There is a shocking number of movies that star our favorite Christmas character: Santa Claus. There are more than 200 movies in which he graces the silver screen with his rosy cheeks, snow-white beard and, of course, his holiday cheer. We can’t watch every one before Christmas, so we whittled down the list to six of our favorite Santa Movies.
The Santa Clause If your kids ever wondered how Santa has been around for hundreds of years, The Santa Clause can answer that for them! Tim Allen plays a divorced dad who accidentally kills Santa and, by default, becomes The Big Guy himself. It takes a while for him to figure out that this is all part of the magic of Christmas, but it’s a cute film, silly enough for the kids and witty enough for adults.
Bad Santa This is not a movie for kids, but it is a feel good movie for adults who need some heartwarming to get into the spirit of the holidays. Billy Bob Thornton plays a curmudgeonly shopping mall Santa who learns how to be good from a little boy who’s experienced nothing but bad.
Santa Claus: The Movie Here’s a movie that restores the spirit of Christmas. Dudley Moore plays one of Santa’s elves who takes a break from the North Pole and heads to New York City. That’s where he meets an evil toy tycoon (John Lithgow) who tries to capitalize on his new friend’s elfin skills to take over Christmas, and only Santa (David Huddleston) can save it. It’s a simple story about bringing back the meaning of Christmas. Moore and Lithgow give it a little bit of edge for the adults, but it’s more enjoyable for kids.
Elf There’s only one part more perfect for Ed Asner than Mr. Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and that’s Santa. Though he’s not the star of the film, he gives Santa life and we all know that Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) wouldn’t be the elf he is without him. It’s goofy, charming and hilarious in a way both children and adults can enjoy it.
Fred Claus There’s nothing like a little sibling rivalry to get your holidays off on a weird foot — but disaster takes on a new meaning when that rivalry is between our beloved Santa Claus and his brother. Fred (Vince Vaughn) is Santa’s (Paul Giamatti) ne’er-do-well brother who has no one to turn to but Santa after his life starts to crumble. The nice guy that Santa is, he brings Fred to the North Pole to help out with the Christmas rush. As expected, Fred does more harm than good for the North Pole operations and nearly ruins Christmas. But there’s plenty of room for redemption at the North Pole where Christmas spirit fills every nook and cranny. The story is for kids, but there are plenty of punny jokes for the adults to enjoy.
Miracle on 34th Street If ever there was a movie that proves Christmas spirit can’t be crushed, it’s Miracle on 34th Street. With a court system building a case against the man who claims to be Santa (Richard Attenborough), the promise of Christmas looks grim. But once he convinces a doubtful little girl and an entire city that he really is Kris Kringle — and it only took a few thousand letters from kids around the world to do it — Christmas is saved! It’s a tear-jerker, but it’s a movie the whole family can enjoy together.
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