(Photo by New Line, Warner Bros., Miramax, RKO, 20th Century Fox/ courtesy Everett Collection)

The Best Christmas Movies of All Time

From Home Alone and Elf to classics like Miracle on 34th Street, we’ve made our list of great holiday films and checked it at least twice. Now, to all you nice boys and girls out there, we present the Best Christmas Movies ever!

Christmas has come to represent different things to people over the years, and the movies here reflect that in kind. If you’re traditional and feeling nostalgic, you’ll be pleased to see where It’s A Wonderful Life and Holiday Inn made it on our list of top holiday films. If this time of the year reminds you of sitting around the TV, eagerly awaiting those annual specials, look out for A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. There’s horror (Black Christmas), comedy (Trading Places), horror and comedy (Gremlins), and even a superhero covered in tinsel somewhere (Batman Returns). For those with an independent streak to celebrate, check out Tangerine and Carol. Meanwhile, Netflix has made great strides in the Kris Kringle quadrant with The Christmas Chronicles and Klaus. And if Christmas means traveling somewhere you don’t want to be, stuck in a building with people you don’t like, have we got the ultimate movie for you: Die Hard! Ho ho ho, now we have a complete list of great Christmas movies.

Wondering how we put this Christmas movie list together? Every movie on the list is Fresh and plays around with the spirit of Christmas and the holidays as a central theme. Then we sorted them all by our ranked formula, which factors in the movie’s release year its number of reviews, to make the ultimate list of holiday films that melted even the most cynical critics’ hearts.

One movie you won’t see on this list: the Rotten-rated Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. On our podcast, we discuss whether ‘Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong’ about this sequel.

And now you’re ready to enter a wonderland of cinematic history, with the Best Christmas Movies ever!

Best Christmas Movies | Worst Christmas Movies
Best and Worst Christmas Horror | Best Foreign Christmas Movies
Rotten Christmas Movies We Love | Modern Christmas Classics

#69

Remember the Night (1940)
100%

#69
Adjusted Score: 49253%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Moved to pity by the Christmas season, New York District Attorney John Sargent (Fred MacMurray) lets pretty shoplifter Lee Leander... [More]
Directed By: Mitchell Leisen

#68
#68
Adjusted Score: 61771%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Six-year-old Susan Walker (Mara Wilson) is skeptical of the Christmas myth surrounding Santa Claus, a trait she perhaps learned from... [More]
Directed By: Les Mayfield

#67
#67
Adjusted Score: 62208%
Critics Consensus: Solid performances and a steady directorial hand help The Preacher's Wife offer some reliably heartwarming - albeit fairly predictable - holiday cheer.
Synopsis: A cleric begins to doubt himself and is visited by an angel. The heavenly emissary is supposed to help the... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#66
Adjusted Score: 63597%
Critics Consensus: Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square isn't quite up to its star's standards, but its overwhelming good cheer and campy self-awareness may be just what viewers are looking for.
Synopsis: A woman who plans to sell a small town without regard for the people who live there receives a visit... [More]
Directed By: Debbie Allen

#65
#65
Adjusted Score: 64475%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Desperate to avoid his family's judgment about his perpetual single status, Peter (Michael Urie) convinces his best friend Nick (Philemon... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mayer

#64

Silent Night (2021)
64%

#64
Adjusted Score: 69254%
Critics Consensus: Spending time with these characters can be a lot to ask, but Silent Night peers into the abyss with admirable aplomb.
Synopsis: From producers Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman franchise), Trudie Styler (Moon) and Celine Rattray (The Kids Are Alright), Silent Night follows parents... [More]
Directed By: Camille Griffin

#63
Adjusted Score: 69380%
Critics Consensus: While it's missing some of the magic of the original, The Christmas Chronicles 2 serves up a sweet second helping of holiday cheer that makes the most of its marvelously matched leads.
Synopsis: Teenager Kate Pierce is reunited with Santa Claus when a troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas -- forever.... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#62
#62
Adjusted Score: 69791%
Critics Consensus: Viewers seeking a fresh holiday viewing option -- or those simply in the mood for Santa Kurt Russell -- should find The Christmas Chronicles well worth a yuletide stream.
Synopsis: Siblings Kate and Teddy Pierce hatch a scheme to capture Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. When the plan goes awry,... [More]
Directed By: Clay Kaytis

#61
Adjusted Score: 70461%
Critics Consensus: While Christmas Vacation may not be the most disciplined comedy, it's got enough laughs and good cheer to make for a solid seasonal treat.
Synopsis: As the holidays approach, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife,... [More]
Directed By: Jeremiah S. Chechik

#60

Love Actually (2003)
64%

#60
Adjusted Score: 71838%
Critics Consensus: A sugary tale overstuffed with too many stories. Still, the cast charms.
Synopsis: Nine intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. Among the characters explored are... [More]
Directed By: Richard Curtis

#59

Krampus (2015)
67%

#59
Adjusted Score: 70917%
Critics Consensus: Krampus is gory good fun for fans of non-traditional holiday horror with a fondness for Joe Dante's B- movie classics, even if it doesn't have quite the savage bite its concept calls for.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dougherty

#58
Adjusted Score: 71643%
Critics Consensus: Still raunchy, still irreverent, and still hit-and-miss, this Harold & Kumar outing also has a Christmas miracle: The audience gets to see the sweeter side of the duo.
Synopsis: Six years after their last adventure, stoner pals Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) have grown apart and found... [More]
Directed By: Todd Strauss-Schulson

#57
#57
Adjusted Score: 72961%
Critics Consensus: The rare slasher with enough intelligence to wind up the tension between bloody outbursts, Black Christmas offers fiendishly enjoyable holiday viewing for genre fans.
Synopsis: As winter break begins, a group of sorority sisters, including Jess (Olivia Hussey) and the often inebriated Barb (Margot Kidder),... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

#56

Godmothered (2020)
68%

#56
Adjusted Score: 72342%
Critics Consensus: More bippity boppity than boo, Godmothered tweaks fairytale conventions with just enough self-aware humor to overcome a disappointing deficit of genuine magic.
Synopsis: Set at Christmas time, "Godmothered" is a comedy about Eleanor, a young, inexperienced fairy godmother-in-training (Jillian Bell), who upon hearing... [More]
Directed By: Sharon Maguire

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 73343%
Critics Consensus: The Best Man Holiday manages honest laughs out of broad humor, and affects convincing drama from a deeply conventional plot.
Synopsis: Nearly 15 years after they were last together as a group, college friends Lance (Morris Chestnut), Harper (Taye Diggs), Candace... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#54

Scrooged (1988)
69%

#54
Adjusted Score: 72384%
Critics Consensus: Scrooged gets by with Bill Murray and a dash of holiday spirit, although it's hampered by a markedly conflicted tone and an undercurrent of mean-spiritedness.
Synopsis: In this modern take on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a wildly successful television executive... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#53

Home Alone (1990)
68%

#53
Adjusted Score: 71390%
Critics Consensus: Home Alone uneven but frequently funny premise stretched unreasonably thin is buoyed by Macaulay Culkin's cute performance and strong supporting stars.
Synopsis: When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 74177%
Critics Consensus: Frosty the Snowman is a jolly, happy sing-along that will delight children with its crisp animation and affable title character, who makes an indelible impression with his corncob pipe, button nose, and eyes made out of coal.
Synopsis: A discarded magic top hat brings to life the snowman that a group of children made, until a magician, professor... [More]

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 74079%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A retelling of the classic Dickens tale with Disney's classic characters.... [More]
Directed By: Burny Mattinson

#50

The Night Before (2015)
69%

#50
Adjusted Score: 74217%
Critics Consensus: The Night Before provokes enough belly laughs to qualify as a worthwhile addition to the list of Christmas comedies worth revisiting, even if it isn't quite as consistent as the classics.
Synopsis: For the last 10 years, lifelong buddies Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have gathered on... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

#49

The Ref (1994)
72%

#49
Adjusted Score: 75276%
Critics Consensus: Undeniably uneven and too dark for some, The Ref nonetheless boasts strong turns from Denis Leary, Judy Davis, and Kevin Spacey, as well as a sharply funny script.
Synopsis: Bickering spouses (Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey) annoy the cat burglar (Denis Leary) who takes them hostage in their Connecticut home.... [More]
Directed By: Ted Demme

#48

The Santa Clause (1994)
72%

#48
Adjusted Score: 75592%
Critics Consensus: The Santa Clause is utterly undemanding, but it's firmly rooted in the sort of good old-fashioned holiday spirit missing from too many modern yuletide films.
Synopsis: Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a... [More]
Directed By: John Pasquin

#47
Adjusted Score: 76157%
Critics Consensus: The Force isn't fully with this Lego Star Wars adventure, but its affectionate franchise callbacks and self-aware humor should please fans looking to spend their holidays in a galaxy far, far away...
Synopsis: "The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special" reunites Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Rose and the droids for a joyous feast on... [More]
Directed By: Ken Cunningham

#46

Happy Christmas (2014)
75%

#46
Adjusted Score: 77758%
Critics Consensus: Intelligent, well-acted, and satisfyingly low-key, Happy Christmas marks another step in prolific filmmaker Joe Swanberg's creative evolution.
Synopsis: An immature party girl (Anna Kendrick) moves in with her brother's family to get over a breakup and throws their... [More]
Directed By: Joe Swanberg

#45

Merry Christmas (2005)
74%

#45
Adjusted Score: 78337%
Critics Consensus: The poignant humanity on display in Joyeux Noel makes its sentimentality forgivable.
Synopsis: With the advent of World War I, Europe is thrown into a brutal and vicious chaos as men are forced... [More]
Directed By: Christian Carion

#44
Adjusted Score: 77941%
Critics Consensus: It may not be the finest version of Charles Dickens' tale to grace the screen, but The Muppet Christmas Carol is funny and heartwarming, and serves as a good introduction to the story for young viewers.
Synopsis: The Muppets perform the classic Dickens holiday tale, with Kermit the Frog playing Bob Cratchit, the put-upon clerk of stingy... [More]
Directed By: Brian Henson

#43

White Christmas (1954)
77%

#43
Adjusted Score: 81247%
Critics Consensus: It may be too sweet for some, but this unabashedly sentimental holiday favorite is too cheerful to resist.
Synopsis: Singers Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) join sister act Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen)... [More]
Directed By: Michael Curtiz

#42

Let It Snow (2019)
81%

#42
Adjusted Score: 81773%
Critics Consensus: Comfortably cliché, Let It Snow wears its influences on its sleeve, but works anyway thanks an excellent ensemble and just the right amount of holiday cheer.
Synopsis: A snowstorm brings a group of young people together.... [More]
Directed By: Luke Snellin

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 82031%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Not even Santa Claus is safe from the evil that descends on Bailey Downs, a small town that is suddenly... [More]

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 83815%
Critics Consensus: While You Were Sleeping is built wholly from familiar ingredients, but assembled with such skill -- and with such a charming performance from Sandra Bullock -- that it gives formula a good name.
Synopsis: Lonely transit worker Lucy Eleanor Moderatz (Sandra Bullock) pulls her longtime crush, Peter (Peter Gallagher), from the path of an... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 83902%
Critics Consensus: Anna and the Apocalypse finds fresh brains and a lot of heart in the crowded zombie genre - not to mention a fun genre mashup populated by rootable characters.
Synopsis: A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven - at Christmas - forcing Anna and her friends to... [More]
Directed By: John McPhail

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 85973%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Christmastime is here. Happiness and cheer. And for Peanuts fans everywhere, it just wouldn't be Christmas without this classic holiday... [More]
Directed By: Bill Melendez, Phil Roman

#37

Bad Santa (2003)
78%

#37
Adjusted Score: 85681%
Critics Consensus: A gloriously rude and gleefully offensive black comedy, Bad Santa isn't for everyone, but grinches will find it uproariously funny.
Synopsis: In this dark comedy, the crotchety Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) and his partner (Tony Cox) reunite once a... [More]
Directed By: Terry Zwigoff

#36

Batman Returns (1992)
80%

#36
Adjusted Score: 87234%
Critics Consensus: Director Tim Burton's dark, brooding atmosphere, Michael Keaton's work as the tormented hero, and the flawless casting of Danny DeVito as The Penguin and Christopher Walken as, well, Christopher Walken make the sequel better than the first.
Synopsis: The monstrous Penguin (Danny DeVito), who lives in the sewers beneath Gotham, joins up with wicked shock-headed businessman Max Shreck... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 87080%
Critics Consensus: The Bishop's Wife succeeds thanks to the strength of winning performances from a stellar cast, which includes Cary Grant and Loretta Young.
Synopsis: Dejected by his efforts to raise money to build a cathedral, Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) beseeches heaven for guidance,... [More]
Directed By: Henry Koster

#34

Trading Places (1983)
88%

#34
Adjusted Score: 88934%
Critics Consensus: Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire.
Synopsis: Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#33
Adjusted Score: 102151%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Stannie Dum (Stan Laurel) and Ollie Dee (Oliver Hardy) rent rooms in Mother Peep's shoe in Toyland. When Mother Peep... [More]
Directed By: Gus Meins, Charley Rogers

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 89363%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While recovering in a hospital, war hero Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan) grows familiar with the "Diary of a Housewife" column... [More]
Directed By: Peter Godfrey

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 89417%
Critics Consensus: The 1951 adaptation of Charles Dickens' timeless classic is perhaps the most faithful film version -- and Alastair Sim's performance as Scrooge is not to be missed.
Synopsis: Crotchety Victorian businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) has no use for festivity, even at Christmas. After resentfully allowing timid clerk... [More]
Directed By: Brian Desmond Hurst

#30

Gremlins (1984)
85%

#30
Adjusted Score: 91126%
Critics Consensus: Whether you choose to see it as a statement on consumer culture or simply a special effects-heavy popcorn flick, Gremlins is a minor classic.
Synopsis: A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante

#29

A Christmas Tale (2008)
86%

#29
Adjusted Score: 90008%
Critics Consensus: A sharp black comedy about a chaotic family holiday gathering, A Christmas Tale is always involving, thanks to an impressive ensemble cast.
Synopsis: When steely French matriarch Junon (Catherine Deneuve) learns she has leukemia, she asks her children and grandchildren at the family... [More]
Directed By: Arnaud Desplechin

#28

Elf (2003)
85%

#28
Adjusted Score: 90696%
Critics Consensus: A movie full of Yuletide cheer, Elf is a spirited, good-natured family comedy, and it benefits greatly from Will Ferrell's funny and charming performance as one of Santa's biggest helpers.
Synopsis: Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa's elves.... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#27
Adjusted Score: 90662%
Critics Consensus: The Man Who Invented Christmas adds holiday magic to the writing of A Christmas Carol, putting a sweetly revisionist spin on the story behind a classic yuletide tale.
Synopsis: In 1843 London, author Charles Dickens finds himself in financial trouble after writing three unsuccessful novels in a row. Desperate... [More]
Directed By: Bharat Nalluri

