Top 5 Christmas Movies: Ralphie, Clark Griswold, and…Hans Gruber?

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By ALEXANDER GEHRLEIN ‘20

5. Home Alone


Not much can be said about this film that hasn’t already, so I’ll be brief. This film is
a fantastic slapstick comedy, with hilarious supporting performances from Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the “Wet Bandits,” and one of the best child performances out there from MacCaulay Culkin. If by some chance you have managed to not have seen this by now, I can’t stress how much fun this film is, and you can probably catch it on TV within the next few days.

4. Black Christmas (1974)


Of all the films on this list, this one is certainly unheard of to most of you. While you might not think of Christmas as a particularly scary time of year, you’ll get a new appreciation for it after seeing the film that is arguably responsible for the “Slasher” genre. If you enjoy the original Halloween, you will love this movie as it is the film that directly inspired John Carpenter’s classic. Due to its Canadian origins, and early 70’s release, this film has largely become lost to modern audiences, but if by some chance you find a way to watch it, definitely check it out.

3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation


Without a doubt this is the funniest film on this list, in large part thanks to Chevy Chase’s iconic performance as on the verge of a mental breakdown father, Clark Griswold, and Randy Quaid’s equally memorable role as the lovably inept cousin Eddie. This film takes all of the Christmas movie tropes, and sends them up with National Lampoon’s unique, darkly cynical style of humor, which you can also see in films like Animal House, making for an endlessly rewatchable.

2. Gremlins


An inventive monster movie with heart. Gremlins is a surprisingly dark Christ- mas movie, and in my mind that’s a good thing. It has laughs, scares, and amazing practical effects, all surrounded in an atmosphere of holiday cheer.

1. Die Hard


What says Christmas more than terrorists taking over a high rise office building? This 1988 film is not only the epitome of action films, but also of Holiday movies. The main problem with the vast majority of Christmas films is that they don’t take time to come up with an interesting plot or characters, and rather rely upon your holiday spirit to get you through the film. Die Hard not only has one of the greatest action heroes of all time in Bruce Willis’ John Mcclane, but also has an inventive plot which established most of what we now consider to be action movie tropes. I don’t know about you, but “Now I have a machine gun ho, ho, ho” is the moment that first comes to my mind when I think of Christmas in film.