28 of the Best Non-Christmas Christmas Movies (That Aren't ‘Die Hard’) You Can Stream Now

Tired: “My favourite Christmas film is Die Hard.”

Wired: “My favourite Christmas film is Eyes Wide Shut.”

You may very well be forgiven for locating the now-annual seasonal discourse vis à vis Die Hard’s standing as a vacation film exhausting. What started as a humorous bit of trivia has change into an ice chilly sizzling take from the “funniest” man in the workplace.—there’s even formally licensed, branded merchandise celebrating the movie’s Christmas bona fides! Any dialogue on the matter is only tutorial at this level, and I feel we’re all prepared to maneuver on.

The actual query is, transfer on to what? Which only-technically-a-holiday-movie film will emerge as the alternative of “truly…” cineasts the web over? Forgive me for suggesting that Die Hard may ever get outdated, however there’ll absolutely come a day, once you’ll need watch a unique so-called Christmas film. Tastes and seasonal vacation celebrations could range, however listed below are 28 affordable alternate options.

The Thin Man (1934)

As a not-Christmas film, The Thin Man is about as festive as they arrive, with a lot of the main motion set throughout a boozy vacation social gathering and a subsequent hungover Christmas morning, throughout which Nick and Nora, two grown adults sans youngsters, open their presents and have the kind of laid-back good time that the day affords solely to the childless. Sequels would quickly introduce Nick Jr., so that is the final time the Charles household will be capable of spend Christmas fairly so drunk.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? Mix a martini and pop it on each Dec. 24.

Where to stream: Max

Night of the Hunter (1955)

Actor Charles Laughton’s sole directorial effort finds Robert (*28*) creepy and seductive (however principally creepy) preacher murdering his method via the native spinsters as an occupation, whereas additionally believing that he is on a righteous path. It builds to a Christmas scene, and in addition a lynch mob, with the robust suggestion that with the ability to quote from the Bible is not even remotely the identical factor as having true compassion.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? Set up a bit tree in your raft as you flee down the river.

Where to stream: Tubi, MGM+, Hoopla, Pluto

The Apartment (1960)

Set largely between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Billy Wilder’s Best Picture-winner was wildly controversial when it was launched—and in addition managed to attain a ton of awards, ushering in a brand new period in Hollywood filmmaking. Jack Lemmon performs Bud Baxter, an insurance coverage clerk who’s climbed the company ladder by loaning out his condominium to higher-ups to make use of for his or her extramarital affairs. In the midst of all this, a fraught affection develops between Bud and Shirley MacLaine’s Fran, the workplace constructing’s elevator operator, a girl who’s herself been in a loveless, joyless affair with Bud’s boss. As is so typically the vacation season in actual life, the plot is as darkish because it will get for every of them, till a couple of glimmers of seasonal spirit shine via.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? If the equally grim It’s a Wonderful Life can change into a vacation favourite, then there’s no motive The Apartment can’t comply with swimsuit. (Like that film, this one entails themes of suicide, one thing for viewers delicate to that sort of content material to remember.)

Where to stream: MGM+, Fubo

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

A hovering, candy-colored musical about younger lovers (Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo) separated by circumstance in the titular metropolis. Pretty a lot each phrase is sung, in French, and with operatic zeal…however with out the highfalutin’ type that means. The movie’s climax arrives on Christmas Eve, however it’s a bittersweet vacation (the film itself takes place throughout a bit greater than a yr).

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? One of the most lovely movies ever made, definitely in phrases of its shade palette, it additionally gives romance that is by some means each reasonable and splendidly melodramatic. So, I’m pondering sure.

Where to stream: Max, The Criterion Channel, Kanopy

Female Trouble (1974)

Christmas is kickoff for the chaos that unfolds on this twisted John Waters’ traditional. When she fails to obtain the cha-cha heels she needed from Santa, juvenile delinquent Dawn Davenport units off on a lifetime’s price of troublemaking. It’s one of the most memorable vacation moments in film historical past, and a stark lesson about the significance of giving your youngsters what they really need.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? John Waters isn’t for everybody, however for these of us who dream of cha-cha heels come Christmastime, that is 100% a film that may be watched yearly.

