Top 12 Holiday Season 2023 Movies as Per IMDB Popularity

Shikhar Jauhari

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Top 12 Holiday Season 2023 Movies as Per IMDB Popularity

Make plans to take the family to the movies this season; old favorites and fresh offerings will keep everyone happy. Watching a holiday film is a great way to relax and unwind. According to IMDB, these are the 12 best films to watch over the 2023 holiday season.

12. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) – 7.6

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Stream Now on Hulu

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Run Time: 93 min

Planes Trains & Automobiles (1987), one of the greatest cross-country comedies ever created.

Despite their initial reluctance to work together, Neal Page (Steve Martin), an easily agitated marketing executive, and Del Griffith (John Candy), an enthusiastic shower curtain ring salesman, quickly find common ground as they bunk together during a flight delay caused by a snowstorm.

The excellent ensemble in The Miseducation of Cameron Crowe makes even the most outlandish parts of the film, such as Martin and Candy’s portrayals of Cameron and his wife, feel more like fleshed-out people than caricatures. Furthermore, Hughes’ film represents a turning point in his development as a writer, producer, and director, as it signified a transition away from his earlier teen-oriented output for National Lampoon and Home Alone and toward more character-driven comedies.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is one of the rare movies that manages to merge outrageous comedy and light drama in such a compelling way, and it’s one of the best road trip movies ever made.

11. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – 8.6

It's a Wonderful Life

Stream Now on Plex, Prime Video

Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy

Run Time: 130 min

Frank Capra’s film about a guy wishing he hadn’t been born may not seem like your standard Christmas classic. Yet, this beloved holiday classic remains an annual necessity. It’s a Wonderful Life is a classic because it has unforgettable characters, an upbeat plot, and mature themes that everyone can relate to.

One of James Stewart’s finest acting moments came from his portrayal of George Bailey in “The Greatest Showman.” Bailey, a man who struggles to keep his dignity despite poverty and personal tragedy, was played by Stewart. Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s script, based on a short story by Philip Van Doren Stern, is widely regarded as among the finest ever written. Donna Reed plays his wife, Mary Hatch Bailey, and Henry Travers plays Clarence Oddbody, an angelic person who helps George realize life’s worth.

Although filmmaker Frank Capra and his ensemble were nominated for three Academy Awards in 1946, only one, for RKO Radio Studio’s Special Effects Department for developing innovative fake snow effects, really took home the gold. In addition, Lionel Barrymore won the award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge in It’s a Wonderful Life.

10. A Christmas Story (1983) – 7.9

A Christmas Story

Stream Now on Apple TV, Vudu

Genres: Comedy, Family

Run Time: 93 min

This film was so well-liked that it was shown in theaters past Christmas 1983 and into January 1984. It became an instant classic after earning over $19.2 million at the movie office, and its popularity has only grown thanks to repeated screenings on television and over-the-top (OTT) releases.

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Bob Clark’s original goal was to write a comedy about the customs of his own family over the holidays. However, after reading Jean Shepherd’s short tale collection “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash,” he thought Ralphie Parker’s yearning for a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle would make the appropriate protagonist and scenario.

In A Christmas Story, we see the commercialism, disappointments, and poor luck that are all too often at real-life family Christmases. According to Vanity Fair, this film was groundbreaking since it dealt with these issues in an accessible and amusing way.

Before getting the character of Ralphie’s loving but scruffy father, Randy, in 1983’s A Christmas Story and the 2022 sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas, Peter Billingsley was a relative unknown. However, thanks to these appearances, he swiftly climbed to fame and became one of America’s most beloved father figures.

9. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) – 6.8

Home Alone 2 Lost in New York

Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Crime

Run Time: 120 min

In this sequel, filmed a year after the first, young Kevin McCallister is again on his own, this time in New York City with criminals on the hunt for him.

Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are back to reprise their roles as the two crooks that followed Kevin through his Chicago house and attempted to kill him, Harry and Marv. These criminals have been let free and are eager to exact their vengeance.

