Year in, year out, since time immemorial, humankind has spent countless hours locked in fevered debate over one question:
'What is the best Christmas movie of all time, and why is it It's a Wonderful Life?'
Here, at last, the BroadbandDeals.co.uk data elves present the definitive report - a groundbreaking analysis using cutting edge technology - to finally put the question to bed. And tuck it in nice and cozy to fall safely asleep before The Big Jolly arrives.
Seriously though, we went deep on this one...
(but if you don't mind spoilers you can jump straight to the results).
There's no shortage of 'Top 47 Christmas Movies EVER (Number 9 will make you wee!)' lists floating around the internet these days. You literally can't doomscroll in peace for 30 seconds without being bombarded with them. They're a menace, frankly.
And the worst part is, they don't all agree.
As genuine certified* Crimbo scienticians, we can't abide this inconsistency - so we decided to do something about it. We needed to know, definitively, which is the best. But where to begin?
Well, since so many list-writers have already done the legwork, and in the spirit of festive cooperation, we started by checking out a bunch of existing 'studies'. That's called meta-analysis and it's proper science.
We decided to meta-analyse the top 25 films from 25 published lists - that's 625 Christmas movies. And that's a lot of movies, Barbara.*not certified
Scoring: 1st to 3rd = 4pts, 4th to 10th = 3pts, 11th-20th = 2pts, >20th = 1pt
|1||It's a Wonderful Life (1946)||23||86|
|2||Home Alone (1990)||19||60|
|4||A Christmas Story (1983)||18||51|
|5||Die Hard (1988)||17||49|
|6||Miracle on 34th Street (1947)||16||46|
|7||National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)||16||46|
|8||The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)||18||45|
|9||The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)||15||43|
|11||Bad Santa (2003)||16||34|
|12||Love Actually (2003)||14||34|
|13||A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)||12||34|
|14||White Christmas (1954)||15||32|
|16||The Santa Clause (1994)||14||31|
|18||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)||8||22|
|20||How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)||7||21|
|21||Trading Places (1983)||11||20|
|22||Holiday Inn (1942)||9||20|
|23||Miracle on 34th Street (1994)||8||18|
|24||The Snowman (1982)||7||18|
|25||The Shop Around the Corner (1940)||8||17|
|26||Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)||7||15|
|27||Edward Scissorhands (1990)||7||15|
|28||Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)||6||15|
|29||Arthur Christmas (2011)||10||14|
|30||The Polar Express (2004)||7||13|
|31||How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)||7||13|
|33||Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)||6||12|
|34||Joyeux Noël (2005)||6||12|
|35||The Apartment (1960)||5||12|
|36||The Holiday (2006)||7||11|
|37||Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)||5||11|
|38||A Christmas Tale (2008)||5||11|
|39||Black Christmas (1974)||6||10|
|40||Little Women (1994)||3||9|
|42||Tokyo Godfathers (2003)||4||8|
|43||Christmas in Connecticut (1945)||4||8|
|44||Happy Christmas (2014)||4||7|
|45||Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)||3||7|
|46||Christmas with the Kranks (2004)||3||7|
|47||Better Watch Out (2016)||3||7|
|48||Batman Returns (1992)||3||7|
|49||Remember the Night (1940)||3||7|
|51||Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)||3||6|
|52||Christmas, Again (2014)||3||6|
|53||The Ref (1994)||3||6|
|54||Eastern Promises (2007)||2||6|
|55||A Christmas Carol (1938)||3||5|
|56||Jingle All the Way (1996)||3||5|
|57||Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)||3||5|
|58||The Best Man Holiday (2013)||3||5|
|59||Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)||3||5|
|60||Dr Seuss' The Grinch (2018)||2||5|
|61||Little Women (2019)||2||5|
|63||The Christmas Chronicles (2018)||2||5|
|64||The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)||2||5|
