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Top 15 Christmas Films Since 1980

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With the holiday season approaching it is time to take a look at some of the
greatest Christmas movies of all time.  We will be focusing on modern
Christmas classics and films since the year 1980.  You will not find It’s a
Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th street on this particular list.  We will also be
examining the Greatest Christmas TV Specials of All Time.  

15. Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)

Ernest Saves Christmas is a comedy film starring Jim Varney.  It is the third
movie to feature the character Ernest P. Worrell, and chronicles Ernest's
attempt to find a replacement for an aging Santa Claus.  The movie is rated
PG.  It opened at #2 at the box office and grossed $28 million. 

14. A Wish for Wings That Work (1991)

A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story is a children's book by
Berkeley Breathed that was published in 1991.  It was made into an animated
television movie that same year.  The story is 30 pages long and centers
around Opus the Penguin, who is a sad because he has been denied the
ability to fly.  He longs to soar in the air with the other birds, so Opus decides
that he will do whatever it takes to fly.  The animated film was directed by Skip
Jones and produced by Steven Spielberg.   

13. The Family Man (2000)

The Family Man is a comedy-drama film, directed by Brett Ratner and starring
Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni.  The film is centered on a man who gets a
glimpse of what his life would have been like had he made a different decision
thirteen years earlier.  It is similar to It's a Wonderful Life in that it begins on
Christmas Eve with a life-and-death situation, involving an angel, who tries to
convince the main character into taking an earnest look at his life.  The film
has also been compared to Charles Dickens’s  A Christmas Carol.

12. Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins is an American comedy horror film directed by Joe Dante.  It is about
a young man who receives a strange creature named Gizmo as a pet.  Gizmo
soon spawns a liter of creatures who transform into small, destructive, evil
monsters, named Gremlins.  The film is balanced against a Christmas-time
setting.

11. Funny Farm (1988)

Funny Farm is a film directed by George Roy Hill, starring Chevy Chase and
Madolyn Smith.  Chevy plays Andy Farmer, a New York sports writer who
moves with his wife to the seemingly charming town of Redbud, Vermont, so
he can write a novel.  This is a funny movie with a good Christmas feel.
  

10. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Muppet Christmas Carol is the fourth feature film starring The Muppets.  It
is one of many adaptations of Charles DickensA Christmas Carol.  The movie
is set on
Christmas Eve in 19th century London.  Ebenezer Scrooge is
portrayed by Michael Caine.  The Muppet Christmas Carol did not make much
of an impact during its theatrical release, having to face competition from
Home Alone 2 and Disney's Aladdin.  The film grossed a total of $27 million
domestically.

9. Elf (2003)

Elf is a Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau.  The movie follows
Buddy, who is a human boy that was raised at the North Pole, living among
elves.  Buddy learns from Santa Claus that his father is a businessman in New
York City who is on the naughty list.  He decides to travel from the North Pole
to meet his dad in New York.  The film grossed $220 million at the worldwide
box office.
    

8. Joyeux Noël (2005)

Joyeux Noël is a film about the World War I Christmas truce of December
1914.  The movie is depicted through the eyes of French, Scottish, and
German soldiers.  It was written and directed by Christian Carion.  The
production was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th
Academy Awards.  It is a touching picture and tells a great Christmas time
story.

7. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Edward Scissorhands is a comedy-drama fantasy film directed by Tim Burton
and starring Johnny Depp.  The movie tells the story of an artificial man named
Edward who has scissors for hands.  Edward is taken in by a suburban family
and falls in love with their teenage daughter Kim.  The film was a commercial
success and received numerous nominations at the Academy Awards, British
Academy Film Awards, Saturn Awards, as well as winning the Hugo Award for
Best Dramatic Presentation.

Edward Scissorhands has some great Christmas-time scenes and a wonderful
musical score.  I have included one of my favorite clips from the film, while the
family is setting up Christmas decorations Edward carves an ice sculpture
from a block of ice.  The ice shavings create the effect of falling snow, under
which Kim dances.

6. The Polar Express (2004)

The Polar Express is a computer-animated feature film based on the children's
book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg.  It was written, produced, and
directed by Robert Zemeckis, the human characters in the film were "animated"
using "live action" performance capture technique.  The movie stars actor Tom
Hanks in five distinct roles, including the role of Santa Claus.  The Polar
Express
has grossed over 300 million dollars worldwide and was nominated
for three Academy Awards, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing, and Best Original
Song for "Believe".
 

5. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a Christmas comedy film directed
by Jeremiah S. Chechik.  It is the third installment in National Lampoon’s
Vacation film series.  The movie chronicles a Griswold family Christmas.
Since its release in 1989, Christmas Vacation has been ranked on many top
10 favorite Christmas movie lists and is considered a modern holiday classic.
 

4. The Santa Claus (1994)

The Santa Clause is a Christmas film released by both Walt Disney Pictures
and Hollywood Pictures.  The film stars Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a father who
finds himself contractually bound to become Santa Claus when he
unintentionally puts on the previous Santa's suit.  This movie is great for kids
and will bring out the holiday spirit for the entire family.  The Santa Clause
grossed over $144 million in the United States alone and $189 million
worldwide.

