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When it comes to holiday movies, the options are endless. There are the best Christmas movies of all time, like A Christmas Story, the holiday romances and rom-coms, animated films for kids, old-school cartoons, Christmas movies on Netflix, and so much more. But with such an abundance of options to choose from, it's likely a few terrific holiday movies have slid under the radar. Rediscover these amazing forgotten Christmas movies that need a re-watch ASAP.
1934: Bright Eyes
Nothing upholds the holiday spirit more than a child who stubbornly defends Santa Claus's existence — especially when that child is played by the curly top Shirley Temple. In Bright Eyes, Temple plays a little girl who loses her family but finds another through the good cheer she inspires.
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1934: The Thin Man
A retired detective upends his Christmas holiday to take on one more case, and his adventure-loving wife won't be left behind.
1939: Bachelor Mother
In this holiday-set rom-com, Ginger Rogers plays a lonely department-store salesgirl who finds a baby on a doorstep. But everybody seems to think the baby is hers, and before she knows it, the baby reels in a fiancé and potential father-in-law as well.
1940: The Shop Around the Corner
Providing inspiration for future rom-coms like You've Got Mail, The Shop Around the Corner is about two coworkers who outwardly despise each other but don't realize that the pen pals they each write to and are in love with are … each other. The Christmas scenes in Budapest offer equal parts good cheer and romance.
1942: The Man Who Came to Dinner
Monty Woolley plays a New York radio personality Sheridan Whiteside, who visits the home of one of his listeners, the Stanleys, for a publicity stunt. But in a real stunt, he slips on the ice and breaks his hip on the steps of their house. He insists on spending Christmas under their care and causes all manner of mayhem.
1944: Meet Me in St. Louis
Though not a holiday movie in and of itself, Meet Me in St. Louis has one claim to Christmas fame: Judy Garland debuted the classic tune "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in her renowned warble.
1945: Christmas in Connecticut
Barbara Stanwyck is Elizabeth Lane, a woman who has made a living writing about cooking on her farm with her family in Connecticut — but she can't cook a lick, doesn't have a family of her own, and doesn't live in Connecticut! It becomes a problem when her boss invites himself to her abode for the Christmas season and she has to pull off a massive lie with the help of friends.
1949: Holiday Affair
Christmas is what made this film a classic. Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh star in a romantic comedy that all starts with a train set bought for a little boy at Christmas.
1949: Little Women
There have been a couple of versions of Little Women throughout the years, but this 1949 version with Elizabeth Taylor as Amy is particularly filled with cozy Christmas settings.
1951: The Lemon Drop Kid
Bob Hope stars as a New York City scammer who gets himself in trouble with the wrong people and saves himself by hiding in plain sight in a Santa Claus suit.
1955: We're No Angels
Three convicts, including Humphrey Bogart, escape prison and end up hiding in a shop run by a small family. The criminals plan to rob the store — until the family invites them to Christmas dinner and they decide to help the nice family with their financial struggles instead.
1955: Young at Heart
Vocal powerhouses Doris Day and Frank Sinatra star in this Christmas romance filled with twists and turns. In the end, Sinatra's gloomy character learns a powerful lesson: that family is one thing worth living for.
1960: The Apartment
Set at Christmas and New Year's, The Apartment is a movie that covers all the feelings of the holiday season: loneliness as well as hope and joy. CC Baxter (Jack Lemmon) and Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) are two beaten-down characters who find solace in each other.
1965: A Charlie Brown Christmas
The titular character seeks to look past materialism and discover what the Christmas spirit is really all about.
1966: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The first Grinch to leap from the pages of Dr. Seuss to steal Christmas (and then our hearts) onscreen debuted as a cartoon special in 1966.
1969: Frosty the Snowman
Frosty the Snowman, a magical snowman brought to life around the holiday season, makes his first TV appearance in a Christmas special. Despite being in an age of animation that far exceeds old-school cartoons, this original flick can still bring the Christmas spirit like no other.
1983: Trading Places
Eddie Murphy as hustler low on luck and Dan Aykroyd as an important executive are conned by two bored finance bros who frame Aykroyd for a crime and then replace him in his executive role with Murphy. But when Aykroyd and Murphy realize what's happened, they seek to turn the tables.
This Christmas story gone awry starts out with a father who just wants to buy a neat present for his son. Instead he purchases a strange creature from a Chinatown shop that magically multiplies and leads to more holiday bedlam than the father bargained for.
