The holidays are really here now, and it may be cold outside where you are. What better time to stay in and enjoy awesome movies on a big screen in the comfort of your home? Or perhaps you like the chilly outdoors and plan to do some camping. Well, these movies we recommend below look great on good portable projectors. Take a look at ten superb Christmas movies we’d like to recommend, in no particular order.
Starring Donna Reed, James Stewart, and Lionel Barrymore, this film ranks as one of the finest Christmas flicks of all time. A fantasy at heart, the movie tries to send a powerful message, saying we all matter and we each have a big impact on the lives of those around us. And the other way around. Set in a small town called Bedford Falls (and there’s a lot of meaning behind that name), It’s a Wonderful Life should be viewed by all Christmas and movie fans. Seventy five years after it was produced, it’s as timely as on the day of its premiere.
Classic Christmas fare from Netflix in these two movies, headlined by Vanessa Hudgens. The 2019 original and its 2020 sequel feature spectacular wintery views of Europe (and a bit of Chicago), plus lots of sweets and a feel good plot. The core idea is that a baker from Chicago (Hudgens) happens to identically resemble a posh but cool European princess, and Christmas-time adventures ensue. Easily available on Netflix, watching these back to back is a great idea.
On the naughty and comical side of the holidays, we have this 1987 classic. Featuring the brilliance of John Candy (RIP) and Steve Martin, Planes revels in the occasional madness of the holiday season and everyone rushing to get somewhere. While set before Thanksgiving rather than Christmas, we still count this as a Yuletide classic. Especially heartwarming in 2020, a year that sadly lacks much of the holiday rush. Who’d have thought we’d miss that. If you want to laugh at some of the best antics in movie history set against a festive backdrop, don’t miss this gem.
Though released in summer, this is definitely a Christmas movie. Bruce Willis plays an NYPD cop who goes to his estranged wife’s office Christmas party in Los Angeles. The catch isn’t that the Christmas tree is too small, but rather that a group of high tech professional criminals have taken over the building. One of the most influential actioners of all cinematic times, Die Hard has Christmas written all over it on top of brilliant acting, set piece action sequences, and a slew of one liners.
Stanley Kubrick’s final movie takes place in the lead up to Christmas and has a vibe so powerful you’ll crave candy cane and gingerbread men in no time at all. A very mature film and definitely not for family viewing, Eyes Wide Shut stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, as well as a large cast of eccentric and wonderful characters. But arguably the biggest star is Christmas, backed by chilly and densely-textured sets that are simply unforgettable.
Also on Netflix, this Norwegian show released in 2019 and stars Ida Elise Broch as Johanne, a 30 year old nurse that needs to find a boyfriend in time for the Christmas family get together. That’s just the basic premise. In addition to romantic misadventures, Johanne juggles work, friendships, family intrigue, and cooking. The frosty landscapes of wintertime Norway help set the mood, as does the excellent photography, which is beautiful 4K with HDR to let those Christmas lights shine extra bright.
Released in 2004 and headlined by Tom Hanks, The Polar Express tells the story of kids who discover a magical train. Why magical? Because this train goes straight to the North Pole. Loaded with beauty and seasonal charm, The Polar Express is seemingly simple but thanks to direction by Robert Zemeckis it has so much to offer for Christmas fans, you really should get onboard.
Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd headline this 1983 John Landis comedy, set in the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s. Amid the rather bleak landscape of Philadelphia in December, the story revolves around somewhat magical circumstances and commentary on social conditions in the 1980s that still resonate now. For laughs, Christmas vibes, and deep commentary on life, Trading Places is a good bet.
Christian Carion’s 2005 movie takes place during the famous December 25, 1914 truce between Allied and Central Power troops on the front lines of World War One. What makes this multilingual epic unique is the intentional contradiction between harmony and violence, as it’s still nominally a war movie. The cinematography by Walther Vanden Ende is ace, and you’ll feel the cold thanks to an abundance of convincing locales and sets. Definitely one to enjoy on a big screen.
The 1984 original with its ensemble cast and pioneering special effects is best remembered as a landmark supernatural comedy film. But it’s equally a Christmas movie, occurring during the weeks before Christmas and setting its ultimate showdown on New Year’s Eve if we remember correctly. There are lots of Christmas trees and lights all over the place, and you can almost feel cinnamon and sugar overpowering the forces of evil that threaten to spoil the season for New York City’s hapless denizens. A great family film with a comical, sarcastic edge.
We recommend ten Christmas movies perfect for the season, especially on big screen projectors