|65||Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)||2||5|
|67||Tuesday, After Christmas (2011)||2||5|
|68||A Christmas Carol (1984)||2||4|
|69||The Family Stone (2005)||2||4|
|70||Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (2005)||2||4|
|71||In Bruges (2008)||2||4|
|72||Frosty the Snowman (1969)||2||4|
|74||The Bishop's Wife (1947)||2||4|
|75||La La Land (2016)||1||4|
|76||Holiday Affair (1949)||3||3|
|77||This Christmas (2007)||2||3|
|78||The Night Before (2015)||2||3|
|80||Lethal Weapon (1987)||2||3|
|81||8 Women (2002)||2||3|
|82||Four Christmases (2008)||2||3|
|83||Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970)||2||3|
|84||You've Got Mail (1998)||2||3|
|85||Last Christmas (2019)||1||3|
|86||The Children (2008)||1||3|
|87||About a Boy (2002)||1||3|
|88||Dead End (2003)||1||3|
|89||A Christmas Horror Story (2015)||1||3|
|90||Christmas Evil (1980)||1||3|
|91||Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)||1||3|
|93||Comfort and Joy (1984)||1||3|
|94||Meet John Doe (1941)||1||3|
|95||The Day of the Beast (1995)||1||3|
|96||Jack Frost (1998)||2||2|
|97||The Family Man (2000)||2||2|
|98||Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (1999)||2||2|
|100||A Christmas Carol (1999)||1||2|
|101||Red Christmas (2016)||1||2|
|103||The Santa Clause 2 (2002)||1||2|
|106||Silent Night (2012)||1||2|
|107||Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)||1||2|
|108||Cast Away (2000)||1||2|
|110||Deck the Halls (2006)||1||2|
|111||Fred Claus (2007)||1||2|
|112||A Christmas Prince (2017)||1||2|
|113||Catch Me If You Can (2002)||1||2|
|114||Almost Christmas (2016)||1||2|
|115||Rise of the Guardians (2012)||1||2|
|116||Last Holiday (2006)||1||2|
|117||Eyes Wide Shut (1999)||1||2|
|118||Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)||1||2|
|119||Babes in Toyland (1934)||1||2|
|122||A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)||1||2|
|123||I'll Be Seeing You (1944)||1||2|
|124||It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)||1||2|
|125||Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962)||1||2|
|126||Peace on Earth (1939)||1||2|
|127||Pieces of April (2003)||1||2|
|128||The Christmas Dream (1901)||1||2|
|129||The Gingerdead Man (2005)||1||2|
|130||The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)||1||2|
|131||Three Godfathers (1948)||1||2|
|132||We're No Angels (1955)||1||2|
|133||While She Was Out (2008)||1||2|
|134||Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971)||1||2|
|135||Wind Chill (2007)||1||2|
|137||Black Christmas (2006)||1||1|
|138||Silent Night (2002)||1||1|
|140||Jack Frost (1997)||1||1|
|141||While You Were Sleeping (1995)||1||1|
|142||When Harry Met Sally (1989)||1||1|
|143||Groundhog Day (1993)||1||1|
|144||Unaccompanied Minors (2006)||1||1|
|145||A Midnight Clear (1992)||1||1|
|146||I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998)||1||1|
|147||Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)||1||1|
|148||The Dorm that Dripped Blood (1982)||1||1|
|149||The Fitzgerald Family Christmas (2012)||1||1|
|150||The Ice Harvest (2005)||1||1|
|151||The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)||1||1|
|152||The Preacher's Wife (1996)||1||1|
|153||The Railway Children (1970)||1||1|
As it turns out, there's quite a lot of overlap between lists. Once we plugged them all into our algorithm-machine, those potential 625 comfort-and-joy-fests actually worked out to a still-respectably-jolly 153.
We assigned each film a score based on the where, if at all, it ranked on each of the 25 lists. Hey presto, job done! A definitive list of the top cinematic Christmas crackers.
Except... is it? Really?
Who's to say the people writing all those lists even knew what they were on about? They could very well be a fiendish flock of festive fibbers.
Not to be tinsel tattle-tales, but one Joal Ryan of Metacritic had La La Land as the 2nd best holiday movie of the century. La La Land. Let that sink in.
Obviously we were going to need to sort the crimbly from the crummy. And to do that, we'd need to dig deep into the data.
