Best Christmas Movies, Ever!

The Thaiger is following up on the success of its Best Christmas Singles, Ever! This time the team selected its favourite Christmas movies. With so many films to choose from many readers may disagree with our choices and be disappointed to discover that their favourite Xmas flick is missing from the list. But it’s always a great topic to debate so make sure you comment and suggest your favourite movie if it has not made the cut.

Meanwhile, here are The Thaiger’s….

Best Christmas Movies, Ever!

No.10 The Holiday (2006)

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The Holiday is a fun, light-hearted rom-com in the Love Actually mode. Spoiler alert! It was a close call between the two movies for the No.10 slot with Love Actually rating high among festive rom-com lovers.

The Holiday follows two girls (Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz) from different countries (England and United States) who swap homes for the holidays to get away from their relationship problems. Kate goes to Los Angeles while Cameron goes to Surrey. All pretty straightforward so far.

But, you never guess what happens next. Yes, that’s right, they unexpectedly meet and fall in love with two local guys (Jude Law and Jack Black) who have similar relationship problems. Who’d have thought it?

OK, so the plot is fairly predictable and pedestrian in parts but if you want a feel-good movie without too much tension or drama then this is it.

They all live happily ever after, probably.

No.9 Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

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Bridget Jones’ Diary is the ultimate chick-flick! Are we allowed to say that, or has the WOKE brigade stormed the building and cancelled all culture? Joking aside, Bridget Jones’ Diary is a rom-com extraordinaire, and the perfect, feel-good Christmas movie!

Starring the perfectly cast Renee Zellweger, Bridget Jones is a 32 year old singleton, and journalist, who can’t decide whether she is in love with Daniel Cleaver or Mark Darcy.

Cleaver is the mad, bad, dangerous, fun-to-know type that all girls love while the dashing Darcy is a somewhat stuffy upper middle-class barrister with little fun or personality. It should be an easy choice for Jones, right? No!

The movie frolics along with several misunderstandings, set to a festive backdrop, and it all works out well in the end, or does it? Well, maybe not because there is a Bridget Jones’ Diary part II and part III.

No.8 Elf (2003)

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If you like daft, then Elf is the movie for you. The story follows Buddy, played by Will Ferrell, who was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised among Santa’s elves.

Buddy can’t help but feel that he doesn’t fit in so goes to New York in search of his real father, in full elf uniform. He manages to track down his real father, Walter Hobbs, played by James Caan, a cynical grumpy Scrooge-like businessman.

The childlike Buddy manages to win over a shopworker, played by the beautiful Zooey Deschanel, with his childlike innocence and the rest of New York’s Santa disbelievers.

The film is silly, irreverent, and plain daft but it’s a barrel full of belly laughs.

No.7 Die Hard (1988)

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Die Hard is not quite your usual traditional, cheery Christmas movie, but there’s snow, a Xmas Eve party, some festive cheer, and carnage. And, like Mary and Joseph, Bruce Willis’ character John McClane was a traveller and, like the baby Jesus, he was a saviour. And, it’s a bit of a bloodbath, a bit like a modern day trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem, trying to negotiate 11 Israeli checkpoints, a 30 metre high wall, and dodging snipers’ bullets. The film also has a villain, Hans Gruber, who’s like King Herod or Benjamin Netanyahu. A little bit of politics, there.

The movie follows New York cop McClane in Los Angeles hoping to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly, at her place of work. The movie would have been short-lived if everything had gone to plan.

Fortunately, the tower block where McClane’s wife works is seized by the German radical, Hans Gruber, played superbly by British actor Alan Rickman, and viewers are entertained for a further hour and a half of thrills and spills.

Die Hard arguably set the bar in the action movie genre!


No.6 Home Alone (1991)

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Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Home Alone. The themes of the movie appear to be family, independence, and resourcefulness, and the main protagonist Kevin McCallister, played by starlet Macaulay Culkin, shows plenty of that as he’s left Home Alone to protect the family property from the Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.

It is a riotous affair, a modern-day Laurel and Hardy slapstick fest, that is still funny today after more than 30 years.

No.5 White Christmas (1954)

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The 1954 movie White Christmas is a fun-filled favourite for all the family.

