I’ve long felt that the only thoroughly decent Christmas film is the 1951, British-produced, Alistair Sim-starring A Christmas Carol (or Scrooge). Because it feels genuinely Dickensian, for one thing. Everything else I can think of has a problem of one sort of another — forced, tonally one-note, one too many cute kids, oppressively sentimental, etc.
All the films directed by Bob Clark need to be permanently dust-binned, of course, and that necessarily includes A Christmas Story. The older I get the less comfortable I am about sitting down with It’s a Wonderful Life (the town-rallies-round, happy-ever-after finale is just too effusive), although the moment when James Stewart screams out that he wants to live again still gets me. Has there ever been a really superb Xmas film? Nothing’s coming to mind.