Tom Hanks and more stars share their favorite Christmas movies

If you’re looking for a nostalgic thrill and holiday magic, there’s an endless list of Christmas classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “34th Street Miracle,” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

Plus, more recent films that have earned a spot on everyone’s annual watch list like “Elf,” “The Polar Express,” and “Klaus,” another personal favorite (highly recommended).

The most popular genre of Christmas movies is comedy, according to IMDb. The 1990s hit “Home Alone” tops the list with a rating of 7.7 out of 10.

“No matter when they happen—modern day or period—Christmas movies and TV specials are always about someone who lost faith in humanity and regained it. They were saved by others being good,” Tom Hanks, who stars in “The Polar Express” and “You Have Got Mail” (yes, some have put this romcom on their Christmas list), according to CNN.

We polled Hanks and a few other celebrities, along with several CNN journalists, about their favorite Christmas movies. Here’s how some of their choices measure up against public opinion.

Tom Hanks: A Charlie Brown Christmas

  • Type: animation
  • Total: Unlisted
  • release date: December 9, 1965
  • IMDb Rating: 8.3
  • Fun fact: The TV special was put together in just weeks to meet broadcast demands. Some of the people involved in its production thought it was about to bomb, but it was an instant hit.

It probably lasts about 24 minutes, but time freezes when I watch Snoopy build his doghouse with all the ornaments on it, the lights, and he wins first prize. It’s great watching these kids rehearse their Christmas play. It gets closer when you see Snoopy and Charlie Brown, Hanks told CNN.

Ron Howard: It’s a wonderful life

  • Type: drama
  • Total: Unlisted
  • release date: December 20, 1946
  • IMDb Rating: 8.6
  • Fun fact: This Jimmy Stewart classic has the highest rating of any Christmas movie on IMBd.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the phrase ‘It’s a wonderful life.’ I find it one of the most fascinating stories to revisit and I never watch without taking a moment to think about that central thematic question: Are you aware of the way you can influence your life? around you and the cascading effect of it?

Who doesn’t cry when you see Jimmy Stewart rediscover himself and his desire to live? In a really complicated, difficult, frustrating, dystopian world out there, the choice to share and live is important. It was strong then and it is strong now. “Actually, it’s even stronger now,” Howard said.

Bobby Flay: “Elf”

  • Type: comedy
  • Total: $255 million (adjusted)
  • release date: October 9, 2003
  • IMDb rating: 7
  • Fun fact: The tagline for this movie was: “This holiday, discover your inner elf.”

“My favorite holiday movie is ‘Elf’. I think Will Ferrell is a comedic genius. My favorite scene in the movie is when he thinks he’s finding the greatest cup of coffee in the world,” Fly told CNN.

CNN’s Abby Phillip: The Preacher’s Wife

  • Type: family
  • Total: $92 million (adjusted)
  • release date: December 13, 1996
  • IMDb rating: 5.6
  • Fun fact: This movie is not officially tagged as a “Christmas” movie by IMDb, but it is by The Movie Database.

“My favorite Christmas movie is The Preacher’s Wife. It’s the best Christmas movie, you’ve got Whitney Houston, you’ve got Denzel Washington, and you’ve got a story about an angel who almost has an affair with a preacher’s wife, I mean it doesn’t get any better than that.”

I watch it every year, many times, during the Christmas season, but I love watching it on Christmas Day and I love playing the soundtrack. The soundtrack of this movie is amazing. It’s a fun Christmas movie and it’s a little spicy with the prevalence of Christmas movies.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “Home Alone”

  • Type: comedy
  • Total: $592 million (adjusted)
  • release date: November 16, 1990
  • IMBd rating: 7.7
  • Fun fact: Home Alone is the most popular “Christmas” movie on IMDb, according to the site’s internal score that takes into account user searches and other metrics.

“The thing that always immediately makes me think of Christmas is ‘Home Alone.’ It instantly takes me to Christmas. This is the one that me and my three teenage girls would curl up on the couch and definitely watch,” said Gupta.