#26

White Reindeer (2013)
90%

#26
Adjusted Score: 91434%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Suzanne struggles to put her life back together after a tragedy at Christmas time.... [More]
Directed By: Zach Clark

#25

Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
91%

#25
Adjusted Score: 91907%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful and substantive, Tokyo Godfathers adds a moving -- and somewhat unconventional -- entry to the animated Christmas canon.
Synopsis: Middle-aged alcoholic Gin (Toru Emori), teenage runaway Miyuki (Aya Okamoto) and former drag queen Hana (Yoshiaki Umegaki) are a trio... [More]
Directed By: Satoshi Kon

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 92176%
Critics Consensus: Tongue-in-cheek satire blends well with entertaining action and spot-on performances in this dark, eclectic neo-noir homage.
Synopsis: Two-bit crook Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) stumbles into an audition for a mystery film while on the run from... [More]
Directed By: Shane Black

#23
Adjusted Score: 92566%
Critics Consensus: Rare Exports is an unexpectedly delightful crossbreed of deadpan comedy and Christmas horror.
Synopsis: A young boy named Pietari (Onni Tommila) and his friend Juuso (Ilmari Järvenpää) think a secret mountain drilling project near... [More]
Directed By: Jalmari Helander

#22

Better Watch Out (2016)
89%

#22
Adjusted Score: 93103%
Critics Consensus: Carried by its charismatic young cast, Better Watch Out is an adorably sinister holiday horror film.
Synopsis: Ashley travels to the suburban home of the Lerners to baby-sit their 12-year-old son Luke at Christmastime. She must soon... [More]
Directed By: Chris Peckover

#21
Adjusted Score: 93642%
Critics Consensus: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey celebrates the yuletide season with a holiday adventure whose exuberant spirit is matched by its uplifting message.
Synopsis: Decades after his apprentice betrays him, a once joyful toymaker finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter appears on... [More]
Directed By: David E. Talbert

#20

The Apartment (1960)
93%

#20
Adjusted Score: 100882%
Critics Consensus: Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos.
Synopsis: Insurance worker C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lends his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs.... [More]
Directed By: Billy Wilder

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 94138%
Critics Consensus: Both warmly nostalgic and darkly humorous, A Christmas Story deserves its status as a holiday perennial.
Synopsis: Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

#18

Little Women (1994)
93%

#18
Adjusted Score: 94167%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a powerhouse lineup of talented actresses, Gillian Armstrong's take on Louisa May Alcott's Little Women proves that a timeless story can succeed no matter how many times it's told.
Synopsis: In this 1994 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic, the March sisters confront growing pains, financial shortages, family tragedies and... [More]
Directed By: Gillian Armstrong

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 94201%
Critics Consensus: The first collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, Edward Scissorhands is a magical modern fairy tale with gothic overtones and a sweet center.
Synopsis: A scientist (Vincent Price) builds an animated human being -- the gentle Edward (Johnny Depp). The scientist dies before he... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#16

Happiest Season (2020)
82%

#16
Adjusted Score: 95288%
Critics Consensus: A jolly good time with heartfelt performances and more than enough holiday cheer, all you'll want for Christmas is Happiest Season.
Synopsis: This romantic comedy is about longtime lesbian couple Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis), who made plans to go... [More]
Directed By: Clea DuVall

#15
Adjusted Score: 96156%
Critics Consensus: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a yule-tide gem that bursts with eye-popping iconography, a spirited soundtrack, and a heart-warming celebration of difference.
Synopsis: This stop-motion animagic version of the classic Christmas tale adds a bit of a twist when Rudolph encounters an abominable... [More]
Directed By: Maury Laws, Larry Roemer

#14

Klaus (2019)
94%

#14
Adjusted Score: 97595%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful hand-drawn animation and a humorous, heartwarming narrative make Klaus an instant candidate for holiday classic status.
Synopsis: A desperate postman accidentally brings about the genesis of Santa Claus.... [More]
Directed By: Sergio Pablos

#13

Arthur Christmas (2011)
92%

#13
Adjusted Score: 98280%
Critics Consensus: Aardman Animations broadens their humor a bit for Arthur Christmas, a clever and earnest holiday film with surprising emotional strength.
Synopsis: Everyone knows that, each Christmas, Santa Claus delivers presents to every last child on Earth. What everyone doesn't know is... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Smith

#12

Die Hard (1988)
94%

#12
Adjusted Score: 99426%
Critics Consensus: Its many imitators (and sequels) have never come close to matching the taut thrills of the definitive holiday action classic.
Synopsis: New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and two daughters on Christmas... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#11

Tangerine (2015)
96%

#11
Adjusted Score: 102208%
Critics Consensus: Tangerine shatters casting conventions and its filmmaking techniques are up-to-the-minute, but it's an old-fashioned comedy at heart -- and a pretty wonderful one at that.
Synopsis: After hearing that her boyfriend/pimp cheated on her while she was in jail, a hooker and her best friend set... [More]
Directed By: Sean Baker

#10

Carol (2015)
94%

#10
Adjusted Score: 106076%
Critics Consensus: Shaped by Todd Haynes' deft direction and powered by a strong cast led by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, Carol lives up to its groundbreaking source material.
Synopsis: Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) spots the beautiful, elegant Carol (Cate Blanchett) perusing the doll displays in a 1950s Manhattan department... [More]
Directed By: Todd Haynes

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 104342%
Critics Consensus: A disarmingly sweet musical led by outstanding performances from Judy Garland and Margaret O'Brien, Meet Me in St. Louis offers a holiday treat for all ages.
Synopsis: "Meet Me in St. Louis" is a classic MGM romantic musical comedy that focuses on four sisters (one of whom... [More]
Directed By: Vincente Minnelli

#8

Little Women (2019)
95%

#8
Adjusted Score: 120899%
Critics Consensus: With a stellar cast and a smart, sensitive retelling of its classic source material, Greta Gerwig's Little Women proves some stories truly are timeless.
Synopsis: In the years after the Civil War, Jo March lives in New York and makes her living as a writer,... [More]
Directed By: Greta Gerwig

#7
Adjusted Score: 103690%
Critics Consensus: The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.
Synopsis: The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#6
Adjusted Score: 100735%
Critics Consensus: How the Grinch Stole Christmas brings an impressive array of talent to bear on an adaptation that honors a classic holiday story -- and has rightfully become a yuletide tradition of its own.
Synopsis: This made-for-TV Christmas special is a classic. Based on a Dr. Seuss book, it is about a Christmas-hating Grinch who... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Jones

#5
Adjusted Score: 103994%
Critics Consensus: Deftly directed by Ernst Lubitsch from a smart, funny script by Samson Raphaelson, The Shop Around the Corner is a romantic comedy in the finest sense of the term.
Synopsis: Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) are employees at Matuschek and Company, a general store in Budapest.... [More]
Directed By: Ernst Lubitsch

#4

Holiday Inn (1942)
100%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100121%
Critics Consensus: With the combined might of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Irving Berlin working in its favor, Holiday Inn is a seasonal classic -- not least because it introduced "White Christmas" to the world.
Synopsis: In this Irving Berlin musical, Jim (Bing Crosby) and Lila are members of a performing trio who plan to quit... [More]
Directed By: Mark Sandrich

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 101833%
Critics Consensus: Irrefutable proof that gentle sentimentalism can be the chief ingredient in a wonderful film, Miracle on 34th Street delivers a warm holiday message without resorting to treacle.
Synopsis: In this Christmas classic, an old man going by the name of Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) fills in for an... [More]
Directed By: George Seaton

#2

8-Bit Christmas (2021)
82%

#2
Adjusted Score: 82649%
Critics Consensus: For viewers seeking an undemanding and sweetly nostalgic ode to yuletide seasons past, 8-Bit Christmas boots up without a glitch.
Synopsis: A humorous and heartfelt look back at the adventures of childhood. Set in suburban Chicago in the late 1980s, the... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dowse

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 104757%
Critics Consensus: The holiday classic to define all holiday classics, It's a Wonderful Life is one of a handful of films worth an annual viewing.
Synopsis: After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) is sent to earth to... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra


Disney

(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: 20th Century Fox Film Corp)

The 100 Best Movies on Disney+ (January 2022)

Disney+ covers over 100 years of its flagship studio’s history, from early animated shorts to groundbreaking full-length animated features to family live-action classics to the blockbuster triumvirate of superheroes, space operas, and 3D computer animation of today. It’s a big spread of time filled with classics, some middling stuff, and even a few disasters. Rotten Tomatoes is here to discover and present only the movies with the highest Tomatometer scores on Disney+!

Looking for classic Disney animated movies? Disney+ has them, and we’ve chosen the Freshest, like Cinderella, Fantasia, 101 Dalmatians, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. For more recent Disney animated movies, the best among that crop includes Zootopia, Moana, and Frozen. Of course, you can’t talk Disney animation these days without including Pixar, who are represented in Certified Fresh full with Toy Story, Inside Out, The Incredibles, and more.

But Walt Disney Studios also has a long, honored tradition of family-friendly live-action films, too, and the streaming service does not skimp out. Here, you’ll find those delightful animation/live-action hybrids (Mary Poppins, Pete’s Dragon), sports classics (The Rookie, Miracle, Remember the Titans), and some sweet sci-fi (TRON).

If you’re looking to get lost in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney+ is launching a few films short of a full Avengers line-up: Expect to see Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man and a several more, and expect us to update the list as more are added in the future. And, of course, Star Wars is here in full force: From A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, to the modern era featuring The Force Awakens and spin-offs like Rogue One. Our only stipulation for inclusion in our guide is that each film featured here is Certified Fresh, which means it maintained a high Tomatometer score after meeting a minimum number of critics reviews.

As streaming continues to shake up the entertainment landscape, threatening to bury audiences under a deluge of viewing choices, we present a fast track into what you want to see with the 100 Best Movies on Disney+ to Watch Right Now!

MORE ON DISNEY+: The Best Disney+ Shows and Original MoviesAll Disney Animated Movies Ranked | All Star Wars Movies Ranked | All MCU Movies RankedAll Pixar Movies Ranked

#100
#100
Adjusted Score: 87090%
Critics Consensus: Offering Monsters, Inc. fans a return visit with beloved characters, Monsters University delivers funny and thoughtful family entertainment for viewers of any age.
Synopsis: Ever since he was a kid monster, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) has dreamed of becoming a Scarer. To make his... [More]
Directed By: Dan Scanlon

#99
Adjusted Score: 89804%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of pulpy action, a pleasantly retro vibe, and a handful of fine performances, Captain America is solidly old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment.
Synopsis: It is 1941 and the world is in the throes of war. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants to do his... [More]
Directed By: Joe Johnston

#98
Adjusted Score: 91497%
Critics Consensus: With Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas brings his second Star Wars trilogy to a suitably thrilling and often poignant -- if still a bit uneven -- conclusion.
Synopsis: It has been three years since the Clone Wars began. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#97

Fantasia 2000 (1999)
81%

#97
Adjusted Score: 84370%
Critics Consensus: It provides an entertaining experience for adults and children alike.
Synopsis: "Fantasia/2000" continues and builds upon Walt Disney's original idea with the creation of a new musical program interpreted by a... [More]

#96

Miracle (2004)
81%

#96
Adjusted Score: 85821%
Critics Consensus: Kurt Russell's performance guides this cliche-ridden tale into the realm of inspirational, nostalgic goodness.
Synopsis: When college coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) is hired to helm the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team, he brings... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#95

Black Widow (2021)
79%

#95
Adjusted Score: 103849%
Critics Consensus: Black Widow's deeper themes are drowned out in all the action, but it remains a solidly entertaining standalone adventure that's rounded out by a stellar supporting cast.
Synopsis: Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her... [More]
Directed By: Cate Shortland

#94
Adjusted Score: 91159%
Critics Consensus: Though failing to reach the cinematic heights of its predecessors, Return of the Jedi remains an entertaining sci-fi adventure and a fitting end to the classic trilogy.
Synopsis: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) battles horrible Jabba the Hut and cruel Darth Vader to save his comrades in the Rebel... [More]
Directed By: Richard Marquand

#93

Avatar (2009)
81%

#93
Adjusted Score: 94655%
Critics Consensus: It might be more impressive on a technical level than as a piece of storytelling, but Avatar reaffirms James Cameron's singular gift for imaginative, absorbing filmmaking.
Synopsis: On the lush alien world of Pandora live the Na'vi, beings who appear primitive but are highly evolved. Because the... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#92

Ant-Man (2015)
83%

#92
Adjusted Score: 96062%
Critics Consensus: Led by a charming performance from Paul Rudd, Ant-Man offers Marvel thrills on an appropriately smaller scale -- albeit not as smoothly as its most successful predecessors.
Synopsis: Forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) recruits the talents of... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#91
#91
Adjusted Score: 93267%
Critics Consensus: Unapologetically sweet and maybe even a little corny, The Sound of Music will win over all but the most cynical filmgoers with its classic songs and irresistible warmth.
Synopsis: A tuneful, heartwarming story, it is based on the real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wise

#90

The Book of Life (2014)
83%

#90
Adjusted Score: 86918%
Critics Consensus: The Book of Life's gorgeous animation is a treat, but it's a pity that its story lacks the same level of craft and detail that its thrilling visuals provide.
Synopsis: In the Mexican town of San Angel, Manolo (Diego Luna), Maria (Zoë Saldana) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum) have been friends... [More]
Directed By: Jorge R. Gutierrez

#89

Hercules (1997)
84%

#89
Adjusted Score: 86112%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced and packed with dozens of pop culture references, Hercules might not measure up with the true classics of the Disney pantheon, but it's still plenty of fun.
Synopsis: Disney tackles Greek mythology in this animated feature. Hercules (Tate Donovan), a son of gods, was snatched as a baby... [More]
Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 84771%
Critics Consensus: An amazing array of images from beneath the sea.
Synopsis: Director James Cameron travels with the crew of a Russian research vessel as they plunge into the depths of the... [More]

#87

The Rookie (2002)
84%

#87
Adjusted Score: 87877%
Critics Consensus: A heart-warming sports flick, The Rookie greatly benefits from understated direction and the emotional honesty Dennis Quaid brings to the role of Jim Morris.
Synopsis: A true story about a coach who discovers that it's never too late for dreams to come true. Jim Morris... [More]
Directed By: John Lee Hancock

#86
Adjusted Score: 113388%
Critics Consensus: Rogue One draws deep on Star Wars mythology while breaking new narrative and aesthetic ground -- and suggesting a bright blockbuster future for the franchise.
Synopsis: Former scientist Galen Erso lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter, Jyn. His peaceful existence comes crashing... [More]
Directed By: Gareth Edwards

