Christmas is such big business, it’s no surprise Hollywood has managed to make an entire genre out of it – and a shockingly varied one at that. Christmas means something different to everyone, so it makes sense that you can find a Christmas movie for pretty much any taste. You’ve got your traditional biblical stories, unrelentingly sentimental romances, cheery musicals, and unconventional black comedies, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, most Christmas movies make for poor cinema, which might explain why only two movies set at Christmas – Going My Way and The Apartment – have ever won Best Picture. Those of us who care about such things don’t want to waste our time sitting through lame Netflix holiday features written by an algorithm (apologies to all the A Christmas Prince fans out there). With that in mind, here are 10 unforgettable Christmas movies to watch over the holidays that don’t suck.
Note: We’ve decided to limit this list to movies that are about Christmas, and not just set in late December. As great as films like Die Hard and Iron Man 3 are, it’s a stretch to call them Christmas movies (even if it’s perfectly acceptable to have them in your holiday rotation). Make sense? Okay, onto the list!
10. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Released in November 1944, Meet Me In St. Louis was a sugary sweet dose of comfort for Americans still fighting in World War II overseas. Since then, Vincent Minelli’s musical has become a revered classic and a popular holiday viewing tradition. The movie follows a Missouri family in the leadup to the 1904 World’s Fair so in a way, it’s only partly a Christmas movie.
Then again, it’s pretty much impossible to doubt the Yuletide merits of a film that features Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. More importantly, Meet Me in St. Louis is simply a great piece of classic cinema, albeit one best enjoyed sitting next to a roaring fire on Christmas Eve.