Shortening our longlist. Seeking statistical shears to prune the merry wreath of overabundant celluloid.
The problem with using other people's listicles as the building blocks of our definitive festive filmography is that we ended up with a lot of movies, many of which no-one's ever heard of. And worse, La La Land.
Our 153-film monstrosity needed trimming down.
One possible cut would have been to lose any films that only made it onto one of our source lists. That brings the count down to a more-manageable 86, but it also ran the risk of throwing away a hidden gem-encrusted Christmas bauble.
Instead, we used our scoring system from the initial list - assigning points based on rankings within each of the source lists.
Cutting any film that scored below 2 let us keep any well-ranked rarities, while bringing our total down considerably.
Running Total: 95
It was a start, but we were going to need to be a bit more brutal to make real progress.
It would of course be very easy to just chuck away any movies we didn't like the look of, *cough*LaLaLand*cough*, but that would be prone to all kinds of biases and, in a matter of such consequence, borderline irresponsible.
To avoid making a mockery of the scientific method (and fools of ourselves), we next sought guidance where any sensible science-human in search of robust, empirical film-brain-knowledge would... We asked the Experts.
|1||The Shop Around the Corner (1940)||96%||100%||98%|
|3||The Apartment (1960)||94%||93%||94%|
|4||Little Women (2019)||91%||95%||93%|
|5||La La Land (2016)||94%||91%||93%|
|6||It's a Wonderful Life (1946)||89%||94%||92%|
|7||Miracle on 34th Street (1947)||88%||96%||92%|
|10||Little Women (1994)||87%||92%||90%|
|1||It's a Wonderful Life (1946)||92%||95%||86%||91%|
|2||How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)||-||98%||83%||91%|
|3||The Apartment (1960)||91%||94%||83%||89%|
|5||The Snowman (1982)||-||91%||82%||87%|
|6||The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)||86%||91%||80%||86%|
|7||The Shop Around the Corner (1940)||-||91%||81%||86%|
|8||Edward Scissorhands (1990)||88%||91%||79%||86%|
|9||Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)||-||90%||81%||86%|
Into our cutting-edge listbox, we placed the critics and audience ratings of each of the remaining movies, courtesy of MetaCritic, RottenTomatoes and IMDB.
We turned first to critical analysis - thinking that surely film critics would be able to illuminate the way to a rational answer. We fired up our list machine and waited with bated breath.
Alas. Any hopes for sanity from the critical discourse were dashed the moment we saw it there, once again, glorying in it's impropriety like an Easter bonnet on a shelf of Santa hats. La La Land. A film so unchristmassy that The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw called it "a sun-drenched musical masterpiece".
Audience ratings looked a bit healthier but, scientifically speaking, they couldn't be given too much weight. We all know that normal people don't know what's good for them.
However, if we combined the averages from both Critics and Audiences, and cut any films that score under 50%...
Running Total: 91
Collecting more data for film comparison. Identification and collation of key jolliness-markers in search of Christmas consensus.
If we were to get any further in our epic Christmas quest to whittle down our list, there was something missing. We simply needed more data.
Data is the lifeblood of any legitimate scientific study and THIS IS DEFINITELY ONE OF THOSE, so let's dive in and see what we discovered...
As any true connoisseur of the arts knows, the key metric for measuring a movie's greatness is how much cold hard cash it made. Surely adding this data to our model would shed some light.
We tracked down all the financials we could for each film. Then we adjusted for inflation because that's a thing people do when they want to sound like they know what they're talking about. Science.
We subtracted each film's budget from its worldwide box-office takings to get a rough idea of profitability, et voila!
