MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIES OF ALL TIME!
Dec 11, 2000 (Updated Jan 5, 2001)
WARNING – THESE MOVIES ARE TOTALLY REVEALED!
Tis The Season To Be Jolly! I Just Love this time of year so much, don’t You? I love all the Lovely Decorations, the Pretty Lights, the Beautiful Music and the Great Christmas/Holiday Movies. Even though our kids are grown, Married and moved away I still put up lights outside my House every year. I put up our tree and decorate it and play my Christmas CD’s at work the Month of December until Christmas Eve. I watch the Christmas Specials and Movies on TV and haul out some of my own Christmas Videos to watch. The list of my favorite Christmas Movies are ones that I have enjoyed so much over the years that I own most of them on Video. The list is in order with my all time favorite listed first to the most recent one I plan to own at number 10.
1. WHITE CHRISTMAS: This Movie was released in 1954. It stars “Bing Crosby” as Captain Bob Wallace, “Danny Kaye” as Private Phil Davis and “Dean Jagger” (not the same person) as General Waverly. It also stars "Rosemary Clooney" and "Vera Ellen" as the Haynes sisters. It starts off during the War as Bob who was a successful singer before he joined the Army and his friend Phil are putting on a Christmas show for the troops of their Division. This also becomes a surprise going away thank you for General Waverly who is being retired.
As the show continues there is an attack and a wall of a building is falling onto Bob as he is saved by Phil who fakes an injury in the process. Bob decides to repay him after the War is over by putting him in his nightclub act. They are in Florida when they see the Haynes sisters perform their act and by a strange set of circumstances they end up on the same train as Bob and Phil going to Vermont. They just happen to run into retired General Waverly who now owns and operates the Inn they are going to be staying at. They find out that he has had it really rough trying to keep it going as no one wants to stay there when they are not having snow. Bob devises a plan to go back to NY and get on a TV show and invite all his old Division Army Buddies up to surprise the General for the Holidays. He ends up singing “WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A GENERAL WHO STOPS BEING A GENERAL”. They end up getting hundreds of the General’s old troops to show up and surprise him as they put on a show. Bing sings the title song at the end as it finally starts to snow. The song “White Christmas” did not first appear in this film as it appeared in another of my favorites first, in “HOLIDAY INN”.
2. I’T’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Originally released in 1946 in B & W and has since been Colorized, it is available in both versions on video. “Jimmy Stewart” plays George Bailey, “Donna Reed” plays Mary Hatch, “Lionel Barrymore” plays Mr. Gower, “Thomas Mitchell” plays Uncle Billy, Harry Bailey is played by “Todd Karnes”, Clarence The Angel is played by “Henry Travers” and “H. B. Warner” plays Mr. Gower. The Movie starts off in the Heavens where Angels are talking about George who is about to commit suicide. We flash back to George as a little boy working in a Drugstore for Mr. Gower. George sees Mr. Gower who had been drinking due to a death in his family and he accidentally mixes poison in a prescription. At first my Gower yells at him and hits him but then he realizes his error that George had saved him from making a terrible mistake and he begs George his forgiveness.
Next we see George getting ready for College but suddenly his Father dies. He decides he must stay in Bedford Falls and take over his Father’s business The Building and Loan Association. He must take this over or lose it to the rich, powerful and ruthless old mean man Mr. Potter. No one believes his Uncle Billy is capable enough of being in charge of the Business. George gives his College money to his brother Harry to send him off to college in hopes when he graduates he will return to take over the Business so he can leave. He is upset about this whole situation so he visit’s his childhood friend Mary and they talk. He then realizes that he is in love with her so they soon marry. He and Mary were getting ready to go on their Honeymoon when he sees a Mob scene at his Business. He arrives to find they are having “A RUN ON THE PLACE” and people are scared and want their money out. He uses his Honeymoon money to appease most of the people as he talks some out of taking out their money. No honeymoon and so as years go on he manages to just keep the Business going with what little money they make he helps friends build new homes. He can’t afford a new home himself so keeps doing repairs on it.