Dana Bach: Love Actually (And It’s a Wonderful Life)

  • Type: comedy
  • Total: $87 million
  • release date: September 7, 2003
  • IMBd rating: 7.6
  • Fun fact: for On the film’s 20th anniversary, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy, and Thomas Brody-Sangster take part in the special reunion.

“I can’t even think of Christmas Eve without thinking of It’s a Wonderful Life and Jimmy Stewart because it’s my childhood. That’s what our family would do. We’d curl up on the couch — or when I was little I’d sit in the big chair with my dad — and we’d watch the movie because it was My father’s favorite movie.

Lately, my favorite Christmas movie is Love Actually. It makes me very happy with the way it ends. What a positive message. he is very funny. It’s classic. If “Love Actually” is on TV and I happen to click on it, I’m done, I have to finish it. “It’s the perfect Christmas movie,” said Bash.

Jake Tapper: “Die Hard”

  • Type: an act
  • Total: $161 million (adjusted)
  • release date: 1988
  • IMDb rating: 8.2
  • Fun fact: Die Hard is the highest rated action movie in the “Christmas list” on IMDb.

“My favorite Christmas movie is without a doubt Die Hard. I know it’s controversial to say that, but Die Hard is clearly a Christmas movie. It takes place around Christmas and there are many themes throughout the movie about Christmas His wife’s name is Holly for God’s sake.

“It has all the elements you want in a Christmas movie: homecoming, love, and lots of killing terrorists,” Tapper said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci: Miracle on 34th Street

  • Type: comedy
  • Total: Unlisted
  • release date: June 4, 1947
  • IMBd rating: 7.9
  • Fun fact: This classic was remade in 1994 by director Les Mayfield. The follow-up has a rating of 6.6 on IMDb.

“My favorite Christmas movie is Miracle on 34th Street. It takes me back to my childhood because it was made when I was a kid and you’d see it every Christmas. It was this innocent Christmas warmth about it, the innocence of childhood,” Fauci told CNN.

Sarah Sydner: A Christmas Story

  • Type: comedy
  • Total: $60 million (adjusted)
  • release date: November 18, 1983
  • IMBd rating: 7.9
  • Fun fact: Peter Billingsley returns as the now adult “Ralphie” in a sequel set for release this year.

“I watch it at least twice a year. I used to make it go 24 hours a day.” You’re going to shoot yourself in the eye, boy,” like, part of my life. It’s like my life script. He was a very active kid and I could see myself in the script with the bullies and all.

The narrator in this film is like the voice of God to me. It brings out all the wonders of childhood and mischief you can imagine. I loved it so much that at one point I went to Cleveland and went to see the house it was filmed in,” said Sydner.

Kate Baldwin: “Scrooge”

  • Type: comedy
  • Total: $154 million (adjusted)
  • release date: November 22, 1988
  • IMBd Rating: 6.9
  • Fun fact: IMDb flags the Bill Murray-led ghost story as a comedy, but the Movie Database says it’s a fantasy movie.

“There’s only one movie and it can’t be argued. It’s the best holiday movie ever, and that’s ‘Scrooged.'” “Bill Murray as Frank Cross: A terrifying, cyclical, horrific human being. And then in the classic Christmas Carol costumes, her heart is all over it. It didn’t escape me that Frank Cross is a TV executive. So, there’s hope for all of us: “Boldwin said.

Ana Cabrera: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

  • Type: animation
  • release date: December 6, 1946
  • IMDb Rating: 8
  • Fun fact: This beloved animated film — which was released as a TV special — is among the shortest films on IMDb’s “Christmas” list, at just 47 minutes.

“Who doesn’t love Rudolph? I just remember Growing Up was the one movie we had to make sure we watched. It’s the movie that sticks with you. It’s a movie that makes me feel good: the characters, the message, the magic. Even as an adult, it’s the one I want to see,” Cabrera said. My kids every year because I still love it as much as I did back then.”

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