10 Films That Prove The 1980s Was The Greatest Decade For Christmas Movies

It goes without saying that us 80s Kids have a very special relationship with the decade in which we grew up, so you can be forgiven for thinking that we’re a little bit biased when it comes to deciding which is the greatest decade of them all.

But when you look at the wonderful toys, TV shows, music and movies we enjoyed as children, it really does make clear how very lucky we were to be born at the time we were.

And this is none more the case when it comes to the Christmas movies that were released between 1980 and 1989 (which excludes Home Alone, in case you were wondering!) So now that the season to be jolly is upon us, please allow us to celebrate with the following 10 Christmas movies; festive flicks that prove once and for all that the 1980s really was the greatest decade.


10. Santa Claus: The Movie

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Whilst it may be a long way from being the best movie ever made, as children Santa Claus: The Movie filled us with the joy and wonder of Christmas better than any other film managed to do. Remembering Santa pulling off that ‘Super Duper Looper’ still gets our hearts racing to this day!

Santa Claus: The Movie was actually a financial failure, making around $24 million from a budget of $30 to 50 million, and it received mainly negative reviews from critics, with one describing it as “a train wreck of a Christmas movie that’s so very wrong that you won’t be able to tear yourself away from it.” However, it has definitely gained a cult following over the years, and is now one of the most watched Christmas movies of all time.

9. Die Hard

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No surprises here, as along with Home Alone (which was released in 1990), Die Hard is one of the most watched movies at Christmas time.

We recently wrote an article asking whether Die Hard was actually a Christmas movie at all, but it is at least set on Christmas Eve, and it does see John McClane send a bad guy dressed as Santa down a lift shaft!

8. A Christmas Story

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If you’ve never taken the time to watch the 1983 movie A Christmas Story, then you really should put that right when it hits your TV screen this year.

Much more popular in the US, where it is considered something of a seasonal classic, A Christmas Story is based on author Jean Shepherd’s 1966 book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.

7. Gremlins

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A classic 1984 comedy horror that holds a special place in the heart of many an 80s kid, especially when Christmas is upon us, Gremlins is another movie that we make sure to watch every single year, even if it is rather dark in places.

Although to be honest, we’ve never been able to work out whether the scene where Kate reveals that her father died at Christmas when he dressed as Santa Claus and broke his neck climbing down their chimney is meant to be funny or sad!

6. Trading Places

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Often called a modern take on Mark Twain’s classic 19th-century novel ‘The Prince and the Pauper’, Trading Places was directed by John Landis and of course starred Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.

The movie was originally going to be called Black and White, and was set to star the legendary comedy duo of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was the third installment in the National Lampoon’s Vacation film series, was written by John Hughes, and starred Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quaid.

We recently gave 10 reasons why it’s the greatest Christmas movies of all time, and believe it or not, it was one of only two Christmas themed movies to be released in 1989. The other one was Prancer, which also starred Johnny Galecki, and is featured further down our list!

4. Mickey’s Christmas Carol

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Mickey’s Christmas Carol is a 1983 animation that was one of many movies to adapt Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol.

It of course starred Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge (who else?), and it was the first Mickey Mouse focussed theatrical release since The Simple Things in 1953, three decades earlier.

3. Scrooged

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Another Christmas movie based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Scrooged was released in 1988 and starred Bill Murray as Frank Cross, selfish television executive who is visited by ghosts on Christmas Eve.

Scrooged saw Bill Murray returning to acting after a four year break following the massive success of Ghostbusters, which he admitted that he found “overwhelming.”

2. Lethal Weapon

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Again, you could argue whether Lethal Weapon is actually a true Christmas movie, but there’s no doubt that it’s one of our favourite action movies of all time.

Brilliantly, a fifth entry in the Lethal Weapon franchise is now on the cards, which will see Murtaugh and Riggs both in their seventies! But until then, we’ll have to make do with watching the brilliant original movie once again this Christmas.

1. Prancer

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A delightful fantasy movie that was primarily aimed at children, Prancer tells the story of a farm girl nursing a wounded reindeer back to health.

The girl of course believes that the reindeer is one of Santa’s, and her actions inspire all those around her, including her disheartened dad. Do check it out if you’ve never watched it before, because it really is quite lovely!