When World War II comes he is rejected due to ear problems but his brother becomes a Pilot. Harry becomes a War Hero and wins the Congressional medal of Honor and is on the front page of the Bedford Falls Newspaper. Uncle Billy is in the Bank making a deposit of $8,000 and sees old man Potter and tosses him the paper to gloat. He had inadvertently rolled the money up in the Newspaper and Potter never tells anyone. Uncle Billy, George and everyone search frantically for the money to no avail. George is so depressed he wants to jump off a bridge when an Angel named Clarence arrives and jumps in and George saves him instead. George tells the Angel it would be better for everyone if he had not been born. So the Angel shows him how terrible Bedford Falls would be if he hadn’t been born and Mr. Potter were allowed to control everything. George realizes this can’t be this way and goes back to the Bridge and begs to be alive again and his wish is granted.
He runs all the way home and hugs his Kids and Wife when he sees them. Also waiting for him are the Bank Examiner and the Sheriff. All of a sudden all the townspeople come in George’s house bearing money and love and telling him how much they owed him over the years. The Sheriff tears up the warrant, the Bank Examiner even donates to the pool as George’s brother harry rushes in. They all start singing “Old Lang Syne” as a bell on the tree jingles and the youngest boy says “Look Daddy, Teacher says every time a bell rings an Angel gets their wings”. George says “That’s right, that’s right” and looks upwards, winks and says “attaboy Clarence, attaboy”.
3. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET: This Movie has been remade several times and I like all the versions I have seen but the original version released in 1947 is my favorite. Originally released in B & W and has since been Colorized, it is available in both versions on video. Starring “Edmund Gwynn” as Kris Kringle , “Maureen O’Hara” as Doris Walker, “John Payne” as Fred Gailey, and a very young “Natalie Wood” plays Susan Walker. As the movie starts Doris is preparing the Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. It is brought to her attention that her Santa is drunk and she can’t possibly find a replacement on such short notice. She notices that Kris who told her about the drunk Santa has his own beard and a very big belly and would be perfect. She convinces him to be in the Parade and he becomes a big hit.
After the Parade is over Doris invites him to be the store Santa for Macy’s and he agrees. He tries throughout the Movie to convince little Susan that he is the real Santa. Her Mother has told her there is no such thing and so she doesn’t believe him. Doris thinks he is crazy so she has him take some psychological tests with the store’s Doctor. He then is put on trial to be disproved as the real Santa and he is defended by John who is in love with Doris. As he continues to build evidence that he must be the real thing, the Postal Service seeing this going on decides to give him all there dead Santa Letters. John convinces the Court that if the U. S. Postal service has decided to deliver all their Santa mail to him he must be real. After the Judge rules in his favor Susan also decides to believe in him and tells him the one thing she wants for Christmas. He tells her that is a very tall order and he didn’t think even he could come up with that. Christmas Day comes and Kris is gone and John, Doris and Susan decide to take a drive. Susan yells for them to stop and jumps out of the car and runs into and New House that is for sale. She yells to them as they follow her he did give me my wish, this house. The owner of the store shows up and presents her with a big check and they decide to buy the house making Susan think it was Kris that gave it to them. As they close the door to the House we see them as they see Kris’ cane sitting behind the door and they smile.
4. SCROOGE: There have been many versions of this film and they have been called many different titles as well as “Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol”. I believe the first carnation of this film was released in 1935 but my favorite is the version released in 1970. “Albert Finney” plays Ebenezer Scrooge, “Alec Guiness” is Jacob Marley’s Ghost, The Ghost of Christmas past is played by “Edith Evans”, “Paddy Stone” plays the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come and “David Collins” plays Bob Cratchitt.