#85

Born in China (2016)
85%

#85
Adjusted Score: 87690%
Critics Consensus: Disneynature Born In China delivers more of the breathtaking footage the series is known for -- and more than enough cuddly anthropomorphic action to keep the kids entertained.
Synopsis: From frigid mountains to the heart of the bamboo forest, filmmaker Lu Chuan follows the adventures of three animal families... [More]
Directed By: Lu Chuan

#84
#84
Adjusted Score: 89849%
Critics Consensus: The Emperor's New Groove isn't the most ambitious animated film, but its brisk pace, fresh characters, and big laughs make for a great time for the whole family.
Synopsis: Arrogant young Emperor Kuzco is transformed into a llama by his power-hungry advisor -- the devious diva Yzma. Stranded in... [More]
Directed By: Mark Dindal

#83
#83
Adjusted Score: 93148%
Critics Consensus: The warmth of traditional Disney animation makes this occasionally lightweight fairy-tale update a lively and captivating confection for the holidays.
Synopsis: Hardworking and ambitious, Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) dreams of one day opening the finest restaurant in New Orleans. Her dream... [More]
Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker

#82

X2 (2003)
85%

#82
Adjusted Score: 92699%
Critics Consensus: Tightly scripted, solidly acted, and impressively ambitious, X2: X-Men United is bigger and better than its predecessor -- and a benchmark for comic sequels in general.
Synopsis: Stryker (Brian Cox), a villianous former Army commander, holds the key to Wolverine's (Hugh Jackman) past and the future of... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#81
Adjusted Score: 116205%
Critics Consensus: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's action-packed plot, dazzling visuals, and irreverent humor add up to a sequel that's almost as fun -- if not quite as thrillingly fresh -- as its predecessor.
Synopsis: Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#80

Anastasia (1997)
86%

#80
Adjusted Score: 88187%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful animation, an affable take on Russian history, and strong voice performances make Anastasia a winning first film from Fox animation studios.
Synopsis: The evil wizard Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) puts a hex on the royal Romanovs and young Anastasia (Meg Ryan) disappears when... [More]
Directed By: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

#79

Mulan (1998)
86%

#79
Adjusted Score: 90109%
Critics Consensus: Exploring themes of family duty and honor, Mulan breaks new ground as a Disney film, while still bringing vibrant animation and sprightly characters to the screen.
Synopsis: Fearful that her ailing father will be drafted into the Chinese military, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) takes his spot -- though,... [More]
Directed By: Barry Cook, Tony Bancroft

#78

Lilo & Stitch (2002)
86%

#78
Adjusted Score: 90573%
Critics Consensus: Edgier than traditional Disney fare, Lilo and Stitch explores issues of family while providing a fun and charming story.
Synopsis: A tale of a young girl's close encounter with the galaxy's most wanted extraterrestrial. Lilo is a lonely Hawaiian girl... [More]

#77

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
87%

#77
Adjusted Score: 93900%
Critics Consensus: Equally entertaining for both kids and parents old enough to catch the references, Wreck-It Ralph is a clever, colorful adventure built on familiar themes and joyful nostalgia.
Synopsis: Arcade-game character Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is tired of always being the "bad guy" and losing to his "good... [More]
Directed By: Rich Moore

#76
#76
Adjusted Score: 94831%
Critics Consensus: The Peanuts Movie offers a colorful gateway into the world of its classic characters and a sweetly nostalgic -- if relatively unambitious -- treat for the adults who grew up with them.
Synopsis: Life always seems complicated for good ol' Charlie Brown (Noah Schnapp), the boy who always tries his best against seemingly... [More]
Directed By: Steve Martino

#75

The Jungle Book (1967)
88%

#75
Adjusted Score: 90398%
Critics Consensus: With expressive animation, fun characters, and catchy songs, The Jungle Book endures as a crowd-pleasing Disney classic.
Synopsis: In this classic Walt Disney animation based on Rudyard Kipling's book, Mowgli, an abandoned child raised by wolves, has his... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Reitherman

#74

The Muppet Movie (1979)
88%

#74
Adjusted Score: 92293%
Critics Consensus: The Muppet Movie, the big-screen debut of Jim Henson's plush creations, is smart, lighthearted, and fun for all ages.
Synopsis: After Kermit the Frog decides to pursue a movie career, he starts his cross-country trip from Florida to California. Along... [More]
Directed By: James Frawley

#73

Freaky Friday (2003)
88%

#73
Adjusted Score: 92089%
Critics Consensus: Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan charm in Mark Waters' nicely pitched -- and Disney's second -- remake of the 1976 hit.
Synopsis: Single mother Tess Coleman (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her teenage daughter Anna (Lindsay Lohan) couldn't be more different, and it... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#72

Millions (2004)
88%

#72
Adjusted Score: 93240%
Critics Consensus: A charming children fable even adults can enjoy.
Synopsis: When 9-year-old Damian (Alex Etel) finds a bag of money in his back yard, he and his brother Anthony (Lewis... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#71

Pete's Dragon (2016)
88%

#71
Adjusted Score: 102293%
Critics Consensus: Pete's Dragon continues Disney's current live-action winning streak with an update that gives the original a visual overhaul without overwhelming its sweet, soulful charm.
Synopsis: Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), a woodcarver, delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the... [More]
Directed By: David Lowery

#70

Onward (2020)
88%

#70
Adjusted Score: 112008%
Critics Consensus: It may suffer in comparison to Pixar's classics, but Onward makes effective use of the studio's formula -- and stands on its own merits as a funny, heartwarming, dazzlingly animated adventure.
Synopsis: Teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley embark on a magical quest to spend one more day with their late father.... [More]
Directed By: Dan Scanlon

#69

Sleeping Beauty (1959)
89%

#69
Adjusted Score: 93010%
Critics Consensus: This Disney dreamscape contains moments of grandeur, with its lush colors, magical air, one of the most menacing villains in the Disney canon.
Synopsis: Filled with jealousy, the evil witch Maleficent (Eleanor Audley) curses Princess Aurora (Mary Costa) to die on her 16th birthday.... [More]
Directed By: Clyde Geronimi

#68

Tarzan (1999)
89%

#68
Adjusted Score: 92399%
Critics Consensus: Disney's Tarzan takes the well-known story to a new level with spirited animation, a brisk pace, and some thrilling action set-pieces..
Synopsis: In this Disney animated tale, the orphaned Tarzan (Tony Goldwyn) grows up in the remote African wilderness, raised by the... [More]
Directed By: Chris Buck, Kevin Lima

#67

Bolt (2008)
89%

#67
Adjusted Score: 96474%
Critics Consensus: Bolt is a pleasant animated comedy that overcomes the story's familiarity with strong visuals and likable characters.
Synopsis: The days of canine superstar Bolt (John Travolta) are filled with danger and intrigue ... until the cameras stop rolling.... [More]

#66

Big Hero 6 (2014)
90%

#66
Adjusted Score: 98662%
Critics Consensus: Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching.
Synopsis: Robotics prodigy Hiro (Ryan Potter) lives in the city of San Fransokyo. Next to his older brother, Tadashi, Hiro's closest... [More]
Directed By: Don Hall, Chris Williams

#65

Tangled (2010)
89%

#65
Adjusted Score: 97636%
Critics Consensus: While far from Disney's greatest film, Tangled is a visually stunning, thoroughly entertaining addition to the studio's classic animated canon.
Synopsis: When the kingdom's most-wanted bandit, Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi), hides in a convenient tower, he immediately becomes a captive of... [More]
Directed By: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard

#64

Doctor Strange (2016)
89%

#64
Adjusted Score: 112600%
Critics Consensus: Doctor Strange artfully balances its outré source material against the blockbuster constraints of the MCU, delivering a thoroughly entertaining superhero origin story in the bargain.
Synopsis: Dr. Stephen Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When... [More]
Directed By: Scott Derrickson

#63

Bambi (1942)
91%

#63
Adjusted Score: 96249%
Critics Consensus: Elegantly animated and deeply touching, Bambi is an enduring, endearing, and moving Disney classic.
Synopsis: In a classic Disney animation, a fawn named Bambi joins his new friends, a young rabbit named Thumper and a... [More]
Directed By: David Hand

#62

Bears (2014)
90%

#62
Adjusted Score: 91817%
Critics Consensus: Sweet, beautifully filmed, and admirably short on sugarcoating, Bears continues Disneynature's winning streak.
Synopsis: Filmmakers Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey chronicle a year in the lives of an Alaskan brown bear named Sky and... [More]
Starring: John C. Reilly

#61

Frozen (2013)
90%

#61
Adjusted Score: 100194%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated, smartly written, and stocked with singalong songs, Frozen adds another worthy entry to the Disney canon.
Synopsis: When their kingdom becomes trapped in perpetual winter, fearless Anna (Kristen Bell) joins forces with mountaineer Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and... [More]
Directed By: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

#60
Adjusted Score: 102467%
Critics Consensus: Suspenseful and politically astute, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior entry in the Avengers canon and is sure to thrill Marvel diehards.
Synopsis: After the cataclysmic events in New York with his fellow Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), lives in... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#59
Adjusted Score: 104547%
Critics Consensus: X-Men: Days of Future Past combines the best elements of the series to produce a satisfyingly fast-paced outing that ranks among the franchise's finest installments.
Synopsis: Convinced that mutants pose a threat to humanity, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) develops the Sentinels, enormous robotic weapons that... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#58

Isle of Dogs (2018)
90%

#58
Adjusted Score: 111580%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories.
Synopsis: When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#57
Adjusted Score: 117397%
Critics Consensus: Captain America: Civil War begins the next wave of Marvel movies with an action-packed superhero blockbuster boasting a decidedly non-cartoonish plot and the courage to explore thought-provoking themes.
Synopsis: Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#56
#56
Adjusted Score: 126919%
Critics Consensus: Star Wars: The Last Jedi honors the saga's rich legacy while adding some surprising twists -- and delivering all the emotion-rich action fans could hope for.
Synopsis: Luke Skywalker's peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of... [More]
Directed By: Rian Johnson

#55

Splash (1984)
91%

#55
Adjusted Score: 93087%
Critics Consensus: A perfectly light, warmly funny romantic comedy that's kept afloat by Ron Howard's unobtrusive direction and charming performances from Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah.
Synopsis: A young boy saved from drowning by a beautiful mermaid, falls in love with her 20 years later when she... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#54
Adjusted Score: 93203%
Critics Consensus: Ever After is a sweet, frothy twist on the ancient fable, led by a solid turn from star Barrymore.
Synopsis: This updated adaptation of the classic fairytale tells the story of Danielle (Drew Barrymore), a vibrant young woman who is... [More]
Directed By: Andy Tennant

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 94369%
Critics Consensus: The arresting and dynamic visuals, offbeat details and light-as-air storytelling make James and the Giant Peach solid family entertainment.
Synopsis: Featuring stop-motion animation and live action, this inventive adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved children's tale follows the adventures of James... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#52

Winnie the Pooh (2011)
90%

#52
Adjusted Score: 94643%
Critics Consensus: Short, nostalgic, and gently whimsical, Winnie the Pooh offers young audiences -- and their parents -- a sweetly traditional family treat.
Synopsis: Three stories inspired by A.A. Milne add up to a very busy day for Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings) and... [More]

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 106046%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a script that emphasizes its heroes' humanity and a wealth of superpowered set pieces, The Avengers lives up to its hype and raises the bar for Marvel at the movies.
Synopsis: When Thor's evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), gains access to the unlimited power of the energy cube called the Tesseract,... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#50

A Bug's Life (1998)
92%

#50
Adjusted Score: 96755%
Critics Consensus: A Bug's Life is a rousing adventure that blends animated thrills with witty dialogue and memorable characters - and another smashing early success for Pixar.
Synopsis: Flik (Dave Foley) is an inventive ant who's always messing things up for his colony. His latest mishap was destroying... [More]

#49
Adjusted Score: 105728%
Critics Consensus: A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same.
Synopsis: The Imperial Forces -- under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) -- hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 105688%
Critics Consensus: Guardians of the Galaxy is just as irreverent as fans of the frequently zany Marvel comic would expect -- as well as funny, thrilling, full of heart, and packed with visual splendor.
Synopsis: Brash space adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) finds himself the quarry of relentless bounty hunters after he steals an orb... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 97138%
Critics Consensus: A nostalgic charmer, Lady and the Tramp's token sweetness is mighty but the songs and richly colored animation are technically superb and make for a memorable experience.
Synopsis: This Disney animated classic follows a pampered cocker spaniel named Lady (Barbara Luddy) whose comfortable life slips away once her... [More]

#46

Monkey Kingdom (2015)
93%

#46
Adjusted Score: 94645%
Critics Consensus: Monkey Kingdom's breathtaking footage of primates in the wild is likely to please animal lovers of all ages.
Synopsis: In South Asia, Maya the monkey and her son Kip struggle to survive within the competitive social hierarchy of the... [More]
Starring: Tina Fey

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 97885%
Critics Consensus: The Little Mermaid ushered in a new golden era for Disney animation with warm and charming hand-drawn characters and catchy musical sequences.
Synopsis: In Disney's beguiling animated romp, rebellious 16-year-old mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson) is fascinated with life on land. On one of... [More]
Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker

#44

The Lion King (1994)
93%

#44
Adjusted Score: 101767%
Critics Consensus: Emotionally stirring, richly drawn, and beautifully animated, The Lion King is a pride within Disney's pantheon of classic family films.
Synopsis: This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), the heir of his father,... [More]
Directed By: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 102151%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#42

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
93%

#42
Adjusted Score: 126308%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise -- and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Synopsis: Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits... [More]
Directed By: Taika Waititi

#41
Adjusted Score: 110988%
Critics Consensus: Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series' former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.
Synopsis: Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren... [More]
Directed By: J.J. Abrams

#40
Adjusted Score: 104208%
Critics Consensus: Dark, sinister, but ultimately even more involving than A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back defies viewer expectations and takes the series to heightened emotional levels.
Synopsis: The adventure continues in this "Star Wars" sequel. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)... [More]
Directed By: Irvin Kershner

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 103564%
Critics Consensus: Enchanting, sweepingly romantic, and featuring plenty of wonderful musical numbers, Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney's most elegant animated offerings.
Synopsis: An arrogant young prince (Robby Benson) and his castle's servants fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, who turns... [More]
Directed By: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

#38

Queen of Katwe (2016)
94%

#38
Adjusted Score: 104636%
Critics Consensus: Queen of Katwe is a feel-good movie of uncommon smarts and passion, and outstanding performances by Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo help to elevate the film past its cliches.
Synopsis: Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#37

