Christmas Every Day: the 100 Most Obsessively Rewatched Films at Christmas

Ella Kemp dives into our festive viewing habits to get to the bottom of the 100 most obsessively rewatched films at Christmas. Plus, a bonus answer on the status of Die Hard, once and for all (again).

List: Most Obsessively Rewatched Films at Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the final week or two where it’s possible, advisable even, to catch up on the year’s releases in order to cheat your stats—or, for the rest of us, to sink back into the festive faves over the holiday season without fear of judgment or deadlines.

Except that this year, we’ve been keeping count: now unwrapping the 100 films most obsessively rewatched by Letterboxd members between the 24th and 26th of December (allowing for a global slew of members to log on the big day in their respective time zones).

Our criteria here isn’t about the genre but about the day, meaning that there may well be plenty of movies that do fit into the festive genre but also plenty that may not. We’re talking big franchises (when else is there time?), lovely remakes (why choose just one?), major shoot-outs (who doesn’t want a bit of spice with their turkey?) and plenty of comedy (I need a laugh this late in the year, don’t you?)

The list, which we calculated in the last few weeks from a decade’s worth of Letterboxd diaries, reveals a few things. Let’s get this out of the way first: it answers that Die Hard is in fact a Christmas movie, ranking at number three. By that logic, thrillingly, GoodFellas gets the same label as it sits pretty at number 98. I am purely the Christmas messenger.

The first three Harry Potter movies each get a look in, as does the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (no hobbit left behind), and also a fair few of our favorite stories told time and time again: that’s three Mickey Mouse pictures, two Little Women—but just the one Paddington film, sorry to Nicole Kidman.

Another joy of this merry list is that it travels: shout-out to Václav Vorlíček’s Three Wishes for Cinderella for representing Czechoslovakia, as well as the 1976 Christmas film Reisen til julestjernen from Norway’s Ola Solum. More loosely in terms of genre, many Letterboxd members also dive back into Sean Baker’s Tangerine, which takes place entirely on December 25th, as well as almost Best Picture-winner La La Land. A Christmas miracle!

But beyond all the tidbits and treasures draped across the branches of our top 100 like movie popcorn string, our top ten most obsessively rewatched-at-Christmas is a thing of beauty and wonder. We start in reverse, with Richard Curtis’s debut feature (!) Love Actually in tenth place, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year—that’s an event worthy of a no-holds-barred roundtable discussion on The Letterboxd Show. Happy holidays!

10.  Love Actually (2003, UK, France)

Written and directed by Richard Curtis.

“Every time someone earnestly complains about this movie I want to take a long drag of a cigarette and say, ‘Your loss.’ Couldn’t be me, motherfucker!” —⁠Bobby Finger

“very memorable and nice and dumb and all that. it’s fun to shout ‘I hate Uncle Jamie’”—fran hoepfner

9. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965, US)

Directed by Bill Melendez. Written by Charles M. Schulz.

“Embodies the simultaneous warmth and sadness of childhood, and also nails the bizarre way that kids vacillate between casual cruelty and sporadic sweetness. Vince Guaraldi forever.” —⁠Wesley Stenzel

“My 4th grade class did a stage version of this for a Christmas concert back in elementary school. I volunteered to play the role of Schroeder so I could sit in the corner, have zero lines and pretend to play the piano with that shitty little tree on top of it. I fucking killed that shit yo.”—Christmas Di Leo

8. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992, US)

Directed by Chris Columbus. Written by John Hughes.

“Not gonna lie, a lot of this rating is for the nostalgia, but why else are we watching Christmas movies? Yes, the script is nearly a carbon copy of the first one, the film plays like a NYC-centric Mad Libs of the original, but there’s still a lot of legit laughs. Between Pesci, Curry, Schneider, Dana Ivey and the great Daniel Stern who is, without question, the MVP of the cast, you’ve got a lot to enjoy here. Good on-location New York for a lot of it too. Made for a great episode of WHM, which you should look for in a couple weeks!” —⁠Andrew Jupin

“A sequel that’s actually good! I personally prefer this one over the first movie. I love that it’s set in New York. I’ve never been but watching this always makes me want to go. Kevin is on his own once again, facing off against the ‘sticky bandits.; The traps are just as good as the first movie. The brick scene makes me wince. The cast is amazing! And finally Kevin gets a cheese pizza.”—Kaylee

7. Elf (2003, US)

Directed by Jon Favreau. Written by David Berenbaum.

“elf slander is never acceptable. it’s an iconic masterpiece of film that deals with toxic masculinity in fathers, the lasting effects of grief and also includes tsundere blonde sidebang zooey deschanel with an angelic voice.” —⁠ripley

“No other Will Ferrell movie makes me weep uncontrollably like the ending of this one does and if it doesn’t do the same for you, you might just be a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.”—Leighton Trent

6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989, US)

Directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik. Written by John Hughes.

“One of those movies that just hits everything right. The comedy, the emotions, the Christmas aesthetics. Everything is delivered about as perfectly as they can be for this type of movie. Even the way Clark says ‘Danny FUCKING Kaye’ I don’t know, it’s just perfect. And I’m realizing that with every year I watch this.” —⁠HAL

5. Home Alone (1990, US)

Directed by Chris Columbus. Written by John Hughes.

“It is literally a perfect movie. This movie means so much to me that it made me switch from unsure Business/Creative Writing major to Film and Media major and you know what because of that switch I went and I've worked on film sets, and now I have a career in television. So thanks Home Alone- you changed my life.” —⁠Tay

4. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992, US)

Directed by Brian Henson. Written by Jerry Juhl, based on a novel by Charles Dickens.

“It’s got to the point in my life where I’m so attached to this film that I burst into tears as soon as the first musical number comes on.” —⁠Robyn

“I wonder if a year will come where I don’t feel compelled to return to this film, it hasn’t happened for a long time now, if anything in adulthood as I approach with haste my middle age period I’m even more keen to return to the comfort and nostalgia of this take on the Christmas Carol story, it’s just nice to spend time with this film and feel happier for doing so.”—Jedidiah Rose

“michael caine looks so real”—Sarah

3. Die Hard (1988, US)

Directed by John McTiernan. Written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart.

“I don’t particularly care to have the Christmas debate that surrounds John McTiernan’s Die Hard; I just know that I watch it at this time every year. Call me strange, but John McClane running around with a bloody vest and no shoes is the defining image of Christmas for me. A down to earth hero, an intensely charismatic villain, a loving walkie-talkie bromance and iconic set-pieces make the perfect cocktail for a seasonal action spectacular.” —⁠AdamAB

2. A Christmas Story (1983, US/Canada)

Directed by Bob Clark. Written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark, based on a novel by Shepherd.

“if you don’t like this film, stay at least three hemispheres away from me” —⁠Savanna

“i love the moments in this when you can really tell it’s directed by bob clark. the horror of christmas and the trauma of it all compounding. Perf.”—Maddy Flowers Sheehy

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, US)

Directed by Frank Capra. Written by Capra, Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, based on a story by Philip Van Doren Stern.

“How can a movie I’ve watched for 30 years, every year, multiple times some years, how can a movie like that still cause me to tear up at the end? I know what happens, I’ve seen it before. That, my friends, is quality film making.” —⁠RetroHound

“When they say movies have the power to save lives, this is exactly what they mean.”— Jaime Rebanal

See the full list of Most Obsessively Rewatched Films at Christmas on Letterboxd.

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