Christmastime is always such a fast time -- it arrives unexpectedly, and it leaves us faster than it arrived! That's why we would really like to start things a bit early sometimes, so we could all be prepared for the incoming December rush of things.
And what better way to prepare us for some holiday cheer than to do a movie marathon of classic Christmas movies? Hollywood is so enamored by this spectacular season, if you haven't noticed, so there is now a viable cinematic treasure trove of great movies with Christmas themes.
And since diversity is key in Hollywood, there is also a diverse pot of topics, themes and narratives to choose from, which all touch upon Christmas. You have comedies that are set during Christmas vacations, action-packed films that take place during the yuletide holidays, feel-good family-friendly movies to warm the hearts of moviegoers in the middle of cold yuletide winters, and practically everything else you can think of, story-wise.
So, are you ready for that Christmas movie marathon? If you are, then we're so sure you can name these great Tinseltown actors in yuletide movies. Ho-ho-ho, enjoy the quiz!
"It’s A Wonderful Life" is the 1946 movie classic directed by Frank Capra, which is part of every Christmas movie marathon in America during the yuletide season. James Stewart headlined this film as George Bailey, the suicidal man who actually was given a chance to reevaluate the value of his life.
"How The Grinch Stole Christmas" is the Dr. Seuss children’s book that was turned into a TV special already back in 1966, but in an animated version. The 2000 film was a live action version, which starred Jim Carrey in the titular role.
"Home Alone" was a huge hit when it came out in 1990, and it gave lots of kids lots of ideas to defend their homes from burglars during Christmas season. The film starred the young Macaulay Culkin, under the direction of Chris Columbus, with the script written by John Hughes.
"Elf" tells the funny tale of a baby human who accidentally landed in Santa’s home, so he was adopted and raised as an elf by one of the head elves there. The very funny and very tall Will Ferrell starred as that elf named Buddy.
Rom-com lovers out there actually love watching “Love, Actually” during the holidays, because it tells of interwoven narratives of many people, set during the yuletide season. One of the leads in that ensemble movie is Hugh Grant, who plays a young British prime minister in the film, who is also looking for some love, actually.
"The Holiday" is an interesting 2006 rom-com that featured a home-swapping adventure between two women from London and Los Angeles. Cameron Diaz played the American one while Kate Winslet played the British one here, and their respective partners were played by Jude Law and Jack Black, respectively.
"The Santa Clause" is the funny 1994 movie about a suburban father who had to take over the duties of Santa Claus for one crucial night. That father is Tim Allen, who delivered the laughs here and in the two sequels to this one.
The classic Christmas movie, "Miracle on 34th Street," had Sir Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle in the 1994 version. In the 1947 film, though, Edmund Gwenn played this role.
"A Christmas Story" is the popular 1983 film that featured a 9-year-old kid wishing for a BB gun for Christmas. That kid is Peter Billingsley, who also pursued a career off-camera, like being an executive producer, a postproduction supervisor and even a film director.
The 1989 comedy “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” was, once again, headlined by funnyman Chevy Chase. The film is actually a part of a series of National Lampoon films that featured a vacation theme, starting with the 1983 original vacation film, then the 1985 European vacation themed one, then this Christmas one, followed later by a Las Vegas vacation theme in 1997.
“White Christmas” is a popular Christmas song composed by Irving Berlin in 1942, which became one of Bing Crosby’s biggest hits as a singer. So naturally, it was best to have Crosby star in a film that capitalized on the popularity of the song.
"The Muppet Christmas Carol" is a funny 1992 version of that classic Charles Dickens story of Ebenezer Scrooge, that man who hates Christmas so much. Of course, with the Muppets in tow, Michael Caine played this Scrooge role in a lighthearted manner, enhanced by the different Muppets characters interacting with him in this story scenario.
"The Bishop’s Wife" is actually a rom-com that came out in 1947, a time when the term “rom-com” or even “romantic comedy” was not yet commonplace in Hollywood. The film starred Cary Grant, one of the most formidable leading men in Hollywood, who was a naturalized American citizen, as he was born in Bristol, England.
"Meet Me in St. Louis" is the movie musical film where people heard the classic Christmas song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” for the first time, as sung by its lead, Judy Garland. So that definitely makes the 1944 film a Christmas film classic, directed by no less than Vincente Minnelli.
Action film fans would immediately volunteer the original “Die Hard” as one of the greatest action films in the modern era, but it’s also considered as a Christmas film since its story largely took place during Christmas Eve. The unlikely hero of the story is John, the police officer played by Bruce Willis, who went from New York to Los Angeles to spend some time with his working wife.
If the title of the film "Jingle All The Way" is familiar, it’s because it came from the second line of the classic Christmas carol called “Jingle Bells.” The film that carried this title starred no less than Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also played regular Joe roles such as a dad doing hectic Christmas toy shopping.
Holiday films are usually about family reunions featuring quirky characters played by an ensemble cast. “The Family Stone” is one such film, released in 2005, which starred Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson and Claire Danes acting it out with "The Time Traveler's Wife" Rachel McAdams.
The 2003 Christmas film called “Elf” featured a senior Bob Newhart in the role of kindhearted Papa Elf. Other great veteran actors who are also in the cast include James Caan, Ed Asner, and Mary Steenburgen.
