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It’s a Wonderful … List of the 10 Best Holiday Movies Ever

Holiday movies. We’ve all got our favorites. Regardless of our religious beliefs, cultural heritage, socio-economic background, or where we grew up, we have a holiday movie or two that warms the cockles of our individual hearts.

The folks at The Starr Conspiracy are no different. And since consensus is not our strong suit, but being independent thinkers is, here’s a very distinctive list of the 10 Best Holiday Movies Ever.

Home Alone (1990)

Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara

Perhaps a surprise to some, this John Hughes favorite won the top spot in an internal poll here at The Starr Conspiracy. The slapstick hilarity of Kevin’s battle plan will have you roaring with laughter, but it’s the subtle one-liners of America’s favorite 8-year-old that get us: “Buzz, your girlfriend. Woof!”

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

If you don’t watch at least one black-and-white film during the holiday season, you’re doing it wrong. Grab your loved ones and a cup of hot tea, and settle in for this classic tale of one man’s reluctant journey to discover what life is all about.

Scrooged (1988)

Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe

Probably one of the best — or, at the very least, most entertaining — adaptations of A Christmas Carol, Scrooged stars Bill Murray, and as one TSC Agent put it, “That’s all you need to know.” This rendition of Charles Dickens’ classic will make you laugh, cry, get into the holiday spirit, and sing “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.”

Elf (2003)

Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel

Apparently, 2003 was a defining year for holiday movies. Elf is arguably one of Will Ferrell’s best performances, if not (as one TSC Agent noted) simply the only one where he isn’t filmed in his underwear. Although, he is wearing bright yellow tights. Ridiculously quotable, hilarious, and heartwarming, this is a holiday must-see.

Christmas at Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (1988)

Paul Reubens, Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon

Celebrate the holidays ’80s style with this kitschy television special featuring Pee-Wee Herman and all of his famous friends, including k.d. lang, Grace Jones, the Del Rubio Triplets, and Charo! A sleigh ride with Magic Johnson may or may not be included.

Love Actually (2003)

Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Nighy

Romantic. Goofy. Just all-around fun. This is the one star-studded film that actually got it right. Love Actually is a delightful web of stories that unveil timeless themes of love and truth in the holiday season. Plus, Hugh Grant as the adorable dancing Prime Minister is something you can’t miss.

Die Hard (1988)

Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia

Sure, this one usually draws heated debate among the holiday movie faithfuls, but you can’t argue with the facts: The setting for what is arguably Bruce Willis’ best action film is an office Christmas party. And who could forget one of Alan Rickman’s most notable roles as the nefarious Hans Gruber? Die Hard may not make you say, “Happy holidays!” but it will make you say, “Yippee ki-yay!”

White Christmas (1954)

Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney

This holiday classic follows two WWII veterans as they fall in love with a pair of sisters and work together to save their former general’s beloved Vermont inn from failure. Whew. But as with so many great oldies, this film isn’t about the plot — it’s about the delightful dance numbers and charming songs of the great Irving Berlin. And snow. Really, there’s a whole song about it!

Jingle All the Way (1996)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman

Howard Langston’s mad dash to obtain the perfect gift for his son is the hilarious manifestation of every parent’s worst holiday fear. As Howard (played by the Arnold) desperately tries to avoid disappointing his son again, he takes us on a riotous journey to find the coveted Turbo Man action figure.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis

Underrated holiday movie? Absolutely. Christmas Vacation follows the spirit behind the other movies in the Vacation canon, as Clark Griswold attempts to bring his family together for a Norman Rockwell-esque celebration. Of course, hijinks ensue. The tree is too big, the lights don’t work, and Randy Quaid makes an appearance. Christmas Vacation is Chevy Chase at his best and holiday movies at their raunchiest.