Iron Man (2008)
94%

#37
Adjusted Score: 104599%
Critics Consensus: Powered by Robert Downey Jr.'s vibrant charm, Iron Man turbo-charges the superhero genre with a deft intelligence and infectious sense of fun.
Synopsis: A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 108699%
Critics Consensus: Another gorgeously animated, skillfully voiced entry in the Disney canon, Raya and the Last Dragon continues the studio's increased representation while reaffirming that its classic formula is just as reliable as ever.
Synopsis: Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known... [More]

#35

Finding Dory (2016)
94%

#35
Adjusted Score: 115473%
Critics Consensus: Funny, poignant, and thought-provoking, Finding Dory delivers a beautifully animated adventure that adds another entertaining chapter to its predecessor's classic story.
Synopsis: Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 127908%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, entertaining, and emotionally impactful, Avengers: Endgame does whatever it takes to deliver a satisfying finale to Marvel's epic Infinity Saga.
Synopsis: Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#33

Fantasia (1940)
95%

#33
Adjusted Score: 100171%
Critics Consensus: A landmark in animation (and a huge influence on the medium of music video), Disney's Fantasia is a relentlessly inventive blend of the classics with phantasmagorical images.
Synopsis: Released in 1940, represented Disney's boldest experiment to date. Bringing to life his vision of blending animated imagery with classical... [More]

#32

Black Is King (2020)
94%

#32
Adjusted Score: 96825%
Critics Consensus: Beyoncé is King.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Starring: Beyoncé
Directed By: Beyoncé

#31

Aladdin (1992)
95%

#31
Adjusted Score: 100264%
Critics Consensus: A highly entertaining entry in Disney's renaissance era," Aladdin is beautifully drawn, with near-classic songs and a cast of scene-stealing characters.
Synopsis: When street rat Aladdin frees a genie from a lamp, he finds his wishes granted. However, he soon finds that... [More]
Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker

#30
Adjusted Score: 103690%
Critics Consensus: The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.
Synopsis: The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 99399%
Critics Consensus: With strong performances and director David Lynch at the helm, The Straight Story steers past sentimental byways on its ambling journey across the American heartland.
Synopsis: A retired farmer and widower in his 70s, Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) learns one day that his distant brother Lyle... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch

#28

The Muppets (2011)
95%

#28
Adjusted Score: 102952%
Critics Consensus: Clever, charming, and heartfelt, The Muppets is a welcome big screen return for Jim Henson's lovable creations that will both win new fans and delight longtime devotees.
Synopsis: Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan, is on vacation in Los Angeles with his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary's... [More]
Directed By: James Bobin

#27

WALL-E (2008)
95%

#27
Adjusted Score: 105657%
Critics Consensus: Wall-E's stellar visuals testify once again to Pixar's ingenuity, while its charming star will captivate younger viewers -- and its timely story offers thought-provoking subtext.
Synopsis: WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#26

Moana (2016)
95%

#26
Adjusted Score: 112817%
Critics Consensus: With a title character as three-dimensional as its lush animation and a story that adds fresh depth to Disney's time-tested formula, Moana is truly a family-friendly adventure for the ages.
Synopsis: An adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty... [More]
Directed By: John Musker, Ron Clements

#25

Soul (2020)
95%

#25
Adjusted Score: 119524%
Critics Consensus: A film as beautiful to contemplate as it is to behold, Soul proves Pixar's power to deliver outstanding all-ages entertainment remains undimmed.
Synopsis: Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn't quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 101833%
Critics Consensus: Irrefutable proof that gentle sentimentalism can be the chief ingredient in a wonderful film, Miracle on 34th Street delivers a warm holiday message without resorting to treacle.
Synopsis: In this Christmas classic, an old man going by the name of Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) fills in for an... [More]
Directed By: George Seaton

#23

Monsters, Inc. (2001)
96%

#23
Adjusted Score: 102927%
Critics Consensus: Clever, funny, and delightful to look at, Monsters, Inc. delivers another resounding example of how Pixar elevated the bar for modern all-ages animation.
Synopsis: Monsters Incorporated is the largest scare factory in the monster world, and James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) is one of... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

#22

Ratatouille (2007)
96%

#22
Adjusted Score: 106010%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced and stunningly animated, Ratatouille adds another delightfully entertaining entry -- and a rather unlikely hero -- to the Pixar canon.
Synopsis: Remy (Patton Oswalt), a resident of Paris, appreciates good food and has quite a sophisticated palate. He would love to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#21

Black Panther (2018)
96%

#21
Adjusted Score: 128731%
Critics Consensus: Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories -- and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.
Synopsis: After the death of his father, T'Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 101997%
Critics Consensus: Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an innovative and entertaining film that features a groundbreaking mix of live action and animation, with a touching and original story to boot.
Synopsis: Down-on-his-luck private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) gets hired by cartoon producer R.K. Maroon (Alan Tilvern) to investigate an adultery... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#19

Big (1988)
97%

#19
Adjusted Score: 102799%
Critics Consensus: Refreshingly sweet and undeniably funny, Big is a showcase for Tom Hanks, who dives into his role and infuses it with charm and surprising poignancy.
Synopsis: After a wish turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) into a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks), he heads to New York... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 103679%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#17

Free Solo (2018)
97%

#17
Adjusted Score: 106087%
Critics Consensus: Free Solo depicts athletic feats that many viewers will find beyond reason - and grounds the attempts in passions that are all but universal.
Synopsis: Alex Honnold completes the first free solo climb of famed El Capitan's 3,000-foot vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park.... [More]

#16

The Incredibles (2004)
97%

#16
Adjusted Score: 106293%
Critics Consensus: Bringing loads of wit and tons of fun to the animated superhero genre, The Incredibles easily lives up to its name.
Synopsis: In this lauded Pixar animated film, married superheroes Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) are forced to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#15

Coco (2017)
97%

#15
Adjusted Score: 123816%
Critics Consensus: Coco's rich visual pleasures are matched by a thoughtful narrative that takes a family-friendly -- and deeply affecting -- approach to questions of culture, family, life, and death.
Synopsis: Despite his family's generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de... [More]
Directed By: Lee Unkrich

#14

Toy Story 4 (2019)
97%

#14
Adjusted Score: 124739%
Critics Consensus: Heartwarming, funny, and beautifully animated, Toy Story 4 manages the unlikely feat of extending -- and perhaps concluding -- a practically perfect animated saga.
Synopsis: Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy... [More]
Directed By: Josh Cooley

#13

Dumbo (1941)
98%

#13
Adjusted Score: 102273%
Critics Consensus: Dumbo packs plenty of story into its brief runtime, along with all the warm animation and wonderful music you'd expect from a Disney classic.
Synopsis: A young circus elephant is born with comically large ears and given the cruel nickname Dumbo. One day at a... [More]
Directed By: Ben Sharpsteen

#12
Adjusted Score: 102963%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of pooches and a memorable villain (Cruella De Vil), this is one of Disney's most enduring, entertaining animated films.
Synopsis: In a Disney animation classic, Dalmatian Pongo is tired of his bachelor-dog life. He spies lovely Perdita and maneuvers his... [More]

#11

Mary Poppins (1964)
96%

#11
Adjusted Score: 100930%
Critics Consensus: A lavish modern fairy tale celebrated for its amazing special effects, catchy songs, and Julie Andrews's legendary performance in the title role.
Synopsis: When Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber), the children of the wealthy and uptight Banks family, are faced with... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stevenson

#10
Adjusted Score: 99232%
Critics Consensus: With its involving story and characters, vibrant art, and memorable songs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs set the animation standard for decades to come.
Synopsis: The Grimm fairy tale gets a Technicolor treatment in Disney's first animated feature. Jealous of Snow White's beauty, the wicked... [More]
Directed By: David Hand

#9

Jane (2017)
98%

#9
Adjusted Score: 103875%
Critics Consensus: Jane honors its subject's legacy with an absorbing, beautifully filmed, and overall enlightening look at her decades of invaluable work.
Synopsis: Jane Goodall, a young and untrained woman, challenges the male dominated scientific consensus of her time with her chimpanzee research... [More]
Starring: Jane Goodall
Directed By: Brett Morgen

#8

Hamilton (2020)
97%

#8
Adjusted Score: 110775%
Critics Consensus: Look around, look around at how beautifully Hamilton shines beyond Broadway - and at how marvelously Thomas Kail captures the stage show's infectious energy.
Synopsis: The original Broadway production of the award-winning musical that tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, first secretary of the treasury,... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Kail

#7

Zootopia (2016)
98%

#7
Adjusted Score: 115816%
Critics Consensus: The brilliantly well-rounded Zootopia offers a thoughtful, inclusive message that's as rich and timely as its sumptuously state-of-the-art animation -- all while remaining fast and funny enough to keep younger viewers entertained.
Synopsis: From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live... [More]
Directed By: Byron Howard, Rich Moore

#6

Toy Story 3 (2010)
98%

#6
Adjusted Score: 110116%
Critics Consensus: Deftly blending comedy, adventure, and honest emotion, Toy Story 3 is a rare second sequel that really works.
Synopsis: With their beloved Andy preparing to leave for college, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and... [More]
Directed By: Lee Unkrich

#5

Inside Out (2015)
98%

#5
Adjusted Score: 113968%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, gorgeously animated, and powerfully moving, Inside Out is another outstanding addition to the Pixar library of modern animated classics.
Synopsis: Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Midwestern girl, but her world turns upside-down when she and her parents... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

#4

Finding Nemo (2003)
99%

#4
Adjusted Score: 108562%
Critics Consensus: Breathtakingly lovely and grounded by the stellar efforts of a well-chosen cast, Finding Nemo adds another beautifully crafted gem to Pixar's crown.
Synopsis: Marlin (Albert Brooks), a clown fish, is overly cautious with his son, Nemo (Alexander Gould), who has a foreshortened fin.... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#3

Pinocchio (1940)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 106171%
Critics Consensus: Ambitious, adventurous, and sometimes frightening, Pinocchio arguably represents the pinnacle of Disney's collected works -- it's beautifully crafted and emotionally resonant.
Synopsis: When the woodworker Geppetto (Christian Rub) sees a falling star, he wishes that the puppet he just finished, Pinocchio (Dickie... [More]

#2

Toy Story (1995)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 106145%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining as it is innovative, Toy Story reinvigorated animation while heralding the arrival of Pixar as a family-friendly force to be reckoned with.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks), a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy named Andy (John Morris), sees his position... [More]
Directed By: John Lasseter

#1

Toy Story 2 (1999)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107741%
Critics Consensus: The rare sequel that arguably improves on its predecessor, Toy Story 2 uses inventive storytelling, gorgeous animation, and a talented cast to deliver another rich moviegoing experience for all ages.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks) is stolen from his home by toy dealer Al McWhiggin (Wayne Knight), leaving Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen)... [More]

Read More:

(Photo by Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: DreamWorks SKG, Buena Vista Pictures, Fox Searchlight, Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

30 Best Stop-Motion Animated Movies of All Time

Tangible and physical, stop-motion animation is the art of manipulating objects and figures frame by frame, creating the illusion of fluid movement. It’s an almost atavistic art form of ours: Instinct tells us if you have a lump of clay in your hands, start making stuff out of it. Shape a chicken and a fox, mold some pirates, heck, make a movie. It’s what filmmakers have been doing for over a century, so we’re taking a look through time with the 30 best stop-motion animated movies ever made.

In this guide, we’ll come in contact with the different materials and styles used in stop motion. Clay has led to the creation of one of animation’s most enduring man-and-canine duos, Wallace and Gromit, created by Nick Park. His films and studio, Aardman, have an outsized presence in that scene, with the likes of Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep. Paper cutout stop-motion animation is less frequently used. See it at its trippy best with Fantastic Planet, and in The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the oldest surviving animated film.

Puppet stop-motion animation has been the preferred method for venerable directors like Tim Burton (producer of The Nightmare Before Christmas), Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa), and Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox). Anderson collaborated with Nightmare-director Henry Selick to animate the marine fauna in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; afterwards, Selick set up shop at studio Laika, where he gave them their first big hit, Coraline. Laika has been a stop-motion powerhouse since, using a cutting-edge mix of puppets, clay, and computer enhancements to fuel a string of Certified Fresh films, including The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings.

We included only movies where stop motion is a majority of the presentation, which opened the way for James and the Giant Peach and Jan Švankmajer’s twisted Alice. So while we adore the individual creature effects by Ray Harryhausen in Jason and the Argonauts and the Sinbad movies, or ED-209 in RoboCop, and even the aforementioned Life Aquatic, you won’t be seeing them here. After we collected the 30 highest-rated movies, we sorted the list by Adjusted Tomatometer, which accounts for the movie’s number of reviews and release year.

Now, read on to discover the 30 best stop-motion animated movies!

