The Best Christmas Movie of All Time, According to Critics

These beloved holiday classics are the best reviewed of the bunch.

circle

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.

50
Home Alone (1990)

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.

49
Frosty the Snowman (1969)

frosty the snowman movie
Telepictures Corporation

Rotten Tomatoes score: 73 percent

48
The Best Man Holiday (2013)

the best man holiday
Universal Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71 percent

And for more fun content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

47
Scrooged (1988)

still from scrooged
Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71 percent

46
The Santa Clause (1994)

the santa clause
Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71 percent

45
Black Christmas (1974)

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.

44
The Ref (1994)

still from the ref
Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 72 percent

43
Joyeux Noël (2006)

joyeux noel
Sony Pictures Classics

Rotten Tomatoes score: 74 percent

42
Happy Christmas (2014)

happy christmas
Magnolia Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 76 percent

41
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

the muppet christmas carol
Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 76 percent

40
A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

a christmas horror story
RLJ Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83 percent

39
Let It Snow (2019)

let it snow
Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 81 percent

38
White Christmas (1954)

still from white christmas
Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 77 percent

37
Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)

anna and the apocalypse
Vertigo Releasing

Rotten Tomatoes score: 77 percent

36
While You Were Sleeping (1995)

while you were sleeping
Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 80 percent

35
Bad Santa (2003)

bad santa
Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79 percent

34
The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)

the man who invented christmas
Bleecker Street

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79 percent

33
Batman Returns (1992)

batman returns
Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 80 percent

32
The Bishop’s Wife (1948)

the bishop's wife
MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84 percent

31
Elf (2003)

still from elf
New Line Cinema

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84 percent

30
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

still from christmas in connecticut
Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88 percent

29
A Christmas Carol (1951)

a christmas carol
VCI Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85 percent

28
Un Conte de Noël (2008)

un conte de noel
Criterion Collection

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86 percent

27
Gremlins (1984)

still from gremlins
Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85 percent

26
Trading Places (1983)

trading places
Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87 percent

25
Better Watch Out (2017)

better watch out
Well Go USA

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89 percent

24
Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

tokyo godfathers
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90 percent

23
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

kiss kiss bang bang
Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86 percent

22
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

rare exports a christmas tale
Oscilloscope

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90 percent

21
A Christmas Story (1983)

a christmas story
MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89 percent

20
Little Women (1994)

little women
AA Film Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92 percent

19
Edward Scissorhands (1990)

edward scissorhands
20th Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90 percent

18
Klaus (2019)

still from klaus
Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent

17
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

jingle jangle a christmas journey
Gareth Gatrell / Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93 percent

16
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

rudolph the red nosed reindeer
Telepictures Corporation

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95 percent

15
Arthur Christmas (2011)

arthur christmas
Sony Pictures Releasing

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92 percent

14
Die Hard (1988)

still from die hard
20th Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent

13
Remember the Night (1940)

remember the night
AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

12
Babes in Toyland (1934)

babes in toyland
Collection Christophel / Alamy Stock Photo

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

11
Tangerine (2015)

still from tangerine
Magnolia Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96 percent

10
Carol (2015)

still from carol
StudioCanal

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent

9
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

meet me in st. louis
MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

8
Little Women (2019)

still from little women
Sony Pictures Releasing

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95 percent

7
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

the nightmare before christmas
Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95 percent

6
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

how the grinch stole christmas
MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

5
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

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.

4
Holiday Inn (1942)

still from holiday inn
Universal Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent

3
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

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.

2
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

a charlie brown christmas
Apple TV+

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent

1
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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.

Filed Under
Best Life
Live smarter, look better,​ and live your life to the absolute fullest.
Get Our Newsletter Every Day!
Enter your email address to get the best tips and advice.
close modal
close modal
GET YOUR FREE GIFT
SUBSCRIBE