Well, here we are again.
It’s the Christmas season!
And you know what that means—tons of Christmas movies on television and a slew of other Christmas content.
A lot of these films have become accepted as part of our holiday traditions.
The TBS 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story is a staple for many families out there—though I’m pretty tired of that movie myself if I’m being completely honest.
You’ve probably watched Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York many, many times by now.
How many versions of A Christmas Carol have you seen? And by that, I mean, other than Scrooged?
The Santa Clause and its sequels are a bit old-hat by now, right?
And as much as you might love It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, you’re probably wanting something new.
There’s bound to be more out there, right?
Of course there is! Even better, there’s nothing that says you need to watch the typical holiday fare this time of year anyway.
People shared their recommendations with us after Redditor samfringo asked the online community:
“What’s the best movie to watch at Christmas that isn’t a Christmas movie?”
The Shining (1980) and The Thing (1982)
“When my husband and I were newlyweds, we got snowed in together for the first time. We watched The Shining and John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing back to back. Good times.” ~ ColonelSanders_1930
If you’ve ever wondered what it must be like to be isolated in the middle of nowhere, then you can’t go wrong with either of these.
The Shining is a terrifying tale of how isolation drives a domestic abuser and alcoholic mad while snowbound with his family in a haunted hotel. The snowy environment allows for some stunning and unsettling cinematography.
The Thing, about a research team in Antarctica targeted by a shape-shifting alien, is one of the finest remakes of all time. It’s a thrilling and shocking film with excellent scares and even better practical effects.
Groundhog Day (1993)
“Groundhog Day is the perfect middle of January, snowing outside, cold as hell, movie. Especially if I’m laying around all by myself all day doing nothing.” ~ Beeks525
Groundhog Day remains one of the best films Bill Murray has ever done. Look past the gimmick–which is used to great and hilarious effect–and you’ll see a rather touching film about maturity and personal growth.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
“The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s totally a Halloween movie. Unless you need it to be a Christmas movie, in which case it’s a Christmas movie.” ~ anotherpoweruser
This reviewer says this assessment is spot on!
Right now is the perfect time of year to watch this movie, which seems only to have grown in popularity the more time passes.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is the movie we deserve, but not always the move we need right now.
Band of Brothers (2001)
“For the past six or seven years, I’ve watched the Band of Brothers miniseries with my dad over the Christmas holidays.” ~ Groundloop
This one is indeed technically a miniseries, but it’s still a great recommendation.
To this day, it remains one of HBO’s finest works–and that’s saying a lot, especially for a studio that usually knocks it out of the park.
The sixth episode of the series is actually Christmas-related, and follows a medic as he attempts to treat the many men who were wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, in Bastogne. Recommended viewing.
The Sound of Music (1965)
“The Sound of Music. I don’t think I’ve watched it outside of Christmastime, but I watch it every year.” ~ shadowley
Few films are as magical as this one.
The Sound of Music won five Academy Awards, including the coveted Best Picture prize. Featuring stellar performances from an enormous cast that includes Julie Andrews and the late Christopher Plummer, it is bound to bring a smile to your face.
It was so successful, in fact, that it enjoyed an initial four-and-a-half year theatrical release run in the United States.
My Man Godfrey (1936)
“It has nothing to do with Christmas, but I always watch the original My Man Godfrey while I decorate my tree. Hilarious movie! William Powell is at his best!” ~ TheHearseDriver
If you’re looking for a screwball comedy classic, then this is the one.
Carole Lombard and William Powell are indeed at their best. The film, about a socialite who unknowingly hires a vagrant to be her butler, is delightfully funny.
My Man Godfrey was deemed “culturally significant” by the United States Library of Congress and is preserved in the National Film Registry. A splendid transfer is available from the Criterion Collection.
Forrest Gump (1994)
“I feel like Forrest Gump is always on around the holidays. It’s a crowd-pleaser. Everyone from my older relatives to my younger ones can enjoy parts of it and everyone has seen it so much it’s easy to just watch a small part and still enjoy it.” ~ ohno807
Few films have become such a slice of Americana as Forrest Gump and that distinction is undoubtedly aided by Tom Hanks, who anchors it with total aplomb.
Standout performances by Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, and the great Sally Field make Forrest Gump a joyous experience.
The Great Escape (1963)
“Our family always watches The Great Escape. I’ve seen it so many times now but it’s still amazing.” ~ corporal_bodkin
A thrilling film if there ever was one.
The story of a group of Allied prisoners of war eager to escape a German camp during World War II, the film features a who’s who of Hollywood talent of the day, including Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn.
Believe it or not, The Great Escape received only a single Academy Award nomination after its release–for Best Film Editing–in yet another sign that the Academy doesn’t always get it right.
The Godfather (1972)
“The Godfather. Don’t know why but I always watch this movie around Christmas time.” ~ Killamagilla1989
A bonafide classic.
There was a time when Francis Ford Coppola had Hollywood eating out of the palm of his hand. Between this, the sequel, and The Conversation, he had a hell of a run so early in the game.
Believe it or not, though now highly regarded, Apocalypse Now received mixed reviews during its initial release.
Army of Darkness (1992)
“When I was a lot younger, my family somehow ended up renting Army of Darkness right after it was released. Needless to say, the entire family LOVED it and it has been a Christmas tradition ever since.”
“So, that’s my recommendation. Oh, and shop smart, shop S-Mart.” ~ [deleted]
Why not watch the entire Evil Dead series while you’re at it?
They’re fantastic and Bruce Campbell–on his third go-around as Ash Williams–carries them with such gusto!
Army of Darkness is indeed a thrill ride. More comedic than its predecessors, it features a standout performance from Embeth Davidtz as a (later) zombified love interest.
Well, there you have it, friends.
Don’t say you don’t have anything to watch for the holidays now.
There’s nothing stopping you from making these part of your holiday traditions. Pop one in, grab some popcorn and have a blast!