Here’s 10 of our favorite Christmas movies, in chronological order:
The Shop Around the Corner (1940), directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring
Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan and Joseph Schildkraut. Two employees at a gift shop in Budapest, Hungary, can barely stand each other, not knowing that they’re falling in love through their letters as anonymous pen pals.
Black Christmas (1974), directed by Bob Clark and starring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder and John Saxon. During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr. and starring Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick andToni Nero. After his parents are murdered, a tormented teenager goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa.
Die Hard (1988), directed by John McTiernan and starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman and Bonnie Bedelia. NYPD cop John McClane redeems his marriage by foiling a “terrorist attack” during an office party at the Nakatomi Plaza (actually the Fox Tower in Century City) in Los Angeles. “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.”
Home Alone (1990), directed by Chris Columbus and written by John Hughes and starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara, and John Candy (as the great Gus Polinski, leader of the Kenosha Kickers polka band). More laughs and sight gags than any movie has a right to have. The title says it all.
Edward Scissorhands (1990), directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder and Dianne Wiest. This “Frankenstein” for the late-20th Century has an inventor’s incomplete creation, Edward (Depp), a young man with scissors for hands, lured from his castle by the love of a young woman (Ryder) only to eventually be shunned by the suburban townspeople. Burton, Depp and Ryder at their peak.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), directed by Henry Selick and starring the voices of Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey and Paul Reubens. Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.
Bad Santa (2003), directed by Terry Zwigoff and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, Tony Cox and Brett Kelly. A miserable, drunken conman (Thornton in a perfect role) and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010 — Finland), directed by Jalmari Helander, and starring Jorma Tommila, Onni Tommila and Peeter Jakobi. A wildly offbeat and dark Christmas tale about a group of Lapland villagers who come face-to-face with Joulupukki, the earliest form of Santa, notorious for being a horned being who whips misbehaving children and boils them in a cauldron. The Joulupukki has been buried for centuries but is unearthed by the excavations of the Subzero company; his return is causing death and destruction. And wait until you see this Santa’s elves. Not to be missed.
Carol (2015), directed by Todd Haynes and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Christmas in New York in the 1950s is the setting for this gorgeous, lilting love story between a young woman, clerking in a department store, and an older, married woman. An adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel “The Price of Salt.”