Our favorite Christmas movies are like beloved members of the family that
come to visit once a year. They bring with them memories of youth, Christmases
past and sentimental feelings of peace and good will. Just about everyone
has a favorite.
Some of today's most beloved Christmas movies actually premiered as holiday
television specials in the 1960s. The first such production, Mr. Magoo's
Christmas Carol, made its debut in 1962 and was soon followed by a string
of other animated holiday features that became just as popular - Rudolph
the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), Dr. Seuss'
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), The Little Drummer Boy (1968), and
Frosty the Snowman (1969). The animated Christmas specials of the 1960s remain
cherished classics, as do many of the animated flicks they inspired. The
most popular include: Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970), The Year Without
a Santa Claus (1974), Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974), Rudolph's Shiny
New Year (1976), and Nestor the Long-eared Christmas Donkey (1977).
Theatrical Christmas Releases
No one can predict which Christmas movies will become classics and which will
be dismissed and forgotten. When It's a Wonderful Life was released in 1946,
the film did not draw much attention and remained largely unnoticed until
the 1970s. By contrast, Miracle on 34th Street (1947) was lauded by critics
and received several Oscar nominations. Now, both films are equally cherished
by the public and are watched over and over again throughout each holiday
season. Undoubtedly, our lists of holiday favorites will keep changing as
new films are released and older films are rediscovered. Today, some of the
most popular Christmas movies include: The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), The
Bishop's Wife (1947), A Christmas Wish (1950), A Christmas Carol (1951),
White Christmas (1954), A Christmas Story (1983), Scrooged (1988), National
Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), Prancer (1989), Home Alone (1990), The
Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The
Santa Clause (1994), Jingle All the Way (1996), How the Grinch Stole Christmas
(2000), and Elf (2003).