I’m an old soul. Any night of the week, you can catch me watching TCM. It’s what I love. Come Christmastime, of course I love movies like Home Alone and Elf. But what I really love is the classic Christmas movies.
I compiled a list of my top 10 favorite classic Christmas movies plus a short blurb about each one and why I love them. The best part about these old classic films is that they’re all family friendly, but will be enjoyed by all ages.
My Top 10 Favorite Classic Christmas Movies:
- It’s a Wonderful Life. Probably the most classic Christmas film of all. I’m not sure how, but I saw this movie for the first time in my life just two Christmases ago. It’s #1 on my list for a reason… It truly gives you all the Christmas feels. Jimmy Stewart plays “George Bailey,” a thirty-something husband and father who experiences a bad turn of events when his guardian angel intervenes.
- Meet John Doe. Another great film directed by Frank Capra (he also directed #1). Barbara Stanwyck is easily Matt’s favorite actress from the Golden Age and in this classic movie, you can easily see why. This movie has a political storyline, so considering the climate of our current condition in our country, this movies feels very appropriate. It’s not your typical happy holiday film, but touches the heart and makes you think.
- Christmas in Connecticut. Tis another great classic starring Barbara Stanwyck. Miss Stanwyck plays “Elizabeth Lane,” a well known Martha Stewart-esque writer who is an expert on homemaking. There’s only one catch: Elizabeth Lane isn’t a homemaker. In fact, she’s single with no children and doesn’t cook. The best part of this little fib? Her boss has no clue. So when Elizabeth’s boss invites himself to spend Christmas with her husband and baby in Connecticut, things start to get a little crazy. This movie is lighthearted, delightful and a must watch every year!
- Heidi. I grew up on Shirley Temple movies. Heidi was my first experience with the most famous little curly top of all. I’ve always associated this film with Christmas, yet I’ve never seen it on any of the classic Christmas movie lists or on tv during Christmastime, which is a shame in my opinion. It’s just a feel good movie that the whole family can enjoy.
- The Bishop’s Wife. I never saw this classic until last year. I’m guessing that’s because I grew up with the Whitney Houston remake, “The Preacher’s Wife.” I have a special love for Cary Grant and he’s so young and so suave as the angel, “Dudley” in the this film. You find yourself rooting for the impossible love connection. Another lighthearted classic that shouldn’t be missed.
- Little Women. This classic was based on an autobiographical book written by Louisa May Alcott. It’s such a wonderful story that the book has been turned into a movie three different times. I recently read an article that there are plans in work to create this movie for a fourth time in 2017. The first movie was in 1933, starring Katherine Hepburn. The second was in 1949, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh and June Allyson. The third remake was in 1994 and I have seen this version too many times to count. The 1994 remake stars Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Wynona Ryder and Christian Bale. Not necessarily your happy-go-lucky Christmas tale, but fabulous none the less.
- Meet Me in St. Louis. Any chance to watch Miss Judy Garland, I’m in. This movie just makes me happy. It’s another autobiographical account, but sweeter. When Judy Garland sings, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” it’s almost impossible to keep a dry eye.
- It Happened on 5th Avenue. This one I’ve only seen once, but I remember really enjoying it. I especially love the leopard coat (you’ll know it when you see it) #girltalk. In a nutshell, a hobo moves into a mansion on 5th Avenue and craziness ensues. It’s cute, it’s funny and I think you’ll enjoy it.
- White Christmas. This one almost didn’t make my top 10, only because I’ve seen it too many times. But then I remember how much I love Bing and the “Count Your Blessings” song, so it had to make the list. White Christmas is available to stream on Netflix this year!
- The Shop Around the Corner. This movie was originally made starring Jimmy Stewart in 1940 but was remade just 9 short years later starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson. The remake was titled “In the Good Old Summertime.” I prefer the Jimmy Stewart version, but I so love the Garland/Johnson combo in the remake.
I’ll Be Seeing You: This is not a popular film, which is surprising with an all-star cast including: Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotton and Shirley Temple. Mawmaw often said this was her favorite movie, which is also surprising because it’s not your typical feel good Christmas film. It’s based on a soldier dealing with PTSD after WWII and a female inmate. It’s one of the last movies Shirley Temple did in her acting career. The story is interesting, heartfelt and the acting is top-notch. Matt & I both really enjoyed this movie.
Holiday Affair: Janet Leigh (Jamie Leigh Curtis’s mother) and Robert Mitchum star in this holiday love story from 1949. The storyline is just sweet. It’s a fun Christmas watch.
Miracle on 34th Street: This one has never been one of my favorites, and here’s why: I couldn’t stand the remake. The original starring Natalie Wood is leaps and bounds better than the 1994 reboot. I have a hard time watching the original film and not seeing the 1994 version due to the amount of times I’ve seen the newer movie, as a kid.
Remember the Night: Another Barbara Stanwyck holiday piece that’s great. She can honestly do no wrong in the Lanter house. A Christmas love story with a courthouse twist that everyone should see.
Stella Dallas: Let’s go ahead and crown Barbara Stanwyck the queen of Christmas. I personally feel that Miss Stanwyck gives the best performance in her career in this movie. It’s not a Christmas movie from beginning to end, but there is a very memorable Christmas scene in it that makes me feel it deserves to make this list.
Susan Slept Here: I enjoyed this one, but Matt fell asleep, lol. It’s weird HOW much older the man is than Debbie Reynolds, but if you can get past that, it’s a fun one. I’m glad I watched it, but probably won’t feel the need to see it a second time.
The Man Who Came to Dinner: Bette Davis is one of my favorite actresses of all time. This is the first Christmas movie I saw with her starring in it. It’s a fun one and takes place in Ohio, which I love.
My Reputation: Another Barbara Stanwyck film that I love. Not your typical feel good Christmas movie, but it’s been added to my yearly repertoire. Barbara is so fantastic in this film.
Winter Meeting: Again, not a feel good movie. Starring Bette Davis as a wealthy, lonely poet. I really enjoyed this one.
Beyond Christmas: This one is from 1940 and not starring anyone that you would probably know by name. I’m glad I saw it, but again, not one that I feel the need to watch again any time soon. Matt did not like this one.
Pocketful of Miracles: Bette Davis SHINES in this lesser known film from the 60’s. I found myself smiling throughout the entire movie and can’t recommend it enough.
I originally wrote this post December 5, 2016.
Now that you know my favorites, leave a comment below with your Christmas movie favorites, new and old!