Where to stream: Digital rental

Ordinary People (1980)

Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore star on this Best Picture Oscar-winner a couple of household’s collapse following the unintentional demise of their older teenage son. The movie’s pivotal scene happens at Christmas, when the surviving sibling’s resentment at his mom explodes throughout a household photoshoot.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? Worth a watch, however I’m going to say no…except your loved ones life is so devoid of trauma and drama that you just really feel the must stay via a tragedy vicariously.

Where to stream: Max

Brazil (1985)

Christmas goes to hell in the dystopian, however more and more prescient sci-fi movie from Terry Gilliam. A cheerful household watches Tiny Tim on the telly at the film’s opening, just for a clerical error to ship a SWAT group dropping into their front room. We’re in a short time out of “A Christmas Carol” and right into a bureaucratic, capitalist hellscape (aka “life”). Brazil sees characters believing wild issues and struggling to differentiate actuality from fantasy in a world the place elites management the circulate of data with ease. Imagine!

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? It’s in all probability a bit on-the-nose in our current to be any form of consolation viewing, however it’s definitely price watching no less than as soon as.

Where to stream: Digital rental

Less Than Zero (1987)

Straight-laced faculty freshman Clay (Andrew McCarthy) returns to Los Angeles over Christmas trip to search out that his outdated buddies (Jami Gertz, Robert Downey, Jr., and James Spader) live a really ‘80s life-style of intercourse, medication, and debauchery. They’re all positively having a very white Christmas, in the event you get my drift, however it’s not snow that’s falling in L.A. (It’s cocaine. I’m speaking about cocaine.)

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? This one’s in all probability generational, however individuals who lived via the ’80s may get pleasure from a snort of nostalgia.

Where to stream: Starz

Die Hard II (1990)

Maybe you’re becoming bored watching the first Die Hard over and again and again, however aren’t seeking to stray too removed from the “Bruce Willis shoots up terrorists” style. It’s price remembering that Die Hard 2 is additionally a Christmas film—it’s set on Christmas Eve, two years after the first movie. Unlike so many sequels, it’s virtually as pleasing as the first, and it actually will get how horrible it’s to journey for the holidays, so there’s no motive to not combine issues up a bit.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? It in all probability gained’t change the first film in your yuletide viewing queue, however it’ll no less than make for a pleasing (by which I imply loud) double function.

Where to stream: Hulu

Batman Returns (1992)

The vacation season in Gotham is about as bizarre as you’d hope, with a moody penguin-man working for mayor and a seductive leather-based mama skipping round, robbing jewellery shops and stealing hearts. As Bat-movies go, Returns gives the finest mix of the campy sensibilities of outdated with the psychological, obsessively darkish fashionable Caped Crusader.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? The film’s central Christmas tree lighting motion sequence entails a girl thrown from a constructing, however it’s typically no much less violent than Die Hard, and vacation themes persist all through (mistletoe is lethal in the event you eat it, you realize). It’s in all probability your finest wager in the event you goal to have a superhero vacation.

Where to stream: Max, Prime Video

Cronos (1993)

Guillermo del Toro’s sensible debut sees an aged antiques vendor and his granddaughter opening up a centuries-old archangel statue to discover a scarab that transforms the man into one thing very like a vampire. It’s set throughout the vacation season, however the Christmas connections are principally thematic; demise and rebirth, temptation, and potential redemption abound.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? Del Toro turns Christmas on its head and challenges orthodoxy, making it an incredible alternative for the holiday-skeptical. All of the director’s films are extremely rewatchable, so I say hold bloody vampire Christmas in your coronary heart, this and yearly.

Where to stream: Max, The Criterion Channel

Star Trek Generations (1994)

How higher to spend Christmas than with the ninth or tenth finest Star Trek film? Though the collection sometimes avoids something to do with faith, Generations finds Captain Picard briefly trapped in the Nexus, an extra-dimensional realm that seduces you by permitting you to stay out your fantasies. Picard, it appears, desires of a big household Christmas with a vaguely old-timey milieu. The result’s a bit of a spin on It’s a Wonderful Life, with Jean-Luc witnessing a imaginative and prescient of his what his life may be like if he’d by no means set out for the stars.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? It’s the just one on this record with something remotely resembling a Christmas theme, however there are higher Star Trek films to look at again and again.