As the story unfolds Misery Mr. Scrooge who loves nothing but money and really hates the joy of Christmas tells his one employee Bob Cratchitt not to be late tomorrow morning. Bob says but “It’s Christmas Mr. Scrooge” and Scrooge replies “Christmas, Bah Humbug I guess you will be needing the day off?”. Scrooge goes home and goes to his lonely room and gets in bed to sleep and dream. He dreams he sees ghosts and that he is really awake and they take him on a journey to show him the error of his miserly ways. As one ghost shows him his past and return him to his bed. A second ghosts shows him the present and how poor Bob Cratchitt and his family are. He sees the youngest boy “Tiny Tim” has to walk with a cane. He is returned to his bed for the 3rd and final ghost to show him what his future cold hold.
This ghost is scary and spooky and shows Scrooge nothing but death and poverty. Scrooge is dead and not one person showed for his funeral as he had no friends. Tiny Tim is since long dead as they never could afford his much needed operation. The Cratchitt family is poor and very depressed even on Christmas Eve. He is once again returned to his bed and is awakened by the sound of the town clock bells. He decides he must change his ways and his lifestyle so he gives money to the poor and he stops at the local butcher shop. He purchases the biggest Turkey he can find and gives it to the Cratchitt family and gives Bob a raise. He also helps with Tiny Tim’s operation. Everyone is so happy celebrating Christmas day.
5. HOLIDAY INN: This Movie was released in 1942. It stars “Bing Crosby” as Jim Hardy, “Fred Astaire” as Ted Hanover, “Majorie Reynolds” as Linda Mason and “Virgina Dail” as Lila Dixon. Jim Hardy is a Singer and Dancer and was suppose to marry Lila but on Christmas Eve she suddenly decides to run off with Ted who is the third partner of the group instead. Jim decides to retire from show business and settles down on the Connecticut farm that they were to live on. After about a year of retirement he is so totally bored that he decides to make his quaint little Inn into a dinner and show place open only on Holidays.
Reenter Ted who has been dumped by Lila on the night before opening the first show in the newly remodeled Inn. It is New Year’s Eve and Ted is drunk and he stumbles and bumbles his way on stage and ends up dancing with Jim’s new partner Linda. The show is a smash success and Ted is determined that Linda is going to be his new dancing partner. The problem arises here where Ted was so drunk he doesn’t remember who he was dancing with and Jim won’t tell him being affair of losing her as well.
Ted leaves the Inn to return the next Holiday swearing if he ever danced with her again he would know she was the right person. The Movie continues as each Holiday Ted returns to look for his new partner and Jim continues to trick, lie and cheat to hide Linda from him. He even goes so far as to make her wear black makeup all over her face for one number. The Movie ends on the last Holiday of the Year Christmas. Ted finally discovers it was Linda and just as he is preparing to steal Linda from Jim Lila returns. Ted decides to get back with Lila and Jim and Linda become a perfect pair and they all sing and dance together. This Movie was the first to have the song “White Christmas” which was written by Irving Berlin and became Bing Crosby’s biggest selling song of all time.
6. THE SANTA CLAUSE: Released in 1994 and is scheduled to have a Part 2 released next year. This Movie stars “Tim Allen” as Scott Calvin alias the new Santa Claus. It also stars “Judge Reinhold” as Neal, “Wendy Crewson” as Laura and Charlie is played by “Eric Lloyd”. Scott is divorced from Laura and has Charlie staying at his house for Christmas. Scott hears a sound on the roof and goes out to check it out and surprises Santa who falls off his roof and gets hurt. He and his son Charlie end up making Santa’s Christmas deliveries. After he is finished delivering all the Toys he ends up back at the North Pole. He is greeted by the Head Elf Bernard who tells him because he put on the old Santa’s suit that he entered into a binding contract called “THE SANTA CLAUSE”, which makes him the new Santa. He tells him he has 11 months to get his affairs in order and return by Thanksgiving. The next day he has returned to his home and believes the night before was all a dream. As the year progresses he begins to gain weight, his hair turns white and he grows a beard. He can’t explain anything that is going on. He tries to die his hair back black and shave his beard yet they soon both return as before.