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 74609%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three residents (Robert Levy, Nancy Andrews, Chris Sullivan) of a small Rust Belt town lead sad, interconnected lives.... [More]
Directed By: Chris Sullivan

#29

$9.99 (2008)
73%

#29
Adjusted Score: 73466%
Critics Consensus: Its storyline isn't as wondrous as its visuals, but $9.99 has a sophistication and handmade charm that sets it apart from the animated pack.
Synopsis: Residents of a Sydney, Australia, apartment complex look for meaning in their lives.... [More]
Directed By: Tatia Rosenthal

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 83184%
Critics Consensus: A Town Called Panic is a raucous, endlessly creative animated romp with a quirky, adult sense of humor.
Synopsis: In this animated film, Cowboy (Stéphane Aubier) and Indian (Bruce Ellison) plan to construct a barbecue pit for the birthday... [More]

#27

The Boxtrolls (2014)
78%

#27
Adjusted Score: 84176%
Critics Consensus: While it's far from Laika's best offering, The Boxtrolls is still packed with enough offbeat wit and visual splendor to offer a healthy dose of all-ages entertainment.
Synopsis: Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), an orphan, lives with the Boxtrolls -- a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who inhabit a cavern... [More]

#26

Early Man (2018)
80%

#26
Adjusted Score: 90372%
Critics Consensus: Early Man isn't quite as evolved as Aardman's best work, but still retains the unique visuals and sweet humor that have made the studio a favorite among animation enthusiasts.
Synopsis: A plucky cave man named Dug, his sidekick Hognob and the rest of their tribe face a grave threat to... [More]
Directed By: Nick Park

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 91849%
Critics Consensus: As can be expected from a Tim Burton movie, Corpse Bride is whimsically macabre, visually imaginative, and emotionally bittersweet.
Synopsis: Victor (Johnny Depp) and Victoria's (Emily Watson) families have arranged their marriage. Though they like each other, Victor is nervous... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson

#24
Adjusted Score: 92204%
Critics Consensus: It may not quite scale Aardman's customary delirious heights, but The Pirates! still represents some of the smartest, most skillfully animated fare that modern cinema has to offer.
Synopsis: Accompanied by his ragtag crew, an enthusiastic pirate captain (Hugh Grant) sails the high seas and dreams of besting his... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord

#23
Adjusted Score: 91447%
Critics Consensus: Have no fear! Mrs Claus spreads holiday cheer in The Year Without Santa, a holiday classic full of unforgettable songs and characters that stays true to the Christmas spirit.
Synopsis: Two elves try to save Christmas after disgruntled Saint Nick (John Goodman) decides to take the year off.... [More]
Directed By: Ron Underwood

#22

Le Roman de Renard (1930)
100%

#22
Adjusted Score: 81269%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: King Lion orders Master Fox arrested for tricking animals.... [More]

#21

Fantastic Planet (1973)
91%

#21
Adjusted Score: 90532%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Planet is an animated epic that is by turns surreal and lovely, fantastic and graceful.
Synopsis: This animated tale follows the relationship between the small human-like Oms and their much larger blue-skinned oppressors, the Draags, who... [More]
Directed By: René Laloux

#20
Adjusted Score: 92688%
Critics Consensus: Arriving with light-hearted cheeriness and the best musical numbers, Santa Claus Is Comin To Town is a magical story told by charming wood-figure animation.
Synopsis: ... [More]

#19

ParaNorman (2012)
89%

#19
Adjusted Score: 95758%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and solidly scripted, ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents.
Synopsis: Young Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) has the ability to speak with the dead -- and he often prefers their company... [More]
Directed By: Chris Butler, Sam Fell

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 94369%
Critics Consensus: The arresting and dynamic visuals, offbeat details and light-as-air storytelling make James and the Giant Peach solid family entertainment.
Synopsis: Featuring stop-motion animation and live action, this inventive adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved children's tale follows the adventures of James... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#17

Frankenweenie (2012)
87%

#17
Adjusted Score: 96453%
Critics Consensus: Frankenweenie is an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story.
Synopsis: Young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is a science nerd and outsider at school, but he does have one good friend:... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#16

Missing Link (2019)
88%

#16
Adjusted Score: 97225%
Critics Consensus: Another beautifully animated triumph for Laika, Missing Link is a visual treat with lots of humor, plenty of heart, and even a little food for thought.
Synopsis: Tired of living a solitary life in the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Link -- 8 feet tall and covered in fur... [More]
Directed By: Chris Butler

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 97517%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and faithful to the spirit of its classic source material, The Little Prince is a family-friendly treat that anchors thrilling visuals with a satisfying story.
Synopsis: The Aviator introduces a girl to a world where she rediscovers her childhood and learns that it's human connections that... [More]
Directed By: Mark Osborne

#14

Mary and Max (2009)
95%

#14
Adjusted Score: 96958%
Critics Consensus: Mary and Max is a lovingly crafted, startlingly inventive piece of animation whose technical craft is equaled by its emotional resonance.
Synopsis: A lonely Australian girl (Toni Collette) and an elderly Jewish man (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in New York develop an unlikely... [More]
Directed By: Adam Elliot

#13

Coraline (2009)
90%

#13
Adjusted Score: 101334%
Critics Consensus: With its vivid stop-motion animation combined with Neil Gaiman's imaginative story, Coraline is a film that's both visually stunning and wondrously entertaining.
Synopsis: While exploring her new home, a girl named Coraline (Dakota Fanning) discovers a secret door, behind which lies an alternate... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#12
Adjusted Score: 100863%
Critics Consensus: A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon retains the charm of its small-screen source material while engagingly expanding the title character's world.
Synopsis: When a UFO crash-lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, it's up to Shaun the sheep and his animal friends to help... [More]

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 102151%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#10

Alice (1989)
95%

#10
Adjusted Score: 95879%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In Czech director Jan Svankmajer's surreal adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic children's book, Alice (Kristyna Kohoutova) follows her stuffed rabbit... [More]
Directed By: Jan Svankmajer

#9
Adjusted Score: 102223%
Critics Consensus: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steve Box

#8

Anomalisa (2015)
92%

#8
Adjusted Score: 108421%
Critics Consensus: Anomalisa marks another brilliant and utterly distinctive highlight in Charlie Kaufman's filmography, and a thought-provoking treat for fans of introspective cinema.
Synopsis: An inspirational speaker (David Thewlis) becomes reinvigorated after meeting a lively woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who shakes up his mundane... [More]

#7
Adjusted Score: 103690%
Critics Consensus: The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.
Synopsis: The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

#6

Chicken Run (2000)
97%

#6
Adjusted Score: 103666%
Critics Consensus: Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular.
Synopsis: This engaging stop-motion, claymation adventure tells the story of an American rooster who falls in love with a gorgeous hen... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord, Nick Park

#5
Adjusted Score: 103465%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A handsome prince with a flying horse befriends a witch, meets Aladdin, and battles demons to win a princess' heart.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Lotte Reiniger, Karl Koch

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 107754%
Critics Consensus: My Life as a Zucchini's silly title and adorable characters belie a sober story whose colorful visuals delight the senses even as it braves dark emotional depths.
Synopsis: A police officer (Nick Offerman) and some new friends help an orphan adjust to life at a foster home.... [More]
Directed By: Claude Barras

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 105621%
Critics Consensus: Warm, funny, and brilliantly animated, Shaun the Sheep is yet another stop-motion jewel in Aardman's family-friendly crown.
Synopsis: All is well at Mossy Bottom Farm, except for the fact that the animals will do anything to get out... [More]

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 110026%
Critics Consensus: Kubo and the Two Strings matches its incredible animation with an absorbing -- and bravely melancholy -- story that has something to offer audiences of all ages.
Synopsis: Young Kubo's (Art Parkinson) peaceful existence comes crashing down when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past. Now... [More]
Directed By: Travis Knight

#1

Isle of Dogs (2018)
90%

#1
Adjusted Score: 111580%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories.
Synopsis: When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

The Black Cauldron

(Photo by (c)Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)

Far too often, animated movies are written off as overly kid-friendly, unsophisticated fluff, when the truth is the medium is capable of telling stories as mature as the most prestigious live-action dramas. Sometimes, however, an animated movie ostensibly made for children can also be spooky enough to terrify the most hardened youngsters, and even a few adults.

One of Disney’s most infamous animated movies, The Black Cauldron, opened 35 years ago and traumatized kids of all stripes, and to celebrate its anniversary, we’re taking a look back at its peers. Whether they were intentionally spooky or simply featured a couple of freaky moments that made every kid hit fast-forward, we’ve put together a list of the scariest animated movies that terrified the young audiences they were meant to entertain.


Coraline (2009) 90%

Coraline

(Photo by Focus Features)

On the surface, this stop-motion adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel is a silly story of a spunky, bored little girl who finds a hidden door to a secret world where everything is perfect, yet slightly off. But just like its hidden parallel dimension, Coraline is freaky and frequently plain horrifying. As soon as Coraline finds the secret door, the story begins to unfold like a horror film, ramping up its creepy atmosphere and frightening creatures. But the real terror comes the moment Coraline is given her own set of button eyes, to be sewn on by her creepy Other Mother… before she transforms into a giant spider and all hell breaks loose. Moira MacDonald summarized it for the Seattle Times: “Children who like being scared will get a kick out of this wildly creative movie; adults needn’t have a child in tow to enjoy it, too.”


The Great Mouse Detective (1986) 80%

The Great Mouse Detective

(Photo by Walt Disney Productions)

A noir mystery starring mice may not necessarily seem like a film that would give you nightmares for days on end, but you would be wrong. Based on the children’s novel Basil of Baker Street — which itself was inspired by the tales of Sherlock Holmes — The Great Mouse Detective starts with a little mouse girl named Olivia celebrating her birthday with her father at home, when suddenly a one-legged bat breaks into the house and kidnaps the father. The film’s eerie atmosphere persists throughout its runtime, and even when there are moments of levity or sweetness, they’re usually followed by moments of utter terror. For many children, the bat represents their first experiences with jumpscares, as he is responsible for the two most frightening ones in the film: first, when he bursts into Olivia’s home at the beginning of the movie, and later when he leaps out of a baby carriage to abduct her. Nina Darnton wrote for The New York Times that “Small children may be afraid of some of the bad characters — the Disney Studio’s gift for creating really nasty bad guys means that they are scary — but they will love the cute, brave mice and cheer their triumphs. Adults will enjoy the wit and style.”


The Last Unicorn (1982) 73%

The Last Unicorn

(Photo by Jensen Farley Pictures)

Horror and fantasy are two genres that don’t cross nearly enough, but when they do, they offer unique experiences. The Last Unicorn skews more towards fantasy, but it still packs enough spooky elements to make it a scary film for kids. Rankin/Bass may be better known for their holiday classics like the stop-motion animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but this fantasy epic — about a unicorn who discovers she is the last of her kind and embarks on a quest to discover what has happened to her kin — is full of horrific dangers. Without a doubt, the most frightening for kids was the fiery Red Bull, evil incarnate, with its deep, blood-red color and almost hollow eyes that no doubt inspired countless nightmares. Writing about the film for Time Out, Geoff Andrew explained that The Last Unicorn has “Some horrific moments (the mark of the best fairytales) and some sublimely witty lines.”


Monster House (2006) 75%

Monster House

(Photo by Sony Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)

Monster House is ultimately charming and fun for most, but this is, after all, the only “proper” horror film on this list, and while it’s largely kid-friendly, it’s also suitably frightening in spots, as any haunted house movie worth its salt should be. The film follows three kids who decide to explore the creepy old house in their neighborhood with a terrifying reputation. It feels like a 1980s Amblin movie, full of adventure and comedy and more than a little danger, thanks to a few intense scenes courtesy of the imaginatively rendered titular house. As L.A. Weekly’s Scott Foundas said of the film, “Monster House becomes one of those wonderfully weird adventure stories beloved of children who don’t mind getting a good old-fashioned case of the heebie-jeebies. It’s kind of a blast for adults too.”


The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) 95%

The Nightmare Before Christmas

(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures)

Ask any horror fan and they’ll tell you that Christmas and horror make for a fantastic combination, but this is one of the rare times that the two cross over in animated form, and it’s mostly a delightful treat. From the mind of Tim Burton and Henry Selick comes the story of the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, who gets tired of the same annual festivities and decides to kidnap Santa Claus and take over Christmas. As sweet and funny as it is terrifyingly gruesome, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a visual treat, even if those visuals are frequently bizarre, off-kilter, and a little macabre for the toddler set. The best example is the burlap-sack villain Ooogie Boogie, who literally refers to himself as “the boogieman” and who meets his demise when he comes apart at the seams and reveals he’s full of creepy-crawlies. As Alan Jones wrote for the Radio Times, “Only the deliciously demented imagination of Edward Scissorhands director Tim Burton could have come up with such a dark vision of the holiday season.”


Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998) 88%

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

For decades, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang have served as an introduction to horror for kids, offering mildly creepy stories that always ended with an “Aw, shucks!” and a smile. Well, not Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, which marked the first time the gang faced a real supernatural threat as they set out to find ghosts and monsters in Louisiana. What starts as another typical Scooby-Doo adventure quickly devolves into a tale of voodoo, ghost pirates, vengeful cat demons, and of course, zombies, all tied together by a tragic backstory much darker than fans of the show would have been accustomed to. There aren’t any greedy tycoons in rubber suits here, and actual death — of werecats and humans alike — is a major element of the plot. There really isn’t anything else quite like this in the Scooby-Doo canon, and any kid going into it expecting the usual antics was in for a shock.


The Secret of NIMH (1982) 93%

The Secret of NIMH

(Photo by United Artists)

If you thought animated movies featuring talking animals were all sunshine and rainbows, think again. This film based on the children’s novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH follows a field mouse as she tries to save her ill son both from his pneumonia and from the farmer whose land they live on before he plows through it. Don Bluth’s adaptation is full of truly terrifying moments involving the survivors of scientific experiments, including a rat-eating cat named Dragon. But the scene that really traumatized kids was the visit to the Great Owl, whose introduction includes a lair littered with the bones of his devoured prey, a gruesome encounter with an ill-fated spider, and a pair of creepy, glowing eyes that stared into your very soul. Bluth’s films always skewed a little darker than typical Disney fare, and this was a prime example of his aesthetic. As critic Christopher Null wrote for Filmcritic.com, “Never mind the G rating, this is scary stuff which sent my little one fleeing to another room inside of 10 minutes.”


Spirited Away (2001) 97%

Spirited Away

(Photo by Walt Disney Pictures)

Japanese animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki’s films have been described as beautifully made artistic wonders and visual masterpieces, but “frightening” isn’t a sensation you normally associate with his work. That being said, Spirited Away is his most haunting film, and it has more than its fair share of creepy moments that sneak up on you and make a lasting impression. The story of a girl lost in a world ruled by spirits is as whimsical as a Disney film, but it doesn’t shy away from disturbing imagery, like when young protagonist Chihiro sees her parents transformed into monstrous and endlessly hungry pigs, or when the spirit No Face begins to devour all the employees of the bathhouse in a wild frenzy. Children who toughed it out through the more frightening moments were rewarded with an enchanting, magical experience, but for some kids, that would have been a tall order.


Watership Down (1978) 82%

Watership Down

(Photo by Avco Embassy courtesy Everett Collection)

It doesn’t take long for Watership Down to shed its “cute bunny film” facade and reveal a deeper allegory that flows red with blood. This adaptation of Richard Adams’ novel follows a group of rabbits on a perilous journey to find refuge after one of them has an apocalyptic vision about their home. For generations, Watership Down has traumatized children with haunting imagery of red-eyed rabbits ripping each other’s throats out or suffocating as they’re buried alive, and peril lies around every turn in the story. Walter Chaw of Film Freak Central summed it up succinctly: “Unsentimental and terrifying.”


Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) 97%

Christopher Lloyd in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures)

“Wait a second. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a live-action movie,” you might say, and you’d be (mostly) right, but Robert Zemeckis’ loony live-action/animated hybrid deserves a spot on this list because it features one of Disney’s scariest villains, Christopher Llloyd’s Judge Doom, who — spoiler alert — is actually a cartoon himself. When we first meet Doom, he mercilessly murders an innocent toon without flinching, dumping it into a vat of corrosive “dip.” Then comes the pivotal moment when we discover Doom’s true identity; as played by Lloyd, he already resembled a half-desiccated corpse, a cross between the evil preacher from the Poltergeist movies and the Gestapo officer from Raiders of the Lost Ark who gets his face melted off. But once he’s run over by the streamroller and pops back up, Doom is another beast altogether and the stuff of childhood nightmares.


