“Meet Me in St. Louis” is a classic MGM romantic musical comedy that focuses on four sisters (one of whom is the nonpareil Judy Garland) on the cusp of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The film spotlights the sisters’ education in the ways of the world, which includes, but isn’t limited to, learning about life and love, courtesy of the prototypical boy next door. In the end, love — accompanied by song, dance and period costumes, all in glorious Technicolor — conquers all.
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Story by: Sally Benson
Screenplay: Irving Brecher, Fred F. Finklehoffe, Victor Heerman,William Ludwig, Sarah Y. Mason, Doris Gilver
Stars: Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Mary Astor
When her toy department Santa shows up drunk for work, Macy’s supervisor Doris Walker hires Kris – an elderly gentleman with a white beard who looks like Santa Claus – as her emergency replacement. She comes to regret her choice, however, when she learns that Kris believes that he really is Santa. Kris works not only to restore Doris’ belief in Santa Claus but make her young daughter’s wishes come true, all while trying to prove his identity in a court of law.
Director: George Seaton
Story by: Valentine Davies
Screenplay: George Seaton, Valentine Davies
Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne
A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.
This Christmas classic starring Bing Crosby is a romantic tale that takes place in a Vermont lodge – where it is almost always, a “White Christmas.”
Director: Michael Curtiz
Screenplay: Norman Panama, Melvin Frank, Norman Krasna
Stars: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney
Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time dodging a bully (Zack Ward) and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a “Red Ryder air rifle.” Frequently at odds with his cranky dad (Darren McGavin) but comforted by his doting mother (Melinda Dillon), Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day with his glasses and his hopes intact.
Director: Bob Clark
Narrated by: Jean Shepherd
Stars: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin
Christmas Vacation 1989
This is the third in the “National Lampoon” series about the Griswold family. In this sequel, the Griswolds must deal with a holiday with their in-laws. The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.
Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Screenplay: John Hughes
Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis
An ironically comic look at Manhattan’s endangered debutante scene, Metropolitan chronicles the rise and ultimate decline of a group of young Park Avenue socialites who gather nightly to discuss love, honor, and the impending demise of their class.
Director: Whit Stillman
Writer: Whit Stillman
Stars: Carolyn Farina, Edward Clements, Chris Eigeman
Accidentally left behind when his family rushes off on a Christmas vacation, Kevin gets busy decorating the house for the holidays, but he’s not decking the halls with tinsel and holly. Two bumbling burglars are trying to break in and Kevin’s rigging a bewildering battery of booby traps to welcome them!
Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: John Hughes
Stars: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
Brian Henson, the son of Muppet founder Jim Henson, took over directing duties after the untimely death of his father for The Muppet Christmas Carol, a sluggish re-telling of the Charles Dickens tale. Michael Caine, surrounded by legions of fuzzy, felt puppets, plays it straight as the crotchety Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who could care less about Christmas and the joy the season brings. Working for the skinflint is his faithful employee Bob Cratchit (Kermit the Frog), who begs Scrooge for a day off for Christmas. Scrooge reluctantly agrees and goes home on Christmas Eve filled with bile at the holiday merrymakers. But then he is visited by the sprits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and Scrooge, after revisiting his sorrowful past, hate-filled present, and doomed future, turns over a new leaf and becomes the most generous and celebratory person in town.
Director: Brian Henson
Story by: Charles Dickens
Screenplay: Jerry Juhl
Stars: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire
Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. As it happens, this is Walter Hobbs (James Caan), a cynical businessman. After a DNA test proves this, Walter reluctantly attempts to start a relationship with the childlike Buddy with increasingly chaotic results.
Director: Jon Favreau
Screenplay: David Berenbaum
Stars: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart
With the advent of World War I, Europe is thrown into a brutal and vicious chaos as men are forced to kill or be killed. While blood soaks the battlefield as Christmas approaches, the men in the trenches of the Western Front face a transformation, however fleeting, toward peace and goodwill. Against all odds, four unlikely individuals from opposing sides (Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann, Guillaume Canet, Gary Lewis) bond during this bloodless respite to experience the hope and goodness in humanity.
Director: Christian Carion
Writer: Christian Carion
Stars: Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann, Guillaume Canet
Two-bit crook Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) stumbles into an audition for a mystery film while on the run from the cops. Winning the part, he lands in Hollywood, where he’s flung into a tangled, murderous conspiracy with his childhood sweetheart, Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan), and hard-boiled private eye Perry van Shrike (Val Kilmer). This deadpan, affectionate parody of film noir tropes is named for film critic Pauline Kael’s influential 1968 collection of film reviews and essays.
Director: Shane Black
Novel by: Brett Halliday
Screenplay: Shane Black
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan
An uptight, conservative businesswoman accompanies her boyfriend to his eccentric and outgoing family’s annual Christmas celebration and finds that she’s a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life.
Director: Thomas Bezucha
Screenplay: Thomas Bezucha
Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes
In Nancy Meyers’ The Holiday, a romantic comedy from the director of Something’s Gotta Give and What Women Want, two women trade homes only to find that a change of address can change their lives.
Director: Nancy Meyers
Screenplay: Nancy Meyers
Stars: Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law
A Christmas Tale (French: Un conte de Noël) is a 2008 French comedy-drama film by Arnaud Desplechin. It tells the story of a family with strained relationships which gathers at the parents’ home for Christmas, only to learn that their mother has leukemia. It was in competition for the Palme d’Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.
Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Writers: Arnaud Desplechin, Emmanuel Bourdieu
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Mathieu Amalric
Though London awaits the joyful arrival of Christmas, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) thinks it’s all humbug, berating his faithful clerk and cheerful nephew for their view. Later, Scrooge encounters the ghost of his late business partner, who warns that three spirits will visit him this night. The ghosts take Scrooge on a journey through his past, present and future in the hope of transforming his bitterness.
An animated retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Novel by: Charles Dickens
Screenplay: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth
For the last 10 years, lifelong buddies Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have gathered on Christmas Eve to celebrate the holidays with a bang. As Isaac prepares to become a first-time father, the friends realize that their annual tradition is coming to a sad end. To make it as memorable as possible, they plan a night of debauchery and hilarity by searching for the Nutcracker Ball, the Holy Grail of Christmas parties in New York.
Director: Jonathan Levine
Narrator: Tracy Morgan
Screenplay: Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Jillian Bell