With the Christmas season fully upon us, what better way to get into the holiday spirit than watching Christmas movies? But I’m not talking about any old Christmas movies; I’m talking about classic Christmas movies! So grab an eggnog latte and turn on some Christmas music as we countdown the best Christmas movies that Old Hollywood has to offer (in my humble opinion).
5. White Christmas (1954)
– Directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen
To be truthful, I’m not really one for musicals. With that being said, White Christmas is a musical, so you know it must be good if I’m putting this movie on the list. Set shortly after World War II, the movie follows the exploits of two former army buddies turned entertainers, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye). When Bob and Phil meet Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and June (Vera-Ellen), a singing sister act, sparks fly between Bob and Betty and Phil and June — so much so that Phil tricks Bob into following the girls to Vermont for Christmas. Once they reach Vermont, the group stumbles upon an inn run by Bob and Phil’s former army general. Discovering that the inn is at risk of closing, the group becomes determined to save it, banning together to put on one of the most spectacular Christmas shows the movies have ever seen.
4. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
– Directed by James Capra and starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore
It’s not hard to argue: It’s a Wonderful Life is a timeless classic and rightfully so. This movie has everything: comedy, drama, and lots of heart. Set on Christmas Eve, the film centers on George Bailey (James Stewart), a man who is facing such a tough time in his business that he believes his family and the world would be a lot better off if he was not alive. But while George is on the brink of ending everything, an angel comes down from Heaven to show George just how much he is truly needed and the impact he has made on his family and the people around him. Truly moving and heart wrenching, It’s a Wonderful Life does a superb job at illustrating the importance of life.
3. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
– Directed by Peter Godfrey and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, and Sydney Greenstreet
Simply put, this movie is hilarious. Barbara Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a magazine columnist who has a popular home and life column. She writes about being a housewife and all of the wonderful moments and chaotic things that occur when you’re not only taking care of a baby and a home, but are also busy making delicious gourmet meals for you and your husband. The catch? Elizabeth is not really married, does not have a baby, and cannot cook to save her life! Chaos ensues then when her editor asks her to host him and a solider for Christmas dinner (all cooked by her) at her farm (which doesn’t really exist) for a feature spread in the magazine. A fake husband, a borrowed baby, and a hysterically funny cook that begrudgingly cooks for you under disguise? This Christmas movie has it all.
2. The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
– Directed by Henry Koster and starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven
If you loved the plot of It’s a Wonderful Life, then you’ll love this one, too. In this movie, Cary Grant plays Dudley, an angel brought to earth to help a bishop (David Niven) and his family. The bishop, obsessed with building the biggest and wealthiest cathedral, has lost sight of the true things in life, like his family and the real meaning of Christmas. So, it’s up to Dudley to set the bishop straight. Both humorous and heartwarming, Cary Grant steals the show like always.
1. The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
– Directed by William Keighley and starring Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, and Monty Woolley
There’s a reason this movie is number one on my list: it’s perfect! It has the right amount of comedy, romance, and Christmas spirit to make one amazing film. The movie revolves around Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley), a cantankerous critic who slips and breaks his leg at the home of a family in Ohio. Feeling like the family owes him, Sheridan moves both himself and his entourage into their house, turning the whole home upside down. With Bette Davis also starring in a rare comedic role, this Christmas movie is sure to leave you laughing long after the credits roll.
And there we have it: my top five classic Christmas movies! Do you have any favorite movies you think should’ve made the list? If so, let me know in the comments below!