|1||Home Alone (1990)||$36,360,000||$963,667,490||$927,307,490|
|2||Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (2005)||$243,000,000||$1,005,767,705||$762,767,705|
|3||Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)||$52,640,000||$686,491,272||$633,851,272|
|4||La La Land (2016)||$33,000,000||$492,149,327||$459,149,327|
|5||Dr Seuss' The Grinch (2018)||$78,750,000||$537,175,755||$458,425,755|
|6||Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)||$37,250,000||$420,075,395||$382,825,395|
|8||Batman Returns (1992)||$150,400,000||$501,777,740||$351,377,740|
|9||How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)||$188,190,000||$528,066,347||$339,876,347|
|10||You've Got Mail (1998)||$105,300,000||$406,330,822||$301,030,822|
|11||The Santa Clause (1994)||$39,160,000||$337,903,375||$298,743,375|
|12||Love Actually (2003)||$57,200,000||$350,257,596||$293,057,596|
|14||Die Hard (1988)||$63,000,000||$318,335,173||$255,335,173|
|15||Lethal Weapon (1987)||$34,800,000||$278,880,535||$244,080,535|
|16||The Polar Express (2004)||$229,350,000||$435,765,602||$206,415,602|
|17||Trading Places (1983)||$39,600,000||$238,668,672||$199,068,672|
|18||Little Women (1994)||$41,200,000||$223,099,250||$181,899,250|
|19||The Holiday (2006)||$111,350,000||$269,652,869||$158,302,869|
|20||Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)||$246,000,000||$400,102,575||$154,102,575|
|21||About a Boy (2002)||$43,800,000||$190,602,204||$146,802,204|
|22||The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)||$32,760,000||$166,498,303||$133,738,303|
|23||Edward Scissorhands (1990)||$40,400,000||$173,774,958||$133,374,958|
|24||The Family Stone (2005)||$24,300,000||$125,393,979||$101,093,979|
|25||Last Christmas (2019)||$25,750,000||$125,197,273||$99,447,273|
|26||National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)||$57,240,000||$154,134,910||$96,894,910|
|27||Bad Santa (2003)||$32,890,000||$109,379,111||$76,489,111|
|29||The Best Man Holiday (2013)||$19,210,000||$82,304,352||$63,094,352|
|30||Little Women (2019)||$32,040,000||$89,148,836||$57,108,836|
|31||Arthur Christmas (2011)||$117,000,000||$172,480,782||$55,480,782|
|33||This Christmas (2007)||$16,510,000||$63,218,761||$46,708,761|
|34||8 Women (2002)||$16,060,000||$61,942,811||$45,882,811|
|35||A Christmas Story (1983)||$8,712,000||$54,433,413||$45,721,413|
|36||Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)||$69,600,000||$114,910,250||$45,310,250|
|37||It's a Wonderful Life (1946)||$42,930,000||$82,764,720||$39,834,720|
|38||The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)||$22,560,000||$60,760,318||$38,200,318|
|40||The Night Before (2015)||$27,750,000||$58,159,556||$30,409,556|
|41||Eastern Promises (2007)||$41,910,000||$71,256,286||$29,346,286|
|42||In Bruges (2008)||$18,300,000||$41,584,614||$23,284,614|
|43||Black Christmas (1974)||$11,790,000||$28,179,215||$16,389,215|
|46||Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)||$2,904,000||$4,875,055||$1,971,055|
|47||Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)||$20,250,000||$21,309,950||$1,059,950|
|49||The Ref (1994)||$19,580,000||$20,361,764||$781,764|
|50||Happy Christmas (2014)||$77,700||$33,646||$-44,054|
|51||Joyeux Noël (2005)||$29,700,000||$23,907,359||$-5,792,641|
|52||Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)||$25,449,000||$7,274,402||$-18,174,598|
|53||The Apartment (1960)||$26,730,000||$1,586,007||$-25,143,993|
Predictably, the big blockbusters win the day on profitability - all of the top ten are recognisable - but some of them really don't seem all that christmassy.
It's also interesting to note that none of the critic or audience favourites even broke the top ten, with the notable exception of La La Land, about which we will say no more.
At the other end of the scale, The Apartment, beloved by both critics and audiences, apparently made a whopping loss of over $25m.
Clearly, money alone was not the indisputable indicator of yuletide yumminess we had hoped for.
(Also, we couldn't actually find financial data for nearly half of our films, so it was a dead end anyway)
We needed to rethink. If Christmas wasn't all about money, what else could it be?
Of course! Christmas is about family. And who are the family of a film, if not directors, writers and stars?
