MOVIEGUIDE®’s Top Ten Family-Friendly Christmas Movies
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
MOVIEGUIDE® has put together a list of great movies for the Christmas season, starting with the movie that shows clearly the reason for the season, THE NATIVITY STORY.
1. THE NATIVITY STORY, Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +4 – 2006: THE NATIVITY STORY is one of those very rare movies that brings the Gospel alive in a compelling, interesting, entertaining manner that shatters expectations. The movie references and quotes Scripture throughout. King Herod sends out the troops to kill all the innocents in Bethlehem and stop the prophecy that there will be born a King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The movie then flashes back to a year earlier in the town of Nazareth, introducing the audience to the life of Joseph and Mary. Soon, an angel of God comes to Mary to tell her that she is with God’s child, born by the Holy Spirit. Joseph and Mary have to journey to Bethlehem to register for the Roman census. In the fullness of time, the prophecies of God are fulfilled. THE NATIVITY STORY is a wonderful movie. The dialogue, the plot development, the turning points are refreshingly dramatic. Best of all, THE NATIVITY STORY testifies in every way to Jesus the Messiah and is clearly evangelistic without being preachy.
2. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +3 – 1946: Jimmy Stewart plays the beleaguered but good-hearted George Bailey, who finds out what life would be like if he’d never been born. A very slight caution is urged because of the false angelology, although the movie is number one on our list because of its emotive revelation of man’s relationship to God, who answers our prayers.
3. YOUNG MESSIAH, Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +4 – 2016: THE YOUNG MESSIAH is about the young Jesus living in Egypt with Mary and Joseph and then returning to Israel. It is extremely powerful and emotional, and represents all the elements of who Jesus was in an allegorical, dramatic way. The movie is like a visual, entertaining sermon that presents the totality of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in a wonderful, unique, winsome, dramatic way.
4. A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +4 – 1965: The great, classic television show is like a little animated movie. It’s about Charlie Brown pondering the meaning of Christmas, with Linus giving Charlie Brown the real reason for the season.
5. KING OF KINGS (silent), Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +4 – 1927: The famous H.B. Warner played Jesus in Cecil B. DeMille’s KING OF KINGS, which is still the classic of all movies about Jesus Christ.
6. SCROOGE, Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +3 – 1951: Starring Alastair Sim, this well-crafted and faithful version of Dickens’ classic is so good it can be watched year round. Sim does a marvelous, classic job of bringing Scrooge to life in this heartwarming masterpiece. Furthermore, Tiny Tim is adorable, and the Cratchit family is absolutely heartwarming and tear-jerking.
7. THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL, Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +3 – 1992: This is a live-action musical that retells the classic Dickens story with all our Muppet favorites, and actor Michael Caine as Scrooge.
8. BEN-HUR, Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +4 – 1959: Subtitled A TALE OF THE CHRIST, this is an epic story of a young Jewish man, Judah Ben-Hur, played by Charlton Heston, who lives at the time of Christ. When his sisters contract leprosy, he can either choose to hate the Romans or find healing and forgiveness through the blood of Christ.
9. DOLLY PARTON’S CHRISTMAS OF MANY COLORS: CIRCLE OF LOVE, Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +4 – 2016: DOLLY PARTON’S CHRISTMAS OF MANY COLORS: CIRCLE OF LOVE, young Dolly Parton and her whole family make sacrifices so they can get their Mama a ring for Christmas, but a blizzard puts everything in jeopardy. The delightful acting and wonderful focus on faith, prayer and forgiveness in DOLLY PARTON’S CHRISTMAS OF MANY COLORS makes it a breath of fresh air for the whole family.
10. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +1 – 2005: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, based on C. S. Lewis’s popular Christian fable, tells the story of four English children, who enter the land of Narnia, where they meet Aslan, the son of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea, who rescues the land from the evil White Witch. Despite some minor changes from the book, THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE retains most of its Christian focus and is tremendously exciting, thrilling, and redemptive.