Charlie his son is the only one that believes he is the real Santa and tries to convince his Mom Laura and her psychiatrist boyfriend/husband Neal. They both think that Scott is putting these crazy ideas in his head and they don’t want him to see Charlie anymore for fear of harming him. Because of his very strange behavior they have a hearing and the Court denies any further visitation rights. He comes by Laura and Neal’s Home one last time to say goodbye to Charlie. Calvin appears and Charlie asks to go with them to the North Pole. They all disappear as Laura and Neal return to look for Charlie and report his supposed kidnapping to the Police.
Charlie and his Dad start delivering the Toys and Charlie asks to stop by his Mom’s house to give her a present he had made. Scott is caught by the Police and taken to jail. Charlie is still sitting in the Sleigh and the elves come to help Charlie get Santa out of jail. They return to Laura’s house and Scott finally proves to them he is the real Santa. He leaves them the presents they wished for as kids and never got and Laura burns up the custody papers. She tells him he can visit Charlie anytime he wants to. The sequel to this Movie due out next Thanksgiving will star most of the original cast.
7. CHRISTMAS VACATION: Released in 1989 as a part of a Vacation series. Stars “Chevy Chase” as Clark W. Griswold Jr., “Beverly D’Angelo as Ellen Griswold, Cousin Eddie was played by “Randy Quaid”, Rusty Griswold was played by “Johnny Galecki”, Audrey Griswold was played by "Juliette Lewis" and Eddie’s wife Catherine was played by "Miriam Flynn". This is the 3rd Movie in the Vacation series of 4 to date. The first was “VACATION” in 1983, the second was “EUROPEAN VACATION” in 1985. The fourth one in this series was "VEGAS VACATION” released in 1997.
The story revolves around the Griswold Family around the Holidays. Clark’s whole family gets together at his house and a lot of strange and funny things happen. Clark loves the Holidays and loves to decorate. This year he has gone all out with 25,000 Christmas lights. He puts them up outside his house everywhere to include covering his entire roof. He also puts up other Holiday decorations and ornaments as well. It’s like all the “HOME IMPROVEMENT” Christmas episodes in one.
As Clark is trying to make everyone as happy as possible during the Holidays it continues to be one mishap after another. One time he tries to turn on all his lights and blows all the power in the neighborhood. To make things worst the Christmas Bonus check that Clark was expecting doesn’t come thanks to his Boss. He wanted to build a Swimming Pool in the back yard with his Christmas bonus and had daydreams about it and a beautiful girl diving into the pool. The cat gets electrocuted and Clark’s boss is kidnapped and presented to him as a wrapped Christmas Gift. At the end he does manage to get all his Christmas Light lit up.
8. JINGLE ALL THE WAY: This Movie was released in 1996. It stars “Arnold Schwarzenegger” as Howard Langston, “Sinbad” plays the part of Myron Larabee, the part of Ted Maltin is played by “Phil Hartman” , “Rita Wilson” plays Liz Langston and “Jake Lloyd” plays Jamie Langston. Jamie is watching his favorite show on TV called “Turbo Man”. He sees a commercial for the new Turbo Man doll and tells his Dad, Howard that’s what he wants for Christmas. His dad promises him he will get one for him. The problem ensues where he forgets to purchase the doll and then is reminded Christmas Eve by his wife he had better have the doll. He is always late for everything his son does because of his job. He is always promising to be somewhere or do something for his son and never seems to be able to follow through. He knows this is his last chance to make up all those screw ups to his son and he can’t mess this one up.
The next door neighbor Ted had gotten one for his son and was kind of rubbing Howard’s nose in it. He was determined to get one on Christmas Eve no matter what he had to do to get it. It just so happens that a Mailman named Myron was out to do the same thing for his son. They accidentally run into each other and they discover they are on the same mission so the fun begins. Who is going to get their Turbo Man doll first. They go from store to store trying to find the hottest toy of the year and everyone is sold out. They keep running into each other and try to knock each other down, trip each other and whatever they can do to get an advantage over the other. At one point Howard almost decides to break into his neighbor’s house and steal his Turbo Doll. This is one very funny movie as mishap and problems occur around every turn for the two bumbling Dad’s. Suffice it to say in the end Jamie gets his Turbo Man.
