10 Great yet Unexpected Christmas Movies
There are thousands of Christmas movies and specials where someone either saves Christmas or threatens Christmas but then learns the meaning of the Holiday, we have seen them time and time again and over again.
However there are also Christmas movies that aren’t really "Christmas movies" in the traditional sense. These movies either use Christmas as motif, feature the Holiday at some point in the larger narrative, captures mood or the spirit of the holiday or for whatever reason are just played during the Christmas sense.
These are the Unexpected Christmas movies, they good to watch throughout the year but are great to watch at Christmas time.
This List is not a definitive list by any means, there a lot of other not so Christmas, Christmas movies so don’t let it ruin your day if your favorite isn’t on the list. They are not ranked in anyway and are in no order.
Die Hard is most likely not a surprise being on this list as most people consider it one of the best Christmas movies as well as one of the most perfect action movies ever. Christmas is used as more as motif along with a theme of reconnecting with family.
Directed by John McTiernan, Die Hard was released on July 15th, 1988 in America. It starred Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman and it started the Die Hard film series along setting the trend for other action movies. The movie is about John McClane going to L.A to see his estranged wife on Christmas Eve. He goes to her place of work which gets taken over by terrorists.
Die Hard was nominated for four Academy Awards and the undershirt Willis wears in the film is on display at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institute. It was also Alan Rickman’s first movie role as Hans Gruber who is also one of the best movie villains.
Gremlins is a dark comedy horror movie that takes place at Christmas. It was directed by Joe Dante and was released June 8th, 1984.
Gremlins is about your typical 80’s underdog kid who gets a weird pet but due to not following the rules his adorable pet Gizmo, spawns Gremlins who cause chaos and do malicious deeds.
Christmas is used as more of a motif but they use of a Christmas song to help with a scare is a nice touch as well as the Holiday gives some insight to character motivation and backstory.
Most of what the Gremlins do in the movie only borders on horror and the tone is more of a comedy so it’s not so dark that older children can’t enjoy it.
Edward Scissorhands is a dark fantasy romance that combines the themes of Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, and Hunchback of Notre Dame to create a bittersweet yet whimsical movie.
Directed by Tim Burton and released in America on December 14th, 1990, Edward Scissorhands tells the story of lonely artificial boy, Edward, who was left incomplete with only scissors for hands. He is taken in by a suburban family and at first the neighborhood likes him and his artistry in cutting, trimming and carving but the after a fashion the neighbors turn on him and he forced to return to his loneliness. It starred Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder.
The movie is built-up to Christmas where the holiday not only serves as a bright backdrop to Edward’s monotone colors but also is story about how snow falls in the town as snow is really Edward carving ice sculptures at the maison on the hill.
The music was composed by Danny Elfman and Ice Dance perfectly captures the feeling of a clear winter’s night.
Based on the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women tells the story of the March Sisters. There has been many movie adaptations of the novel but it’s 1994 version directed by Gillian Armstrong that will be featured on this list. The movie was released on December 21st, 1994 and starred Winona Ryder, Trini Alvarado, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, and many more.
The movie has a lot great and moving Christmas scenes as well as having a great message about the importance of family.
It was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Winona Ryder. The soundtrack by Thomas Newman has many tracks that sound very Christmasy, that it makes for a great addition to the Christmas music rotation.
Written and directed Francois Ozon, 8 women or 8 femmes is a French movie that is a dark comedy musical. It premiered on January 8th, 2002 and was based on a 1958 play by Robert Thomas. The movie is murder mystery set at Christmas in a house in the mountains that has been snowed in so all the women are trapped and are suspects.
The cast is ensemble that features the some the top French actresses at the time including, Catherine Deneuve, Fanny Ardant, Danielle Darrieux, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Virginie Ledoyen, Ludivine Sagnier and Firmine Richard. All the actresses sing covers of some popular French song throughout the movie which adds to the plot and character development.
The movie has a dark take on family but also a a lot of screwball comedy that makes for a farcical melodrama.
Also called Three Nuts for Cinderella or Three Gifts for Cinderella, this Cinderella movie was joint production from Czechoslovak/East German and came out on November 1st, 1973. It starred Libuse Safrankova as Cinderella.
This version of Cinderella is bit different than most as she doesn’t have a fairy-godmother instead she gets hazelnuts from her pet owl. As she opens the hazelnuts her wishes come true. She also is an avid rider and a good marksmen in this version as while showcasing her wit and intelligence.
In many European countries this movie is a Holiday staple and it’s not hard to see why. It’s has very lovely Winter landscapes and Cinderella gets presents as rewards for being a good person.
Black is a Bollywood movie that came out on February 4th, 2005 and was directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It starred Rani Mukherji and Amitabh Bachchan. Originally it was suppose to come out on December 10th, 2004 but it got pushed back.
Black is a bit different from a lot of other Bollywood movies as the main character Michelle McNally, played by Mukherji, is deaf, mute and blind. She has to come out her dark world by her teacher played by Bachchan. It's was inspired by the story of Helene Keller.
There is at least one scene set at Christmas time which has one musical number in the movie which is unusual for Bollywood movies. It also has a lot of winter scenes that help convey the feeling of the holidays.
Black won eleven Filmfare awards including best actor for Amitabh Bachchan.
Released in November 1944, Meet me in St.Louis is a musical that starred Judy Garland. The story revolves around a year in the life of the Smith family and it's told in seasonal vignettes ending with the 1904 World’s Fair. The film was adapted from a series of short stories by Sally Benson under the title “5135 Kensington.”
Meet me in St.Louis featured the debuts of a few noteworthy songs but one song has become a staple song of the Holiday season and that would be “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Garland’s character, Esther, sings it to her younger sister who is upset at the family moving to New York. It’s a very tender sweet scene that showcased the importance of family at the holidays.
Released on June 10th, 1983 and directed by John Landis, Trading Spaces starred Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murray.
It’s a take on Mark Twain’s “The Prince and Pauper” as well as his other story "The Million Pound Bank Note." The theme of the movie is about Nature vs Nurture as the wealthy Louis Winthhorpe III, played by Aykroyd and homeless hustler Billy Ray Valentine, played by Murray switch places.
Christmas in Trading Places is more of setting at one part during the movie where is there is a Christmas Eve party and some important story points take place.
Trading Places is Christmas classic in Italy and it’s broadcast every year on December 24th.
Directed and written by Kar-Wai Wong, 2046 is a loose sequel to 1991’s Days of Being Wild and 2000’s In the Mood for Love. It first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20th, 2004 and in Hong Kong on September 29th, 2004 . 2046 is told in a four arc structure. The movie stars many prominent actors and actresses including Tony Leung, Faye Wong, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Takuya Kimura and Maggie Cheung to name a few.
2046 is an atmospheric movie that has sci-fi elements to tell a melancholic story about unrequited love and memory.
The films makes a lot of references to the date of December 24th, or Christmas Eve and many significant events in the film take place on that date.
The movie won Best Art Direction and Best Original Film Score at the Golden Horse Film Festivalin Taiwan and was nominated for various other awards.
Due to sexual content it may not be the best offbeat Christmas movie for families.
What is your Favorite Holiday Movie?
ishitha from Hyderabad on December 15, 2016: