Film & TV

The 10 Best Old Hollywood Holiday Flicks to Watch This December

These timeless holiday movies are sure to bring cheer to the season.
Reading time 6 minutes
'White Christmas' (1954).

The season for cozying up inside with a warm cup of cocoa is upon us, and nothing generates seasonal nostalgia more than an Old Hollywood holiday flick. The glamour and romance of early-era cinema is unmatched, and is sure to drum up some holiday joy. With temperatures dropping and social distancing remaining the buzzword of the year, staying home not only feels warm and welcome but even responsible. To help you get in the holiday mood, L’OFFICIEL rounds up the 10 best Old Hollywood holiday favorites for a merry movie night.

Remember the Night (1940)

Remember the Night is a Christmas caper set in New York City, following bracelet-thief Lee Leander (Barbara Stanwyck) and the prosecutor of her case, John “Jack” Sargeant (Fred Macmurray). Through a series of events, what starts out as a film about a robbery case turns into a holiday romance that will give you all of the warm Old Hollywood fuzzies. 

Holiday Inn (1942)

This Irving Berlin classic stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, with all of the song and dance fit for a festive flick. The hit holiday song “White Christmas” was penned for this film and won an Academy Award in 1943 for Best Original Song. Crosby’s character, Jim, is part of a popular music act in the city and plans to turn a Connecticut farm into a Holiday Inn, where visitors get to stay and enjoy performances for Christmas, Easter, and more. The film unfolds over the course of one year, from Christmas Eve to Christmas Eve, and promises a romantic ride. 

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Another holiday movie about a New Yorker, Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) has a writing career pretending to be a housewife who lives on a farm in Connecticut. When her publisher suggests she host a Christmas dinner for war hero Jefferson Jones, Elizabeth must face the music as she and Jefferson fall head over heels over the course of the holiday.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

One of the most highly quoted Christmas movies of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life is a cult favorite. When George Bailey (James Stewart), on the verge of suicide, is confronted by his guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) on Christmas Eve, George learns just how much he has touched the lives of those around him. The film received mixed reviews when it was first released, but has since entered the canon of must-watch holiday classics. 

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Featuring young starlet Natalie Wood in one of her first film roles, this 1947 film is set around New York City's Macy’s flagship during the holiday season. A heartwarming family film about a man aptly named Kris Kringle working his fair share of miracles during the holiday season.

The Bishop's Wife (1947)

Starring Old Hollywood heartthrob Cary Grant, this film tells the story of Bishop Henry Brougham in crisis, and the angel, Dudley, who comes to help him. The events of the movie culminate on Christmas Eve with Henry delivering an unforgettable and heartwarming sermon. 

It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)

Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Story, It Happened on Fifth Avenue tells the story of vagrants making a home for themselves and others in a Fifth Avenue mansion during the winter season when its owner is out of town. The ragtag crew creates an unbreakable bond as they celebrate the holiday season together in a tale that still rings true to this day. 

Scrooge – A Christmas Carol (1951)

One of the best-known Christmas stories that has been retold time and time again, the 1951 film adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol sees Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge and Michael Horden as the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley. Visited by the spirits of Christmas' past, present, and yet to come on the holiday's eve, the story teaches the important lesson of being kind to one another.

The Holly and the Ivy (1952)

Adapted from a play of the same name by Wynyard Brown, and with a traditional British Christmas carol of the same name, the film tells the story of a clergyman whose family tensions come to a boil at a gathering on Christmas Eve, leaving the family to confront their struggles all before the Christmas morning service the following day. 

White Christmas (1954)

Featuring music by Irving Berlin, the film starts on Christmas Eve during World War II when two soldiers, played by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, stumble into a career of performing when putting on a show for the army. Years later, two sisters join their act, and holiday romance ensues. Most notably, Crosby reprises the titular song that he first sang in Holiday Inn, this time joined by Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen.

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