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Movies set at Christmas
November 16, 2009 6:20 AM   Subscribe

What are the best movies set at Christmas that aren't actually Christmas movies?

I'm looking for some of the best movies set around the Christmas holiday season that aren't actually about Christmas or the Christmas spirit or anything like that.

It's a tricky line, but I think one way to judge is to consider if the film would work pretty much as well if it wasn't set at Christmas. So: No to Elf, The Santa Clause or Miracles on 34th Street, but yes to Die Hard, Die Hard II, Ghostbusters II, etc.
posted by bonaldi to Media & Arts (60 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Love Actually takes place during the holidays but isn't actually a holiday movie.
posted by mmmbacon at 6:22 AM on November 16, 2009 [10 favorites]


Gremlins.
posted by Prospero at 6:23 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


i think The Family Stone would work well even if it weren't set at Christmas.
posted by gursky at 6:25 AM on November 16, 2009


Trading Places
posted by LittlePumpkin at 6:26 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Home Alone?

What, I like the original.
posted by olinerd at 6:27 AM on November 16, 2009


Eyes Wide Shut.
posted by hermitosis at 6:27 AM on November 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


About a Boy has a scene that takes place at Christmas.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:29 AM on November 16, 2009


Also, The Family Stone and Home Alone are very much about Christmas and its attendant themes.
posted by hermitosis at 6:30 AM on November 16, 2009


I can't believe I remembered this, but someone asked this exact question a few years ago: Movies At Christmas, but Not About Christmas?
posted by purplemonkie at 6:31 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Lion In Winter.
posted by hermitosis at 6:31 AM on November 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is December 7 close enough to Christmas? Then Tora Tora Tora and maybe Midway would count.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:32 AM on November 16, 2009


the Ref is a good one
posted by purpletangerine at 6:33 AM on November 16, 2009


The Holiday
posted by kitkatcathy at 6:34 AM on November 16, 2009


The Shop Around the Corner (1940), on which You've Got Mail was based.
posted by Miko at 6:34 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Brazil

(I watched Deathrace over the weekend and there's a shot of a Christmas tree in that, but even though I quite liked it, it's probably not in anyone's 'best')
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:34 AM on November 16, 2009


Also, Desk Set.
posted by Miko at 6:35 AM on November 16, 2009


The Ref. It's set at Christmas time, but could work equally well for any family-centered holiday, like Thanksgiving or Easter.
posted by cooker girl at 6:35 AM on November 16, 2009


Meet Me In St. Louis has a part about Christmas, but isn't a Christmas movie per se.
posted by chocolatetiara at 6:36 AM on November 16, 2009


+1 for Gremlins.
If you say no to "A Christmas Story" you might like Bob Clark's other little holiday treat "Black Christmas". You could pretty much insert any other holiday in there to go with your sorority house slasher.
posted by willmize at 6:37 AM on November 16, 2009


Lethal Weapon.
posted by hilaritas at 6:40 AM on November 16, 2009


Holiday Inn
posted by caddis at 6:48 AM on November 16, 2009


"There's no such thing."
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:51 AM on November 16, 2009


Die Hard II
posted by dfriedman at 6:52 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
posted by dfriedman at 6:52 AM on November 16, 2009


previously
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:53 AM on November 16, 2009


(bah! you're off the Nice List, Jaltcoh)
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:57 AM on November 16, 2009


2nding Love, Actually.

Best Holiday Movie That Really Isn't A Holiday Movie ever.
posted by mrhaydel at 7:00 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


While You Were Sleeping
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:03 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


This might help you find some more obscure stuff, although you still need to personally filter out movies that are Christmas-based.
posted by some idealist at 7:05 AM on November 16, 2009


The Apartment.
posted by JanetLand at 7:11 AM on November 16, 2009


LA Confidential
posted by bunny hugger at 7:12 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tokyo Godfathers!
It is sort of sad and reasonably hilarious. Three homeless people find a baby in a dumpster and try to find the parents so that they can yell at them.
posted by Acari at 7:16 AM on November 16, 2009


the first Die Hard.
posted by killy willy at 7:24 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


(bah! you're off the Nice List, Jaltcoh)

Hey, blame purplemonkie!

posted by Jaltcoh at 7:26 AM on November 16, 2009


Reindeer Games
posted by mattbucher at 7:27 AM on November 16, 2009


The first part of the Godfather (when the Don gets shot and Michael's subsequent assassination of Solozzo and McCluskey) takes place during the Christmas holidays. Similarly, a large section of Godfather 2 takes place through the holiday (there is a conversation between Michael and Tom about what present Tom arrange to give to Michael's son)
posted by Thorzdad at 7:28 AM on November 16, 2009


Better Off Dead
posted by corey flood at 7:33 AM on November 16, 2009


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christmas_films - Category 2.

And a couple other people have mentioned The Ref, but I just want to underscore the point by mentioning that it was released in MARCH of 1994.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:35 AM on November 16, 2009


Holiday (with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant)
posted by aabbbiee at 7:37 AM on November 16, 2009


Metropolitan
posted by clair-de-lune at 7:37 AM on November 16, 2009


A Midnight Clear.
posted by Wordwoman at 7:41 AM on November 16, 2009


Little Women
posted by Sassyfras at 7:44 AM on November 16, 2009


A Christmas Tale
posted by TBoneMcCool at 7:53 AM on November 16, 2009


Incredible, thank you very much everyone. Especially those who remembered this had been done before!
posted by bonaldi at 8:15 AM on November 16, 2009


Three Days of the Condor.
posted by Oddly at 8:17 AM on November 16, 2009


Since Home Alone and Gremlins are included here, I'll throw out Dumb and Dumber.
posted by peep at 8:32 AM on November 16, 2009


Serendipity with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsdale starts and ends around Christmas but is not specifically a Christmas movie.
posted by mikel at 8:34 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Sure Thing takes place over Christmas break.
posted by marxchivist at 9:28 AM on November 16, 2009


The ending of When Harry Met Sally
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:32 AM on November 16, 2009


The Ice Storm
posted by emelenjr at 10:09 AM on November 16, 2009


Eyes Wide Shut.

I think an argument could be made that EWS is very much a Christmas movie, dealing as it does with the disappointment you feel when something that looks pretty all wrapped up is not what you expected once the nice paper is taken off.

The Long Kiss Goodnight is at least partially set at Christmas.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:34 AM on November 16, 2009


Battle of the Bulge
posted by dinger at 10:52 AM on November 16, 2009


Stalag 17
posted by kanemano at 11:53 AM on November 16, 2009


Bernard and the Genie
posted by ninazer0 at 1:01 PM on November 16, 2009


The Man Who Came to Dinner
posted by Joleta at 8:48 PM on November 16, 2009


I know Tim Burton has a fondness for sneaking Christmas into his movies, but I can't recall if any of them take place during the holidays enough to qualify for this question.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:13 PM on November 16, 2009


Go, for certain values of "best".
posted by owtytrof at 8:54 AM on November 17, 2009


I'll add a vote for THE REF and add MIXED NUTS.
posted by Oireachtac at 12:15 PM on November 17, 2009


The evacuation flashbacks during I am Legend are set during Christmas.
posted by Yoshi Ayarane at 7:14 PM on November 17, 2009


LESS THAN ZERO
posted by bunny hugger at 7:26 AM on November 19, 2009


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