Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

The Definitive List of Top 20 Christmas Movies

You can tell a lot about a person from their favorite Christmas movie. 

For example, the fact that you’ve seen every title in the Hallmark Christmas film catalog twice – and A Royal Christmas thrice – says something about your views on romance. If you’ve memorized every line of the 1942 classic Holiday Inn, it’s doubtful you’re as passionate about Bad Santa.

And if your taste runs more to the likes of Gremlins or Batman Returns, it’s clear that you enjoy a little action with your eggnog.

Here, then, to guide you in your holiday binge-watching, is a list of the Top 20 Christmas Movies, as ranked by Rotten Tomatoes.

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  1. A Christmas Story (1983). “In the 1940s in the town of Hammond, 9-year-old Ralphie wants one thing for Christmas – a Red Ryder BB gun. Both warmly nostalgic and darkly humorous, A Christmas Story deserves its status as a holiday perennial.”
  2. Little Women (1994). “Thanks to a powerhouse lineup of talented actresses, Gillian Armstrong's take on Louisa May Alcott's Little Women proves that a timeless story can succeed no matter how many times it’s told.”
  3. Edward Scissorhands (1990). “The first collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton is a magical modern fairy tale with gothic overtones and a sweet center.”
  4. Klaus (2019). “Beautiful hand-drawn animation and a humorous, heartwarming narrative make Klaus an instant candidate for holiday classic status.”
  5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). “A yule-tide gem that bursts with eye-popping iconography, stop-motion animagic, a spirited soundtrack, and a heart-warming celebration of difference.”
  6. Arthur Christmas (2011).“A clever and earnest 3D, CGI-animated family comedy with surprising emotional strength.”
  7. Die Hard (1988). “It’s Christmas time in LA, and there’s an employee party in progress on the 30th floor of the Nakatomi Corporation. The many imitators (and sequels) have never come close to matching the taut thrills of the definitive holiday action classic.”
  8. Remember the Night (1940). “With a deft blending of humor, sentimentality and romance, this Preston Sturges-penned comedy centers on romance.”
  9. Babes in Toyland (1964). “Two bumbling apprentices to the master toymaker of Toyland try to raise money to help Little Bo-Peep and her sweetheart.”
  10. Tangerine (2015). “A working girl tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart. Tangerine shatters casting conventions, but it’s an old-fashioned comedy at heart.”
  11. Christmas Chronicles (2018). “Viewers seeking a fresh holiday viewing option – or those simply in the mood for Santa Kurt Russell – should find this well worth a yuletide streaming.”
  12. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). “A disarmingly sweet musical led by outstanding performances from Judy Garland and Margaret O'Brien.”
  13. Love Actually (2003). “All of London is in love at Christmas – and you will be, too.”
  14. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). “A stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.”
  15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1967). “Chuck Jones’ animated version of the classic Dr. Seuss book originally aired on television and hasn’t lost a bit of its charm.”
  16. The Shop Around the Corner (1940). “Deftly directed by Ernst Lubitsch from a smart, funny script by Samson Raphaelson, it’s a romantic comedy in the finest sense of the term.”
  17. Holiday Inn (1942). “With the combined might of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Irving Berlin working in its favor, it’s a seasonal classic, not least because it introduced White Christmas to the world.”
  18. Miracle on 34th Street (1947). “Irrefutable proof that gentle sentimentalism can be the chief ingredient in a wonderful film.”
  19. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965). “Christmastime is here. Happiness and cheer. And for Peanuts fans everywhere, it wouldn’t be Christmas without this classic.”
  20. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). “Director Frank Capra’s bittersweet comedy/drama is the holiday classic to define all holiday classics.”

 What about you? What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Source: Rotten Tomatoes


Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which helps lawyers add purpose, profits and peace of mind to their practices. Contact or 919-619-2441.


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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