10. The Santa Clause

You know it’s officially Christmas-time when this bad boy gets its annual dust-off by RTE One. Tim Allen drinks his weight in chocolate milk and the cute kid gets his family reunited. Sort of. Pure nostalgia outweighs artistic merit here; this flick is as much a part of Christmas as the smell when you first open the big tin of Roses.


9. Gremlins

Raucous fun from horror director Joe Dante, with executive producer Steven Spielberg leaning over his shoulder to ensure the cute-factor. That is until Billy feeds Gizmo after midnight, causing his little friends come out. And they’re not so cute. But they do spark off some serious Christmassy chaos in small-town America.

8. The Grinch

Jim Carrey pulls the strings, even with his face covered in two inches of green makeup. Gets extremely schmaltzy at the end, but this is sort of evened out by the fact that Cindy-Lou Who grew up to be a kohl-smeared leather-wearing rock singer and the mayor of Whoville grew up to be Mitt Romney. Shudder.

7. Home Alone

A tip of the hat to the late John Hughes please, a filmmaker who defined the ‘80s on-screen and reinvented the teen movie. He wrote this film for a broader family audience, with Chris Columbus directing. Joe Pesci essentially plays a parody of his character in Goodfellas while Macauly Culkin steals the audience’s collective heart.

6. Love Actually

A surprisingly good romantic comedy, with an impressive ensemble cast, including Alan Rickman on perfect form, Bill Nighy as a hilariously depraved pop star and Liam Neeson showing his tender side, because there were no terrorists to kill.

5. Casablanca

Okay, so it’s not a Christmas movie, but much like the original King Kong, it’s always on TV either on or around the day itself. Any excuse to stare deep into Ingrid Bergman’s eyes and quote along with the terrific script.

4. The Dead

John Huston’s sombre and beautiful adaptation of James Joyce’s story. Watch it late at night on Christmas Eve, absorb its atmospheric depiction of Edwardian Dublin, and get reflective with Gabriel’s closing soliloquy on life, death and the past, as the snow falls outside his window.

3. Elf

This is more than a Christmas film; it’s a masterpiece, with Will Ferrell absolutely slaying as the confused grown-up elf in New York. Zooey Deschanel is fantastic, but this film belongs to Ferrell and his love of candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Directed by Henry Selick, but the brainchild of Tim Burton, this tale of Jack Skellington’s longing to be different and bring the spirit of Christmas to his town (in any way possible, even if it means kidnapping the Big Fellow) is adorable, spooky and funny, often all at once, with some dynamite musical numbers to boot.

1. Die Hard

The Nakatomi Christmas party doesn’t quite go to plan for Bruce Willis; he ends up having to shoot a load of terrorists, climb around elevator shafts in a dirty vest, and blow up half the building. He saves his marriage in the process though, so it’s righteous carnage, and isn’t that what Christmas is really all about?