The next christmas morsel to feed our hungry data machine would be people. A lot of people.
|4||Arthur Rankin Jr.||3|
|12||William Broyles Jr.||2|
|14||Peter S. Seaman||2|
In fact, across all of our movies, our intrepid data-hunters tracked down an impressive 159 directors and 276 writers, alongside a frankly ridiculous 7639 actors.
In it's raw state this data didn't reveal any obvious metrics we could use to reduce our watery stock of movies down to a thick, delicious Christmas gravy.
Perhaps a more thorough analysis would help, but first - more data!
Of course, what really makes a film pop or flop is the plot!
But how could we turn 91 movies' worth of storylines into a tasty data dish for our Christmas algorithmatron to devour?
The answer would lie in IMDB's 'plot keywords' feature.
We painstakingly recorded every plot keyword for each of our remaining films, discarding those that were only found once. We were left with a nice bitesized chunk of delicious data: 1795 keywords. Nom.
|husband wife relationship||30|
|mother son relationship||30|
|mother daughter relationship||27|
|father son relationship||26|
No big surprises at the top, but a nice clear-cut way to reduce our pile-o'-films a little further.
It ought to go without saying that to qualify for consideration in the Christmas film rankings, a film must feature Christmas. So we wave bye-bye to any festive fakers, they're outta here.
Running Total: 85
Further down the keyword rankings we find some... oddities.
During our exhaustive analysis, the data-elves couldn't help noticing a somewhat violent trend. In fact, we identified over 250 violent plot themes:
|punched in the face||12|
|shot to death||6|
|shot in the head||5|
|shot in the chest||5|
|shot in the back||4|
|shot in the leg||4|
|shot multiple times||4|
|stabbed in the eye||4|
|woman punches a man||3|
|murder of a police officer||3|
|hand to hand combat||3|
|shot in the arm||3|
|kicked in the crotch||3|
|held at gunpoint||2|
|fight to the death||2|
|falling to death||2|
|shot in the forehead||2|
|kicked in the face||2|
|body landing on a car||2|
|pointing a gun at someone||2|
|kicked in the groin||2|
|tied to a chair||2|
|double barreled shotgun||2|
|attempted suicide by gunshot||2|
|pushed through a window||2|
|stabbed in the chest||2|
|murder of a child||2|
|fall to death||2|
|breaking and entering||2|
|shot in the shoulder||2|
|bloody body of child||2|
|tape over mouth||2|
|bound and gagged||2|
|suicide by jumping||2|
|trail of blood||2|
|hit on the head||2|
|hit with a shovel||1|
|police officer killed||1|
|beaten to death||1|
|police officer shot in the head||1|
|gash in the face||1|
|blood on shirt||1|
|hit in the crotch||1|
|crushed to death||1|
|freezing to death||1|
|characters murdered one by one||1|
|murder by strangling||1|
|deeply disturbed person||1|
|stabbed to death||1|
|dead woman with eyes open||1|
|death by strangulation||1|
|world war one||1|
|woman hits a man||1|
|duct taped to a chair||1|
|stabbed in the face||1|
|duct tape gag||1|
|duct tape over mouth||1|
|woman murders a man||1|
|threatened with a gun||1|
|stealing a car||1|
|stabbed in the back||1|
|stabbed in the stomach||1|
|pursued by wolves||1|
|bow and arrow||1|
|man punches a woman||1|
|murder of a priest||1|
|head blown off||1|
|disposing of a dead body||1|
|stabbed in the head||1|
|finger cut off||1|
|kicked in the stomach||1|
|murder of father||1|
|killing an animal||1|
|death of child||1|
|bloody body of a child||1|
|framed for murder||1|
|killer santa claus||1|
|stabbed with a fork||1|
|murder of family||1|
Incredibly, 61 of our 85 remaining titles had at least one of these fearsome flavours somewhere in the mix.
Whether it be murder, rampage or rocket launchers, clearly a good helping of violence is essential to keep us satisfied at Christmas!
