20. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Check the date supplied for this entry on the list. It’s not the Jim Carey version but the animated, made-for-tv classic from 1966. Boris Karloff is the narrator and the voice of The Grinch, and you just don’t get these kinds of family movies on mainstream television anymore. For anyone who grew up in the 60s, 70s, and 80s this one would have to be on the list.

19. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Studio golden-era film with legendary performers. Barbara Stanwyck is at her screwball best in this post-World War Two Christmas comedy about a food writer who’s fabricated a persona about herself. Well, her boss is ready to call her on it, and she has to try to bluff her way through it. Sounds like something that would be pitched to studios today. It should come as no surprise that it was remade in the 1990s, but the newer version doesn’t hold a Christmas candle to the original.

18. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

It’s half-Halloween movie, half-Christmas movie, but it’s all Tim Burton. I think it’s fair to say “Burtonesque” has now entered the film lexicon, and this animated movie certainly qualifies. Beetlejuice is my favorite Burton movie and Ed Wood may be his best movie. The Nightmare Before Christmas may not rank too high in the Burton oeuvre, but on a top Holiday movie list it definitely needs to get consideration.

17.  Frozen River (2008)

Most of the movies on this list are studio-level or at least mainstream film and television productions. But we need to give a little love to independent film, and that’s where Frozen River comes in. Some might say it’s not even a Holiday film, but it does depict the plight of a mother in upstate New York during Christmas-time who resorts to smuggling immigrants into the United States to pay for her near-broke family. She enlists the help of a Native American, as they cross a frozen river on reservation land to bring back their illegal cargo. It’s depressing and redeeming at the same time. We could fill this list with studio epic after studio epic, but Frozen River is one that should squeeze in here and compete.

16. The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

We’re used to seeing Max von Sydow in a brooding Ingmar Bergman film or as a minor character in sci-fi and fantasy flicks, but in this Biblical epic he’s Jesus Christ! Perhaps not as strong as The Robe or King of Kings, it still deserves a place on any greatest Holiday movie list.

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About The Author

Randy Steinberg has been a Blast film critic since 2011. He has a Master's Degree in Film/Screenwriting from Boston University. He taught screenwriting at BU from 1999-2010. In 2020, he joined the Boston Online Critics Film Association (BOFCA). Randy can be contacted at his website: www.RandySteinbergWriting.com

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