Christmas Carol, 1951 version with Alistair Sim, for me is the perfect, flawless and definitive version, and guaranteed to have me a mass of tears.
A huge DITTO!!! The very BEST version, & my absolute favorite Xmas movie. Growing up, one of the major networks used to show an afternoon movie, but in a movie-house format wherein they showed the same movie every day for a week. Every Xmas season it was the Alistair Sim Xmas Carol for one of those weeks, & I'd race home from school in order to watch it with mom. Every. Single. Day. We'd have tea & cheddar with crackers & have a grand time.
These days of course, I can watch it whenever I want. I have quite an extensive dvd collection - decent portion of which are holiday films. Have every single version of A Christmas Carol that's currently out on dvd (as well as some old vhs's) - Alistair Sim (both black & white and color); Reginald Owen; George C. Scott; Albert Finney (the musical "Scrooge"); Mickey Mouse et al; The Muppets; & quite a few others. In fact, we've been watching them all month already. But Alistair Sim will always be my hands-down favorite. In fact, he's one of my favorite British actors period.
As for other Xmas movies I enjoy (& have been watching all season) - "A Child's Christmas in Wales" - wonderful film narrated by the late Denholm Elliott; "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" - of course!; pretty much all the classics; & of course "A Christmas Story", which we always watch when TBS shows 24 back-to-back hours of it starting 8 p.m. Xmas Eve throughout Xmas Day (but we have that one on dvd as well!). AND - next week we'll be going to see "A Christmas Story" on the big screen for free, courtesy of the Library of Congress Packard Campus theatre here in Culpeper. Can't wait, & hope it's warm enough for me to wear one of my "A Christmas Story" tee shirts (have one with Ralphie wearing his bb-shot glasses, & another with Ralphie with the bar of soap in his mouth).
Christmas Story is probably my favourite--my entire family can recite it by heart. I also love Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas and have it on DVD now that it was finally released again...
The other ones I always must watch at Christmas:
Charlie Brown Christmas
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (animated, of course)
Muppet Christmas Carol
It's A Wonderful Life
Elf (another one I can quote backwards and forwards)
all the Rankin-Bass classics
Bare in mind I'm a bit of a grinch. Not terribly Christmasy, at all.
That being said, I LOVE A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation. They are so fantastic, and get watched every year (and, despite the fact that I think everyone in my family OWNS a copy of A Christmas Story, it is not unheard of for a TV to end up on TBS for 24 hours of it over Christmas and to have it playing in the background. And we can all quote it, backwards and forwards).
I also love Elf. I'll watch Elf just to cheer me up sometimes.
holiday Inn (how can you beat Fred's dancing??) but Love Actually is my total favorite and as others ahve said, can watch it anytime! I LOVE that movie!!!! It always makes me feel good! As a kid one of the version of A Christmas Carol scaredthe $hit out of me (ghost of Christmas future, looked like the banshee in Darby o'gill and the little people!) so always wary of it!!!
"Christmas in Connecticut" (the original) - all-time favorite.
Some of the American made-for-TV modern-day versions of "A Christmas Carol"
I wish the Hallmark Movie Channel would quit showing its new crap and show some old classics. Better written, better directed, better acted.
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Comfort and Joy is my favorite Christmas-themed movie. It gets better with every viewing, too. The 'Hello, folks!' reveal is one of the funniest moments in all of cinema.
For Christmas-time watching, there is The Sound of Music for Christmas Eve (a tv tradition in Europe) and, for Christmas evening, Apocalypse Now. The latter is a family thing.
The Sound of Music is a gloriously silly movie. The idea that the Nazis might show up and stop you from singing is almost Pythonesque in its conceit, but Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer are excellent, and the annoying children aren't allowed to chew too much scenery.
I also love Elf. I have come to believe that it's a thinly-veiled allegory about Canadians, and my Canadian SO's obsessive watching of this movie seems to be proof that there's something to that theory.
I like It's a Wonderful Life, but I get upset when I contemplate that the wealthy man who received the money never did what was right and gave it back, even though the community came together to fix the problem. Grrrrrrr.
White Christmas is one of my ALL TIME favorite movies.
Love everything about it. Especially when the Haynes sisters decide to pick Wallace and Davis' brains for advice on "the act."
Um, learn a second song? Every single time we see "the act" you're just singing "Sisters."
Or the fact Betty runs away from Bob and he follows her and goes to see her sing... only the only 2 songs she has prepped is one that EXACTLY describes her love life and its problems OR Blue Skies-- which is a song from Bob's musical
The extras in the show ONLY appear for "rehearsals" and where the heck are these people all the rest of the time?
And what on EARTH is this musical they're going to perform going to look like? What on earth is the plot? How do "Minstrel show" "Mandy" and "Choreography" fit into ANY POSSIBLE NARRATIVE together?
God, I just adore this movie. It's well worth $6.60 or $8.80.