Even though some radio stations have been playing Christmas music for several weeks, it's now officially the holiday season. What better way to celebrate than to throw on a yule log, snuggle up next to a loved one and take in a good Christmas movie?
There have been more Christmas movies than can be counted, but we thought we would take a look at some of the best of all-time. In this part two of a five-part series, we're going to offer up our picks for the best Christmas movies of:
The only rule is that the film must have seen theatrical release (no TV movies) and be released in the appropriate decade.
With that, unwrap these 10 best Christmas movies of the 1980s:
10. "Prancer" (1989)
Why not Dasher or Dancer, or Vixen? Comet, Cupid, Donner or Blitzen? We'll never know why Prancer was chosen to be the 2nd most popular reindeer of all and get his own film, but he was. Fun fact, director John Hancock was once nominated for an Oscar, for a short film in the 70s.
9. "One Magic Christmas" (1985)
Disney's live-action films as a whole, are not nearly as popular as their animated ones, and "One Magic Christmas" doesn't do this reputation much justice. It stars Mary Steenburgen and Harry Dean Stanton and involves an angel who must show the characters the true meaning of Christmas...you know, the plot of nearly every Christmas movie.
8. "Santa Clause: The Movie" (1985)
Something about Dudley Moore being in a Christmas movie just feels right...he's definitely had his fair share of eggnog. It actually has a star-studded cast, with Moore, John Lithgow, Burgess Meredith and David Huddleston as Santa Claus himself. The movie tries debunking the magic and the myth surrounding Old Saint Nick, and despite being poorly received at the time both critically and commercially, this move seems to still pop up each and every holiday season.
7. "Gremlins" (1984)
Not a Christmas movie you say? Of course it is. It's all about the Christmas gift that keeps on giving, and at its heart, it warns against greed and unchecked consumption. It remains one of the most iconic films of all-time, and don't even pretend that you don't know the "three things" you should never do to a mogwai.
6. "Ernest Saves Christmas" (1988)
Jim Varney's lovely creation, Ernest P. Worrell, was one of the best things to come out of the 80s...said no one ever, except those like myself who found the lovable redneck to be an endearing staple of childhood. Ernest grew in popularity after a successful run on TV commercials and later, his own TV show before making the leap to the big-screen. This film might be the best Ernest film, and it was the second one following "Ernest Goes to Camp" a year earlier in 1987. In this adventure, Ernest must help find a successor to Santa Claus. Who can forget Ernest breaking the fourth-wall and skidding his sled and reindeer to a halt, before chuckling and telling the audience, "Air breaks." Jim Varney is definitely missed. KnowhutImean?
5. "Die Hard" (1988)
Another not-your-typical-Christmas-movie, this Bruce Willis/Alan Rickman blockbuster smash remains mentioned among the best action movies ever made. On Christmas Eve, the fictional Nakatomi building is taken over by Rickman's iconic Hans Gruber and his band of terrorists, with Willis' John McClane the only hope for the good guys.
4. "Mickey's Christmas Carol" (1983)
It's Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" given the animated Disney treatment and represented the first original Mickey Mouse cartoon released theatrically in over 30 years. Another fun fact, is that this film marked the last voice performance for original Donald Duck voice-actor Clarence Nash. At only 26 minutes long, this movie originally was released along with the 1983 re-release of "The Rescuers" and it went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject.
3. "Scrooged" (1988)
It's Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" given the cynical spin that only the 1980s could produce. Bill Murray is Frank Cross in the Ebeneezer Scrooge role, and he's an arrogant corporate bigwig at a major television network who is visited by the Christmas ghosts. This is required viewing every Christmas season, is one of Murray's best roles ever and best of all, it still holds up, in a nostalgic 1980s sort of way.
2. "A Christmas Story" (1983)
Although this timeless story takes place in the 1940s, it saw its release in 1983 and was not seen as a big hit at the time. It did go on to become one of the earliest examples of a "word-of-mouth" hit, and today is an absolute classic, with some TV channels running it in 24-hour marathons on Christmas day. "You'll shoot your eye out kid!" has entered the American lexicon.
1. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (1989)
But as much as "A Christmas Story" is a classic, there is no other Christmas movie like "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," by far the most laugh-out-loud Christmas comedy of this or any other decade. Clark Griswald and family had been on two other big-screen adventures prior, first to Wally World in "Vacation" and then around Europe in "European Vacation." Little did we know that the Griswolds would find even more craziness in the comfort of their own home. It's quotable, unforgettable, and still the best bet for laughs this or any holiday season. "Hey Clark! The shitter's full!" And so is this list of the best Christmas films of the 1980s.
Agree or disagree with this list? Comment below! And be sure to check out the rest of our BEST OF CHRISTMAS Lists (links at the top of article!)
Looking for a specific movie or review?