Most Successful Christmas Movie Classics

While Christmas is mostly a time of cheer and goodwill to all, new research reveals that when it comes to Christmas movie classics, nothing pleases us more than flicks about home invasions and hostage negotiations.

No sooner has the last cracker sounded and the last fork clattered to the table, the sound of gunshots fills the air. It can only mean one thing.

Die Hard is on TV, and John McClane is at it again. Yippee ki-yay.

Like drinking raw eggs, Die Hard is one of those Christmas traditions that sounds so wrong but feels so right. On paper, there are more relaxing flicks to watch with mulled wine and mince pies in hand. But after Christmas dinner, and the usual squabbles over the last pig-in-a-blanket, nothing is more cathartic than watching helicopters explode for two hours.

But is Die Hard really the most popular Christmas film the world over? Or is there an even more universally-popular festive flick?

We threw data at the question to find out once and for all which is the most successful Christmas movie of all time.


We took the top 50 Christmas movies as determined by renowned entertainment database firm IMDb. We then cross-referenced their user ratings with Rotten Tomatoes critic review scores, Google search trends and box office profits.

The 10 Most Successful Christmas Movies of All Time

RankChristmas Movie
1Home Alone
2Die Hard
3The Nightmare Before Christmas
5Love Actually
6Lethal Weapon
8Edward Scissorhands
9Batman Returns
10While You Were Sleeping

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Home Alone nabbed the top spot. The classic MaCaulay Culkin caper remains a Christmas favourite around the world. As well as being well-received critically, it raked in $476 million at the box office, becoming the most lucrative Christmas flick ever.

In second place overall, Die Hard scored a 94% fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating, making it the critics' Christmas darling. However, Elf remains the fan favourite by search volume, perhaps owing to the recency of its release (2003) compared with other films in the top 10.

On a more general note, the five highest grossing films - Home Alone, Batman Returns, Love Actually, Elf and While You Were Sleeping - all carry an age rating of PG-13 or below. So while broad appeal doesn’t guarantee commercial success, these findings indicate that it seems to help.

You can find complete data for the top 50 Christmas movies below.

RankTitleWorldwide Gross ProfitRotten Tomatoes Audience ScoreIMDb RatingGlobal Monthly Google Search Volume
1Home Alone$476,684,675.0079%7.5823,000
2Die Hard$139,109,346.0094%8.2368,000
3The Nightmare Before Christmas$75,069,160.0091%8.01,000,000
5Love Actually$247,950,247.0072%7.7673,000
6Lethal Weapon$120,192,350.0085%7.6673,000
8Edward Scissorhands$53,976,987.0091%7.9301,000
9Batman Returns$266,824,291.0073%7.0110,000
10While You Were Sleeping$182,057,01679%6.7135,000
12The Perks of Being a Wallflower$33,069,30389%8.0450,000
13National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation$71,319,54686%7.6135,000
14Trading Places$90,400,00085%7.590,500
15Arthur Christmas$149,717,124.0076%7.174,000
16The Polar Express$319,090,24163%6.6135,000
17Bad Santa$77,147,03175%7.1201,000
18White Christmas$30,000,00088%7.6246,000
19A Christmas Story$20,605,20988%8.0246,000
20It's a Wonderful Life$9,576,15995%8.6246,000
21Joyeux Noel$23,134,07589%7.8165,000
22The Santa Clause$189,800,00065%6.4110,000
24The Family Man$124,715,86367%6.740,500
26The Nativity Story$46,309,64475%6.827,100
27Just Friends$42,797,67971%6.2135,000
28The Night Before$52,427,34661%6.4110,000
29Black Christmas$16,235,73875%7.240,500
30Four Christmases$168,311,55847%5.649,500
31Friday After Next$33,526,83575%5.860,500
32Jingle All the Way$129,832,38938%5.574,000
33A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas$48,500,00059%6.38,100
34The Ref$12,325,88573%6.914,800
36Christmas in Connecticut$3,000,00075%7.514,800
37Christmas with the Kranks$96,469,18737%%5.274,000
38One Magic Christmas$13,229,51470%6.78,100
39All I Want for Christmas$14,812,14459%6.0135,000
40Jack Frost$34,645,37439%5.3246,000
41A Christmas Tale$6,648,63966%7.13,600
43Deck the Halls$46,815,80730%4.990,500
44Eight Crazy Nights$23,607,20249%5.314,800
45Reindeer Games$23,360,77927%5.733,100
46Mixed Nuts$6,670,17646%5.490,500
47I'll Be Home for Christmas$12,214,33841%5.449,500
48Nothing Like the Holidays$7,519,49041%6.15,400
49Trapped in Paradise$6,017,50940%5.95,400
50Surviving Christmas$14,328,81328%5.314,800

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