The 20 best Christmas movies to watch with the family
Get into the festive spirit with our list of the 20 best Christmas movies for families, including holiday classics, animated staples and new favorites.
Fri Dec 14 2012
There's no better time to have a family movie night than during the Christmas season. To help your crew get into the holiday spirit, we've compiled a list of the 20 best Christmas movies—flicks that, we think, should be on every kid's viewing list. You'll find everything from a Muppet version of A Christmas Carol to a classic tale about a department store Santa. Plus: We want to hear what your family's favorite holiday movie is. Tell us, below, and you'll automatically be entered to win an iPad and a six-month subscription to Netflix.
Jingle All the Way (1996)
Arnold Schwarzenegger faces his most harrowing enemy yet: the holiday shopping crowd. The Governator in his “family comedy” period is desperate to get the last remaining Turbo-Man action figure on Christmas Eve—even if it means fighting a Santa with candy-cane nunchucks. The contorted mix of action-hero hijinks and lowbrow jokes is just silly enough to make all the members of your family smile. Rated PG.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
How do you cure glassy-eyed kids on Mars hooked on boob-tube TV signals coming from Earth? Kidnap Santa Claus and bring him back for some red-planet Christmas cheer. This hilariously cheesy low-budget movie is fun for all the wrong reasons and was a staple of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which mocked the film mercilessly for years. Not rated.
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
This charming Vincente Minnelli musical features the director’s future wife Judy Garland as the restless daughter of a Missouri family during the 1904 World’s Fair. Not festive enough? Wait for the dramatic yuletide climax—along with the knockout debut of the holiday perennial “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Not rated.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Restless ghoul Jack Skellington tumbles into Christmas Town through a magical portal and becomes so enchanted with the holiday that he abducts Santa and decides to deliver presents himself—spooky gifts for every girl and boy, whether they want them or not. This shrewd seasonal mash-up of Halloween and Christmas is a spine-tingling hoot, with musical numbers galore. Rated PG.
The Polar Express (2004)
Chris Van Allsburg’s quietly charming picture book about a train headed for Santa’s workshop becomes an overstuffed animated extravaganza thanks to this Hollywood cacophony of Christmas cheer. The pioneering movie (a major showcase for motion-capture technology) admittedly has dead-eyed characters with creepy skin textures, but the overall experience has wondrous moments of computer-generated spectacle. Rated G.
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