25 Best Christmas Movies of All Time

We’ve made a list and checked it more than twice, and now we’re delivering the Best Christmas Movies to our nice RT readers! (If this list ends with I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, you got the naughty version, you awful person.)


White Christmas (1954)

Adjusted Score: 82.641%
Critics Consensus: It may be too sweet for some, but this unabashedly sentimental holiday favorite is too cheerful to resist.
Synopsis: This Christmas classic starring Bing Crosby is a romantic tale that takes place in a Vermont lodge- where it is... [More]
Directed By: Michael Curtiz


Bad Santa (2003)

Adjusted Score: 84.009%
Critics Consensus: A gloriously rude and gleefully offensive black comedy, Bad Santa isn't for everyone, but grinches will find it uproariously funny.
Synopsis: The Christmas season just got a lot less joyous in this very dark comedy. Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton)... [More]
Directed By: Terry Zwigoff

Adjusted Score: 86.093%
Critics Consensus: The Bishop's Wife succeeds thanks to the strength of winning performances from a stellar cast, which includes Cary Grant and Loretta Young.
Synopsis: Cary Grant is at his cutest as a guardian angel, sent to smooth the path for beleaguered Episcopalian bishop David... [More]
Directed By: Henry Koster


Batman Returns (1992)

Adjusted Score: 84.797%
Critics Consensus: Director Tim Burton's dark, brooding atmosphere, Michael Keaton's work as the tormented hero, and the flawless casting of Danny DeVito as The Penguin and Christopher Walken as, well, Christopher Walken make the sequel better than the first.
Synopsis: Batman returns, this time protecting Gotham City from the Penguin who is running for mayor and Catwoman who is just... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

Adjusted Score: 88.664%
Critics Consensus: The 1951 adaptation of Charles Dickens' timeless classic is perhaps the most faithful film version -- and Alastair Sim's performance as Scrooge is not to be missed.
Synopsis: Widely considered to be the definitive of the many film versions of Charles Dickens' classic novel is this 1951 British... [More]
Directed By: Brian Desmond Hurst


Gremlins (1984)

Adjusted Score: 88.936%
Critics Consensus: Whether you choose to see it as a statement on consumer culture or simply a special effects-heavy popcorn flick, Gremlins is a minor classic.
Synopsis: "Don't expose him to bright light. Don't ever get him wet. And don't ever, ever feed him after midnight." This... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante


Elf (2003)

Adjusted Score: 89.161%
Critics Consensus: A movie full of Yuletide cheer, Elf is a spirited, good-natured family comedy, and it benefits greatly from Will Ferrell's funny and charming performance as one of Santa's biggest helpers.
Synopsis: For his sophomore stab at directing, actor/writer/director Jon Favreau (Swingers, Made), took on this holiday comedy starring Saturday Night Live-alum... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau


Trading Places (1983)

Adjusted Score: 89.629%
Critics Consensus: Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire.
Synopsis: The "nature-nurture" theory that motivated so many Three Stooges comedies is the basis of John Landis's hit comedy. The fabulously... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

Adjusted Score: 90.051%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: War hero Dennis Morgan becomes the object of a publicity stunt staged by magazine publisher Sidney Greenstreet. The corpulent print... [More]
Directed By: Peter Godfrey


Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Adjusted Score: 91.184%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful and substantive, Tokyo Godfathers adds a moving -- and somewhat unconventional -- entry to the animated Christmas canon.
Synopsis: Japanese filmmaker Satoshi Kon directs his third anime feature with the holiday film Tokyo Godfathers. The story takes place in... [More]
Directed By: Satoshi Kon, Shôgo Furuya


Better Watch Out (2017)

Adjusted Score: 88.471%
Critics Consensus: Carried by its charismatic young cast, Better Watch Out is an adorably sinister holiday horror film.
Synopsis: This holiday season, you may be home, but you're not alone... In this fresh and gleefully twisted spin on home-invasion... [More]
Directed By: Chris Peckover

