Movie Poll: What’s the best “Golden Age” holiday movie?

Movie Poll

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Are you a classic Christmas movie fan? Then check out our article about “Christmas In Connecticut” starring Barbara Stanwyck. Or how about movies that take place during the holidays but are not specifically about the holidays? Then take a moment to read: Christmas Movies: Watching Modern Holiday Classics.

Please take  a minute and enjoy our first ever Christmas Movie Mashup: Some of the best Christmas movie articles we’ve published.

  • Pingback: Christmas Movies: Watching Modern Holiday Classics | MovieFanFare

  • tony payne

    This is perhaps the toughest poll for me yet. They are all very good films and with the exception of Scrooge, are all in my collection. Each one has many memorable scenes to savour that you could write a book about them. However, if I had to choose one film it would have to be It’s a Wonderful Life. I’ve seen it at least 30 times, many with the family over the years and my son who first saw it when he was 8 years loves the film. He is now 35 and still loves watching it. The last scenes where the friends and neighbours surround the Bailey family with pots of money to save the day always makes me cry. I sit there and just can’t help myself. Everyone in the film is so perfectly cast, it’s one of Frank Capra’s best movies.

  • bogart10

    PROBABLY BECAUSE I AM 72 AND GREW UP SEEING THIS FILM, (MIRACLE ON 34TH ST.)I STILL CONSIDER IT NO. 1 WITH ME….I HAVE ALSO SEEN ALL THE OTHERS MANY TIMES, BUT MIRACLE HAS A WARMTH AND COMPASSION I DON’T SEE IN MOST OF THE OTHERS…..

  • Rolland T

    I voted for wonderful life, my 2nd choice would be the little shop around the corner in which the story has had a couple of re-titled remakes. But a sleeper film is “It happened on 5th Ave.” Part of the story is dated because it takes place right after WW2, but it still delivers a message. Capra was to be involved in it , but left to make Wonderful Life.

  • BEA HEATH

    I love them all but THE BELLS OF ST. MARY’S will always be my favorite. #2 would be THE BISHOP’S WIFE. You gave us a hard choice to choose from. I’m 74 and cannot tell you hoe many times I’ve watched everyone of these films.

  • Sinisterkat

    This Is A Very Hard Poll To Decide Which Is Best.
    I Think They All Need To Be On Top, Since It Is The Golden Age Of Movies.

  • Debbie

    I like White Christmas Iam glad it made the list. It is my all time favorite Christmas movie. It was a tough choice.

  • masterofoneinchpunch

    Quite tough. I have not seen A Holiday Affair, but the rest are good to great.

    I ended up choosing Scrooge (A Christmas Carol 1951) because of the definitive performance by Alistair Sims.

    The Shop Around the Corner is certainly underrated, but I’m still new to it myself (seeing it for the first time last year), while others like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street I have seen countless times.

  • Allen Hefner

    Yes it is a good list for classic movie fans. The 1951 Alastair Sim movie, A Christmas Carol (originally called Scrooge) is touching, well acted by the entire cast, and was my vote. I think I like it because it is a throwback. It doesn’t feel like a 1951 movie, but could have been made in 1940. Nothing can beat the joy that Scrooge shows on that Christmas morning.

  • Susan Bernard

    I voted for “The Bishop’s Wife” because of the simple message in that movie that everything *could* be all right, if we’d just treat each other with kindness. (btw, the remake was AWFUL! I had such hopes for it when I heard Denzel Washington was playing the part of Dudley because he has that same charisma and sincerity of Cary Grant, but when they then signed Whitney, it became a vehicle for her to sing in AND they messed up a perfectly wonderful story.)

    I also have to say, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a top vote for me. It is an important message- especially this time of year when some of us get forlorn or feel lonely to remember how many lives we each touch and help. Each of us is a song that will never be sung again.
    Happy Holidays to all!

  • Dave Manning

    Impossible choice since they are all great. I voted for Christmas Carol because of the peerless Alastair Sim. He was the best Scrooge ever. I usually watch the film in the middle of the summer as well because of the sweet spirit it conveys. Have a great holiday all!!

  • Mellie

    It’s A Wonderful Life is not really a holiday movie…it only takes place at Christmas at the end (well, and technically the beginning) of the film. It is a brilliantly realized film. It needs to be watched outside the Christams season for people to see what a dark film it is. It is about much more than the warm fuzzies.

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  • Martin Stumacher

    They’re all good. Annually I watch Alistair Sim’s Christmas Carol. For me it’s pretty close to James Stewart’s classic. It seems that the holiday season brings out the best in film makers.