9. HOME ALONE: This Movie was released in 1990 and was the first in a series of 3. It stars “Macaulay Culkin” as Kevin Mccallister, “Joe Pesci” as Harry, “Daniel Stern” as Marv and “Katherine O’Hara” as Kate. Kevin who is 8 years old is accidentally left behind when his Family leaves very early one morning for a Vacation in Paris. There are so many kids and relatives going all at one time that they fail to count all the heads properly. He is still fast asleep in a room he was sent to by himself the night before for being bad. At first he is scared to find himself Home Alone and then he realizes that this could be a great thing. He would not have any of his brothers or sisters picking on him. He could eat whatever he wanted and whenever he wanted. He could watch anything on TV at anytime of the day or night. He was going to make this a fun thing and enjoy himself.
While he is sitting in Bed watching TV two crooks named Harry and Marv are robbing different Houses in his neighborhood. They both realize that a lot of the people are away from their Homes for the Holidays and the Houses would be easy pickens. Kevin discovers the two and tries to contact the police but they never find them and start thinking the kid is a crank caller. He begins to set traps all throughout his house knowing they will get to his house soon. Every door and every window has something rigged to annoy, hurt and finally in the end stop these would be crooks. His parents finally get back home and find he is a hero for catching these two bad guys.
10 DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS Released 17 November 2000. I know what you are thinking why have this new Movie here? Well I have seen this Movie 2 times already and I am ready to see it again a 3rd, hopefully before Christmas. It Stars “Jim Carrey” as The Grinch, “Taylor Momsen” as Cindy Lou Who, “Jeffrey Tambor” as May Who, “Clint Howard” as Whobris, “Christine Baranski” as Martha May Whovier, Lou Lou Who is played by “Bill Irwin" and Betty Lou Who is played by “Molly Shannon”. The story is narrated by “Anthony Hopkins”.
The Grinch is basically an old Grouch who hates Christmas and hates all the Who’s in Whoville. He was different as a little boy and the other kids picked on him and made fun of him. He decided he would become a recluse and he moves to an old cave with his dog named Max and they live high upon Mt. Crumpit. Whoville is getting ready to have their 1000th Who Celebration. Cindy Lou Who decides to nominate The Grinch to be invited as the Guest of Honor. She climbs the mountain to his Cave and gives him the invitation. He first turns it down but later changes his mind and shows up at the last possible second.
Without giving too much more of this Movie away for those who have not seen it yet I would say the following. Something happens to upset the Grinch and he leaves abruptly to return later and steal everything in town associated with Christmas. He steals lights, decorations, trees, plants, flowers, cookies and on and on.
HONORABLE MENTION LIST OR BUBBLING BELOW THE TOP TEN
THE BELLS OF ST. MARY’S – 1945
I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS – 1998
A CHRISTMAS CAROL – 1997
SCROOGED – 1988
EARNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS – 1988
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS – 1995
A CHRISTMAS STORY – 1983
A CHRISTMAS CAROL – 1951
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET – 1994
THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL – 1992
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS – 1991
SANTA CLAUS: THE MOVIE – 1985
THE MAN IN THE SANTA CLAUS SUIT – 1979
JAG’S FINAL THOUGHTS:
I truly hope this was not to awful long for most of you. I understand if you only read bits and pieces or only read about the ones you like the most. I probably could have made this shorter but couldn’t do some of these great Movies justice. I also could have made this 2 or 3 parts but I don’t want anyone to say or think I am a penny grabber. I hope you enjoy some part of this review and find some of your favorites on this list. This took me well over 8 hours to put together and type up. Some stuff I had to do relentless research on as my memory is not what it use to be. I did throw in a lot of things that I hope I remembered correctly? Please feel free to correct any facts or grammar as I can use all the help I can get. I want to also say to anyone who has visited this review thank you so much for dropping by and if you have time please leave a comment no matter how small. If you would like to add some of your favorite Holiday Films please do so. I hope everyone and their Families have A Safe and Happy Christmas and a Joyous New Year and God Bless You All, Ron.