Adjusted Score: 91.294%
Critics Consensus: Rare Exports is an unexpectedly delightful crossbreed of deadpan comedy and Christmas horror.
Synopsis: It's the eve of Christmas in northern Finland, and an 'archeological' dig has just unearthed the real Santa Claus. But... [More]
Directed By: Jalmari Helander

Adjusted Score: 90.334%
Critics Consensus: A sharp black comedy about a chaotic family holiday gathering, A Christmas Tale is always involving, thanks to an impressive ensemble cast.
Synopsis: The devastating reverberations of a profound tragedy echo through generations of a long-suffering French family in this emotional family drama... [More]
Directed By: Arnaud Desplechin

Adjusted Score: 91.248%
Critics Consensus: The Miracle of Morgan's Creek finds director Preston Sturges at his most zanily subversive -- not to mention hilarious.
Synopsis: This wild, once-controversial comedy stars Betty Hutton as Trudy Kockenlocker, a man-crazy single girl whose favorite pastime involves entertaining every... [More]
Directed By: Preston Sturges

Adjusted Score: 92.472%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This stop-motion animagic version of the classic Christmas tale adds a bit of a twist when Rudolph encounters an abominable... [More]
Directed By: Maury Laws, Larry Roemer

Adjusted Score: 93.029%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Christmastime is here. Happiness and cheer. And for Peanuts fans everywhere, it just wouldn't be Christmas without this classic holiday... [More]
Directed By: Bill Melendez, Phil Roman

Adjusted Score: 94.062%
Critics Consensus: Both warmly nostalgic and darkly humorous, A Christmas Story deserves its status as a holiday perennial.
Synopsis: In the 1940's, in the town of Hammond, 9-year-old Ralphie wants one thing for Christmas -- an official Red Ryder... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark


Arthur Christmas (2011)

Adjusted Score: 96.394%
Critics Consensus: Aardman Animations broadens their humor a bit for Arthur Christmas, a clever and earnest holiday film with surprising emotional strength.
Synopsis: The 3D, CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas, an Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation, at last reveals the incredible, never-before... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Smith, Barry Cook


Die Hard (1988)

Adjusted Score: 98.533%
Critics Consensus: Its many imitators (and sequels) have never come close to matching the taut thrills of the definitive holiday action classic.
Synopsis: It's Christmas time in L.A., and there's an employee party in progress on the 30th floor of the Nakatomi Corporation... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

Adjusted Score: 102.725%
Critics Consensus: The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.
Synopsis: Despite having recently presided over a very successful Halloween, Jack Skellington, aka the Pumpkin King, is bored with his job... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick, Tim Burton

Adjusted Score: 101.87%
Critics Consensus: How the Grinch Stole Christmas brings an impressive array of talent to bear on an adaptation that honors a classic holiday story -- and has rightfully become a yuletide tradition of its own.
Synopsis: Chuck Jones' animated version of the classic Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas originally aired on television in... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Jones, Ben Washam

Adjusted Score: 103.236%
Critics Consensus: Deftly directed by Ernst Lubitsch from a smart, funny script by Samson Raphaelson, The Shop Around the Corner is a romantic comedy in the finest sense of the term.
Synopsis: The Shop Around the Corner is adapted from the Hungarian play by Nikolaus (Miklos) Laszlo. Budapest gift-shop clerk Alfred Kralik... [More]
Directed By: Ernst Lubitsch


Holiday Inn (1942)

Adjusted Score: 103.304%
Critics Consensus: With the combined might of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Irving Berlin working in its favor, Holiday Inn is a seasonal classic -- not least because it introduced "White Christmas" to the world.
Synopsis: Music by Irving Berlin, songs by Bing Crosby and dancing by Fred Astaire all add up to a really delightful... [More]
Directed By: Mark Sandrich

