story"
There are too many classic scenes from this movie. I personally love the Ovaltine sketch
"Christmas in Connecticut"
Dennis Morgan in uniform *sigh*
"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
I love the narrator of this little gem though I never understood why the Whos have antennae
When I first saw this I really wanted to booby trap my house. Unfortunately I didn't have access to the wonderful props that Kevin McAllister did. I had no bowling balls, no blow torches, no rifles or tarantulas
I love this film. Spielberg did a great job! Maggie Smith is grand as always and Williams, well, what is there really to say about Robin that hasn't been said already. He makes me laugh.
"In the Good Old Summertime"
Don't let this title fool you. It ends around Christmas and is a musical retelling of "The Shop Around the Corner". Also, it has S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall and Buster Keaton. What more could you want in a movie?
"It's a Wonderful Life"
For the record, my favourite film
"The Nightmare Before Christmas"
Stop motion animation - be still my heart
"Meet Me in St. Louis"
The Halloween scene used to scare me as a child but now I love every minute. Everyone once in a while I find myself singing "Under the Bamboo Tree". I love this song and Margaret O'Brien is adorable!
"Miracle on 34th Street"
This is the glorious classic that I was supposed to be watching tonight. Instead, someone decided it would be a good idea to show the public the dreck that is the 90s remake. I felt a chill of terror as soon I saw the opening credits in colour. Now at least I can definitively say that the remake is blasphemous and the original retains the charm and magic it had when I first saw it
"A Muppet Christmas Carol"
Michael Caine was perfect and Gonzo, oh Gonzo my little narrator. And Penguins! Did I mention the Penguins! Though again, the third spirit gave me the creeps. Christmas films always seemed to be accompanied by some creepy association with death. For example, I never liked the cemetery scene in "It's a Wonderful Life".
"A Muppet Family Christmas"
I love this movie because for the first time I saw the Sesame Street gang and the Muppets in the same room. That's when I noticed how similar some characters where. Animal vs Cookie Monster for example. There are some amazingly quotable lines in here, including the one about the icy patch.
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
"I wanna be... a dentist!" That sentence makes me lol every time I watch it. Also, Burls Ives is the man!
"The Santa Clause"
I'm still undecided as to whether it would be awesome or awful to have Santa as your dad
Murray is so nutty in this one! Also, my boy Robert Mitchum is in this movie.
"A Sesame Street Christmas Special"
After Alastair Sim this was the scariest movie I saw as a child. That is until my parents brought home E.T. for me to enjoy. But that's another story. If you've seen this movie then I'll refer you to the scene where Big Bird's sleeping on the roof, waiting for Santa. It's an insidious movie as it starts off harmless enough. (For the record I would have loved to ice dance with Big Bird. Isn't he the most adorable giant canary you've ever seen?)
"The Shop Around the Corner"
Jimmy Stewart stars in this cute little film. True story, he really was in love with his co-star Margaret Sullivan.
"While You Were Sleeping"
Peter Gallagher and his eyebrows end up engaged to Sandra Bullock by happenstance. The only problem is she ends up falling for his brother. Also, the grandmother is the mother from "Mary Poppins" (votes for women and all that)
I watch this every Christmas. It was my first introduction to Danny Kaye. At the time I didn't know what a hilarious and accomplished wordsmith he was.