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Tags: grant | hepburn | stewart

Newsmax's List of the Best Classic Christmas Movies

the film or movie industry and holidays
(Fabio Pagani/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 December 2023 03:45 PM EST

Oh sure, we all enjoy "Die Hard" and "Home Alone" during the holidays.

But what about the films that came out celebrating the "happiest time of the year" during Hollywood’s golden years?

The Golden Age of Hollywood was roughly between 1927 to 1969. Unfortunately that would eliminate one of America’s favorite: "A Christmas Story" ("You’re gonna shoot yer eye out kid"). It was released in 1983.

There may be those who say that one or two of these aren’t true Christmas films. But they’re the same people who argue that "Die Hard" isn’t a real Christmas film.

It is.

One of its lines is even "ho, ho, ho."

Here is Newsmax’s list of the top 10, listed in alphabetical order. Is your favorite here?

"The Bishop’s Wife" (1948)

A bishop asks heaven for help raising money to build a cathedral, and in return is sent an angel named Dudley, played by the ever suave and debonaire Cary Grant. The bishop becomes annoyed when Dudley appoints himself as his assistant and wins the attentions his wife, by, for example, trimming the Christmas tree with the flick of his hand.

"A Christmas staple along with 'It's a Wonderful Life,'" said film reviewer Emanuel Levy. "Cary Grant's suave, charismatic angel is the main reason to see craftsman Koster's sentimental, verbose serio-comedy about a bishop (David Niven) struggling with marriage and funds for new church."

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965)

This is the first of two animated films on our list, and lots of people say it just wouldn’t be Christmas without this classic starring the Peanuts gang.

To get in the spirit of the season, Charlie Brown agrees to direct the Christmas play at the suggestion of his friend Lucy. But when everyone makes fun of the short, spindly neglected little tree Charlie selects for the play, he uses it to remind everyone of Christmas’ true meaning.

"No other film just feels like Christmas the way that this one does," wrote Kevin Fallon, reviewing for The Daily Beast.

"A Christmas Carol" (1938)

There have been numerous screenplays produced of the Charles Dickens classic, but this is the original and the best.

Everyone knows the story of skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited on Christmas Eve first by the ghost of his deceased business partner Jacob Marley, then by three Christmas spirits. As a result Scrooge turns from a miserly Christmas hater ("bah, humbug") to a kindhearted true Christmas celebrant.

"Most viewers will still remember other versions of the film more readily," wrote reviewer Christopher Null, "but this is one worth seeking out 'round holiday time."

"Christmas in Connecticut" (1945)

This is a romantic comedy, mistaken identity, screwball comedy about a magazine writer who spins tales of her idyllic life as a wife and mother on a Connecticut farm in her "Diary of a Housewife" column. The only problem is that it’s all a fabrication to gain readership. She’s actually an unmarried city gal.

Meanwhile a war hero convalescing in the hospital becomes one of her most devoted readers. His nurse arranges with the magazine’s publisher for him to spend Christmas with the writer and her family on the Connecticut farm — the one that doesn’t exist.

What could possibly go wrong except everything — especially when the two fall for one another.

"Played strictly for laughs, belly type,” wrote the staff of The Hollywood Reporter, "it's an audience winner from way back in the balcony. What can you lose?"

"Desk Set" (1957)

Ever wonder what goes on at those office Christmas parties?

Here’s your chance to find out in this Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn classic.

Hepburn plays a librarian and Tracy a computer salesman, intent on automating much of the library. Who needs card catalogs when you have Miss Emmy, the computer that can do everything?

"Drunken Christmas office parties and antiquated technology notwithstanding, the real fun in 'Desk Set[' is watching these two pros and longtime loves play off of each other for one of their final cinematic turns together," wrote Gwen Ihnat in her AV Club review.

"I’ll Be Seeing You" (1944)

In this romantic drama two people (Joseph Cotten and Ginger Rogers), each with secrets, meet on a train and become attracted to one another. They’re both on a Christmas leave. He’s on leave from a military hospital and is worried he’ll never recover from his battle wounds. She’s on temporary leave from a prison where she’s an inmate.

"Veteran filmmaker William Dieterle ("Portrait of Jennie") directs with eloquence a satisfying World War II melodrama," said reviewer Dennis Schwartz. "the stars work well together and make this romance an earnest one despite all the contrivances."

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

During the Christmas season George Bailey (James Stewart) feels like a failure and wishes he’d never been born. An angel-in-training is sent to Earth to make George's wish come true, but before he does he shows George how many lives he had changed and impacted over the years — all for the good — and how they would be different if he was never there.

"'It's a Wonderful Life' is a wonderful title for a motion picture about which practically everyone who sees it will agree that it's wonderful entertainment," wrote Jack Grant for The Hollywood Reporter.

"Miracle on 34th Street" (1947)

This one begins with Thanksgiving and ends with Christmas, and offers absolute, incontrovertible proof to a little girl (Natalie Wood) that Santa exists.

A man named Kris Kringle becomes such a hit filling in for a drunk Santa at Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade that he makes regular appearances at its midtown Manhattan location. But his repeated insistence that he’s the real Santa sends him to court to prove his sanity.

Wrote Matt Brunson, reviewing for Film Frenzy, "One of the Holy Trinity of Yuletide films — the others being, of course, 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'A Christmas Story' — this is one of those timeless classics that never wears out its welcome, no matter how many holiday seasons one has spent watching it."

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer(1964)

Everyone loves the story of Rudolph, "the most famous reindeer of all," who was mocked and called names by his peers for being different. But on one especially foggy Christmas Eve, Santa needed that very special difference to save the season.

Wrote Ryan Voyles in his Paste magazine review, '"Rudolph’ set the template for dozens of specials to come, from the theme of acceptance to celebrity narrators and original songs, but few ever matched the captivating high of the godfather of Christmas specials."

"White Christmas" (1954)

Anyone growing up in the mid-20th century knew that Christmas wasn’t Christmas without a Bing Crosby Christmas TV special. And each year he crooned everyone’s favorite — "I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas."

This 1954 classic is the film that brought it all to life. In post WWII, Crosby and Danny Kaye join forces with a sister duet to help save a financially-strapped Vermont inn owned by their commanding general during the war.

Tony Sloman said in his RadioTimes review, 'Kaye is superb, especially in his knockout dance routine with Vera-Ellen, and the direction from veteran Michael Curtiz rightly embraces the sentiment rather than keeping it at bay."

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Here is Newsmax’s list of the top 10, listed in alphabetical order. Is your favorite here?
grant, hepburn, stewart
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2023-45-19
Tuesday, 19 December 2023 03:45 PM
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