The hero is prepared for these encounters with traps and tricks, such as an illusion tape recorder that makes grownups think his parents are around. In addition, he chats up the helpful proprietors of a toy shop and a peculiar bag lady who feeds pigeons.

Compared to its predecessor, this film’s storyline is far more complex and features many more humorous and enjoyable moments. Child actor Macaulay Culkin shot to fame thanks to his work on it, and the film spawned a slew of spin-off products, including action figures and board games.

8. Die Hard (1988) – 8.2

Die Hard

Stream Now on Disney+, Hulu

Genres: Action, Thriller

Run Time: 132 min

Die Hard’s enormous success after its 1988 premiere shocked many. However, the picture was an instant blockbuster thanks to director John McTiernan. It helped vault Bruce Willis into action superstardom, elevate the popular balding guy from Moonlighting into leading man status, and expose viewers to Alan Rickman’s malevolent portrayal of Hans Gruber.

The themes of family and devotion give Die Hard a depth that sets it apart from other popcorn entertainment, making it a captivating action film with amazing pyrotechnics. Die Hard is a must-see for any film buff because of the fantastic experience it provides, regardless of preference.

In the Die Hard movies, NYPD detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) pays a visit to his working-class wife, Holly Gennero McClane, who happens to be employed at the fictitious Nakatomi Plaza. John is invited to Holly’s Christmas party in Century City. Still, his visit is cut short as terrorists storm the premises and take hostages.

The movie has numerous humorous components, but its conversation is the best part. The witty one-liners and sardonic comments by the main characters set this action thriller apart and keep things interesting.

7. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – 7.9

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Stream Now on Prime Video

Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy

Run Time: 76 min

The Nightmare Before Christmas is an end-of-the-millennium classic and family favorite that exceeds year-end expectations thanks to Henry Selick’s breathtaking stop-motion animation and Danny Elfman’s excellent soundtrack.

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This film, which could have quickly become an exercise in style rather than storyline, succeeds because of Burton’s ability to build an evocative cosmos entirely with vivid evil. His vision doesn’t lend itself to straight lines; thus, his animation is more akin to pop-up books than standard animation. This results in an exciting story with memorable characters. Their banter is the story’s motor.

The Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, wants to find happiness outside Halloween Town’s gloom and terror. His heart is warmed by Christmas Town’s vibrant colors and kind people, and he resolves to take some of that home with him. But as soon as he cannot keep up with the action, he realizes that even the most well-thought-out plans involving mice and skeleton men can suddenly go wrong. The Nightmare Before Christmas and Tim Burton’s reputation as an oddball but lovable cultural icon owe much to this film.

6. The Santa Clause (1994) – 6.5

The Santa Clause

Stream Now on Disney+, Prime Video

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family

Run Time: 97 min

This family-friendly holiday treat, starring TV star Tim Allen, features plenty of humorous one-liners while avoiding the kind of cloying sweetness one would generally anticipate from a Disney film, marking Allen’s smooth transition from small screen to big screen. While The Santa Clause may not be great, it gives some surprises. It laughs thanks to an appealing fundamental notion that holds so much potential.

In this film from director John Pasquin, Tim Allen plays Scott Calvin, a toy industry CEO whose performance has been disappointing and whose divorced son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) has begun questioning whether or not Santa Claus exists. Accidentally killing Santa and inheriting his position on a legal technicality, Scott chooses to take on the role himself to restore his faith and make the holiday season memorable for all of them.

After making her debut in The Santa Clause as Carol Newman, Elizabeth Mitchell went on to star in a slew of additional films and even had a brief cameo on ER, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Mitchell’s current acting credits include Loving and both Santa Clause sequels.

5. The Polar Express (2004) – 6.6

The Polar Express

Stream Now on Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video

Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Run Time: 100 min

In 2004, with the debut of The Polar Express, family films were forever changed. The Polar Express, a stop-motion animated film starring an all-star cast led by Tom Hanks, uses “performance capture” technology to bring human figures to life on screen through cutting-edge animation techniques. However, many people avoided the film because of its disturbing animation. Their disturbing facial features emitted similar sentiments to those created by viewing Gollum or Jar-Jar Binks onscreen.