3. Scrooged (1988)

Scrooged is a comedy film and modernization of Charles Dickens' novella, A
Christmas Carol.  The
cast is headed by Bill Murray, Karen Allen, and Bobcat
Goldthwait.  The film was marketed with references to the film Ghostbusters,
which had been a great success four years earlier in 1984.  In the U.S. the
tagline for Scrooged was, "Bill Murray is back among the ghosts, only this
time, it's three against one." 

The movie revolves around Francis "Frank" Cross, who is a conceited, cynical
television programming executive.  Frank has found great success and wealth,
but lives a coldhearted and cruel lifestyle.  During the film Frank is visited by
three ghosts.  They show him how life would have been different had he made
more generous decisions.
   

2. Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone is a Christmas film written and produced by John Hughes and
directed by Chris Columbus.  The film features Macaulay Culkin as Kevin
McCallister, an eight-year-old boy who is mistakenly left behind when his
family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation.  Kevin initially enjoys the
freedom of an empty house, but is later greeted by two house intruders.  He
eventually manages to outwit them with a series of booby traps.  Home Alone
is the highest grossing live action comedy of all time in the United States.  It
has grossed over $478 million worldwide.  The movie has a great Christmas
soundtrack and original music.
 

1. A Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas Story is a film based on the short stories and semi-fictional
anecdotes of author Jean Shepherd.  The movie is set in the fictional city of
Hohman and follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker who wants only one thing for
Christmas, "an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air
rifle.”  This film tells a good story and has become a holiday classic.  It is
known for being shown numerous times on television during the holiday
season.

Some Other Great Christmas Movies Since 1980

Die Hard

The Ref

Bad Santa

Nightmare Before Christmas

Home Alone 2

Top 10 Greatest Christmas TV Specials of All Time

10. The Smurfs' Christmas Special (1982)

The Smurfs' Christmas Special is a 1982 animated television special produced
by Hanna-Barbera staring the Smurfs.  The Smurfs are a fictional group of
small blue creatures who live in Smurf Village somewhere in the woods.  The
Belgian cartoonist Peyo introduced the Smurfs to the world in a series of
comic strips, making their first appearance in the Belgian magazine Spirou on
October 23, 1958. 

9. The Fat Albert Christmas Special (1977)

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids is an animated series created, produced, and
hosted by comedian Bill Cosby, who also lent his voice to a number of
characters.  The show ran for 13 years and produced many television
specials, including a Christmas based story which originally aired December
18, 1977.

8. A Chipmunk Christmas (1981)

A Chipmunk Christmas is an animated Christmas television special based on
characters from Alvin and the Chipmunks.  The TV special tells a good
Christmas story and is accompanied by holiday music.  The soundtrack
serves as the group's third Christmas album and their twelfth album overall.

7. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1983)

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a 1983 TV special.  It was based on the
best-selling children's book of the same name, written by Barbara Robinson.
Beth Bradley, played by a young Fairuza Balk, narrates periodically throughout
the story.  Loretta Swit plays Beth's mother, Grace, who is roped into directing
the annual church Christmas pageant by her fellow church ladies.

When the rambunctious Herdman kids bully their way into the pageant, taking
all the lead roles for themselves, everyone is sure that the production will be a
disaster.  But the results are far from what anyone expected, and the lives of
all those involved are remarkably changed.

6. Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)

Mickey's Christmas Carol is a twenty-four minute animated short film produced
by Walt Disney Productions and originally released in the United Kingdom on
October 20, 1983.  It is an adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic A
Christmas Carol, featuring Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge and Mickey
Mouse as Bob Cratchit.

5. A Garfield Christmas Special (1987)

A Garfield Christmas Special is a Christmas special based on the commercially
successful newspaper comic strip Garfield.  It has enjoyed traditional holiday
time airings since its premiere.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

A Charlie Brown Christmas is the first prime-time animated TV special based
upon the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz.  It was initially sponsored
by Coca-Cola and aired on CBS from 1965 through 2000.  The special has
been honored with both an Emmy and Peabody award.  It remains one of
CBS’s most successful TV specials of all time.

3. Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper (1982)

Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper is an animated television special
starring Yogi Bear and friends.  It first aired on December 21, 1982.

Yogi's First Christmas (1980)

Yogi's First Christmas is a holiday-themed television film first aired on
November 22, 1980.  The plot follows Yogi and his little pal, Boo Boo, who are
usually hibernating during the Christmas season, but this year they are
awakened when Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Doggie Daddy come to
Jellystone Lodge for the holiday.
 

2. Frosty the Snowman (1969)

Frosty the Snowman is a thirty-minute animated television special based on
the popular song of the same name.  The program, which first aired on
December 14, 1969 on CBS, was produced for television and features the
voices of comedians Jimmy Durante as narrator and Jackie Vernon as the title
character.
 

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is an animated television special directed by
Chuck Jones.  It is based on the children's book of the same name by Dr.
Seuss.  The special, which is considered a short film, is one of the very few
Christmas specials from the 1960's that is still shown regularly on television.
  

Some Other Great Christmas TV Specials

He-Man/She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985)

John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together (1979)

Christmas Comes To Pac-Land (1982)

A Flintstone Christmas (1977)

Christmas on Division Street (1991)

We Wish You A Turtle Christmas (1994)

Saved by the Bell: Home for Christmas (1991)

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Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted December 12, 2009