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The end of the year is commonly such a busy time that it’s rough to put aside a few hours to just relax in front of the TV. But if you do have a couple of hours to fill, any of these Christmas-themed movies will help lift your spirits and put you in the holiday mood.

1. ‘Love Actually’

Directed by: Richard Curtis

Produced by: Duncan Kenworthy, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Liza Chasin

Written by: Richard Curtis

Starring: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy, Rowan Atkinson

Music by: Craig Armstrong

Release date: September 7, 2003

Love Actually is a 2003 British Christmas themed romantic comedy film written and directed by Richard Curtis. The screenplay delves into different aspect of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of folks, many of whom are shown to be interlinked as their tales progress. The ensemble cast is composed predominantly of British actors.

2.’A Christmas Story’

Directed by: Bob Clark

Produced by: Bob Clark, René Dupont, Gary Goth

Written by: Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, Bob Clark

Based on: In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd

Narrated by: Jean Shepherd

Starring: Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon

Music by: Carl Zittrer, Paul Zaza

Release date: November 18, 1983

A Christmas Story is a 1983 American Christmas comedy film based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdote of author and narrator Jean Shepherd, based on his book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, with some elements resultant from Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories. It was directed by Bob Clark. The film has since become a holiday classic and is shown numerous times on television during the Christmas season on the network TBS, often in a 24-hour marathon.

3. ‘Elf’

Directed by: Jon Favreau

Produced by: Jon Berg, Todd Komarnicki, Shauna Robertson

Written by: David Berenbaum

Starring: Will Ferrell, Bob Newhart,Ed Asner, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen

Music by: John Debney

Release date: October 9, 2003

Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau, written by David Berenbaum and starring Will Ferrell, James Caan and Zooey Deschanel. It was released in the United States on November 7, 2003 and grossed over $220,400,000 worldwide. The story is about one of Santa’s elves who learns of his true identity as a human and goes to New York City to meet his organic father, spreading Christmas cheer in a world of cynics as he goes.

4. ‘Scrooged’

Directed by: Richard Donner

Produced by: Richard Donner, Art Linson

Screenplay by: Mitch Glazer, Michael O’Donoghue

Based on: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Starring: Bill Murray

Music by: Danny Elfman

Release date: November 23, 1988

Scrooged is a 1988 American comedy film, a modernization of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The film was produced and directed by Richard Donner, and the cinematography was by Michael Chapman. The screenplay was written by Mitch Glazer and Michael O’Donoghue. The original music score was composed by Danny Elfman.

5. ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’

Directed by: Jeremiah Chechik

Produced by: John Hughes, Matty Simmons

Written by: John Hughes

Starring: Fedor Emelianenko, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, John Randolph, Diane Ladd, E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts, William Hickey, Mae Questel, Miriam Flynn, Nicholas Guest, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Music by: Angelo Badalamenti

Release date: December 1, 1989

Christmas Vacation is a 1989 Christmas comedy film directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik. It is the third installment in National Lampoon’s Vacation film series, and was written by John Hughes, based on his short story in National Lampoon Magazine, Christmas ‘59. The title song was written for the movie by the husband-wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and was performed by Mavis Staples of The Staple Singers fame.

6. ‘A Nightmare Before Christmas’

Directed by: Henry Selick

Produced by: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi

Screenplay by: Caroline Thompson, Michael McDowell

Story by: Tim Burton

Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Ken Page

Music by: Danny Elfman

Release date: October 9, 1993

The Nightmare Before Christmas, often promoted as Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a 1993 American stop motion musical dream horror film directed by Henry Selick and produced/co-written by Tim Burton. It tells the story of Jack Skellington, a being from “Halloween Town” who opens a portal to “Christmas Town” and decides to celebrate the holiday. Danny Elfman wrote the film score and provided the singing voice of Jack, as well as other minor characters. The remaining principal voice cast includes Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Ken Page and Glenn Shadix.

7. ‘Home Alone’

Directed by: Chris Columbus

Produced by: John Hughes

Written by: John Hughes

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara

Music by: John Williams

Release date: November 16, 1990

Home Alone is a 1990 American family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy, who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. While initially relishing time by himself, he is later greet by two would-be burglars played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci. Kevin eventually manages to outwit them with a sequence of booby traps. The film also features Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, Devin Ratray, Roberts Blossom, and John Candy. As of 2009, Home Alone was the highest grossing comedy of all time

8. ‘Bad Santa’

Directed by: Terry Zwigoff

Produced by: John Cameron, Sarah Aubrey, Bob Weinstein

Written by: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham

Music by: David Kitay

Release date: November 26, 2003

Bad Santa is a 2003 American Christmas crime comedy film written and directed by Terry Zwigoff, and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, and Lauren Graham, with Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Lauren Tom, and John Ritter in supporting roles. It was Ritter’s last film appearance. The Coen brothers are credited as “executive producers”. The film was screened out of competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

An unrated version was released on DVD on March 5, 2004 and on Blu-ray Disc on November 20, 2007 as Bad Santa. A director’s cut DVD was released in November 2006, which features Zwigoff’s cut of the film, but is three minutes shorter than the theatrical cut and ten minutes shorter than the unrated version.

9. ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’

Directed by: Brian Henson

Produced by: Brian Henson, Martin G. Baker

Screenplay by: Jerry Juhl

Based on: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Starring: Michael Caine, Steven Mackintosh

Muppet Performers: Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, David Rudman, Steve Whitmire

Music by: Miles Goodman, Paul Williams (songs)

Release date: December 11, 1992

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a 1992 American musical-comedy film, and an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It is the fourth in a series of live-action musical films featuring The Muppets, with Michael Caine starring as Ebenezer Scrooge. Although it is a comedic remake with contemporary songs, The Muppet Christmas Carol otherwise follows Dickens’ original story closely.The film was directed by Brian Henson, produced by Jim Henson Productions, and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

10. ‘Gremlins’

Directed by: Joe Dante

Produced by: Steven Spielberg, Michael Finnell

Written by: Chris Columbus

Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Frances Lee McCain, Corey Feldman

Music by: Jerry Goldsmith

Release date: June 8, 1984

Gremlins is a 1984 American horror comedy film directed by Joe Dante, released by Warner Bros. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a Mogwai as a pet, which then spawns other creatures who transform into small, destructive, evil monsters. This story was sustained with a sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, released in 1990. Unlike the lighter sequel, the original Gremlins opts for more black comedy, which is balanced against a Christmas-time setting. Both films were the center of large merchandising campaigns.


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