Adjusted Score: 104.338%
Critics Consensus: Irrefutable proof that gentle sentimentalism can be the chief ingredient in a wonderful film, Miracle on 34th Street delivers a warm holiday message without resorting to treacle.
Synopsis: Edmund Gwenn plays Kris Kringle, a bearded old gent who is the living image of Santa Claus. Serving as a... [More]
Directed By: George Seaton

Adjusted Score: 104.714%
Critics Consensus: The holiday classic to define all holiday classics, It's a Wonderful Life is one of a handful of films worth an annual viewing.
Synopsis: This is director Frank Capra's classic bittersweet comedy/drama about George Bailey (James Stewart), the eternally-in-debt guiding force of a bank... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

  • Heather Anders

    I was hoping for a more kid-oriented list (as isn’t that what xmas is about?) so I know what to watch with my kids – but clearly not the right sort of list – otherwise things like Polar Express, Scrooged, Grinch etc. would be on it…. But that aside – A Christmas List that has In Bruges and NOT Home Alone?!?! …. Madness.* Not a very good christmas list for anyone I think.

    *In Bruges a great film.. but a ‘Christmas film’?!? Hmmm.

  • Reece Markowsky

    i had to look twice, but can’t believe Scrooged (1988) wasn’t on the list.

    • SAJKinBigD

      Agreed! This is my favorite Christmas movie, hands-down!

  • Markdpez

    Christmas Vacation

  • The Family Stone and White Christmas! ♥

  • Jose Velasquez

    Home Alone? The Grinch? Jingle All the Way? Just to name a few…

  • Jesse Bernal

    Just terrible I tell ya.

  • wickedscholar

    Are you on crack? No Christmas Vacation – are you kidding me? I think I’ve lost all confidence in Rotten Tomatoes. I’ll never trust one of your rankings again.

    • advantasux

      personally, I look at these lists just for my own amusement anymore. I’ve come to believe that folks that publish lists like these make choices they think make them look intelligent and above the “nonsense” that turns on dopes like the rest of us. This list is as good an example of that as any I’ve seen. No “Home Alone”? No “Christmas Vacation”? What a joke!

  • David Cohen

    This list is invalid for three reasons:

    1) “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a Halloween movie, NOT a Christmas movie. Source: Tim Burton.

    2) You neglected to include the animated version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

    3) You put “A Christmas Story” at number 11 and that over-rated slop fest “Its a Wonderful Life” at number one.

    • American Kestral

      “Over-rated slop fest”? You’re entitled to your opinion, a lot of people think Frank Capra’s movies are cheesy. I think Christmas is the perfect venue for his brand of corn. To me, trashing “It’s a Wonderful Life” is like kicking a puppy.

      • David Cohen

        I admire your ability to resist nausea

        • Guest54321

          I admire your ability to think you are so above it all. Kudos, tough guy.

    • ks

      “A Christmas Story” Sucked with a capital “S”. The whole story revolves
      around this dumb, nerdy kid who should have been beaten up on
      a regular basis. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is great because it shows the resilience
      of the Human Spirit. Down and and being kicked and he gets up off the mat and
      fights back when he knows that being rich doesn’t mean having a lot of money.
      “Christmas Vacation”, “White Christmas” and “Home Alone 2” need
      to be in the the top 10, NOT “Home Alone”.

      • David Cohen

        “Its a Wonderful Life” flopped in its initial release. It didn’t become a so-called classic until it was handed over to television and re-run ad nauseum year after year. Its like a commercial: endless repeats makes one inured to how cloying and sickly sweet it is and fools people into think it might actually be good.

        Well, some people at least.

        • ks

          The reason it is shown year after year is that it gets ratings. It
          is like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” people want to see it. Of
          course you seem to like movies about neurotic, wimpy kids
          like the dork in “Christmas Story”.

          • David Cohen

            The A Team got ratings too, a fact which did not keep it from, being garbage. Of course, you seem to prefer ridiculous wish-fulfillment fantasies over realistic stories about real people whom you write off as dumb, nerdy, dorks and lament they they are not beaten up more.

