Metacritic's Top 10 Holiday Movies

  • Publish Date: December 10, 2009
  • Comments: ↓ 13 user comments

Metacritic's film editor selects the ten best-reviewed holiday films in our database, and comes up with some perennial favorites ... and a few surprises.

Metacritic's Top 10 Holiday Movies
    Title Netflix Year Metascore Users
1 Christmas Tale, A 2008 84 6.6
Catherine Deneuve is a dying matriarch who keeps things cheerful when her family visits for Christmas, that is until her least favorite child drops by to join the festivities. Maybe she just doesn't like having a Bond villain for a son.
2 Christmas Story, A 1983 77 9.2
Jack Nicholson came close to a run in with the Bumpuses's dogs but thankfully Darren McGavin won the role of the Old Man and helped a little family comedy become one of the most iconic Christmas movies this side of Bedford Falls.
3 Nightmare Before Christmas, The 1993 77 9.3
Job dissatisfaction leads to a Christmas crisis when Jack Skellington decides to change careers. Luckily The Pumpkin King returns to his senses (thanks to being shot out of the sky by the military) and all goes back to normal.
4 Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noel) 2006 70 8.7
Based on the true story of the Christmas cease fire during WWI, warring soldiers set down their weapons to break bread with each other on the holiest of nights. If that isn't true holiday spirit, I don't know what is.
5 Die Hard 1988 70 8.7
Nothing makes you feel more warm and fuzzy during the holidays than John McClane taking on terrorists in an action thriller that's almost as fun as opening presents. Hey, Yippee-ki-yay could become the new Ho-ho-ho.
6 Bad Santa 2003 70 7.2
For those of you who might feel a little burned out on holiday cheer, let Angelina's ex show you just how good he is at playing rotten. His secret? He reportedly maintained a jolly buzz during most of his scenes.
7 La Bûche 2000 66 4.0
This similarly-themed holiday film feels like a lighter version of Hannah and Her Sisters if those sisters were Parisian and had to deal with seasonal affective disorder during the "happiest" time of the year.
8 Elf 2003 64 8.2
Will Ferrell may be a gigantic star, but this new holiday classic has a tie to an old one in the form of a head elf played by Peter Billingsley--that's Ralphie to all you Christmas Story fans.
9 Home Alone 1990 63 9.0
This holiday comedy gave us another child icon of the Christmas season and, boy, does this kid know his way around a booby trap. No burglar is safe, including Joe Pesci. And when you aren't afraid of Pesci, you aren't afraid of anything.
10 Santa Clause, The 1994 57 n/a
When Santa expires on his watch, Tim Allen has no choice but to don the late saint's famous red frock and finish the poor guy's delivery rounds. Little does he know, he's just agreed to one heck of a contract.

The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). User scores represent an average of scores assigned by site visitors on a scale from 0 (bad) to 10 (good).


What did we miss?

What holiday movies top your list ... and which do you hope to never, ever see again? Let us know!

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Comments (13)

  • Jerry Curlan  

    Bad Santa restored my faith in good, hilarious Christmas movies. Another one that might have been on this list (if no so old) was Scrooged. One of Bill Murray's greatest.

  • Curtis  

    Where's "Gremlins" and "Scrooged"?

  • MorituriMax  

    Scrooged got a 38?! That's just wrong!

  • Lantz21w  

    I agree, SCROOGED is GREAT. 38??? Lump of Coalers, Bah Hum Bug!!!

  • Allyson  

    How get desparate enough to put "The Santa Clause" in this list and leave out "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"? Just askin'.

  • Greg  

    Christmas vacation?

  • Kara  

    Love Actually!

  • Marc Doyle  

    I would guess that Love, Actually would have made the list had it been 15 movies long, or maybe the 55 Metascore bogged it down from the film editor's perspective. I thought it was great, personally.

  • Reagan  

    Where are the classics??? It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street (original), and A Christmas Carol (aka Scrooge, 1951)? Does Metacritic not have scores for these films? Two personal favorites are the very dark but ultimately inspiring One Magic Christmas and the feel good The Family Stone.

  • LKilleen  

    No Christmas Vacation. It's not Christmas without Clark and Cousin Eddie!

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