When it comes to the title “Christmas Classics”, modern audiences tend to think of more contemporary titles. While movies like Home alone, Father Christmas, and even movies like Love in fact making many viewer lists, there is nothing wrong with going back a few decades for a little zest for life.
Some of the best and brightest of the holidays were around long before technicolor was invented. Thanks to the magic of streaming services like Disney +, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, moviegoers can rally around the glow of their screens and enjoy those black and white returns throughout the season.
ten The Apartment (1960) (Tubi)
While this romantic comedy from director Billy Wilder may not be a Christmas movie in the literal sense, it is on many binge lists. When a businessman has to lend his bosses the use of his fancy apartment for their various romantic adventures, it’s only a matter of time before things start to turn bad.
A comedy about extramarital affairs might not be everyone’s cup of tea this holiday season, but it features some standout performances from Jack Lemon, Fred MacMurray, and Shirley MacLaine. There is also an office Christmas party and many seasonal times. Additionally, it is currently free to stream on Tubi.
9 The Thin Man (1934) (Amazon Prime)
For most people, murder is only considered when you are spending the holidays with too many people. In the case of The thin man, happy holidays and mysterious murders go hand in hand. William Powell plays Nick Charles, a retired detective who is suddenly called back into the line of duty when a young woman’s father mysteriously disappears.
The interesting combination of murder mystery and Christmas movie will certainly grab the attention of a few viewers and keep them invested until the reveal. Those who wish to try this movie can watch it on Amazon Prime for $ 2.99.
8 The Bells of Sainte-Marie (1945) (Tubi)
Like The apartment, the bells of Sainte-Marie may not focus on Christmas, but the season plays a role in the mood and setting of the movie. When a parish school is on the verge of doom, pious and faithful Sister Mary Benedict must consult with eccentric Father O’Malley in order to gain the favor of a local businessman and save the school.
Bing Crosby is certainly no stranger to Christmas movies, and this movie was certainly not the first nor the only one of his career. This story of faith, hope and charity is currently available for free on Tubi.
seven The Lemon Drop Kid (1951) (Amazon Prime)
Few modern audiences may be familiar with The Lemon Kid, but they certainly know the song “Silver Bells” from the movie. In this Bob-Hope-directed comedy, a shrewd con artist makes the mistake of cheating on a notorious Mafia boss and is forced to find $ 10,000 by Christmas, or else he “won’t reach New Years.”
Holiday hijinx and Santa Claus ploys ensue as Lemon Drop Kid tries to raise funds before sleeping with the fish. For $ 3.99, this Christmas comedy can be watched on Amazon Prime right now.
6 Holiday Inn (1945) (Amazon Prime)
Almost a decade before White christmas created, it was Holiday Inn where Irving Berlin’s iconic Christmas song premiered. Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire perform a song-and-dance duo that transforms a former retreat into a place of entertainment open mostly during the holidays. Easily a Christmas classic among moviegoers, casual viewers will want to at least be left alone for the music.
While the enchanting and musical White christmas is arguably the more popular of the two Berlin films, there’s no reason not to include this rowdy entry on the Christmas frenzy list. For $ 3.99 on Amazon, it’s totally possible.
5 Christmas in Connecticut (1945) (Hulu)
A common theme present in many Christmas movies seems to involve the revealing of secret identities, and Christmas in Connecticut is no exception when a columnist posing as a housewife on a Connecticut farm suddenly has to stage a masquerade when asked to entertain a returning war hero. As with many of those ’40s romantic comedies, romance and situational humor will soon follow.
Liars revealed are a common trope in comedy and suspense, and this movie delivers both in spades. Hulu subscribers can find this beautifully packaged little issue on their screens.
4 A Christmas Carol (1938) (HBO Max)
There is nothing more classic than A Christmas Carol, and the 1938 production starring Reginald Owen as Scrooge is definitely worth a look. Being one of the first feature film adaptations of the Dickensian classic, viewers can’t go wrong by including it in their holiday lineup.
Owen gives a solid performance as Scrooge, although he indulges the holiday spirit a bit more easily than the other incarnations. But his redemption and joy are nothing if not contagious, and both can be enjoyed with a subscription to HBO Max.
3 Scrooge (1951) (AMC +)
Prior to the introduction of George C. Scott or Sir Patrick Stewart to Scrooge’s Great Performance list, the gold standard was Alastair Sim in the 1951 adaptation. Following the same formula as most versions of the Christmas song mythos, nothing in the script really changes other than Scrooge himself, but that’s a good thing.
Sim is absolutely mean in this role, and his version of Scrooge is perhaps one of the most villainous portrayals of the character. That being said, it’s all the more worth seeing the old miser redeemed in the end. This version may be harder to find on most streaming services, but can be purchased on Amazon and streamed with an AMC + subscription.
2 Miracle on 34th Street (1947) (HBO Max)
There are few versions of Santa Claus as popular or known as Miracle on 34th Street, and it’s definitely a timeless classic that many viewers continue to ritually watch every year. Half holiday comedy, half audience drama defending the existence of St. Nick, all gleeful and gleeful when all is soon revealed.
Santa is easily a go-to figure in any Christmas movie collection, and there is certainly something to be said for Edmund Gwenn’s performance of Kris Kringle. While this classic has unfortunately been removed from services like Disney +, both the original and the remake can be seen on HBO Max.
1 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (Amazon Prime)
It’s a wonderful life is an unmistakable timeless treasure. The subject of the impact of a person’s life on an entire community is something quite deep to broach for a family Christmas movie, but it continues to be shown and released year after year.
Not only is it a heartfelt exploration of the characters, but it’s a thought-provoking narrative that continues to strike a chord with each new generation of fans who watch it. The saga of George Bailey losing and finding his will to live is a roller coaster of intense emotions that not only entertains but teaches a joyful life lesson every year. Available for free with the Prime membership, it’s always a good idea to repeat this one.
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