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  • Bandyman

    These films on your poll are all wonderfull films and I have seen them many times but the two I watch on every Christmas eve is It’s a wonderfull life and a screwball comedy that did not make your list staring Bette Davis “The Man Who Came To Dinner”. That movie shows what holiday stress can realy be like in a funny note.

  • Rufnek

    My favorite Christmas film is the musical Scrooge with Albert Finney. The redemption of a man’s soul and character makes it my must-see film each Christmas.

    However, the most striking Christmas scene in any film IMO is in the World War II movie, The Victors, in which US Army units are lined up in the falling snow somewhere in Europe to watch the execution of either GI’s convicted of crimes or more likely German spies caught in US uniforms. A very accurate military execution occurs as Frank Sinatra croons, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Very powerful.

  • Mario Brescio

    I voted for “It’s A Wonderful Life” but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the musical version of “Scrooge” with Albert Finney.

    Does anyone remember seeing a version of “It’s A Wonderful Life” with Marlo Thomas playing the George Bailey role? I think it was a TV movie and I remember liking it a lot, or am I just going crazy?

  • Ed Milewski

    One of my favourites didn’t make your list: Remember the Night, starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck from 1941. It seems little known these days but it would be one of my top two.

  • Steve

    You left one of the best off your list, the 1955 classic, “We’re No Angles,” staring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, and Peter Ustinov.

    It contains some of the most snappy dialog in any movie. Great comedy and a touching ending.

  • John Marsh

    I picked ” A Christmas Carol” as it is the most classic and time honored story. As a child in the late 40′s and 50′s the actual popular version was the MGM Reginald Owen one as the Alastair Sim version was rather obscure at the time. However it has demonstrated over time what a great performance it is by one of the most underated British actors. Of note regarding “It’s a Wonderful Life”, this film was very unpopular in the 50′s as a Christmas film. My local TV station would only show it at midnight on New Years Eve in the 50′s. I told many people about it but absolutely no one was interested in it at that time. It wasn’t til the 70′s that it became popular as society changed back to the warm nostalgia of the 40′s. Interesting that it was remade in 1977 with Marlo Thomas as the main character and very well done indeed for a TV version.

  • Angie

    I think “Pocketful of Miracles” is such a perfect holiday movie. It’s naughty and nice, fun and such a warm hearted story, acted out perfectly by Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, funny Peter Falk and the best cast put together. I wish it would become a Christmas classic.

  • Lindilu

    I think one of the best is “The Gathering” with Ed Asner as a man who is dying, and wants to bring his family together for his last Christmas. It reminds us that the most wonderful gift at Christmas and any time is the love of family, not the material gifts.

  • Terry Peters

    Alistair Sim is and was the best Scrooge EVER!!!!!

  • Bill

    2 of my all time favorite Christmas movies are:

    1. It’s a Wonderful Life

    2. A Christmas Carol ( 1938 )

    It wasn’t Christmas until I saw them both

  • George Matusek

    The hectic climax of “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” (written and directed by the legendary Preston Sturges)takes place at Christmas time — with Betty Hutton giving birth to sextuplets. Eddie Bracken and William Demarest are wonderful co-stars. Also, one of my favorite Christmas movies is “Remember the Night” (1940) with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, screenplay by Preston Sturges.

  • King

    White Christmas is No. 1 and Holiday Inn in No. 2
    The Gathering is No. 3 and The Christmas Card is No. 4

  • King

    White Christmas is No. 1, Holiday Inn is No. 2, The Gathering is No. 3 and The Christmas Card is No. 4

  • Rita

    All of these films are great, except I prefer the 1938 version of the Christmas Carol. I voted for It’s a Wonderful Life but it was a tough choice. Remember the Night, Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, It Happened on 5th Ave, and Tenth Avenue Angel, all great Holiday films.

  • Jim

    This is a tough one. I love It’s a Wonderful Life, which is even more wonderful in blu ray high def, but my favorite is A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim. No one does Charles Dickens as well as the English, with the exception of David Selznick’s David Copperfield. A Christmas Carol really looks great in high def blu-ray!!

  • Carolina

    Right on, Steve! “We’re No Angels” should be on everyone’s Best Christmas list! Directed by Michael Curtiz, the cast is outstanding and the story pure delight with some of the wittiest dialogue in film. Who on earth puts “White Christmas ahead of “Holiday Inn”, that veritable Irving Berlin feast of songcraft? And how about “The Man Who Came To Dinner”? Monty Wooley is absolutely reprehensible and I love him.

  • Will Bellais

    The best Christmas movie ever was Christmas Carol (1938). This film captures the Dickons story to a T and has a great heart at its core.