        • Guest54321

          Geez, you still busy bashing It’s a Wonderful Life? What a bizarre thing to need to do. Patrol a movie forum to make sure you get your licks in.

          • David Cohen

            Whereas stalking people who patrol a movie forum seems to strike you as perfectly reasonable.

          • Guest54321

            Well, less unreasonable, certainly, than going around repeating some jejeune “it’s so played out” trope about the most beloved Christmas movie of all time.

          • David Cohen

            Brilliant use of the “I know you are but what am I” retort. 1st graders everywhere must live in fear of your ready wit.

            Your comebacks are as trite and uninspired as the movie you are defending.

          • Guest54321

            Oooooh, double dis!! Strong work, soldier!

          • fozzie bear

            Stalking requires more than one reply.

      • LINUXGUY

        Agree 100%. Christmas Story sucks. Big time.

      • tanksl

        Gets up off the mat? He tried to kill himself 15 minutes in. Fortunately, an angel intervened, and he didn’t end up abandoning his family before Christmas like the spineless piece of human garbage he is.

    • MovieBuff

      “A Christmas Story” is an overrated slop fest

      • David Cohen

        A Christmas Story wasn’t about sentiment. Its a Wonderful Life was about nothing but sentiment; sloppy, cloying, manufactured sentiment.

        Dang, did you put ANY thought into that response?

  • The Ref? Love Actually? Christmas Vacation?

  • MatticusFinch182

    This list some is some bullshit.

  • Mark

    The Ice Harvest. Mob/comedy. I laugh everytime Billy Bob Thorton and John Cusack debate the spaciousness of Mercedes trunks.

  • On my film blog I’ve produced my own list of the 101 Christmas Movies You Must See Before You Die, shares some films from this list but has many more interesting and lesser known titles that I recommend if you’re looking for something different to watch this year –

  • Mark

    Most of these are not xmas movies. Films like the lemondrop Kid and Christmas In Connecticut should be in and things like Die Hard, Stalag 17 really dont belong in this list

    • Dharmesh

      Clearly you have not seen Die Hard to know that it is in fact a Christmas Movie, In fact, probably the best action Christmas movie out there. But the list doesn’t have Home Alone 2, so it is garbage

  • Dharmesh

    How the heck could Home Alone 2 not be on this list.

  • Allison Knowles

    The Ref should have been #1 on this list. Guess you never heard of it. Your loss.

    • SAJKinBigD

      Great one! Absolutely love it!

  • Sam

    Christmas Vacation is a classic and full of funny one liners and scenes

  • Sam

    And Home Alone is awesome

  • Sam

    Jim Carrey’s Grinch and Christmas Story….. the old ,Santa Claus – The Movie was good , with Dudley Moore , and The Santa Clause-

  • Kieran Blubaugh

    How are half these considered Christmas movies, Die Hard is fine, but In Bruges? Really?

    • Caleb Nathaniel Gumblegore

      I was baffled by that one as well. Not entirely familiar with the climate in Bruges, but I’m not sure that movie even took place in winter let alone Christmas.

      • Kukalaka

        Forget In Bruges — Stalag 17?! Seriously?

    • Guest54321

      The list is pretty absurd overall. Half the movies are nothing like Christmas movies. Just because it is December in a movie does not make it a Christmas movie.

  • Jim222001

    Home Alone and Home Alone 2 are rated way lower than they should be. Yet Home Alone 3 is the only one Ebert liked ?
    Also the Santa Clause and Muppet Christmas Carol. Scrooged is another classic critics hated.

  • Joe Bartbart

    The Thin Man should be on this list if Die Hard is.

  • Harry Pujols

    Love Actually?

  • notsofastnow

    Very loose definition of Christmas movie here. Scrooge with Alastair Sim should be high on the list. And where’s White Christmas? I love the Apartment and Stalag 17, but they’re not Christmas movies by any stretch of the imagination. Snow does not a holiday movie make. Is Christmas central to the theme of the movie? That’s what should define the genre. I’d add Charlie Brown Christmas to this list, but not Die Hard, c’mon. How about some standards?

