I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a big fan of '80s movies. I routinely will preach my belief that the decade churned out the most entertaining movies in history to anyone who will listen, regardless of how well-received the decade's films are by the world at large (they usually don't have the best reputation). So not surprisingly, when the holidays come around, a high percentage of the movies that I enjoy watching to celebrate the season were made in the '80s as well. Which is why I've come up with a list of the best '80s holiday movies.
I will admit that a good number of classics that I enjoy did not come from the Rubik's Cube era. Mid-Twentieth Century films like It's a Wonderful Life, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and A Charlie Brown Christmas are all required viewing for me every December; as are a few selections from the '90s and '00s; like Elf, Home Alone, and The Muppet Christmas Carol. But when it comes to the number of can't-miss holiday hits, no decade can touch the 1980s. Classic comedies, animated family films, one of the greatest action films of all-time — there's really nothing that's lacking from the best '80s holiday movies and specials, so check them out below.
It's Bill Murray in a wacko retelling of A Christmas Carol, what's not to love?
2. A Christmas Story
There's a reason TBS plays this thing for 24 hours straight every Christmas.
3. Mickey’s Christmas Carol
Everyone has their favorite telling of Charles Dickens' classic tale. This is mine.
4. A Muppet Family Christmas
It's a comedy/horror/creature feature/Christmas movie — and there's nothing else even remotely like it. Only the '80s could produce such a gem.
6. Die Hard
How is it that one of the greatest action movies is also one of the greatest holiday movies? I don't know, but it is. That's the magic of the decade.
7. A Garfield Christmas
Unjustly overshadowed by other animated specials, Garfield put out some truly great and timeless holiday classics in the '80s.
8. Trading Places
It's pretty light on Christmas, but it's one of the greatest comedies ever and features Dan Aykroyd in a Santa costume, so that's something.
9. Ernest Saves Christmas
Ernest P. Worrell is certainly an acquired taste, and while this movie is inferior to his Halloween masterpiece, it's still a worthy distraction.
10. Planes, Trains, And Automobiles
Technically, this is a Thanksgiving movie, but its holiday themes, travel troubles, and snowy setting make it great for Christmas, too.
11. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Without question, the greatest Christmas movie of all time. There is simply no other choice.
If someone told me I could only watch Christmas movies and specials from the '80s for the rest of my life, I would be totally fine with that thanks to the films that make up this list.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures