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16 must-see classic Christmas movies

What's the holiday season without George Bailey and family?

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What's the holiday season without George Bailey and family?

It's not Christmas for some of us until we've watched all of the treasured animated specials (Grinch, Charlie Brown, Rudolph) plus those favorite film classics that we can recite almost line for line (Bert, do you know me? Do you know me Bert?). Many of the specials have already aired, but this month still has a light string's worth of yule movies that you can watch.

Here's our list of the 16 must-see movies of the Christmas season. Print it out and see if you can watch every flick by Dec. 25. (Note, some of these may have run earlier, but if you dutifully watched or have seen it before, mark it off the list.)

A Christmas Story

8 p.m. Dec. 24 through 6 p.m. Dec. 25, WTBS

Everyone say it right now: Hooo ... hoooo .... hoooo

It's a Wonderful Life

Saturday, 8 p.m., NBC

Merry Christmas, you old Bailey Savings and Loan! (Think you could help us out of our current economic jam?)

The Polar Express

Tuesday, 8 p.m., Disney

An animated Tom Hanks gently helps a Santa doubter hop on the clue train to the North Pole. It's hokey enough to make you forget he once starred in Bachelor Party!


Friday, 11 p.m., AMC

Not a holiday movie, you say? Bah! It's set during Christmas. Plus who can argue with it's timely message of paying careful attention to instructions.

Santa Claus: The Movie

Sunday, 3 p.m. WGN America

From the producers of the original Superman movies, it features Dudley Moore playing Patch the elf. You've been warned.

The Santa Clause

Sunday, 9 p.m. Disney

Starts out grim (Santa dies!), but turns into a heartwarming charmer. Really.

The Bishop's Wife

Today, 11:30 p.m. TCM

An angel comes down to Earth to make a man see the error of his ways. Only this time his name is Dudley, not Clarence.

White Christmas

They had to make this movie after the song from that other one (Holiday Inn) turned out to be so popular. Luckily, Bing Crosby knew a good thing when he sang it and signed on for a reprise.

A Christmas Carol

Monday, 8 p.m., AMC

This happens to be the made for TV starring George C. Scott as the titular character Scrooge. But give yourself an X for the versions starring Reginald Owen or Alastair Sim, the Muppet entry with Michael Caine or the animated Mickey Mouse version. (No points for any porn version, though.)

A Carol Christmas

Sunday, 10 a.m., ABC Family

Note the clever twist in the title for this version of the Dickens classic that features the cream of the D-list, including Tori Spelling (a female version of Scrooge) and William Shatner and Gary Coleman as ghosts(!).

Any Hallmark holiday movie

Consider this your free spot because we've all seen one of these syrupy, sob-inducing films at least once in our lifetimes.

Home Alone

Today, 8 p.m., WTTA

McCauley Culkin doesn't quite shoot their eyes out as he fends off burglars Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern with a BB gun after he gets left behind when the 'rents head off to Paris for the holidays.

Christmas in Connecticut

Saturday, 4 p.m., TCM

Sounds like something Rush could milk on his show: The publisher of a women's magazine has his best columnist play holiday host to a Navy hero to earn readers. Manipulation! Lies! Deceit!


Today, 10 p.m., USA

Will Ferrell. Dressed as an elf. Eating spaghetti with pancake syrup. We're so there.

Jingle All the Way

Dec. 20, 3 p.m., ABC Family

We'll watch it just to hear current California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger say "Turbo Man" in his quest for the elusive toy. Then we'll watch our version of Bedtime for Bonzo and be really happy.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Dec. 23, 2:30 a.m., WTBS

If you thought your kids were scared of Santa before, better not let them see creepy Santa wanna-be Jack Skellington.

16 must-see classic Christmas movies 12/09/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5:39pm]
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