Best Christmas Movies of the 1990s, Ranked – MovieWeb

The 1990s was a magical time for holidays in Hollywood, and brought moviegoers beloved Christmas classics like Home Alone and The Santa Clause.
The 1990s was a magical time for holidays in Hollywood and brought moviegoers beloved Christmas classics like Home Alone and The Santa Clause. The decade introduced the world to the devious antics of then-young actor "It Boy" Macaulay Culkin’s unruly Kevin McCallister, witnessed Tim Allen don Saint Nick’s beard and belly and transform into Santa himself, and laughed as Arnold Schwarzenegger battled it out against Sinbad in search of a highly-coveted action figure on Christmas Eve.
Some of the most enduring and celebrated films made their debuts in the ‘90s, and some of the cinema’s most popular stars tried their hand at this wholesome holiday genre, with big names like Michael Caine, Joe Pesci, Michael Keaton, and Tim Burton headlining the flicks. With the wondrous holiday right around the corner, let’s take a look at some of the best Christmas movies of the 1990s.
Actor extraordinaire Michael Keaton led the 1998 fantasy film Jack Frost, in which the seasoned star portrays a neglectful-but-kind-hearted father and rock band musician who is tragically killed in a car accident during a snowstorm, devastating his wife and young son.
Keaton's eponymous character is given a second chance when he is brought back to life as a snowman with the help of a magical harmonica, and sets out to make things right with his beloved son. Jack Frost was notorious for its questionable snowman design that many found more creepy than cheerful, but it nonetheless remains a heartfelt flick of the '90s.
Disney's 1999 anthology fantasy Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas is an underrated holiday gem that includes three different festive tales featuring cherished characters like Donald Duck, Goofy, Scrooge McDuck and Mickey himself. Kelsey Grammer narrates the charming Christmas film, with each segment taking inspiration from short stories like "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry and William Dean Howells' "Christmas Every Day."
Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor famously voiced iconic couple Mickey and Minnie Mouse, with the voice performers becoming well-known for also having been married during much of their tenures as the iconic Disney characters (much to the delight of audiences everywhere).
Action legend Arnold Schwarzenegger is a man on a toy-mission in the 1996 family comedy Jingle All the Way, with the cinema superstar appearing as a workaholic salesman who goes head-to-head with a fellow father (Sinbad) in a quest to purchase a highly-coveted action figure on Christmas Eve.
The blockbuster hit was inspired by real-life toy mania and sell-out items such as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Cabbage Patch Kids as well as the overall commercialization of the jolly holiday, depicting the often aggressive nature among shoppers. Though the holiday picture failed to resonate with critics, moviegoers thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas comedy and awarded it a B+ CinemaScore.
In the 1994 remake of the lauded '40s classic Miracle on 34th Street, sensational child actress Mara Wilson (Matilda) stars as six-year-old Christmas skeptic Susan Walker, who begins to question whether old Saint Nick may actually be real after meeting a mall Santa claiming to be Kris Kringle himself.
On her mission to prove that the man is in fact Santa Claus, Susan teams up with her mother's lawyer boyfriend to silence the naysayers once-and-for-all. The stirring flick may not completely live up to the legacy of the 1947 picture, but it holds a special place in the hearts of audiences and is an endearing reimagining of the timeless tale.
The delightfully devious Kevin McCallister is back at it again in the 1992 comedy Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, following the rowdy 10-year-old as he once again becomes separated from his family during Christmas and encounters the revenge-seeking Wet Bandits in New York City.
Related: Home Alone: Should Kevin's Parents Have Been Reported to the Police or DCF?
Macaulay Culkin is in all his mischievous glory as the perpetually left behind Kevin, using his creative mind to concoct inventions that protect him from the dishonorable thieves Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) while staying in a luxurious Plaza Hotel suite. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York earned mixed reviews from critics but immense love from moviegoers; 30 years later, the sequel has become a cherished Christmas staple like its predecessor.
Tim Allen is a reluctant Saint Nick in the 1994 Christmas comedy The Santa Clause, chronicling toy salesman Scott Calvin's efforts to deliver Kris Kringle's toys to boys and girls across the world after accidentally causing the real Santa to fall off his roof. After Scott and his son Charlie manage to complete the monumental task, he realizes he is now obligated to become Santa Claus permanently and must relocate to the North Pole.
The fun and festive picture was a critical and commercial hit, launching a popular and lucrative Santa Clause franchise that Christmas lovers revisit every year and can't get enough of. A limited series entitled The Santa Clauses was released on Disney+ in November 2022, becoming a streaming success.
The great Michael Caine is superb as the grumpy, cold-hearted Charles Dickens miser in the 1992 musical dramedy The Muppet Christmas Carol, centering on the selfish Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. The quirky and charming Muppets help tell the celebrated holiday story, with the characters taking on iconic roles including Kermit the Frog as Scrooge's loyal employee Bob Cratchit and the cantankerous duo Statler Waldorf appearing as Jacob and Robert Marley. The Muppet Christmas Carol has gone on to become a beloved fan-favorite that includes toe-tapping musical numbers such as "Scrooge," "Good King Wenceslas," and "Thankful Heart."
From the genius mind of filmmaker Henry Selick (with a story from Tim Burton) comes the critically-acclaimed 1993 stop-motion musical fantasy The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Disney classic tells the thrilling tale of "Halloween Town" King Jack Skellington as he attempts to shake up his community's monotonous spooky rituals by stealing the Christmas holiday. The Oscar-nominated cult classic is a go-to for fans of both Christmas and Halloween, often inspiring an ongoing debate on which holiday it more rightfully belongs to.
The '90s juggernaut was lauded by both critics and audiences, with Burton earning widespread praise; the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote in their glowing review, "Burton, the man who gave us Batman, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, is incapable of a conventional idea. His take on the holiday fairy tale is delightfully off the wall."
Undeniably the most enduring and cherished '90s Christmas classic is Chris Columbus' 1990 holiday spectacular Home Alone, which features the exceptional Macaulay Culkin as rambunctious misfit Kevin McCallister, an 8-year-old boy who is mistakenly left behind by his parents and must fend off his Chicago home from wily burglars. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are absolutely hilarious as bumbling thieves Harry and Marv (who are not-so-affectionately known as the Wet Bandits), who target the homes of people on holiday vacations.
The criminals bite off more than they can chew when they decide to hit the McCallister house, and are put through quite the ringer when they fall victim to Kevin's crazy and harmful inventions. Home Alone made Culkin a bonafide child superstar and went on to become the highest grossing live-action comedy for over two decades, earning $476.7 million worldwide. Touted as one of the best Christmas films of all time, it is a beloved flick loved by all generations that remains scared to this day.


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