The best Christmas movies to watch this festive season

Brodie Fogg 18 November 2015

Simpsons in the Snow

Christmas movies are much like the Yuletide itself – filled with cheese and a much more pleasant experience if you’re slightly sozzled.

22 December 2015: Depending on your taste, a good Christmas movie can be hard to find. Some are too cheesy, and some aren’t cheesy enough. Some movies, like Scrooged, share a thoughtful message about the meaning of Christmas and human decency. Other movies, including In Bruges and Die Hard, simply use the festive season as a backdrop to more action-packed romps.

Whatever you're hankering for this Christmas Eve, we’ve picked out 10 Christmas movies available to stream now.


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1. The Nightmare Before Christmas

No Christmas viewing schedule would be complete without The Nightmare Before Christmas. This Tim Burton tale tells the story of Jack Skellington, the esteemed Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, and his quest to kidnap “Sandy Claws” and take the reins on Christmas celebrations.

      • Cast: Danny Elfman as Jack Skellington and Catherine O'Hara as Sally
      • Christmas Cracker Trivia: The villainous Oogie Boogie is a sack full of what? 
      • Available on: Presto | Foxtel Play

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2. Scrooged

We all know the classic Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol. It’s been done to death, with everyone from Michael Caine to Jim Carrey playing the crotchety Ebenezer Scrooge. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, right? Well, not necessarily. Scrooged offers up a modern take on the recycled plot and casts Bill Murray as Frank Cross, who is essentially the modern (well, 1988) version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Essential Christmas viewing for any Bill Murray fan.

      • Cast: Bill Murray as Frank Cross and Karen Allen as Claire Phillips
      • Christmas Cracker Trivia: Who plays the Ghost of Christmas Present? 
      • Available on: iTunes

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3. Home Alone

Feeling lonely this Christmas? Know that none have ever been lonelier on December 25 than one Kevin McCallister. When Kevin’s wish to have no family comes true on Christmas Day, he decides to make his own fun until two villainous con men decide to rob the McCallister residence. Kevin must use MacGyver-like ingenuity to defend the homestead. The real villains here are Mr and Mrs McAllister, who managed to leave the country without their eight-year-old son.

      • Cast: McCauley Culkin as Kevin McCallister, with Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the crooks
      • Christmas Cracker Trivia: Who cameos as a father who once left his child at a funeral parlour? 
      • Available on: iTunes

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4. Bad Santa

Some movies are brimming with Christmas spirit, while others just have spirits. Bad Santa is so successful because its depressed, alcoholic lead, Billy Bob Thornton, appeals to the jaded Christmas critic in all of us. Yet somehow, beneath the blanket of drugs, booze and profanities, there is a surprisingly sweet storyline.

      • Cast: BBT as Willie, Lauran Graham as Sue and Tony Cox as partner-in-crime, Marcus
      • Christmas Cracker Trivia: Which actor was originally signed on to play Bad Santa? 
      • Available on: Netflix Australia  

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5. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang isn’t a movie about Christmas, but it’s set during the festivus. If you missed this Shane Black (Lethal WeaponIron Man 2) classic, then do yourself a favour and watch it this holiday season. Robert Downey Jr stars as a small-time crook who inadvertently lands an acting gig as a detective. To study for the role, he spends time with aa real-life detective (played superbly by Val Kilmer). Obviously, hilarity and high adrenaline action ensue.

  • Cast: Robert Downey Jr as Harry, Michelle Monaghan as Harmony and Val Kilmer as Gay Perry
  • Christmas Cracker Trivia: What is Gay Perry's ringtone in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang 
  • Available on:  iTunes

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6. Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers is a more traditional feel-good Christmas movie. From the creators of anime classics like Paprika and Perfect Blue comes a surprisingly down-to-earth story about three homeless people – a drunk, a runaway teen and a former drag queen –  in Tokyo who stumble across a dumpster baby on Christmas Eve. Using the sparse information they have on the baby’s identity, the trio set out in search of the baby’s parents.

      • Cast: The voices of Aya Okamoto, Tôru Emori and Yoshiaki Umegaki
      • Christmas Cracker Trivia: Which 2002 anime classic did Satoshi Kon direct? 
      • Available on: iTunes

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7. In Bruges

Like Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, In Bruges’ relation to Christmas is pure timing. You won't find much Christmas cheer in this film. What you will find are standout performances by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two hitmen sent on a “vacation” to Bruges while the dust settles from a botched assassination. If you like black comedy with sharp, snappy dialogue, then writer/director Martin McDonagh will surely please.

      • Cast: Colin Farrel and Brendan Gleeson as Ray and Ken and Ralph Fiennes as Harry Waters
      • Christmas Cracker Trivia: Which well-known actor plays a young Harry Waters in a flashback? 
      • Available on: Netflix Australia

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8. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

From Finnish director Jalmari Helander (Big Game), who is making a name for his OTT plots, comes this unconventional Christmas tale about a small town where reindeer are being killed off and children and supplies are going missing. An excavation on the mountaintop uncovers an ancient burial ground where Santa and his elves have been dwelling. Chaos ensues as the mythical Claus and his minions brutally enforce their “naughty or nice” rule.

      • Cast: Onni Tommila as Pietari, Jorma Tommila as Rauno and Tommi Korpela as Aimo
      • Christmas Cracker Trivia: Who plays the President being hunted in Helander's Big Game
      • Available on: iTunes

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9. Die Hard

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the Die Hard plot should be burnt into your memory by now. On Christmas Eve, off-duty New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) and his wife Holly are attending a Christmas party in Nakatomi Plaza when a group of terrorists (led by none other than Alan Rickman) take the revellers hostage. With no way to contact the outside world, one-man army McClane takes matters into his hands. To this day, Die Hard holds up as one of the greatest action films ever made.

      • Cast: Bruce Willis as McClane and Alan Rickman as Gruber
      • Christmas Cracker Trivia: Which real-life building is Nakatomi Plaza based off?
      • Available on: iTunes | Die Hard 4 on Presto


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10. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Whether it was an ill-fated adventure to Wally World or a debaucherous trip to Vegas, many of us grew up with the misadventures of Clark Griswold and his family. One of the most memorable Griswold holidays was 1989’s Christmas Vacation. When the extended Griswold clan show up for Christmas, Clark, Ellen, Rusty and Audrey are pushed to their wits’ end trying to cater to a “good old-fashioned family Christmas”.

      • Cast: The Griswolds: Chevy Chase, Beverley D'Angelo, Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis
      • Christmas Cracker Trivia: Who played the original Rusty Griswold in Vacation (1983)? 
      • Available on: iTunes

What is next?

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