    • Ed Gruberman

      Now I have a machine gun Ho-Ho-Ho?

  • So they didn’t include some movies that had part of a Christmas plot line but they did include Batman?

  • Justin Miner

    Love Love LOVE Miracle on 34th Street. Such an amazing movie.

  • Really?

    Releasing a movie in December doesn’t make it a ‘Christmas movie’. At least eight of these movies have nothing to do with Christmas. That’s the problem with the internet – no quality control


    Some of these are not even Christmas movies! If a movie has one Christmas scene or just mentions Christmas but it doesn’t center around Christmas then it is NOT a Christmas movie! In Bruges? Really? It’s one of my favorites BUT it is not a Christmas movie.

  • Barry Hussain

    Ths list sucks. Batman??? Nightmare Before Christmas, Gremlins = Weird! To name a few missing Polar Express, Home Alone, Family Vacation, White Christmas, Scrooged.

  • porkchopexpress


  • jerryr5

    To me, it’s 1970’s “Scrooge”, the Leslie Bricusse musical with Albert Finney. I just love it, and don’t see how you missed it. And I usually don’t like musicals. “Scrooge” is free on Youtube. See it.

  • jegerbomb

    Wtf half of these movies are not even Christmas movies they just take place in the winter

  • Bobb Smith

    The Great Rupert, also called A Christmas Wish. This is right there with Miracle on 34th Street.

  • Dave

    No Love Actually?

    • John

      Love that movie!

  • John

    Wow this list left off some goodies that are much more of Christmas Classics than some listed. White Christmas, Home Alone, and even The Grinch. I hate critics, so out of touch with the actual audience.

  • Michael Gorth

    a Christmas story #1

  • Farty Fartsalot

    The Ref?

  • Matthew Parker

    A reboot of the original script but done very badly.
    1/ Storm troopers land like WWII D day troops and run into opposition. I think with the technology they have that was a little outdated.
    2/ Finn and Poe crash land. Finn walks 50 miles and the First Order haven’t reacted yet.
    3/ Ray spent all her life as a suppressed scavenger stuck on a desert planet but is inexplicably a space ace pilot.
    4/ And the insults to the first original classic just keep on coming and coming, not to mention the opportunity for the Jewish director to virtually create the First Order as the Third Reich to continually remind us how all those Jewish billionaire bankers who own Hollywood how oppressed they are.

    • Reid Ralston

      1/ You’re wrong.
      2/ I think you’re on the wrong discussion.

      • Matthew Parker

        1/ I’m not wrong, The Force Awakens is as stated.
        2/ I’m on the wrong discussion. Don’t know how that happened, I started in “The Force Awakens” but it got posted here. WTF? Blame the nerds who set up this site.
        3/ Best Christmas movie ever is “Die Hard”.

  • MovieBuff

    Not one of my favorite Christmas films are here 🙁

  • MovieBuff

    Love Actually, White Christmas, Joyeux Noel, The Preacher’s Wife, Jack Frost….

  • VanillaMillz

    The Family Man.. I watch it every year.

  • Flavius Căpățînă

    Love Actually?

  • Real Vegas

    You missed “To live and die in L.A.”

  • Brian

    NL Christmas Vacation??? Not in top 10??? How can A Christmas Story not be in the top 10???

  • Andre Troesch

    I’d have Mixed Nuts instead of In Bruges and I’d include Merry Christmas (1984) on the list somewhere

  • Craig Moreland

    Isn’t Christmas Suppose to Be About JESUS?

  • Tim Sawyer

    Rotten Tomatoes just lost ALL credibility from its editors. What drunken, delusional moron tossed together this stinking heap of garbage they call a list? Lots of these aren’t even Christmas movies! They’re just movies that happen to be set around the holidays! Hell, that makes JURASSIC WORLD a damn Christmas movie!