The Black Cauldron was released on July 24, 1985.

Did we leave out one of your favorites? Don’t agree with our choices? Let us know in the comments!

Looking for a Halloween horror binge for the weekend? Stream the three seasons of Penny Dreadful on Netflix. Want to frighten your friends and loved ones?  Turn on Splatterdays, Pluto TV’s free marathon of horror classics. Keep reading to learn more about the season’s best Halloween programming.


MARATHONS

Picture Alliance/Everett Collection

(Photo by Picture Alliance/Everett Collection)

31 Nights of Halloween, Freeform
The annual event on the network features its usual lineup of Halloween-themed movies — The Addams Family, Maleficent, Hotel Transylvania, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and of course Hocus Pocus — along with a special (31 Nights of Halloween Special Fan Fest) and an all-day Hocus Pocus marathon on the day itself.

Huluween, Hulu
Visit the streaming service’s Halloween-themed hub for a personalized selection of popular Halloween TV episodes and movies. Hand-picked Halloween collections include Freaky Franchises, Foreign Frights, Psychological Horror & Thrillers, Sci-Fi Scares, Indies, Zombies, Humorous Horror, Anthologies, alongside Hulu Originals and Huluween Essentials.

AMC FearFest, AMC
The network’s annual horror marathon promises 104 spooky titles, including Alien, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Final Destination, The Omen, Leprechaun, and more (ongoing).

Netflix & Chills, Netflix
The streaming service’s spooky hub contains plenty of horror movies and horror TV series, plus a selection of original movies and series debuting throughout the month of October.

Splatterdays and 31 Nights of Horror, Pluto TV
In the free streaming service’s horror marathon, watch a different scary movie every night starting at 10 p.m. ET. Selections include classics like Day of the Dead and Hellraiser and modern hits like You’re Next and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. In the “Splatterdays” terror marathon, watch a marathon of slasher movies every Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. ET. Titles include Prom Night, Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou, I Saw The Devil, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers, and Severance.

Supernatural, TNT
On Halloween day, TNT will air nine hours straight of some of the CW hit’s spookiest episodes, including “Ghostfacers,” “Monster Movie,” “ScoobyNatural,” and many more. The marathon runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31.

A Shudder Halloween Collection, Shudder
The horror streaming service is highlighting classics including the Halloween movies and originals including Belzebuth and Terrified.

13 Nights of Halloween, HDNet Movies
A mix of classic and modern horror and thriller films will play every night on the network. Highlights include a Night of the Living Dead Marathon, an Edgar Allan Poe/Vincent Price night, and a 24-hour marathon on Halloween itself.


RELATED: Vampire TV Shows Ranked By Tomatometer


SERIES

American Horror Story 77% — Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX

Castle Rock 88% —  available to stream on Hulu

Charmed  — Fridays at 8 p.m. on The CW

Creepshow — streaming Thursdays on Shudder

Daybreak 70% — streaming Thursday, Oct. 24 on Netflix

A Discovery of Witches 81% — available to stream on Sundance Now

Glitch 80% — season 3 is now available to stream on Netflix

Legacies  — Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW

Halloween Baking Championship — Mondays at 9 p.m. on Food Network

Haunted  —  available to stream on Netflix

Into the Dark 69% — Blumhouse’s horror anthology — available to stream on Hulu

Marianne 94% — available to stream on Netflix

Mr. Mercedes 91% — Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Audience

Light as a Feather 50% — available to stream on Hulu

Penny Dreadful 91% — available to stream on Netflix

Prank Encounters 40% — streaming Friday, Oct. 25 on Netflix

The Purge 42% — Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on USA

The Walking Dead 80% — Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC

Zomboat! — streaming Friday, Oct. 25 on Hulu


RELATED: Best Horror TV Series to Watch on Netflix


MOVIES & SPECIALS

In the Tall Grass (2019) 36% — the film based on the novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, now streaming on Netflix

Fractured (2019) 59% — a family’s car trip goes wrong in this film starring Sam Worthington and Lily Rabe, now streaming on Netflix

Wounds (2019) 47% — a New Orleans bartender’s life begins to unravel after a series of disturbing and inexplicable events that begin to happen to him after picking up a phone left behind at a bar, now streaming on Hulu

Little Monsters (2019) 79% — the critically acclaimed Australian horror comedy about a school field trip that ends with a zombie outbreak stars Lupita Nyong’o and is now streaming on Hulu

Rattlesnake (2019) 30% — a single mother (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter drive across the country to start their new life, but things go wrong when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and the daughter is bitten by a rattlesnake, premieres Friday, Oct. 25 on Netflix


RELATED: Best Horror Movies on Netflix to Watch Right Now


The Top Ten Revealed: Rockin’ Ghoulish Songs — premieres Sunday, Oct. 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET on AXS TV

Agatha Raisin — premieres Monday, Oct. 28 on Acorn TV

World’s Biggest Ghost Hunt: Pennhurst Asylum — premieres Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. on A&E

The Very VERY Best of the 70s: Horror Films — premieres Thursday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV

The 13 Scariest Movies of All Time — premieres Thursday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW, hosted by Dean Cain


EPISODES

Treehouse of Horror XXX, THE SIMPSONS ™ and © 2019 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

(Photo by THE SIMPSONS ™ and © 2019 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

The Simpsons 85% — “Treehouse of Horror XXX” now available to stream on Fox.com

Evil 93% — “October 31” premieres Thursday, October 24 on CBS

The Conners 93% — “Nightmare on Lunch Box Street” premieres Tuesday, October 29 on ABC

Schooled 73% — “Run, Rick, Run” premieres Wednesday, October 30 on ABC


Riverdale -- "Chapter Sixty-One: Halloween" -- Image Number: RVD404b_0249.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Camila Mendes as Veronica, KJ Apa as Archie and Eli Goree as Munroe -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Jack Rowand/The CW)

Riverdale 84% — “Chapter Sixty-One: Halloween” premieres Wednesday, October 30 on The CW

Nancy Drew — “The Haunted Ring” premieres Wednesday, October 30 on The CW

Young Sheldon — “Seven Deadly Sins and a Small Carl Sagan” rebroadcast Thursday, October 31 on CBS

Mysteries Decoded — “Vampires of New Orleans” premieres Thursday, October 31 on The CW


RELATED: The Scariest TV Episodes Ever


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

(Photo by Touchstone Pictures)

Back in 1982, when he was still working in Walt Disney’s animation studio, director Tim Burton penned a poem called The Nightmare Before Christmas, tapping into his lifelong fascination with the spirit of both Halloween and Christmas. But it wasn’t until 1993 that he got to see his passion project reach the big screen, with the help of fellow animator Henry Selick and frequent musical collaborator Danny Elfman. What emerged was a stop-motion animated holiday classic… but which holiday does it celebrate, exactly?

Splitting its time between the setting of Halloween Town and Christmas Town, with a narrative that finds a spooky skeletal hero kidnapping Santa Claus with the intent of taking his place, The Nightmare Before Christmas has been embraced just as much in the month of October as it has in December, leaving some fans to wonder exactly which of its two holidays the movie represents more. With that in mind, we present two arguments below — one explaining why it’s a Christmas movie and one in favor of Halloween — and leave the final decision up to you. Read on to see what our passionate RT staffers had to say, and then cast your vote in the poll below!


It’s a Christmas Movie

Touchstone Pictures

(Photo by Touchstone Pictures)

This shouldn’t even be a debate. It might be true that Jack Skellington, the so-called “Pumpkin King” and central hero of the story, is literally a walking skeleton who hails from a place called Halloween Town, and that the narrative primarily focuses on him and the other misguided citizens of Halloween Town, but their entire journey is centered on Christmas.

When Jack first stumbles into Christmas Town, he is so awestruck by the majesty of Christmas, so inpired by the glorious joy he witnesses, that he desperately wants to recreate it. In other words, he is essentially infected by Christmas spirit, which he can barely contain, and immediately returns to Halloween Town to spread holiday cheer and share what he’s witnessed. He decides he’s going to take over Christmas himself, and while his impulses are wildly inappropriate and fairly lump-of-coal-worthy, he actually assembles a team of reindeer (albeit reindeer skeletons), slaps on a red suit and fake beard, and flies around the world delivering presents!

Are his gifts horrific and disturbing? Oh yes, very much so. But that also plays into Christmas themes, as Jack acknowledges the gargantuan mess he’s created and returns to Halloween Town with a renewed sense of appreciation for his home. How many Christmas movies have hinged on the character transformation of someone who was self-obsessed witnessing the rotten fruits of their toxic ambition and coming to terms with their own faults?

To top it all off, Santa pulls a little last-minute flyby and blesses Halloween Town with its first winter snow, as if to say, “I know you guys are all about spooky shenanigans, but you know what? Merry Christmas.” Case closed.


It’s a Halloween Movie

Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie. Sure, there are Christmas elements, and maybe a large portion of the film is dedicated to Jack Skellington literally trying to scientifically discover the meaning of Christmas, but the protagonist’s’ name is also literally Jack Skellington. It primarily takes place in Halloween Town, not Christmas Town, and the dominant aesthetic is appropriately creepy. There’s a zombie child with his eyes sewn shut, for goodness sake. That’s not very Christmas-y.

Thematically it’s more Halloween than Christmas. While Christmas is a great opportunity to feel weird about yourself in family situations and learn the spirit of giving or whatever, Halloween is a holiday about acceptance. It’s about accepting death and celebrating life, while being open to the idea that there’s more beyond this mortal coil. It’s also about wearing costumes to be someone else for a night, and while that might sound like the opposite of self-acceptance, costumes are often a reflection of the wearer and can teach you things about yourself. Who wears a costume of something they hate? Almost no one.

Jack puts on the Santa suit (his costume) because he doesn’t want to be the Pumpkin King anymore; he wants to be something else. When his attempts to bring Christmas to the masses turn out to be horribly misguided, Jack musically soliloquies in a graveyard before realizing that he is exactly the person he is meant to be and that the coldness in his bones can’t be warmed by trying to be someone else. Being Santa for a night teaches Jack the virtues of being himself, like the year you wore heels as a part of your costume and realized how great your everyday decision to wear flats truly was.

Christmas has enough films. Horror movies aren’t suitable for younger audiences, and aside from Charlie Brown and Casper, there aren’t a lot of Halloween movie options for kids. As director Henry Selick said at the Telluride Horror Show Film Festival a few years ago, “It’s a Halloween movie.


It’s October, people! That means it’s time to sharpen your pumpkin-carving knives, stock up on candy, and…turn on your TV (or at least set your DVR) to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year. TV networks and streaming services are celebrating Halloween all month long with marathons, specials, series, episodes, and more.

Check back periodically throughout October as we update the list with the latest in Halloween programming!


MARATHONS

Picture Alliance/Everett Collection

(Photo by Picture Alliance/Everett Collection)

31 Nights of Halloween, Freeform
Expanding from 13 nights to 31, the network is celebrating Halloween all month long for its 20th annual celebration. Programming includes fan-favorite movies (The Addams Family, Maleficent, Hotel Transylvania, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the exclusive television home for Hocus Pocus), a new special (Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic), short-form content and an all-day Hocus Pocus marathon on the day itself.

31 Days of Halloween, Syfy
The network’s October programming includes the debut of multiple original movies, a new installment of horror anthology Channel Zero, new seasons of Z Nation and Van Helsing, and airings of fan-favorite scary movies including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Resident Evil, and The Cabin in the Woods.

AMC FearFest, AMC
Beginning Oct. 14, the network’s annual event includes marathons of the Halloween movies, The Exorcist, Hellraiser, Friday the 13th, and Stephen King films; a Slasher-thon; and the AMC debut of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Rob Zombie’s 13 Nights of Halloween, HDNET
The cable network is resurrecting the horror icon’s Halloween programming with 13 films hosted by Zombie himself, airing nightly at 9 p.m. beginning Oct. 19. Selections include Zombie’s The Lords of Salem, The Blair Witch Project, Flatliners, and more.

Classic Horror, TCM and Filmstruck
The classic film network is dedicating different days of the week to various Halloween-themed programming. Every Wednesday will celebrate a different Horror Star of the Week (including Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Vincent Price), while Sundays are for the Monster of the Month: The Mummy (programming includes 11 of the best mummy-themed films ranging from 1936’s Mummy’s Boys to 1971’s Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb). On the network’s streaming service, Filmstruck, find a lineup of monster movies, Japanese horror films, and more.

Nerdoween, Alpha/Nerdist
Three new original series from Nerdist will debut on Legendary Digital Networks’ Alpha during October: Bizarre States: California, Vampire: The Masquerade – L.A. By Night, and The Dark Side, in addition to other Halloween-themed programming.

Supernatural, TNT
On Halloween day, TNT will air 12 hours straight of some of the CW hit’s spookiest episodes, including the pilot, “Bloody Mary,” “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester,” “Monster Movie,” and many more.

Halloween and Alfred Hitchcock Collections, Shudder
The horror streaming service is highlighting classics including Halloween, Halloween 4, Halloween 5, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; and an Alfred Hitchcock collection that includes Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Birds, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rope, and Shadow of a Doubt.

Halloween Programming, Cartoon Network App
Check out Halloween specials for popular Cartoon Network Series The Powerpuff Girls, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, Unkitty, and more.

Halloween Movies, Pluto TV
Stream ‘n’ scream with plenty of holiday classics, including Night of the Living Dead, Paranormal Activity 2, Leprechaun In the Hood, Silent Hill, Idle Hands, and more.

BBC AAAAAAmerica, BBC America
Get in the spooky spirit with a week’s worth of programming with movie marathons, a takeover of The X-Files, and hours of Hitchcockian horror. Plus, the network is partnering with streaming service Shudder for a Saturday of original films seen for the first time on television.


