The Best Christmas Movies of All Time, According to Critics


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We might have our own favorite holiday traditions, but most of us can at least agree on one—gathering together to watch a beloved Christmas film. Trying to pick the right one to watch is somewhat more contentious, even within families, so we decided to consult the critics for this ranking of the best Christmas movies ever made. Some of these films are mainstream classics, while others are slightly newer or more obscure, but all earned overwhelmingly good reviews.

To make the list, we used Rotten Tomatoes’ guide to the best Christmas movies. The Rotten Tomatoes algorithm ranks movies by a wide variety of factors, including number of reviews, release date, genre, and weight given to certain critics. So the movies aren’t just ranked by overall percentage.

Read on for the top 50, which range from wholesome family films to quirky indie comedies to holiday horror. See if your personal pick made the cut, and maybe find a new favorite to watch this year. And for more Christmas classics, These Are the Most Popular Holiday Movies of All Time.

still from home alone
20th Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 65 percent

And for a walk down memory lane, revisit more Beloved Movies You Won’t Believe Are 30 Years Old.

frosty the snowman movie
Telepictures Corporation

Rotten Tomatoes score: 73 percent

the best man holiday
Universal Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71 percent

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still from scrooged
Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71 percent

the santa clause
Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71 percent

black christmas
Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71 percent

And for more horror films to check out, discover The Scariest Movie That Came Out the Year You Graduated.

still from the ref
Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 72 percent

Merry Christmas
Sony Pictures Classics

Rotten Tomatoes score: 74 percent

happy christmas
Magnolia Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 76 percent

the muppet christmas carol
Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 76 percent

a christmas horror story
RLJ Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83 percent

let it snow
Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 81 percent

still from white christmas
Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 77 percent

anna and the apocalypse
Vertigo Releasing

Rotten Tomatoes score: 77 percent

while you were sleeping
Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 80 percent

bad santa
Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79 percent

the man who invented christmas
Bleecker Street

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79 percent

batman returns
Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 80 percent

the bishop's wife
MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84 percent

still from elf
New Line Cinema

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84 percent

still from christmas in connecticut
Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88 percent

a christmas carol
VCI Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85 percent

a christmas tale
Criterion Collection

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86 percent

still from gremlins
Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85 percent

trading places
Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87 percent

better watch out
Well Go USA

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89 percent

tokyo godfathers
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90 percent

kiss kiss bang bang
Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86 percent

rare exports a christmas tale
Oscilloscope

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90 percent

a christmas story
MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89 percent

little women
AA Film Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92 percent

edward scissorhands
20th Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90 percent

still from klaus
Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent

jingle jangle a christmas journey
Gareth Gatrell / Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93 percent

rudolph the red nosed reindeer
Telepictures Corporation

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95 percent

arthur christmas
Sony Pictures Releasing

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92 percent

still from die hard
20th Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent

remember the night
AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

babes in toyland
Collection Christophel / Alamy Stock Photo

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

still from tangerine
Magnolia Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96 percent

still from carol
StudioCanal

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent

meet me in st. louis
MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

still from little women
Sony Pictures Releasing

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95 percent

the nightmare before christmas
Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95 percent

how the grinch stole christmas
MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

The Shop Around the Corner
MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

And for more recent movies the critics loved, check out The Best Movies of the 21st Century, According to Critics.

still from holiday inn
Universal Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

miracle on 34th street
Allstar Picture Library Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96 percent

And for holiday movies you can skip, These Are the Worst Christmas Movies of All Time, According to Critics.

a charlie brown christmas
Apple TV+

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent

it's a wonderful life
Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent

And for more all-time greats, find out The Best Movie That Came Out the Year You Graduated, According to Critics.



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