    They leave off CHRISTMAS VACATION??? Home alone 1 & 2? The Grinch? Jingle All the Way? Four Christmases? THE SANTA CLAUS?? …THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL?!?!?!

    I feel bad for the friends and family of whatever tasteless, cheerless Scrooge made this sad excuse of a list. They need to go watch some actual Christmas classics.

  • 450lb

    Oh please…this list is crap. Home Alone and Christmas Vacation are two of the BEST Christmas movies of all time and nowhere on the list. Really? I’m done.

  • 450lb

    I would also add Fred Clause….I always liked that movie too.

  • fozzie bear

    Well Mr Joseph12034″I know hot put silly control characters in my internet name”

    has got some real issues hasnt he? Worried about the F bomb in a movie but quite happy to insult everyboy here with some choice language, then accuse people of being “scum”, “crap”,”crappy” “crap” again and then “crap” again,thn £crappy” again.

    Happy Xmas Joseph.

  • fozzie bear
  • fozzie bear

    Jamie Lee Curtis looking “FINE!!”

Tag Cloud

Ghostbusters Nickelodeon USA Network Video Games Lucasfilm singing competition ESPN Adult Swim Rocky Columbia Pictures Reality Competition History what to watch 20th Century Fox First Look medical drama American Society of Cinematographers Disney Channel biography TNT Epix transformers talk show dceu Calendar crossover Kids & Family Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Freeform 24 frames Pop YouTube Premium Thanksgiving blaxploitation diversity A&E Certified Fresh ABC Family Paramount Network Set visit DirecTV Superheroe Comic Book Star Wars Watching Series adventure Food Network crime Nat Geo Sundance Now mutant Showtime Podcast The Arrangement Reality DC streaming service dramedy Sony Pictures Rock Universal Awards Super Bowl cops Ellie Kemper Premiere Dates Disney El Rey Interview Comedy Central doctor who based on movie period drama discovery CBS All Access X-Men Warner Bros. Marvel jamie lee curtis Marathons Spike Martial Arts sports Valentine's Day Mystery Apple Walt Disney Pictures travel Schedule aliens Tomatazos finale festivals Writers Guild of America Esquire Oscars historical drama crime drama Amazon Musicals HBO Creative Arts Emmys Winter TV PBS Extras TLC Action Ovation IFC Drama BET cults CW Seed binge technology science fiction 007 SDCC Biopics spy thriller Grammys CBS MSNBC cinemax FXX Cartoon Network TV Box Office dc GLAAD Nominations harry potter VH1 unscripted MTV Horror vampires SundanceTV BBC Trivia LGBTQ supernatural Emmys Netflix police drama Song of Ice and Fire Musical SXSW Cosplay Polls and Games 2017 TruTV 2015 Summer ITV DC Comics Shudder E! Infographic sitcom Shondaland Hulu BBC America Rom-Com Lionsgate Opinion Western Character Guide RT History Acorn TV 45 See It Skip It APB Year in Review 2016 romance Music GoT Teen Comedy Sundance cooking Crackle Britbox IFC Films TCA 2017 TCM TV Land cats E3 hist serial killer The CW robots DC Universe Logo Dark Horse Comics Winners NBC Paramount Trailer boxoffice OWN Red Carpet YouTube Red CNN Sci-Fi WGN social media docudrama Fox News Starz Photos politics war Election zombie San Diego Comic-Con Fall TV TCA anime Animation NYCC National Geographic zombies Star Trek Lifetime Mindy Kaling justice league comiccon TBS golden globes ratings VICE President Countdown Mary Tyler Moore Best and Worst streaming crime thriller Fantasy Syfy TIFF FOX Spring TV Christmas PaleyFest ABC FX political drama Masterpiece USA 21st Century Fox Toys Bravo Sneak Peek Pirates Country Pixar AMC thriller Tumblr GIFs CMT psycho Superheroes composers Holidays YA