SERIES

Halloween Baking Championship — Mondays at 9 p.m. on Food Network

The Purge 42% — Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on USA

American Horror Story 77% — Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX

Mr. Mercedes 91% — Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Audience

Creeped Out — this horror anthology for kids bows Oct. 4 on Netflix

Into the Dark 69% — the first installment of Blumhouse Television’s monthly event series, “The Body” starring Rebecca Rittenhouse and Tom Bateman, bows Oct. 5 on Hulu

Z Nation  — season 5 of the zombie series premieres Friday, Oct. 5 at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Van Helsing — season 3 of the vampire hunter series premieres Friday, Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. on Syfy

The Walking Dead 80% — season 9 premieres Sunday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. on AMC

Light as a Feather 50% — based on the children’s game of the same name, all 10 episodes debut Oct. 12 on Hulu

Apostle — premieres Oct. 12 on Netflix

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell — the spooky baking show debuts Oct. 12 on Netflix

The Haunting of Hill House 93% — premieres Oct. 12 on Netflix

Charmed  — the reboot premieres Sunday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m. on The CW

Haunted — premieres Oct. 19 on Netflix

The Good Witch — season 5 premieres Sunday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. on Hallmark

Legacies  — The Vampire Diaries and The Originals spinoff premieres Thursday, Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. on The CW

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 81% — premieres Friday, Oct. 26 on Netflix

Castlevania 94% — season 2 premieres Friday, Oct. 26 on Netflix

Midnight, Texas 61% — season 2 premieres Friday, Oct. 26 at 9 p.m. on NBC

Channel Zero: Candle Cove 93% — “The Dream Door” premieres Friday, Oct. 26 on Syfy and airs in full across Halloween week

Tell Me a Story — the creepy fairy-tale anthology bows Oct. 31 on CBS All Access

Stan Against Evil  — season 3 premieres Oct. 31 at 10 p.m. on IFC


MOVIES & SPECIALS

No Escape Room — a father and daughter check out a small town escape room and discover there is something sinister about the place in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Cucuy: The Boogeyman — a teenage girl confined to her home on house arrest soon discovers that the nightmarish urban legends of the Mexican boogeyman, El Cucuy, are actually true in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. on Syfy

Karma — when recent college grad Manny has trouble making ends meet, his father-in-law offers him a job evicting delinquent tenants. Manny soon finds himself unleashing a karma demon which stalks him at every turn in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Killer High — Sabrina’s perfectly planned high school reunion goes south when a monster keeps killing all the guests in this horror-comedy original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. on Syfy

The Good Witch — “The Tale of Two Hearts”

Dead in the Water — an all-female crew on a boat in the middle of nowhere must deal with an invader on their ship in this original movie debuting Saturday, Oct. 27 at 9 p.m. on Syfy


EPISODES

(Photo by Fox)

Fresh Off the Boat 94% — “Workin’ the ‘Ween” premieres Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. on ABC

Last Man Standing  — “Bride of Prankenstein” premieres Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. on Fox

Raven’s Home — “Switch-Or-Treat” premieres Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. on Disney Channel

Speechless — “I-n-Into the W-o-Woods” premieres Friday, Oct. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ABC

The Simpsons 85% — “Treehouse of Horror XXIX” premieres Sunday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. on Fox

Bob's Burgers — “Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street” premieres Sunday, Oct. 21 at 8:30 p.m. on Fox

Family Guy — “Big Trouble in Little Quahog” premieres Sunday, Oct. 21 at 9 p.m. on Fox

Rel 44% — “Halloween” premieres Sunday, Oct. 21 at 9:30 p.m. on Fox

The Goldbergs  — “Mister Knifey-Hands” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. on ABC

American Housewife — “Trust Me” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC

Modern Family 85% — “Good Grief” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 9 p.m. on ABC

The Cool Kids 75% — “Politician, Freemason, Scientist, Humorist and Diplomat, Ben Franklin” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 24 9:30 p.m. on ABC

Superstore 93% — “Costume Competition” premieres Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. on NBC

Young Sheldon — “Seven Deadly Sins and a Small Carl Sagan” premieres Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS

MacGyver — “Dia de Muertos + Sicarios + Family” premieres Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. on CBS

Hawaii Five-0 — “A’ohe mea ‘imi a ka maka (Nothing More the Eyes to Search for)” premieres Friday, Oct. 26 at 9 p.m. on CBS

Twenty five years ago, Tim Burton released one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time – and perhaps the greatest kid-friendly Halloween flick. The Nightmare Before Christmas, which Burton produced and Henry Selick directed, is cherished by the now thirtysomethings who grew up on it and worshipped by the Millennials who came after them and found, in Jack Skellington, an angsty, spindly brooder they could relate to (and plaster their jackets and backpacks with).

And it was almost not meant to be.

When first presented with the idea of adapting Nightmare — which had originated as a lengthy poem written by a 24-year-old Burton – Disney was hesitant. The kids were used to singing crustaceans and fish-tailed princess, not tearaway-faced clowns and pumpkin kings, whatever they were. Eventually, though, the studio would relent, and they’ve never turned back. The film opened in limited release on October 13, 1993, before going wide and becoming sleeper hit at the box office and the toy counter. More than just a merchandising machine, though, A Nightmare Before Christmas has become a holiday classic, recognized as a landmark in animation, and arguably the first claymation blockbuster. It’s been re-issued multiple times, and is set to sell out theaters again this month with a series of special anniversary screenings, including a set of double-feature screenings with Hocus Pocus for members of the D23 fan club. How has Burton and Selick’s film had legs as long as its troubled protagonist’s? We’ve got five reasons right here.


That Danny Elfman Score

(Photo by @ Buena Vista Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

Henry Selick said early in production there wasn’t even a script – “We had three songs by Danny Elfman but no real screenplay,” he told the Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern in 2013. One of those songs was “What’s This?”, which is the first sequence the filmmakers worked on, even as the screenplay was being completed. Still, if anything could inspire enough confidence to start production on something as laborious as a stop-motion film without a script, it would be Elfman’s Nightmare songs. Nearly all have become classics of some sort – anthems for moody teens (“Sally’s Song”), karaoke favorites (“Oogie Boogie’s Song”), some even holiday radio fixtures (“What’s This?”). It’s proven a lucrative project for the former Oingo Boingo frontman. Elfman voiced Jack Skellington in the movie (when singing) and continues to rake in the bullion traveling the world and performing the soundtrack in live concerts (we saw him in Adelaide, Australia, with a symphony orchestra and he was spectacular). In 2006, on the wave of all that Hot Topic Nightmare love, the soundtrack was re-issued with covers by the likes of Marilyn Manson and Fiona Apple, and a complete covers version, Nightmare Revisited, was released in 2008. The latter features a Korn cover of “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” that is all nightmare, no Christmas. You’ve been warned.


It’s So Freaking Beautiful

(Photo by @ Buena Vista Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

The painstaking work that went into crafting The Nightmare Before Christmas is the stuff of movie legend: the 20 sound stages the filmmakers used; the 400 different Jack Skellington heads deployed to convey emotions ranging from “I Jack the Pumpkin King!” fury to “What’s This?” wonder. And it’s work that pays off. Burton and Selick’s Halloween Town is a kind of ode to German Expressionism, all gray and winding and surreal, while Christmas Town is a freakish, exaggerated take on the visuals of Rankin/Bass. Perhaps the most indelible image from a movie filled with indelible images – Oogie’s unraveling, a snake scarfing down a Christmas tree – is the “spiral hill,” which rises, and unspools, somewhere outside of both towns and is where so many of the movie’s key moments take place.


And It’s So Freaking Dark

(Photo by @ Buena Vista Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

Disney was reluctant to touch Nightmare. They had toyed with making it a TV holiday special in the 1980s, when Burton was working there as an animator, but balked because it was considered a touch too weird. When the Mouse House did eventually agree to produce it, they distributed it through Touchstone Pictures, which typically distributes Disney-made films with darker edges. “Their biggest fear, and why it was kind of a stepchild project, was they were afraid of their core audience hating the film and not coming,” Selick told IGN in 2006 while promoting a 3D re-release of the movie. “But it was very much, ‘We don’t have high expectations. It’s kind of too dark and too scary.’” Thematically, there’s no doubt that the film is several shades darker than most of what Disney was releasing at the time (though The Lion King‘s big Mufasa moment and Scar’s “Be Prepared” would come close a year later). There was death and bogeymen, the vicious kidnapping of Sandy Claws, and shrieking suburban children. Of course, what Burton, Selick, and Elfman knew was that it was precisely this darkness that would capture the imaginations of kids who loved the costumes, imagery, and stories of Halloween. And who had grown up watching horror movies on TV and VHS. The special darkness the filmmakers conjured was essential to the movie’s overall message, too. Here was a film that was all about embracing your differences, your otherness, your oddness; and here was a movie that itself looked and felt as different from the rest of what was being offered in cinemas as its central character had felt in Christmas Town. Like Jack, it would eventually be heartily embraced.


It’s a Really Moving Love Story

(Photo by @ Buena Vista Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

If Skellington was looking for another holiday to take over, he could do worse than Valentine’s Day. The terrifying pumpkin king reveals his mushier side in Nightmare not just through his fascination with Christmas, but through his adoration of Sally, and their love story anchors the movie. Jack is a less unlikely source of Sally’s affections – and those of goth girls all across the world – than you might initially think. He’s a kind of manic pixie dream ghoul: sensitive, inventive (those chalkboard formulas!), and has a good heart; plus he knows how to dress. And don’t be deceived by Sally’s lilting voice, courtesy of the great Catherine O’Hara – she’s no sewn-together Snow White. Sally proves herself time and again to be practical, brave, and resourceful, whether escaping the clutches of her mad creator or saving Sandy Claws from Oogie Boogie with a distracting — and, for a Disney flick, disarmingly sexy – leg. Jack’s the wild dreamer, the frustrated genius; Sally’s the level-headed partner ready to catch him when he eventually, and literally, falls. Plain as anyone can see, they’re simply meant to be.


IT OPENED THE STOP-MOTION FLOODGATES

(Photo by ©Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Stop-motion animation has a long and storied history, but it wasn’t until Nightmare that it became a fixture at American multiplexes. Which is not surprising: the movie made $50 million domestically in its initial theatrical run (it has since added about $25 million to that total with various re-issues). And then there’s all that merch. Needless to say, the lights started turning green. Henry Selick followed Nightmare up with James and the Giant Peach (Certified Fresh at 92%), and then the stop-motion/live-action film, Monkeybone (the less said the better). He hit his stride again working with Oregon studio Laika, releasing Coraline in 2009. That studio is a kind of spiritual successor to Nightmare, focusing on darker and consistently acclaimed stop-motion fare like ParaNormanThe Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings. Burton himself would return to the medium with Corpse Bride, this time co-directing with Mike Johnson; the movie is Certified Fresh at 84%, but hasn’t quite endured in the same way Nightmare has. Across the pond, Aardman Animation had been producing claymation animated series like Wallace and Gromit for decades before Nightmare‘s release, but it was only in its wake that they released their first feature, Chicken Run – which remains one of the best-reviewed animated movies ever. Lately, Wes Anderson has taken to the form for two canine-centered stories, applying his signature particularism to Fantastic Mr Fox and, this year, Isle of Dogs. Stop-motion films perform particularly well on the Tomatometer, too: stop-motion movies released over the last 10 years have an average Tomatometer of almost 90%.

Do you still watch Nightmare every Christmas – and Halloween? Ever dressed as Jack or Sally? Still remember the lyrics to “This is Halloween”? Share your Nightmare Before Christmas memories below.

The Nightmare Before Christmas was released October 13, 1993

#1
Adjusted Score: 103690%
Critics Consensus: The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.
Synopsis: The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick
GWEN STEFANI: YOU MAKE IT FEEL LIKE CHRISTMAS (Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

A holly, jolly holiday season kicks off now with our guide to the most festive TV coming in December. Read on to find out which network is airing those famous Rankin and Bass stop-motion television classics and where you can find all sorts of seasonal programming fare from Gwen Stefani to Bruno Mars to fragile leg lamps, the Grinch, and more.

(We will update this list with more holiday programming as new information becomes available.)


MARATHONS

The Nutcracker by The Royal Ballet (Tristram Kenton/Ovation TV)

(Photo by Tristram Kenton/Ovation TV)

Turner Christmas Classics — Set your DVRs for these lesser-known black-and-white seasonal options starting with 1947’s Bush Christmas. It’s a family adventure film about a group of children who set out across the Australian bush to get back their horses from thieves. Airs Friday, Dec. 1 at midnight ET/PT on TCM followed by Tenth Avenue Angel at 1:30 a.m. ET/PT. Angela Lansbury stars in this 1948 drama about a child who helps an ex-con find love for Christmas. The triple feature ends with the hour-long documentary Night at the Movies: A Merry Christmas, which traces the history of Yule inspired movies at 3 a.m. ET/PT.

Nutcracker Overload — Ovation TV will air its 11th annual “Battle of the Nutcrackers,” a five-day marathon beginning Monday, Dec. 11 at 7 a.m. ET with Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker from the Australian Ballet. The latter is considered one of the world’s most beautiful renditions. Viewers can decide by voting on Ovation’s Facebook page. This will be followed by Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 7 a.m. ET, as performed by the Dutch National Ballet. The Nutcracker Semperoper Ballet will do the honors Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 7 a.m. ET with the Berlin State Opera performance airing Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 a.m. ET. The Royal Opera House will close out the competition Friday, Dec. 15 at 7 a.m. ET.

A Christmas Story — Remakes are cool, but there is nothing like the original. Relive the fun from the 1983 holiday classic A Christmas Story when it airs around the clock like it does every year. The fun kicks off Sunday, Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. ET on TBS.

Big Laughs — Enjoy the biggest and funniest pranks when the Impractical Jokers Christmas Day marathon spotlights some of Sal, Q, Joe and Murr’s best work. It airs all day Monday, Dec. 25 on truTV.

Harry Potter: The Entire Adventure — Every Harry Potter movie airs on HBO in handy binge-format Jan. 1, 2018.


SPECIALS 

Charlie Brown Christmas

(Photo by ABC)

A Charlie Brown Christmas —Celebrate the holidays with this digitally-re-mastered hit, which originally aired in 1965. It airs Thursday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration — Join Emmy winner Julianne Hough and multiplatinum recording artist and TV personality Nick Lachey, as they host the two-hour show from the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. The special airs Thursday, Nov. 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

A StoryBots Christmas — The StoryBots are headed to the North Pole in this all-new Netflix original holiday offering. The animated special begins streaming Friday, Dec. 1 on Netflix and stars Ed Asner and Judy Greer.

Masters of Illusion: Christmas Magic — Illusionist Michael Grandinetti will add his own brand of magic to the holidays in this new special. It airs Friday, Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Miss Me This Christmas — The “perfect couple,” Regina (Erica Ash, Survivor’s Remorse) and Franklin (Redaric Williams), celebrate a fairy-tale Christmas wedding anniversary and seem to have it all. Yet their marriage is on the rocks. Can mistletoe and holly save their love? Find out when this made-for-TV offering airs Sunday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. ET on TV One.

Psych: The Movie — Catch up with fake psychic Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill) in this two-hour movie set three years after the series finale of the popular USA Network detective show. A mystery assailant brings the duo together during the holidays. Airs Thursday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on USA.

Freshly Baked: The Robot Chicken Santa Claus Pot Cookie Freakout Special: Special Edition — The Robot Chicken holiday special kicks off season 9 of the series. St. Nick meets his idol Jared Leto and more in the special, which airs Sunday, Dec. 10 at 11:30 a.m. ET/PT.