Our final nugget of data, for now, is runtime. Let's review the figures.
|1||National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)||157|
|2||Miracle on 34th Street (1947)||156|
|3||Bad Santa (2003)||152|
|4||A Christmas Tale (2008)||152|
|5||The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)||145|
|6||Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (2005)||143|
|7||The Holiday (2006)||136|
|8||Love Actually (2003)||135|
|9||Little Women (2019)||135|
|10||Meet John Doe (1941)||135|
|1||A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)||25|
|2||Frosty the Snowman (1969)||25|
|3||The Snowman (1982)||26|
|4||How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)||26|
|5||Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)||26|
|6||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)||47|
|7||Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970)||48|
|8||The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)||51|
|9||Miracle on 34th Street (1994)||64|
|10||A Christmas Carol (1938)||69|
According to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, any film under 40 minutes is classified as a 'short film'.
That's fine for them, but seriously, if you can't stick the kids in front of it and ignore them for a solid hour, what's even the point?
On that sound scientific basis, the only rational course of action was to cut anything under 60 minutes. And that's exactly what we did. Sorry Rudolph.
Running Total: 77
Charts illustrating points of interest. Charting a more Christmassy understanding of the cinematic arts.
We read somewhere that the key to an effective scientific report is data visualisation, so we made some charts. You wanted pie, you got pie:
Which films are people actually watching? Incorporating novel festive pathways on the well-trodden route to the grotto of listing excellence.
Our feast of festive data dishes was nearly complete, but at 77 films, our list was still a smidge crowded.
However, looking at the remaining selection, some titles raised suspicion. Yes, they passed the Christmas keyword check, and yes they got the critics' approval, but...
Are any Brits in 2020 really tracking down a copy of Christmas in Connecticut (1945) for a festive funtime?
And for all that Tangerine (2015) may be undeniably fantastic; an "exuberantly raw and up-close portrait of one of Los Angeles' more distinctive sex-trade subcultures"; the question remains: is anyone really popping it on for a cosy crimbly afternoon in front of the telly?
Our hypothesis? Probably not.
Unfortunately we had no way of obtaining accurate viewing figures for our movies, but maybe we could do the next best thing. Enter Google Trends.
Handily, Google lets us compare the frequency of search terms in the UK over a given period.
To get a snapshot of which films folk actually want to watch around Christmas, we checked trends for all of our films between 14th - 28th December 2019.
To get comparable data, we had to compare each film against one benchmark - and for that honour we chose Elf (2003), because elves are totes christmassy. The North Pole ones, not the tall fighty ones. Just go with it.
We took the average score for each movie over the Christmas fortnight and returned it as a percentage of Elf's score for the same period. It sounds more complicated than it is, honest.
In fact it's so simple, while we were there we even found time to check the trends for our cousins across the pond too.
|1||Home Alone (1990)||127|
|3||Love Actually (2003)||84|
|5||Dr Seuss' The Grinch (2018)||68|
|6||The Holiday (2006)||59|
|7||Die Hard (1988)||56|
|8||The Santa Clause (1994)||50|
|9||This Christmas (2007)||50|
|10||Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)||45|
|11||A Christmas Carol (1938)||41|
|12||A Christmas Carol (1984)||41|
|13||Little Women (1994)||39|
|14||Little Women (2019)||39|
|15||The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)||38|
|2||Home Alone (1990)||68|
|3||The Holiday (2006)||48|
|4||Die Hard (1988)||44|
|6||The Polar Express (2004)||44|
|7||A Christmas Story (1983)||40|
|8||Dr Seuss' The Grinch (2018)||36|
|9||A Christmas Carol (1938)||30|
|10||A Christmas Carol (1984)||30|
|11||Love Actually (2003)||26|
|12||White Christmas (1954)||20|
|13||The Santa Clause (1994)||20|
|14||Little Women (1994)||20|
|15||Little Women (2019)||20|
Observant readers may note that this method isn't without its pitfalls: there's no easy way to differentiate between duplicate films of the same title, since people are unlikely to search for a specific year when hunting down a stream of their festive fave.
That said, it's definitely interesting to note some taste differences between British and American googlers. Could this be indicative of deeper malaise, a worrying portent of a breakdown in anglo-american relations? Diplomats, take note.
