10 Great Christmas Movies You Can Stream Right Now


We’re getting down to the wire here, folks, only two weeks until Christmas, which means it’s time to fill up the queue with holiday movies. Netflix, Hulu, and Prime have got a good assortment of sweet and sour; we, of course, lean more towards the sour. Here are our picks of the best of what’s streaming at the festive moment.

White Christmas

If you’re gonna watch a Christmas movie, y’know, watch a Christmas movie. This 1954 musical comedy romance from director Michael Curtiz (who also helmed a little something called Casablanca) jumps off of the title tune, which star Bing Crosby first sang in Holiday Inn, to tell the story of two Army-buddy entertainers doing a Christmas week gig at their old commanding offier’s resort, and falling in love, and getting into trouble, etc. Look, nobody watches White Christmas for the plot; queue it up for Crosby and Kaye’s chemistry, the unforgettable “Sisters” number by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, and the general good vibes. (Available on Netflix.)


If you’re feeling a little too jolly this Christmas season, pause long enough to revisit Joe Dante’s 1984 horror/comedy classic—a ruthless satirical indictment of materialism, the holidays, and small-town America. And while it was notorious at the time for its boundary-pushing comic violence (which contributed to the creation of the PG-13 rating), its grisliest images are imagined by the viewer, as co-star Phoebe Cates tells the horrifying story of exactly why she hates Christmas so very, very much. (Available on Netflix.)

Bad Santa

This is a rude, crude, uproarious bit of bitter-tasting holiday backwash from director Terry Zwigoff, with Billy Bob Thornton as Willie T. Stoke (a decidedly W.C. Fieldsian name for the kind of role Fields could have played, had he been born sixty years later), a horny, unshaven, unshowered, piss-drunk (and piss-pantsed) department store Santa as if perpetually in the clutches of a particularly wicked hangover. John Requa and Glenn Ficara’s script almost seems designed to offend, with scenes of a hammered Santa beating the shit out of papier-mâché animals, urinating on himself in the Santa chair, and sodomizing a clerk in the Plus-Sized dressing room. Acid-tongued and wickedly funny, Bad Santa has rightfully become an anti-holiday classic. (Available on Netflix, Hulu, and Tribeca Shortlist.)

The Ice Harvest

Billy Bob Thornton, the patron saint of anti-Christmas movies, returns to our list with this 2005 caper film, which includes such tidings of comfort and joy as “Only morons are nice on Christmas” and “Christmas Eve. Ho ho fucking ho!” It’s the tale of a lawyer (John Cusack) and a businessman (Thornton) who team to rip off a mob boss on Christmas Eve; double-crosses, dead bodies, and holiday drinking ensue. Though promoted as a comedy (which you’d expect from its director, Groundhog Day’s Harold Ramis), The Ice Harvest has a surprisingly dark, almost noir streak to it, and has very little time in its tight 92 minutes for holiday pleasantries. (Available on Netflix.)

Trading Places

Not a Christmas movie per se, but with one very memorable Christmas sequence: Dan Aykroyd’s fallen businessman, who could give Bad Santa’s Willie Stokes a run for his money in both the drunkenness and body odor department, dons a Santa suit to sneak into his former employer’s Christmas party and plant drugs in the desk of his replacement. It goes, well, poorly, but Aykroyd does manage to make it out of the bash with a full side of salmon, which he then consumes on a city bus. Happy holidays! (Available on Netflix.)

The Ref

“You know what I’m going to get you next Christmas, Mom? A big wooden cross, so that every time you feel unappreciated for your sacrifices, you can climb on up and nail yourself to it.” Not many Christmas-themed movies would trot out dialogue like that, but not many Christmas-themed movies are as audacious as Ted Demme’s terrific 1994 comedy. Released by Touchstone in March of that year (nice scheduling!), the film was promoted primarily as a vehicle for Denis Leary and his angry-smoker persona. The few who saw it in that initial run were surprised to discover a smart, well-written (by Fisher King scribe Richard LaGravanese), insightful look at a dysfunctional family and a crumbling marriage — a kind of Christmas with George and Martha. (Available on Netflix.)

Eyes Wide Shut

Forget religious observance, holiday cheer, and the warmth of family. Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 final film, set during the Christmas season, knows what that time of year is really all about: the quest for jealousy sex to get back at your hot, taunting wife. (Available on Netflix.)

Happy Christmas

The holiday wishes are right there in the title (albeit their British iteration), and Joe Swanberg’s charming indie comedy/drama is set during the holiday season, as a perpetual fuck-up (Anna Kendrick) visits her brother (Swanberg) and his family. Warm, funny, and thoughtful, with one of the cutest kid performances in recent memory – from the director’s own son, no less. (Available on Netflix and Hulu)

Carol If you’re keeping track, “Die Hard is the best Christmas movie” is now for lames and normies, and Carol is the best Christmas movie” is the new cool film snob move. Program your holidays accordingly. (Available on Netflix.)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Through really, if you’re looking to sub out (or supplement) your annual Die Hard fix, you might go to Shane Black, who has set nearly all of his films during the holiday season. But Lethal Weapon has the Gibson factor, The Long Kiss Goodnight isn’t streaming, and Iron Man 3 is great but not if you’ve got superhero fatigue. No worries – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is not only his best movie, but it’s got Santa suits and Christmas parties and curdled holiday mirth galore. Enjoy! (Available on Amazon Prime.)