Christmas has always been a source of inspiration to many artists and writers. Over the years, filmmakers have adapted various Christmas stories into both movies and TV specials, which have become staples during the holiday season all around the world. Even though Christmas is my favourite holiday, I haven't watched a lot of Christmas films. Still, I thought it would be fun to rank my top 10 favourites, based on the ones that I have indeed seen. Here they are.
10. Holiday Affair (1949)
Directed by Don Hartman, Holiday Affair tells the story of a young widow (Janet Leigh) torn between a boring attorney (Wendell Corey) and a romantic drifter (Robert Mitchum). She's engaged to marry the boring attorney, but her son (Gordon Gebert) likes the romantic drifter better. Who will she choose? Well, we all know who she will choose.
Holiday Affair is not by any means the greatest Christmas film of all time, but it's still a very enjoyable Yule-tide comedy to watch over the holidays. And it's always nice to see Robert Mitchum drift away from his gritty noir roles and play a more lighthearted character.
Directed by Richard Curtis, Love Actually delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many of whom are interlinked. The stellar cast includes Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Laura Linney, Martine McCutcheon and Rowan Atkinson.
Love Actually is one of those films that never get old, not matter how many times you watch it. Yes, it's a bit corny and maybe it has too many stories, but it's still a pretty darn good film.
8. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, The Shop Around the Corner revolves around two employees (James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan) at a leathergoods shop in Budapest who can barely stand each other and are constantly arguing. What they don't realize is that they are both falling in love with each other as anonymous correspondents though their letters.
The Shop Around the Corner is a film that everyone will like. It's witty and funny, and also really cute and romantic. It's honestly just one of the loveliest films ever.
7. We're No Angels (1955)
Directed by Michael Curtiz, We're No Angels tells the whimsical story of three convicts (played by Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov) as they escape from prison on Devil's Island in French Guiana just before Christmas and arrive at a nearby town, where they end up spending the holidays with a family of French colonialists.
The way I see it, We're No Angels is a terribly underrated film. It's Bogie, Sir Peter Ustinov and Aldo Ray in a turn-of-the-century Christmas comedy. I mean, what's not to like?
6. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Directed by Peter Godfrey, Christmas in Connecticut centers on an unmarried city magazine writer (Barbara Stanwyck) who pretends to be a farm wife and mother and falls in love with a returning war hero (Dennis Morgan), for whom she is supposed to host a Christmas dinner.
Christmas in Connecticut might be a little clichéd, but I really like it. But then again, any comedy with Barbara Stanwyck in it is a good comedy to me.
5. I'll Be Seeing You (1944)
Directed by William Dieterle, I'll Be Seeing You tells the story of a shell-shocked victim (Joseph Cotten) who falls in love with a woman (Ginger Rogers) on holiday furlough from prison.
I'll Be Seeing You is perhaps the least Christmassy film in this list (seeing that Christmas is not a huge part of it), but I really like it. Joseph Cotten and Ginger Rogers are a great match and I love the redemption story that is inherent to both characters.
Directed by Chris Columbus, Home Alone follows an eight-year-old boy (Macaulay Culkin) who must defend his home from a pair of burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) after his family accidentally leaves him behind on their Christmas vacation.
Home Alone is an absolute classic. It was one of my favorites when I was a kid and it's still one of my favorites now. It airs every single year on Christmas and I watch it every single time!
Directed by Nancy Meyers, The Holiday tells the story of an English society columnist (Kate Winslet) and an American movie trailer producer (Cameron Diaz) who decide to arrange a home exchange to escape heartbreak during the Christmas season.
I love The Holiday so much! It's another one of those films that I watch every time it's on TV. I don't care if it's clichéd. I just love it. And Jude Law is in it. That's a major selling point for me.
2. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Directed by Frank Capra, It's a Wonderful Life tells the story of a man (James Stewart) who has given up his dreams to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel (Henry Travers).
It's a Wonderful Life truly is a wonderful film and by all standards it is the quintessential Christmas film. If you have never seen it, you really need to re-evaluate your life.
Directed by Christian Carion, Joyeux Noël is a fictionalized account of the 1914 Christmas truce, during which French, German and British soldiers ceased fire on the Western Front of World War I and ventured into no-man's-land to exchange seasonal greetings, food and souvenirs. There were also joint burial ceremonies, a Mass and even carol-singing.
Joyeux Noël is not only my all-time favorite Christmas film, but it is also one of my all-time favorite films of any genre. The cast is outstanding and I think this is the perfect depiction of the absurdity of World War I (of any war, for that matter).