Zemeckis’s employment of this cutting-edge animation method shows how alienating audiences may find CGI characters. Making up an alien is easy, but giving fictional characters the range of feelings experienced by actual humans is a lot more complicated.

All things considered, The Polar Express is a fun film with a heartwarming message about the true meaning of Christmas and the joy of giving. However, its performance capture technology reveals precisely how tough it can be to use as a successful storytelling medium; nevertheless, it remains an exciting film for your family to enjoy this year.

4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – 6.3

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Stream Now on Netflix

Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Run Time: 104 min

Ron Howard and Brian Grazer directed and produced the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas, based on the work of Theodor Geisel (commonly known as Dr. Seuss). The screenplay was written by Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, Alec Berg, David Mandel, and Jeff Schaffer. The 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas is entirely unusual. For good reason, the live-action film How the Grinch Stole Christmas from 2000, starring Jim Carrey as the titular character, is a holiday classic.

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Grinch takes advantage of Whoville’s Christmas tree by stealing their gifts and decorations, stuffing them into a huge sack, and throwing them from Mount Crumpit into the town below. On Christmas morning, however, he changes his heart, returns everything he stole, and joins the festivities.

In this new take on the classic story, Jim Carrey plays the title role of the Green Grinch. Anthony Hopkins narrates, and the cast also features Taylor Momsen, Christine Baranski, and Jeffrey Tambor.

3. Elf (2003) – 7.1


Stream Now on Hulu

Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Run Time: 97 min

This delightful family Christmas film is filled with humorous and heartwarming adventures, following the journey of Buddy, an orphaned baby who hits a ride in Santa Claus’ sack on Christmas Eve and ends up living as one of his elves at the North Pole. There’s humor and heart in this film.

Buddy the Elf is played by Saturday Night Live alum Will Ferrell. His charisma and likeability in the role of Buddy the Elf, alongside the performances of James Caan, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel, and Mary Steenburgen, make for entertaining viewing. Many of the cast members of Elf, including Jon Favreau and Peter Dinklage, have now gone on to other projects.

For good reason, Elf has become a holiday classic because of its touching and funny portrayal of the bond between a father and son. It’s no surprise that Elf has stood the test of time because it deals with heavy topics like parental rejection in a funny and unforgettable way.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – 7.5

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Stream Now on Prime Video

Genres: Comedy

Run Time: 97 min

No matter your movie preferences, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud at Christmas Vacation. It is a timeless film that everyone should see at least once a year. The Griswold family, led by Clark, tries desperately to throw a perfect Christmas celebration, but with surprising and amusing results.

There are many heartwarming family moments, including reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and watching other holiday classics, making this the kind of movie where you can easily quote lines. An exploding toilet, an electrocuted kitten, and an absurdly oversized tree are just a few instances of the humorous things that pass unnoticed by most spectators.

Christmas Vacation is nonstop hilarity, beginning with Chase forgetting to turn off a Christmas light and ending with a hilarious tirade against Scrooge’s boss.

Unlike similar works, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation doesn’t feel old. While the jokes in many classic comedies may seem obsolete now, they generate plenty of laughs in this film.

1. Home Alone (1990) – 7.7

Home Alone

Stream Now on Disney+, Hulu

Genres: Comedy, Family

Run Time: 103 min

Kevin McCallister, played by Owen Wilson, is an eight-year-old child in this film who stays behind when his family goes to France for the holidays. He avoids injury by self-defense and warding off prospective attackers in amusing situations while encountering challenges like burglars mistaking him for a child.

Director Chris Columbus opted for slapstick comedy to tell this story, and Culkin was an excellent fit. He radiates charisma and vitality in the lead role, and his chemistry with co-stars Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern (who play his two spying enemies) is electric.

Although it is never extreme, some humorous slapstick violence occurs in this film. As Harry and Marv slide down the icy steps, they are shot at with airguns, smacked with nail guns, and trip on sharp things like nails. While some younger audiences might find the action over-the-top, it makes for a vibrant Christmas flick, putting you in the holiday spirit!

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