And, more importantly, we have a new metric by which to shorten our list.
We can say with some confidence that films with an ElfScore of zero, though they may be critical darlings, are statistically unlikely to be the best Christmas movie of all time, and thus can be gleefully cast into the fireplace like so much used wrapping paper. Bye guys.
Running total: 51
Where is best to stream Christmas Movies? Recontextualizing merriment-vectors towards a democratization of Christmas viewership.
Having delved into the data of people's christmas film-watching habits, it made sense to check which of our films are easily available to stream.
Now, we know there are a million streaming services these days, but for the purposes of maximum-usefulness, and because we'd already spent far too long on this project, we limited our checks to the UK's big four.
|1||The Holiday (2006)|
|3||The Best Man Holiday (2013)|
|4||This Christmas (2007)|
|5||It's a Wonderful Life (1946)|
|6||Home Alone (1990)|
|7||The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)|
|8||Die Hard (1988)|
|9||Bad Santa (2003)|
|10||Miracle on 34th Street (1947)|
|11||The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)|
|12||Love Actually (2003)|
|13||The Santa Clause (1994)|
|14||Trading Places (1983)|
|15||Arthur Christmas (2011)|
|16||Holiday Inn (1942)|
|17||Miracle on 34th Street (1994)|
|19||The Polar Express (2004)|
|20||Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)|
|22||Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)|
|23||Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)|
|24||Batman Returns (1992)|
|25||Dr Seuss' The Grinch (2018)|
|26||The Night Before (2015)|
|29||Lethal Weapon (1987)|
|30||The Family Stone (2005)|
|31||Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (2005)|
|32||The Children (2008)|
|33||About a Boy (2002)|
|34||La La Land (2016)|
The results are pretty conclusive - with 18 of our films available, the NowTV Sky Cinema Pass is the best bet for anyone wanting to binge on christmas cheer this festive season. It's on the pricey side at £11.99/month - but there's a 7 day free trial, so if you timed it right that could be one very movie-packed week.
Netflix came in second with 8 christmas movies, Prime had 7 and Disney brought up the rear with 6.
So, if your personal favourite is on our list, you know where to turn for streaming.
We could only find 34 of our 51 remaining on these mainstream platforms - though of course many more are bound to end up broadcast on live telly.
We did it. We found the one true best christmas movie rankings list to end them all.
Let's recap: we started off with a list of 153 festive films, each ranked in the top 25 of 25 previously published 'best Christmas films' lists.
We assigned scores based on those initial rankings, and trimmed the lowest scoring movies.
We checked audience and critic's ratings and cut films rated below 50%.
We analysed our movies' storylines and dropped those that don't actually feature Christmas.
We discarded films less than an hour long.
And finally, we analysed people's search behaviour and got rid of the films that no-one's actually watching.
Running total: 51
With all of our highly methodical and scientific tinkering and filtering, we've finally whittled our list down to a not very elegant 51. And if there's one thing we know about science, it's that it's meant to be elegant.
And worse, somehow, despite all of our efforts, our list still includes a stirring musical romance that Tom Charity of Sight and Sound called "a rhapsody in blue, red, yellow and green". This cannot stand.
Final total: 50
Our final hurdle is to decide which order we put these certified christmas crackers in. We've proved they're all good - but which is the best?
Luckily, we are BroadbandDeals.co.uk, and writing sophisticated algorithms to compare stuff and pick the best is sorta our forte. Not to toot our own Christmas horn or anything.
Really, what could be simpler?