Everyone knows her from her iconic lip syncing role of Maria in the movie musical "West Side Story," but Natalie Wood was also that little girl who didn’t believe in Santa Claus in "Miracle on 34th Street." She was eight years old when she played Susan Walker in that 1947 Christmas film.
Charles Dickens’ classic Ebenezer Scrooge character, who was visited by the three ghosts of Christmas, gets a modern day retelling once again in the 1988 film called "Scrooged." This one featured Bill Murray in the conceptual titular role of the token Scrooge, but his role is that of a TV executive who has selfish motives all the time.
Director Tim Burton’s 1990 classic “Edward Scissorhands” became part of the Christmas movie marathon lineup for many since the story’s pivotal theme there involves the yuletide season, particularly snowing during Christmas. If you watch the film, this theme will be revealed by an elderly Winona Ryder in the opening sequence, prior to seeing Johnny Depp’s titular character.
Director Ernst Lubitsch helmed the 1940 rom-com called “The Shop Around the Corner” which starred James Stewart in the lead of yet another Christmas-themed movie. He co-starred with Margaret Sullavan in this one, but the latter preferred to work more on stage plays where she originally became popular, rather than the movies.
"Four Christmases" posits an interesting Christmastime premise as a narrative, since it’s about a different kind of family reunion taking place over the yuletide holidays. It stars Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn playing husband and wife characters whose parents are all divorced, so they need to visit each parent and spend some Christmas time with them.
Due to the popularity of the 1990 Christmas hit "Home Alone," the 1992 sequel “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York” expanded the storyline for Kevin a bit, and made him travel. But the two bandits who tried to rob his house were also in the area, and they were still played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.
The 1995 rom-com "While You Were Sleeping" indeed counts as a Christmas film, because the main dramatic action here happens on Christmas Day. It featured Sandra Bullock in the lead, with Peter Gallagher as her character’s crush, and Bill Pullman as her character’s love interest.
"A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" continues the stoner comedy antics of the characters created by John Cho and Kal Penn, who play Harold and Kumar, respectively. Interesting to learn that a funny actor like Kal Penn could also hold a serious job aside from acting, like when he became an associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs under President Obama’s administration back in 2009.
"Holiday Inn" sounds more like that international hotel chain today, but it’s also the title of a 1942 film that featured Irvin Berling’s music. This one starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, about an inn that opens only during holidays like Halloween and of course Christmas.
The 1994 Christmas-themed comedy called "Mixed Nuts" starred funnyman Steve Martin, under the direction of Nora Ephron. Like many holiday films, it had an ensemble cast which included Garry Shandling, Madeline Kahn, Adam Sandler, Rita Wilson and Juliette Lewis, to name a few.
Popular Mouseketeer Annette Funicello appeared in the 1961 film version of “Babes in Toyland.” The material was based on a 1903 operetta, and was also made into a film in 1934, so this 1961 is the Disney version.
"Batman Returns" is the 1992 Tim Burton film that starred Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight, but it was the villains that stole this show, yet again. Michelle Pfeiffer appeared here in a shiny leather costume, playing the role of Catwoman, while Danny DeVito played the villain Penguin.
"Bad Santa" is actually the 2003 film where comedian John Ritter last appeared, prior to his death during the same year. Aside from him, the film starred Billy Bob Thornton and Bernie Mac, too.
It’s interesting to watch how the western film “3 Godfathers” had a “Three Magi” kind of allusion, made by the characters themselves, so this definitely belongs in the list of Christmas movies. It starred the hero of western films, John Wayne, and was released in 1948.
“Die Hard” was monumental for its contribution to action films and Christmas films, but it also introduced to us one of the most intriguing villains in cinema: Hans Gruber. He was played by Alan Rickman, the beloved English actor who sadly took his final bow from the world stage back in 2016.
"Trading Places" is a 1983 comedy that utilized the plot pattern of "The Prince and The Pauper," wherein a rich commodities broker switches places with a streetwise homeless hustler. Dan Aykroyd played the former while Eddie Murphy played the latter.
Aside from her famed "Psycho" role, Janet Leigh actually had many other good films under her belt, such as "The Manchurian Candidate," "Touch of Evil," and "Bye Bye Birdie," to name a few. The1949 Christmas-themed movie "Holiday Affair" belongs in there, too.
"The Preacher’s Wife" is the 1996 remake of the 1947 Christmas-themed movie called "The Bishop’s Wife." Denzel Washington starred in this reboot, with Whitney Houston and Courtney B. Vance.
"A Christmas Tale" was the 2008 Cannes Film Festival competition film for the Palme d’Or award, starring Catherine Deneuve. Like the American Christmas films, this French Christmas film also delivered in laughs via a family reunion set during the yuletide season.
Would you believe that the impressive Barbara Stanwyck appeared in 85 movies in her career, and was a favorite of Hollywood directing legends such as Cecil B. DeMille and Frank Capra? The 1945 Christmas-themed rom-com called "Christmas in Connecticut" is one of those 85 films, which gets to reintroduce her to newer generations of fans every yuletide season.
"Happy Christmas" is an independent film that was first screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. Anna Kendrick stars in this indie, which was written and directed by indie director-actor Joe Swanberg, who acted with her in this flick.
Phoebe Cates appeared in more than a dozen films since the ‘80s before retiring from acting. She is married to fellow actor Kevin Kline, and founded a boutique in New York City called Blue Tree, located somewhere in the Upper East Side.