The Nightmare Before Christmas — Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s popular Pumpkin King, becomes obsessed with bringing Christmas under his control in this 1993 hit. It airs Friday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform and repeats Saturday, Dec. 2 at 3:10 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday Dec. 13 at midnight.

Will Ferrell in Elf (New Line Cinema)

Elf – Buddy the Elf goes looking for his biological father in this hilarious holiday movie from 2003. It airs Friday, Dec. 1 at 9:15 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. Look for re-airings at Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. ET/PT and Sunday, Dec. 24 at 9:15 p.m ET/PT.

The Chew: Snowed In For the Holidays — Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly and Carla Hall whip up festive dishes and crafts, while pop vocal group Human Nature sings fun holiday carols. It airs Sunday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. PT  on ABC and re-airs Christmas Day at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special — Tune in to this 50th anniversary celebration of the award-winning comedy series The Carol Burnett Show, which premiered on Sept. 11, 1967. The tribute airs Sunday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Christmas at Holly Lodge — A business owner falls in love with a real-estate developer who wants to buy her lodge. The problem is, the lodge isn’t for sale. It stars Alison Sweeney, Jordan Bridges and Sheryl Lee Ralph and premieres Sunday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the Hallmark Channel.

My Christmas Prince — Alexis Knapp (Pitch Perfect) stars as Samantha, a dedicated teacher in Manhattan who returns to her small Wyoming hometown every year for Christmas. This year, she’s thrilled when her boyfriend Alex, a European diplomat, joins her. But when Samantha discovers Alex is actually a prince destined for the throne, her entire world is turned upside down. It airs Sunday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

The Holiday — Cozy up to this adorable 2006 romantic comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black when it airs Monday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

Toy Story That Time Forgot – Woody, Buzz and more beloved Toy Story characters return for this holiday treat, which features Trixie the triceratops (Kristen Schaal) as the hero. The animated offering airs Dec. 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town — Feel warm and fuzzy with Rankin and Bass’ perennial favorite from 1970, which airs Monday, Dec. 11 at 1:35 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.

Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas — The Grammy winning singer will perform holiday classics from her album of the same name including “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night.” It airs Tuesday Dec. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

TARAJI'S WHITE HOT HOLIDAYS - Taye Diggs, Taraji P. Henson, Tituss Burgess and Jay Pharoah (Michael Becker/FOX)

Taraji’s White Hot Holidays — The star behind Empire’s heroine Cookie is back to host another star-studded affair full of caroling and classic holiday songs. Special guests include Chaka Khan, Leslie Odom Jr., Salt-N-Pepa and more. It airs Thursday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas — Boris Karloff narrates this classic 1966 animated favorite, which airs Saturday, Dec. 16 at 9:15 p.m. ET/PT and Saturday, Dec. 23 at 9:20 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. NBC is also airing the movie Christmas Day at 8:30 p.m ET/PT.

(Photo by Tommy Garcia/Fox)

A Christmas Story Live! — Enjoy this three-hour live musical television event, which like the original movie focuses on 9-year-old Ralphie (Andy Walken), a boy who incessantly dreams of getting a Red Ryder Range Model Carbine Action BB Gun for Christmas. It premieres Sunday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

Last Tango in Halifax Holiday Special — The drama follows Celia’s daughter Caroline as she moves the family to a less-than-desirable farmhouse in time for Christmas. It airs back-to-back Sundays, Dec. 17 and 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.

Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic — Tap into your inner child with this inside look at how Disney destinations are turned into winter wonderlands just in time for the holidays. It airs Monday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.

I Love Lucy Christmas Special — This one-hour special features back-to-back classic and colorized episodes of the beloved sitcom. It airs Friday, Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

The Dick Van Dyke Show – Now In Living Color — Series creator Carl Reiner selected this pair of newly colorized episodes as two examples of the late great Mary Tyler Moore’s best work. They air Friday, Dec. 22 beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

How Murray Saved Christmas — Laugh along as Murray (Jerry Stiller), a very unlikely hero, saves the big day. The animated special airs Sunday, Christmas Eve at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

It’s a Wonderful Life  Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings in this beloved holiday classic from 1946. It airs Sunday, Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Christmas Eve with Fairfield University This hour-long Christmas special features musical performances from the University Glee Club, an ensemble of jazz musicians and the alumni band Lionfish. Fairfield University is located on a 200-acre campus on the Connecticut coast. The special airs Sunday, Christmas Eve at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Call the Midwife Holiday Special — Neither a thick blanket of snow nor the coldest winter in 300 years can stop this group of dedicated midwives from helping their patients. Tune in when this special installment airs Monday, Christmas Day at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.

Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration — This holiday showcase will be brighter and bigger bringing together the beloved Christmas Day parade, magical musical performances and surprise celebrity guests. It airs Monday, Christmas Day at 10 a.m. ET/ 9 a.m. PT on ABC.

Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time — Get into the holiday spirit when the Doctor comes face to face with the Doctor in this epic finale to the Peter Capaldi era. In “Twice Upon a Time,” the twelfth Doctor (Capaldi) still refuses to change but starts to see the light when he goes on an adventure with the first Doctor (David Bradley, Game of Thrones). Pearl Mackie and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) also star. It airs Monday, Christmas Day at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America.

Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day — Peter, a young boy in a red snowsuit, jumps off the pages of this beloved children’s book and right into our hearts in this animated special. It begins streaming Tuesday, Dec. 26 on Amazon Prime Video.

Pete the Cat: A Groovy New Year — Pete the Cat needs a New Year’s resolution but first he must figure out what a resolution is. The animated special starts streaming Tuesday, Dec. 26 on Amazon Prime Video.

Great Performances — From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2018 — Ring in the New Year with the Vienna Philharmonic as they perform a selection of beloved Strauss Family waltzes with guest conductor Riccardo Muti. It airs Monday, Jan. 1 at 2 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.


 SERIES 

Homicide for the Holidays — Season 2 of this perennial series features a whole new batch of holiday crime stories with interviews from the detectives who worked the cases as well as the friends and family of the victims. The five-part program premieres Saturday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.

The Great Christmas Light Fight  Nothing punctuates the holidays like Christmas lights and fights about Christmas lights especially when there’s a $50,000 prize. Season 5 of the holiday offering airs for three consecutive weeks beginning Monday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Happy! — Based on the graphic novel of the same name, this dark comedy follows Nick Sax (star Christopher Meloni), an intoxicated, corrupt ex-cop who becomes a hit man. After an assassination gone wrong, his inebriated life is permanently changed by an imaginary but relentlessly positive blue-winged horse named Happy (voiced by Patton Oswalt). The series kicks off Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SyFy.

The Great American Baking Show — Feast your eyes and stomachs on this two-hour season premiere, which kicks off Thursday, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.


HOLIDAY EPISODES 

The Powerpuff Girls - "You're a Good Man, Mojo Jojo" (Cartoon Network)

(Photo by Cartoon Network)

Teen Titans Go! — “TTG v. Santa,” Dec. 1, 6 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network

We Bare Bears — “The Perfect Tree,” Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network

The Powerpuff Girls — “You’re a Good Man, Mojo Jojo,” Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network

Will & Grace — “A Gay Olde Christmas,” Dec. 5, 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC

Superstore  — “Christmas Eve,” Dec. 5, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC

Dynasty —”The Best Things in Life,” Dec. 6, 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW

Bob’s Burgers — “The Bleakening Christmas Special Pt. 1” and “The Bleakening Christmas Special Pt. 2,” Dec. 10, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Fox

Family Guy  — “Don’t Be A Dickens At Christmas,” Dec. 10, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Fox

(Photo by Eddy Chen/Fox)

Lethal Weapon — “Wreck the Halls,” Dec. 12, 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox

Little Women: LA —”A Little Festive,” Dec. 13, 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime

Steven Universe — “Dewey Wins” and “Gemcation,” Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network

Great News — “A Christmas Carol” and “Sensitivity Training,” Dec. 21, 8 and 8:30 p.m ET/PT on NBC

Saturday Night Live — “Christmas Special,” Dec. 21, 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC

Peppa Pig — “Father Christmas,” Dec. 22, 12:30 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon

The Rap Game — “Holiday Remix,” Dec. 22, 10 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime

The Simpsons — “The Nightmare After Krustmas,” Christmas Eve, 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox

Married at First Sight — “Holiday Game Night,” Dec. 26, 9 p.m. on Lifetime

Cyberchase — “A Reboot Eve to Remember,” Dec. 29, air times vary so check your local listings, PBS

mitte edit

(Photo by Getty Images / Jesse Grant / Stringer)

 

RJ Mitte rose to awareness as Walter White, Jr. in Breaking Bad. While Mitte’s own case of cerebral palsy is less severe than that of the character he played, he serves as spokesperson for several organizations devoted to helping people with disabilities — including actors and others in the media. He also keeps up with his acting career, as evidenced by his most recent film outing, Who’s Driving Doug

Mitte talked to us here at Rotten Tomatoes about five of his favorite movies — a choice selection of action and sci-fi. You can see if the films that excite him get you excited too:

Pulp Fiction (1994) 92%

All these stories piling together and crossing over — I think that is the simplicity of life — these five degrees of separation that divide us all. I think it was a great cast of people; it’s a good story. Films that I enjoy are films that tell stories and not necessarily on the bounds of believable, but in life, anything can happen. I like action films. I guess Pulp Fiction is fairly violent, but I’m an action film kind of guy. It depends on what I’m in the mood for when it comes down to it.

The Crow (1994) 83%

The first one with Brandon Lee. The whole set — it was a really cool set — I liked the whole vibe of it with the martial arts. I was a Brandon Lee fan, and that was a fairly bad-ass movie. That whole Hell’s Kitchen vibe in New York — that whole realm just has this cool mystifying vibe. It looked like it would be a fun set.

Serenity (2005) 82%

I watched Serenity before Firefly [the TV series it was based on]. In 2000, binge-viewing wasn’t something that we did; we didn’t have access to that. If you missed a TV series, you just missed it. Or you’d record it on your VHS, right? It was a chore. In 2002 I was more of a country boy; I was always outside. But I like the whole idea of Serenity, the whole world, that outer rim world that we imagine that one day we will be [part of]. I actually felt this wasn’t too far out of our limits. You look at that ship, and it’s a junky old beat up ship. You would think after a thousand years, we will have things like that — that will fly and that will do things like that. We do. We have shuttles and they don’t look too far off [from those]. [That world is] only going to get closer into our grasp.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) 95%

I feel like at one point or another, this is everyone’s favorite movie. Danny Elfman is amazing. I’m a big fan of stop motion. I really have an admiration and appreciation for [it]. I think they do such an amazing job, and they take so long to make. It’s almost flawless. You can’t even tell that they’re fake toys. It looks like animation. I like the music; it was amazing. Danny Elfman always does it with his scores, and Tim Burton is really rad. It’s done so well for the time. That’s a movie that will come around every so often that will just hang in the air and will never — no matter how good the graphics get, or how good your TV gets — at the end of the day, it will never folly. There are some things you’ll put on and go “It looked like that?” But when you watch Nightmare Before Christmas, you know it never gets bad or old. The music is always amazing, and they worked really hard. And that rings through. Stop motion is so great.

Training Day (2001) 73%

The vibe of it — I always felt like this was an all-around bad-ass cop movie. I could try to go into detail about certain things about it that stood out to me, about how it all takes place in one day and how he sets him up throughout the whole day. It was done right. It was one of those movies that was just set up right.


 

Who’s Driving Doug is now showing in limited release and on premiere Video-on-Demand.

Some Santas want to spread joy to the world…and others just want to watch the world burn. As Christmas approaches, take some time to this week’s special extra 24 Frames gallery, looking at the variations of jolly St. Nick across movie history.

Your favorite characters from comic books, movies, TV shows, and video games are walking the floors of the Javits Center in New York City this weekend, and you can check them out right here. Scroll down for the best costumes of NYCC 2015.


Break out your candy stripes and scissors and get ready to glide on down Vampira-style to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image this Wednesday, for the one and only Tim Burton is in town — and he’ll be gracing the red carpet at Flinders Street to mark the opening of his exhibition in Melbourne.

Following an enormously successful run at New York’s Museum of Modern Art — it was their third most-attended show ever, behind Picasso and Matisse — Tim Burton: The Exhibition is making its international debut Thursday, June 24 at ACMI, where it will run through Sunday October 10.

A treat for both Burton fans and connoisseurs of the weird and wonderful in cinema, the exhibition brings the filmmaker’s distinct world out of the shadows to reveal a rich legacy of material, from his early sketches and teenage movies through his work at Disney, big-budget endeavours and scores of props and artworks from films including Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Alice in Wonderland. Oh, and there’s also a Batmobile.

Tim Burton will walk the red carpet from 5:30pm Wednesday, where he will be joined by MoMA director Glenn Lowry, curators Ron Magliozzi, Jenny He and Rajendra Roy and ACMI’s Head of Exhibitions Conrad Bodman.

Click here to get your tickets for the exhibition, watch the trailer and explore the forthconing retrospective of Burton’s films at ACMI.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s the magic little trailer created for the show:

Coraline

Henry Selick, the animation mastermind behind such Certified Fresh classics as The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach adds another gong to his cabinet with Coraline, based on the novella by Neil Gaiman. Its dark tale of a young girl who finds a portal into an alternate reality will please adults and children alike and it’s both visually stunning and wondrously entertaining. Now, set against a gallery of stills from the production, Selick takes RT on an exclusive journey into the art of Coraline

Coraline

“Coraline is kind-of relentless, like animators like me. She’s going to get there one way or another and she’s not going to be tied in place because her parents won’t allow her to do something. She’s going to find a way to get to what she wants. Of course, what she wants can get her into deep trouble and that brings up the other aspect about her I love — how brave she is. She doesn’t have guns or superpowers but she still faces incredible evil and manages to win. You can read the book in much less than a day, and so when you’re working on it you do have to think the character through. You talk to animators and figure out what the poses are which’ll work for her. You have to define her and it doesn’t just happen. Over a long period of time you get to know her on different levels.”

Coraline

“If 3D is used well it’s a tool for telling a story. If it’s only used as a gimmick, which for some films like My Bloody Valentine 3D maybe that’s what the audience wants, I think it’s less powerful. If it’s used to enhance the story and draw the audience into the film, I think it could be the equivalent of what sound or colour was to cinema. There’ll be a bunch of bad 3D movies made and the good ones will win out. It’ll just take some time. The new system, Real-D, which uses technology invented by a friend of mine, Lenny Lipton, it’s great. It’s so much better than the 50s version, the anaglyph system with the red and blue lenses. It still has room to improve, it’s very dark, but I think the reason we’re seeing so many 3D films now is a combination of the emergence of this technology and people always looking for something different — why would you go to a movie rather than download it or wait for the DVD?”