Last night I went to my first party of the holidays, this one for the employment law section of our local bar association. This was a signal to me it was time to publish my Top Ten list for Christmas movies. Here they are, but if you disagree or think I’ve left any out, feel free to weigh in with a comment:
1. A Christmas Carol (1951)
Dickens was one of the greatest writers of all time, and in my book this is the best Christmas movie of all time. It’s the story of repentance and redemption. The story is so good, I’ve included the 1938 movie as number 10 on this list as well. Best line: Scrooge to Cratchit: “I suppose you’ll be wanting the whole day off for Christmas!” I try this line on my employees every year. It’s always good for some nervous laughter.
2. The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
An angel played by Cary Grant teaches a minister, played by David Niven, a thing or two about spirituality. Best scene: Cary Grant as an angel explaining to the bishop’s young daughter how King David came to write Psalm 23. A must see.
3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
You’ve seen it. Enough said.
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
A classic, driven by some great acting by Charlie Brown. Word is Brown was panned at the Academy Awards for the best actor award that year because this was technically made for television and not a major motion picture. Those of us who are true Charlie Brown fans have a different theory, which is more conspiratorial, involves the illuminati and is too much to get into here.
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid. Best line: Cousin Eddie: “Ah…Clark, I wouldn’t kiss him just now, he’s got a lip fungus they haven’t quite identified.” Moral to this story: While the membership in the Jelly-of-the-Month Club is the gift that keeps on giving all year around, a bonus really is a better gift for your employees at Christmas.
6. A Christmas Story (1983)
The movie for every kid who ever wanted a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. Captures better than any other movie what it was like to be a kid at Christmas. Funny, endearing and nostalgic. A must see.
7. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
A movie where a lawyer defends Santa Claus? Of course this is on my list.
8. White Christmas (1954)
Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, singing, snow and a good deed for an old friend at Christmas.
9. Holiday Inn (1942)
Bing Crosby (again) and Fred Astair in the movie that introduced the song, “White Christmas.” This one might be higher on the list except I couldn’t get over the implausability of an inn only being open on holidays and still making it financially.
10. A Christmas Carol (1938)
This version stars Reginald Owen and was the first, followed by many sequels.
So there you have it. Watching any one of these will get you in the Christmas spirit. You’ll note my list is weighted in favor of the older flicks. The older ones tend to have a better spirit on them, not that they are more religious, just more wholesome, which is in keeping with the Christmas spirit.
What do you think? Are there any movies you would include that you think I’ve omitted? GS