Featuring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, the plot follows former Broadway star Captain Bob Wallace (Crosby) and aspiring performer Private Phil Davis (Kaye) and the girls performing a Christmas show in rural Vermont. There, they run into their former army commander in World War II.

They discover their former army chief (Dean Jagger) running a failing country inn. So, the boys, and girls, try to help General Waverly turn his business around.

The movie features the classic White Christmas song but anoraks might be shocked to discover that it wasn’t the first time ol’ Bing sang the song. The old crooner sang it in Irving Berlin’s 1942 classic, Holiday Inn, as well as Blue Skies in 1946. But don’t let that spoil the fun.

White Christmas is a romantic, fun-filled musical extravaganza, packed with old musical favourites. Did White Christmas make it into The Thaiger’s all time best Christmas songs ever? Check HERE to find out.

No.4 Trading Places (1983)

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A star-studded cast, that included the genius of Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Denholm Elliott, Jamie Lee Curtis, Paul Gleason and Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy, Trading Places became an instant hit and an all time classic.

The plot follows the story of an upper-class commodities broker, played by Aykroyd, and a poor street hustler, played by Eddie Murphy in only his second movie. Their lives cross when they are unwittingly made the subject of an elaborate bet by two rich brothers. One brother wagered another that if they were to swap positions the hustler could become just as successful as the upper-class broker. The wager? One US dollar!

The movie wouldn’t get made today. It’s full of racist stereotypes, tropes, and belly-achingly funny and un-politically correct jokes.

No.3 Scrooged (1988)

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Based on the Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol, Scrooged is a black comedy that follows a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge-type character Frank Cross. Cross is a cynical, selfish television executive, who like his Scrooge counterpart, is visited by a succession of ghosts on Christmas Eve intent on helping him regain his Christmas spirit.

The 1988 movie features the wonderful Karen Allen, from the Raiders of the Lost Ark franchise, who appears as Cross’ love interest, former Police Academy star Robert Francis “Bobcat” Goldthwait as the film’s disgruntled worker while there is also a cameo by Hollywood legend Robert Mitchum.

The movie script is dark, acerbic, and hilarious, spawning at least a dozen similar black comedy Christmas movies. This, however, broke the mould.

No.2 Bad Santa (2003)

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The blackest of black comedies, Bad Santa was released in 2003 to critical acclaim. It’s almost an anti-Christmas movie. It follows the main protagonist, safe cracker Willie T. Soke, played superbly by Billy Bob Thornton, and his dwarf assistant Marcus Skidmore.

Every year, Willie gets a job as a department store Santa Claus and Marcus as an elf to rob shopping malls at night, with Marcus’ psychopathic wife Lois as their getaway driver.

Willie is an alcoholic, sex addict, and suicidal – a bit like your average Bangkok sexpat. It’s chaotic, vulgar, deliciously funny, and full of Christmas spirit, and not just the spirits in Willie’s glass.

Thornton’s character is almost trumped by that of the gullible, half-witted fat kid, Thurman Merman, who comes to see him in the mall and believes he is the real Santa.

Throw in a young Jewish woman with a Santa Claus fetish, some school bullies and a heist and what could go wrong?

Bad Santa doesn’t care if you’re naughty or nice!

No.1 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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It’s a Wonderful Life is a timeless Christmas classic. A flop at the box office when it was released in 1946, it went on to be a favourite of every generation since.

The movie was originally considered an agent of communism for well over a decade after its release by the FBI. And, it is controversial in a sense, it highlights the destructive nature of Capitalism we know only too well and see today.

George Baily dreams of escaping his “crummy office and Bedford Falls” to go to New York but gets dragged back every time he is about to leave. He sacrifices himself for the good of others on each occasion.

It’s kind of a Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol tale with an even darker twist. George wishes he wasn’t born and his Guardian Angel grants that wish with devastating consequences. George gets to see what life is like if he wasn’t born.

Fortunately, George has an epiphany and realizes his life isn’t that bad after all, despite not living the American Dream and having the riches that come with it.

The movie will make you laugh and cry and it set the bar for Christmas movies to follow.

“What is it you want Mary? What do you want? Do you want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.”

“lasso the moon” and if you miss you’ll be among the stars.

Did your movie make it onto The Thaiger top 10? No? Well, let us know your favourite films and why they should be included.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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