Christmas is the season of joy, giving…and classic movies! From “White Christmas” to “It’s a Wonderful Life”, there’s no shortage of wonderful films to enjoy every holiday season. Here are the top 10 Christmas movies all older adults remember.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Adults aged 55 and over picked Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life as their all-time favorite Christmas movie, and it’s not difficult to see why! Starring the perennially lovely Donna Reed and everyman Jimmy Stewart, it explores an age old question: What is my purpose? This film may be over 70-years-old, but its theme of finding hope in hard times is even more relevant today.
2. White Christmas (1954)
This classic film is practically synonymous with Christmas spirit. Featuring a star-studded cast, it’s two hours of catchy songs, memorable dance numbers, and picturesque sets. Who can forget that magical moment when snow falls at the end of the film? Plus, did you know that this is actually the third feature film where Bing Crosby sang “White Christmas”? You can catch Bing crooning the holiday favorite in both 1942’s Holiday Inn and 1946’s Blue Skies. Perhaps the third time really is the charm!
3. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
While Miracle on 34th Street got a remake in 1994, there’s something extra special about the Natalie Wood and Maureen O’Hara version. This film actually took home THREE Academy Awards, and it’s absolutely deserving of each and every accolade! Even though most of us no longer believe in Santa Clause, it’s impossible to watch this film without rooting for Kris Kringle, played to perfection by character actor Edmund Gwenn.
4. The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
Cary Grant was one of the most debonair actors to ever grace Tinseltown, and this film certainly showcases his winning charm! As gallant angel Dudley, Cary uses a little spiritual guidance to help a harried bishop become a better father and husband. You might recognize the little girl in this film from It’s a Wonderful Life, where she played the unforgettable ZuZu Bailey.
5. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Rudolph has a problem. He was born with a shiny red nose that makes him stand out like a fluorescent apple among oranges. While it’s hard to watch Rudolph’s peers tease him, the memorable characters and upbeat songs make this film appropriately merry and bright. Plus, spoiler alert—Rudolph wins in the end.
6. A Christmas Carol (1951)
Charles Dickens’ classic tale about a Victorian penny-pincher aptly named Ebenezer Scrooge has been told again and again, but none capture the story quite so well as this version from 1951. Starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge, this film takes a few creative liberties while also honoring the source material. It was regularly broadcast on American television in the 50s and 60s, cementing itself as a holiday staple.
7. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
This animated television special has been a longtime favorite of movie buffs of all ages. If you were lucky enough to catch the original airing, you witnessed history in the making. That’s right—this was actually the very first Peanuts TV special to ever air! Although there’s a whole library of Peanuts movies to enjoy, A Charlie Brown Christmas will always hold a special place in TV history—and most viewers’ hearts.
8. A Christmas Story (1983)
Raise your hand if you or somebody in your family has ever referenced this movie. This film has so many iconic moments. From the leg lamp to “You’ll shoot your eye out”, so many scenes and quotes from A Christmas Story have become pop culture staples. It’s consistently ranked as one of the best Christmas films ever, and we feel that’s a well-deserved honor.
9. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
The incomparable Barbara Stanwyck shines brightly in this holiday classic. A true comedy of errors, this film shows how tangled a web lies really can weave when columnist Elizabeth Lane has to fake a farm, husband, and baby to keep her job. Of course, holiday hijinks ensue!
10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
While the live-action Jim Carrey version from 2000 is fun, you just can’t beat the classics! Famous horror actor Boris Karloff lends his iconic deep voice to the titular Grinch, a green outcast with a tiny heart and a big vendetta. Naturally, he learns a lesson about the true meaning of Christmas. Much like the Grinch at the end of the story, this film has a lot of heart!
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