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Last year, I promised you the Best Christmas Movies of all time, and now it's time to deliver.
The criteria must be as follows: They must have played in an actual movie theatre between the days of silents and now, and have stood the test of time. Please note that there are no rankings, just an alphabetical listing of these films.
A Christmas Carol. More than thirty movies have been made based on this Charles Dickens story. The chestnut of them all is the 1951 British-made Alistair Sim version called Scrooge. We also have a kind heart to Disney's 1984 animated tribute Mickey's Christmas Carol, Bill Murray's 1989 Scrooged and now Jim Carrey's turn as many characters in the 2009 CGI animated version.
A Christmas Story. Jean Shepard was a great humorist, and his book In God We Trust, All Others Must Pay Cash was the basis of Bob Clark's 1984 retelling of a young boy (Peter Billingsley) who wanted a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, but his parents and their friends (and yes, even the Department Store Santa) told him "You'll shoot your eyes out." Small wonder that Turner Broadcasting has shown this yule film for 24 straight hours on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day for over a decade. Anyone want to triple dog dare us that there was a better nostalgia trip?
Walt Disney's Babes in Toyland. A great imagination creator (Walt Disney), a great cast (Ray Bolger, Tommy Sands, Anette Funicello), a wonderful story (the Victor Hubert operetta) all come together in this 1961 film.
Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. John Hughes passed away in 2009 sadly, and his gift to all of us was this pair of movies featuring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern (whose brother is NBA commissioner David Stern) directed by Chris Columbus. You may know this tale by now: Kevin is left to fend for himself as the rest of his family is off elsewhere against the most moronic pair of thieves into the most hilarious slapstick sequences since the Keystone Kops.
It's a Wonderful Life. This movie actually tanked in movie theatres in 1946, but thanks to annual showings on TV (including a period of time when any station could air it as the copyright lasped), this Frank Capra classic features Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed as the Baileys. You may know the rest of the story as it were if you knew it in the back of your head.
Jingle All the Way. Before his role as the Governator of California and somewhere after Conan, Arnold Schwarzenegger played a father who wanted to get his kid the most wanted toy at the top of many a toy list in this 1996 comedy co-starring Phil Hartman and Sinbad. Loosely based on the crazes that were the Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle-Me Elmo, not even carolers and reindeer can stop him...or would they? Miracle on 34th Street. The year 1947 gave 20th Century Fox this film classic to movie theatres as a gift to everyone. Maureen O'Hara and a young Natalie Wood meet Oscar-winner Edward Gwynn who says that he's Santa Claus.
White Christmas. The recipe for the definitive holiday film musical: Take one cup of Irving Berlin songs, mixed with two parts Bing Crosby (who made it famous in 1941's Holiday Inn) and Danny Kaye, add a couple tablespoons of cheesecake in Vera-Ellen and serve along with a sprinkling of George Clooney's mom Rosemary. Mix in a movie projector and deliver in 1951 to Paramount Pictures a true old-fashioned holiday film.
There you have it. Did we miss any pictures that may have passed us over? Is your list different than mine? Please comment and let us know.