|3||It's a Wonderful Life||1946||130||U||25||86||91||13||92|
|6||The Nightmare Before Christmas||1993||76||PG||25||45||87||38||71|
|8||A Christmas Story||1983||94||PG||0||51||84||16||67|
|9||The Muppet Christmas Carol||1992||145||U||25||43||76||32||65|
|10||Miracle on 34th Street||1947||156||U||25||46||87||11||63|
|12||The Santa Clause||1994||97||U||25||31||67||50||60|
|20||Dr Seuss' The Grinch||2018||85||U||25||5||57||68||45|
|22||A Christmas Carol||1938||69||U||0||5||80||41||44|
|24||Home Alone 2: Lost in New York||1992||120||PG||25||15||54||45||43|
|25||The Polar Express||2004||100||U||25||13||63||38||42|
|26||A Christmas Carol||1984||100||U||0||4||76||41||42|
|31||Miracle on 34th Street||1994||64||U||25||18||62||11||36|
|33||Kiss Kiss Bang Bang||2005||103||15||0||12||81||3||36|
|35||How the Grinch Stole Christmas||2000||104||PG||0||13||56||19||34|
|37||Bridget Jones's Diary||2001||97||15||25||5||75||11||32|
|38||The Night Before||2015||101||15||25||3||63||25||31|
|42||About a Boy||2002||101||12A||25||3||73||9||30|
|43||Better Watch Out||2016||89||15||0||7||70||3||29|
|44||The Christmas Chronicles||2018||104||PG||0||5||68||9||29|
|46||Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe||2005||143||PG||25||4||70||5||28|
|47||The Best Man Holiday||2013||123||15||50||5||68||3||27|
|50||The Family Stone||2005||103||PG||25||4||58||7||24|
|Show All|Conclusions and recommendations And the real meaning of Christmas was all the film trivia we learned along the way.
No-one ever said that definitively proving the best Christmas films of all time was going to be easy. Would we have done things differently if we'd known just how difficult it would be?
Perhaps. Perhaps. But we are scientists, and sometimes science is about sacrifice. Other times it is about really boring data entry. Sometimes both.
Anyway - let's review a few fun and festive things we learned along the way:
A 2018 Radio Times survey of over 7000 Brits found that, It's a Wonderful Life was Britain's favourite Christmas film. In fact, the 1946 classic tale of suicide and second chances tops almost every similar list we could find.
But for all that the collective consciousness seems to have decided it's our fave, the fact is, very few people are actually trying to stream it around Christmas.
True, it could simply be that we all know it's guaranteed to be on telly, so we don't bother searching for it - but perhaps there's a more insidious explanation.
Could this be a mass cover-up to hide the embarrassing fact that we all just really love Macaulay Culkin?
In any case, our findings suggest that we're far more likely to turn to modern laugh-out-loud festive comedy than weepy sentimental classics.
Our study showed that the British and American taste for Christmas movies differs somewhat, with Brits favouring Home Alone while Elf leads the pack in the USA.
In the red-white-and-blue-sortof-criss-crossed corner, Charles Dickens is by far the most adapted writer - with no fewer than 10 adaptations of A Christmas Carol in the top 100 films, raking in a cool $797 million at the box office.
But when it comes to the most successful Christmas literary adaptations, the also-red-white-and-blue-but-with-stars-and-stripes corner may have the upper hand.
Dr Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! has only 3 adaptations, but blows Dickens out of the water with over $1 billion in inflation-adjusted worldwide box office.
We analysed the streamability of all of the top 50 best Christmas films and the results were somewhat surprising.
It may not be the most popular, or the cheapest, but at least as far as Christmas movies goes, NowTV's Sky Cinema Pass blows the competition out of the water.
Viewers looking for the ultimate curl-up and cosy-down are best advised to plump for the nestle-up-and-NOW experience rather than Netflix-and-chill this festive season.
Our study of Christmas movie plot keywords found a bewildering array of ingredients that go into making the perfect Christmas film.
It was easy to predict that family relationships would feature prominently, and the fact that snow shows up in 41 of the best Christmas movies will surprise no-one.
Perhaps more surprising is the fact that dogs (27 films) feature almost as heavily as Santa (29 films), and that characters getting punched in the face (12 films) has been a consistent theme since as far back as 1944.
Rocket launchers appear in two christmas movies in the top 25, and murder in no fewer than 12 of our listed movies.
In all, a shocking 74% of our final top 50 deal with violent themes - proving that even (especially?) in the season of goodwill, there's nothing we love more than a good rampage.
We have proved beyond doubt, using indisputable scientific methodology, backed with mountains of highest-quality data:
La La Land is not a good Christmas film.
Merry Christmas everyone.