  • J Young

    I am 72 years old and love the old movies. What happens is that we see some of them so often that we tire of them for a bit and then come back. This year, The Bishop’s Wife did it for me as I had forgotten how wonderful Loretta YOung, DAvid NIven and of course, Cary Grant were. The newer version of this movie cannot hold a candle to this great old timer.

  • Tlynette

    That’s the toughest poll you’ve had so far!

    I’ve yet to see “Holiday Affair,” or “Shop Around the Corner” from beginning to end, but the others? I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen them, and they are all fixtures of my holiday movie marathon. Bing and Danny, Bing and Fred, Edmund Gwenn, Miss Barbara Stanwyck, Messrs Sim and Owen’s take on Scrooge–the 1938 version is a favorite, too–I love them all! I also have to add “Stalag 17″ to my list, as the resolution action takes place during Yuletide, and “Meet Me in St Louis,” mainly because of the “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” scene is so special. I split them into musical and non-musical, so “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “White Christmas” win out.

  • jdroper3

    Does anyone remember the Brit film “The Holly and the Ivy,” with, I believe, Ralph Richardson? It’s early ’50′s, I think, but I can’t find it thru any of the movie locator services. “Merry Andrew” with Danny Kaye–one of his best–is similarly lost to the movie services.

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  • Pat

    To those who have never seen “Holiday Affair” – See it! Make sure it’s not the remake. Not only does Robert Mitchum do a great job, but the guy who plays little Timothy Ennis is perfect. It’s really a tie between “Holiday Affair” and “Christmas In Connecticut”, oh, yeah and “The Bishop’s Wife,(Carey Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven), NOT THE REMAKE.

  • robert

    Didn’t anyone see[ march of the wooden soldiers]
    with Lorrie & Hardie

  • Jeff Davis

    Another vote for We’re No Angels. Steve’s right. Great cast, great dialogue, makes this one I recommend to everyone looking for a holiday film that isn’t on all the standard lists.

  • Angela

    This was a tough poll to vote in. A film I saw for the first time recently that isn’t necessarily a holiday film but has Christmas elements, is “Room for One More” with Cary Grant and his real life wife, Betsy Drake.
    Very heart-warming and made me cry at the warmth and love of the family created by Grant and Drake.
    Highly recommend it for a holiday list.

  • Cate

    “The Bishop’s Wife” (original), a movie called “Come to the Stable” and “Christmas in Conneciticut” are my absolute favorites, although I agree with others that “Remember the Night” and “Holiday Affair” are also great Christmas movies.

  • Ellen Urie

    Three of the movies listed I have never seen so maybe it’s not a fair pick. I do still like “White Christmas” very much, because I always liked Rosemary Clooney. And I think it was was of Bing Crosby’s best movies. I also liked “The Bishop’s Wife” [the first one - not the remake] & love the cast. Always liked Loretta Young. I used to watch her weekly TV show & really enjoyed it.

  • Ellen Urie

    Sorry for typing error. Meant to say “it was one of Bing Crosby’s best.” Merry Christmas!!

  • Pamela Dodd Hunn

    Oh, a real toughie! Lacking the 1938 Reginald Owen “A Christmas Carol”, I voted for “The Bishop’s Wife”. Niven and Grant of two of my favorite actors, and Loretta Young was just lovely. More importantly, it’s the message of that movie that always grabs me, and it’s as valid today as it was when the movie was made, perhaps more so.

  • C.Williams

    What about “Christmas Eve” with George Brent, Randolph Scott, George Raft, Joan Blondell & Ann Harding…and why is it never on television or DVD?

  • tony payne

    Message to jdroper3.
    The Holly and the Ivy does include Ralph Richardson as the parson who assembles all his family on Christmas Day only to find they all have skeletons in the closet. It features the wonderful Celia Johnson (Brief Encounter)and John Gregson. If interested, you can buy the DVD from either Amazon.co.uk or Movie Mail (moviemail-online.co.uk) Both are on Google. You’ll need a multi DVD player as they are on region 2.
    Hope this helps you. Have a great Christmas!

  • Sue47

    It’s hard to limit my choice to just one on this list! They are all on my Holiday Films Fest list. Saw “Remember The Night” last year for the first time. What a treat. Barbara Stanwyck & Fred MacMurray are delightful.

  • IslandGirl

    This was a tough choice to make. I own all these movies and more, including “We’re No Angels”, which is an excellent movie. I start my official Christmas kickoff on Thanksgiving eve with, what else, “Miracle on 34th Street”, one of my personal favorites. From that evening on I take over control of the tv and the movies. I did vote for “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the same reason Susan B. did, because we each tough so many others lives. Side note to Carolina: Read Your Credits! Irving Berlin wrote the music for both “Holiday Inn” and “White Christmas”, just thought you might be interested.