1985: Santa Claus
When Santa's righthand man — er, elf — Patch leaves the North Pole for New York City and accidentally starts working for an evil toy tycoon, Christmas might be ruined. Santa goes in search of his talented toy-making elf to redirect his skills at the deserving children of the world.
1986: Babes in Toyland
Drew Barrymore plays an 11-year-old in Cincinnati, Ohio, who takes herself a bit too seriously — until she finds herself in Toyland, where only her belief in the magic of toys can save the alternate universe from the Scrooge-like Barnaby.
1987: Lethal Weapon
Die Hard is an action film that is securely set into the Christmas movie list — and if Die Hard counts as a Christmas movie, then Lethal Weapon certainly does. While this movie is packed with violence and action, as its core it is a story of a lonely suicidal man who finds a true friend in his police partner.
1988: Die Hard
Although Christmas is woven into violent action scenes in this very atypical holiday movie, the Christmas influence is indisputable: Die Hard features holiday tunes like "Let It Snow" and, despite the violence, ends on a peaceful note as the Bruce Willis drives off to enjoy his holiday with his loved one.
1989: Look Who's Talking
Bruce Willis narrates a baby's perspective as he watches his mother (Kirstie Alley) debate the love and devotion of a kind taxi driver (John Travolta) at Christmastime.
A little girl discovers a hurt reindeer in the woods and, believing him to be one of Santa's reindeer, hides him and takes care of him. In doing so, she heals the hurting hearts of those around her.
1989: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
This hilarious comedy movie series about a the trials and tribulations of a family on vacation produced a holiday version that involves a Christmas-tree cutting gone awry and an uninvited extended family that just won't stay away.
1992: To Grandmother's House We Go
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen churned out a ton of movies as kids, including this Christmas-set comedy in which two troublesome twins decide to run away to their grandma's house for the holiday, sending their mother in frantic pursuit.
1992: Batman Returns
Batman Returns isn't exactly a typical Christmas movie, but it is set during the holiday, providing the puuurfect backdrop for Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Keaton to fall in love as Catwoman and Batman.
1993: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Halloweentown's pumpkin king stumbles on Christmastown and endeavors to take control of Santa Claus's domain — except it doesn't go quite as he planned.
1994: One Christmas
Eight-year-old Buddy leaves his mother and aunt in the countryside and goes to New Orleans to spend Christmas with his father, who unbeknownst to him is a con man. At first Buddy's father doesn't seem to have any interest in him, but the spirit of Christmas quickly changes that.
1994: Mixed Nuts
Steve Martin as Phillip runs a suicide-prevention hotline, but his landlord kick the small organization out of their office around Christmas. Combining a series of colorful characters and Martin's well-known humor in chaos, Mixed Nuts is a Christmas comedy with a heartwarming message to boot.
1995: While You Were Sleeping
Sandra Bullock plays Lucy, a lonely transit worker who doesn't have any plans for Christmas — until she saves a handsome stranger when he fell on subway tracks. Things get complicated when the family of the comatose man assumes she is his fiancée … and she plays along.
1996: The Preacher's Wife
In this remake of The Bishop's Wife, Denzel Washington plays the angel who falls to Earth to answer the prayers of the preacher in need — but is distracted by his lovely wife, played by Whitney Houston.
1996: Jingle All the Way
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a workaholic father who has neglected his family and procrastinated on buying his son the most popular action figure of the season. He races around trying to find the toy and in the end finds that family is what is most important.
Stepmom, starring treasures Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, has everything you could want in a Christmas movie: complex relationships, snowy Christmas settings, and heartwarming scenes between characters.
1998: Jack Frost
Michael Keaton plays a touring musician who's rarely home to spend time with his wife and son. After his fatal car accident, his son blows the harmonica his father gave him, and it brings his father back … as a snowman.
2000: The Family Man
Once upon a time, Jack Campbell made a choice to follow his career rather than his heart. Years later on Christmas, he gets a chance to visit an alternate universe and see the life he would have had if he had married the love of his life.
2001: Call Me Claus
Whoopi Goldberg is a TV producer searching for the perfect Santa to act her in show. What she doesn't know is that Santa has been searching for his replacement, and he thinks she fits the part perfectly.
2011: Arthur Christmas
Santa Claus' youngest son, Arthur, saves the day when Santa accidentally — due to technological difficulties — fails to deliver presents to one child on Earth.
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