15. Holiday Inn (1942)
Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, need I say anymore? The two men compete for the affections of a woman at a resort during the holidays. We needed a musical on this list (there will be others), and what better way to start things off than with a film that has music and lyrics by the great Irving Berlin. Holiday Inn is cheery studio fare from a more innocent time—at least as projected on screen.
14. Gremlins (1984)
Maybe not often thought of as a Holiday movie, but the entire string of events is set off because the Gizmo character is a Christmas present. This may be one of the last memorable movies Phoebe Cates was in, and though Spielberg did not direct Gremlins, it was produced by his company Amblin and has his stamp on it. This movie was zombie before that genre really got rolling.
13. Joyeux Noel (2005)
Another French picture, but this one a historic, war movie with a Christmas backdrop. World War One is underway and the slaughter is the greatest humanity has ever seen, but on Christmas Eve –not by order of any government—a truce is called amongst the men on the lines. This film was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2006 Academy Awards.
12. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
This one has been in the news recently and stirred some controversy. For years, this Claymation TV-movie was cherished by many, but now some are saying it glorifies bullying and shows authority figures mocking a physical imperfection. I think all of this may true, but that won’t force it off this list. Rudolph does overcome all of the obstacles in his way by the movie’s end, but I’m not so sure some of them should have been placed in his way to begin with.
11. The Robe (1953)
The first movie to be released in Cinemascope. A wide-screen, Technicolor dazzler about the Roman soldier who came into possession of Christ’s robe after the Crucifixion. It’s the kind of studio epic that’s a thing of the past, with acting gods Richard Burton and Jean Simmons. Plenty of sonorous music and every moment dripping with gravity. It won Golden Globes and Oscars, and should resonate with both Christian and non-Christian during the Holiday season.