  • christina west

    All the above then some, including John Ford/John Wayne version of the ‘The Three Godfathers’.

  • GAYLE

    By today’s standards, it is kinda hoaky……but how can you resist the greatest crooner ever, singing the ultimate “Dreaming of a White Christmas”!! That makes the season for me.

  • James Hruby

    Remember the Night w/ Stanwyck & MacMurray. To hear “End of a Perfect Day,” sung by Sterling Holloway is to feel a movie lifting from mere screwball comedy to another plane altogether. I highly recommend this not-as-well-known Christmas movie. Lucky are those who will view it for the first time.

  • Bryan

    I have to say, this is the hardest poll yet! I have enjoyed everyone of these movies for years, to pick one over any of the others….that’s hard!
    Holiday Inn has always been one of my favorites, but I had to go with Miracle on 34th Street! I’ve seen other versions, this one is the best, by far!

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  • Chester

    Good Lord, how can one choose from this list! Alistair Simm, Jimmy Stewart, White Christmas!,Holiday Affair. This is all fantastic stuff, but one film forgotten in time and which I have never seen released as a restored film on DVD AND REALLY SHOULD BE, because the message is every bit as powerfull as It’s a Wonderful Life is The Cheaters with Billy Burke and Joseph Schildkraut. Magnificent holiday viewing about a family, a rather wealthy family down on their luck and tempted by a dead uncle’s millions. Does anyone else out there enjoy this film also?

  • Kellie

    I love the dialogue in A Christmas Carol. Try to listen to every message in the show. But It’s A Wonderful Life makes me cry EVERY single time. Had to vote for A Wonderful Life!

  • version

    I’m glad to see people mention Remember the Night and Pocketful of Miracles! So many classics – what No mention of A Christmas Story – a modern classic comedy. Some of the classics have some real ham in them though, even the most popular- but its that time of the year!

  • Stephen Farris

    Bah Humbug!!! A toss-up between “Miracle…” and “…Wonderful…”. I can only take so many versions of Scrooge!!!!

  • j.t.kiddish

    I’m in my 70′s and I seen those movies when they were newly released.I have all of them on vhs and dvd plus many more with the Christmas theme.I start on December 1st and watch at least 2 a day till Christmas .their all great and you cannot pick one over the other.I have 15 different versions of Scrooge.

  • don snyder

    Even though I have never thought of “White Christmas” as a real Christmas movie until the very end, I still voted for it as the best amound a lot of great titles. “White Christmas” was the first time Paramount used their new process, VistaVision, and the effect was breathtaking. We have a classic theatre in this town and they play “White Christmas” on the giant screen every year. Still a great treat.

  • mike jaral

    at 70 years old i have watched many good christmas movies, but still my favorite is miracle on 34th street. i can take it colorized, or the original b&w. there are a many classis scenes in that movie which i love to see over and over again. everybody, young and old should spend about a hour and 40 minutes in there life to see this movie. it’s got eveything a true christmas classic should have without getting over serious, and religous. but still holds the spirit of christmas. all, whether you believe in christmas(which i do) or just think of it as a holiday, will love it.

  • Melisma Benton

    How can you pick just one,but I have to go with Hoiday Inn, the greatest singer of all time,singing the greatest secular Christmas song of all time.

    Bing is the voice of Christmas.

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  • Barbara

    the Holly and the Ivy is also available at learmedia.ca out of Canada. This poll was just too hard for me ! Too many great ones.

  • Judy Roberts

    Sorry, best Xmas movie:
    White Christmas
    Holiday Inn (why don’t they colorize this, it would probably look great in color especially since they sing and dance to most of the holidays we know) The other Xmas films are good to, but I like the song and dancing.

  • tom

    I have collected them all, plus so many more of these precious actor.  They brought our family so much joy after our thanksgiving dinner each year. These films opened our season and our hearts as much as turning on the yard display for the season that night. Remember the cold egg nog with nutmeg and cold turkey sandwiches with mayo, as we all gathered around the tv watching them each year.I can remember my grandfather sipping on his hot tom and jerry.  Funny thing is I can relate to the Christmas Story, as I had to have that Red Ryder repeater b b gun , mom always said ,” you’ll shoot your eye out with it. .Santa finally brought it , but the steam engine i’d burn the house down with santa did not,.If only more could enjoy these simple pleasures we all did in spirit, and heart, merry christmas from an old man.