The Movie Guru: ‘Tis the season to stream a host of classic Christmas movies
One part of the Christmas season that hasn’t been altered by COVID is Christmas movies, which have always been best enjoyed at home with blankets and a nice mug of hot chocolate.
The big question, though, is where can you find your favorites? Since it’s hard to wait for random appearances on the local TV schedule, here’s a list of some well-loved Christmas classics and the best places to find them online. If you’re looking for your favorites, or want to consider adding a few new favorites to your list, this will give you a good place to start.
’A Christmas Carol’
The question of which version of “A Christmas Carol” is the best is the kind of thing that can start fistfights, but there are some versions that are more notable than others. “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” considered by many to be one of the best versions of the story ever brought to screen, is available on Disney+ along with “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” That’s also the place to find Robert Zemeckis’ 2009 animated version of the story, which features Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge. If you’re looking for a more classic version, Patrick Stewart’s 1999 version is available for free on Vudu, while the black-and-white 1935 version is available for free on Pluto TV and Crackle.
’It’s a Wonderful Life’/’Miracle on 34th Street’
These two Christmas classics are the source of even more intense debate, with people swearing that one or the other is the “true” ultimate Christmas movie. Whatever side of the debate you fall on, both are available for subscription streaming and for rental on various platforms. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is free to Amazon Prime members, and though they’re listed separately the site has both black-and-white and colorized versions available. “Miracle on 34th Street” is available on Disney+ (the studio now owns the movie after purchasing Fox), but they only seem to be offering the colorized version.
Some of the best Christmas movies are designed firmly with kids in mind, though some of the biggest classics from adults’ own younger years are getting more difficult to find. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman” are both only available to rent on Vudu, and unless you want to catch it on TV the original animated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is only available to rent on YouTube as “The Ultimate Edition” (the 2000 and 2018 versions of the film are both available on Netflix). “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is an Apple TV+ exclusive this year, but it will be available for everyone to stream the weekend of Dec. 11-13.
Other holiday classics:
- “The Santa Clause” trilogy (Disney+)
- “Elf” (Hulu and Amazon Prime with Starz premium add-on)
- “Polar Express” (AMC+)
- “A Christmas Story” (Hulu premium subscription)
- “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (AMC+).
If you don’t see your favorites, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what I’ve missed. Some might crop up in a future column, and if I run out of room (we’re only allowed so much space for these things) I swear I’ll put them on my own to-watch list.
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at email@example.com.
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