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5 Heartwarming Movies to Watch For the Holidays

Elf movie poster
A man adorned in traditional elf attire, primarily green with golden ornaments, stands as the letter "L" positioned between an "e" and an "f," both also in green. The black belt and shoes with turned tips, adorned with golden buckles, complete the festive ensemble.
Elf Movie Poster. 5, December, 2023.

1. Elf

Elf, a delightful American comedy released in 2003 and directed by Jon Favreau, features Will Ferrell in the lead role as Buddy. This heartwarming film, with a modest budget of 30 million dollars, turned into a massive commercial success, grossing 220 million dollars worldwide. Buddy, a human raised by elves in the North Pole, embarks on a remarkable journey after discovering his true identity. The plot unfolds as he seeks out his biological father, who initially rejects him. As the story progresses, Buddy’s father undergoes a change of heart, embracing the genuine spirit of Christmas. Elf has earned its place among modern Christmas classics, and many regard it as Will Ferrell’s standout performance.

2. Home Alone

Home Alone movie poster

Two menacing kidnappers, one with a scornful expression and the other with an evil laugh, stand behind a door featuring a cross window. One kidnapper holds a flashlight. Snow is visible outside. Inside, the movie's main character stands with his back to the door, looking startled and holding his chin in fear.
Home Alone Movie Poster. 5, December, 2023.

Home Alone is a beloved American Christmas comedy film that became a cornerstone of holiday entertainment. Created by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, this classic holds the title of the highest-grossing film of the 90s, raking in an impressive 476 million dollars worldwide. The heartwarming story follows 8-year-old Kevin McCallister, the youngest of five children who often feels overlooked within his family. When Kevin’s wish for solitude comes true and his family accidentally leaves him behind for the holidays, he embarks on a hilarious and heartwarming journey. Faced with burglars and unexpected challenges, Kevin discovers that the true magic of the season lies not in the gifts you receive but in the time spent with your loved ones.

3. It’s a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life movie poster

A man in a dark blue tuxedo lifts a woman into the air, her knees close to his chest. The woman wears a green skirt, a half-sleeve yellow top, and black long-heeled shoes. Both gaze into each other's eyes, capturing a moment of connection and tenderness.
It’s a Wonderful Life Movie Poster. 5, December, 2023.

It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American supernatural drama film that stands as a true classic. Initially, the film received modest success upon its release, earning 6.3 million dollars, twice its production cost. However, director Frank Capra didn’t receive immediate praise for his work. Over time, the film has rightfully claimed its place as one of the greatest films of all time, earning numerous awards and nominations. Starring James Stewart as George Bailey, the story revolves around a man troubled by his thoughts and contemplating suicide on Christmas Eve. Unaware of the genuine care from those around him, George’s perspective shifts when an angel named Clarence shows him a world without him, helping him realize the true value of his life.

4. A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story movie poster.

A chaotic Christmas scene unfolds as Santa emerges from a chimney adorned with a wreath and decorations. A disheveled man with a tie in one hand holds a detached mannequin leg, while a boy in a rabbit skin garment sits cross-legged with a rifle on his lap, a hunted rabbit beneath him, and a shotgun cartridge nearby. Two dogs add to the commotion—one black and white by the boy and another brown dog in front of a running woman holding a fallen Thanksgiving turkey on a tray.
A Christmas Story Movie Poster. 5, December, 2023.

A Christmas Story is a 1983 American Christmas comedy film directed by Bob Clark, starring Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, and Peter Billingsley. Regarded as a holiday classic in most of North America, the film garnered instant positive reviews upon its release, securing two Canadian Genie Awards. The success of the movie led to the creation of three sequels, with much of the original cast returning. Set in a small city in Indiana during Christmas time, the story follows a young boy named Ralphie. All Ralphie desires for Christmas is a Red Ryder Air Rifle, despite being consistently warned, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Against the odds, Ralphie’s dad purchases the rifle for him, leading to an inevitable mishap. However, Ralphie cleverly spins a tale to avoid trouble, cherishing the holiday spirit with the innocence of a child.

5. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Charlie Brown Christmas Movie Poster

A serene winter woodland scene with snow-covered ground, sparse stripe trees on the sides, and a central tree adorned with fallen green leaves resting on snow lumps. The movie title, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," is overlaid in red and blue colors, blending with the wintry atmosphere.
A Charlie Brown Christmas Movie Poster. 5, December, 2023.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is a 1965 animated television special, marking the first TV special based on Charles M. Schulz’s iconic comic strip, Peanuts. Produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez, this timeless classic has become a staple in households worldwide during the holiday season. The special received both an Emmy and a Peabody award, solidifying its place in Christmas traditions. The story revolves around Charlie Brown, who, despite the festive atmosphere, battles feelings of depression. When given the chance to direct a Christmas play, he faces mockery for his choices, including a small Christmas tree. However, the movie beautifully unfolds as everyone comes together, finding joy and warmth in each other’s company. With a simple yet powerful message, A Charlie Brown Christmas captures the true spirit of the holidays.

Sam Bull is a sophomore at Indiana University studying biology. This is the start of his second year at Media Services and he cannot wait to see what this next semester has in store!

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