Where to stream: Paramount+

The Ref (1994)

Stand-up Dennis Leary performs a criminal who winds up taking a pair (Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey) hostage when a job goes incorrect; the joke’s on him, as a result of the two are at one another’s throats each second. They’re actually the most bitter, hateful folks possible, and Leary’s robber/hostage-taker winds up as not solely the film’s most likable character, but in addition the peacemaker, particularly after the relaxation of the household reveals up for Christmas Eve dinner. Terrible in-laws? At a vacation meal? Can you think about?

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? It’s a bit caustic to make the common rotation, however it’ll provide a palate-cleansing break from vacation schmaltz.

Where to stream: Hoopla

Babe (1995)

Babe gives a fancy imaginative and prescient of the vacation season finest summarized by the line: “Christmas means carnage!” At least, it does for the pleasant anthropomorphic animals of Hoggett’s farm. On one degree, it’s a whole film about the title pig studying the darkish secret of the season, after which doing no matter he can to attraction his method out of the oven.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? It’s pleasant, however you may need to skip the ham at dinner afterward—Oscar nominee James Cromwell turned vegan throughout filming.

Where to stream: Starz

The City of Lost Children (1995)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro’s surreal traditional entails not only one, however a number of Santas—most of them fairly scary, truthfully, however that’s hardly the level. The movie issues Krank, an aged being whose lack of ability to dream has made him malicious and merciless; now he kidnaps youngsters and steals their desires to outlive. The father of one of Krank’s victims (Ron Perlman) joins forces with an orphan (Judith Vittet) to rescue the kidnapped youngsters. There’s a robust overarching theme of household, discovered and in any other case, that cements the vacation really feel.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? It’s surreal and a bit scary in locations, but in addition a beautiful fairytale, with heat seasonal themes all through.

Where to stream: Tubi

L.A. Confidential (1997)

What may presumably be extra festive than a film that kicks off with a Christmas social gathering? At this specific “Bloody Christmas” shindig, based mostly on actual occasions, a bunch of LAPD officers get drunk and beat up a number of (principally Mexican-American) prisoners—the form of factor that would positively solely occur in the previous and that clearly has no current day relevance by any means. Bing Crosby’s music is a motif all through, although, and the total factor set throughout the vacation season. Ho ho ho!

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? It’s as darkish as Christmas films come, however no extra violent than Die Hard.

Where to stream: Plex

End of Days (1999)

Channelling now quaint change-of-millennium anxieties, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s team-up with director Peter Hyams (Timecop) for the story of former NYPD detective Jericho Cane (beat that for an on-the-nose character title) battling Satan (in the guise of Gabriel Byrne) throughout the vacation season—and if the satan’s child is born by New Year’s Eve, it would sign the titular finish of days. It’s all a bit (rather a lot) foolish, however enjoyable a enjoyable option to clean out the wrinkles in your mind throughout a sleepy vacation afternoon.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? Suffused with Catholic imagery and happening over the holidays, it may make for a enjoyable Christmas watch—although it in all probability gained’t stand as much as repeated viewings.

Where to stream: Digital rental

Go (1999)

By far the finest of the post-Pulp Fiction imitators of the late ‘90s, Go additionally options the finest solid (Taye Diggs, Sarah Polley, Jane Krakowski, Timothy Olyphant, and many others.) and the trickiest script, telling the overlapping tales of a vacation drug deal gone incorrect. Though there’s not a lot Christmas spirit on show right here (there’s no studying, and none of the characters are even significantly good folks), the film reminds us ceaselessly, and possibly a bit sarcastically, when that is all taking place—the inclusion of a mid-movie Christmas-themed rave serving that function significantly nicely.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? If you’re in search of an antidote to all that vacation cheer, then completely. (And for the thirsty, shirtless Timothy Olyphant wears a Santa hat.)

Where to stream: Digital rental

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

There are an especially restricted quantity of dreamy, erotic mysteries that concurrently qualify as Christmas films—that quantity may actually be one, and it’s Eyes Wide Shut. Stanley Kubrick’s swan music begins at a vaguely naughty, adults-only Christmas social gathering and ends with a extra typical bit of vacation procuring with the youngsters. Those scenes bookend a shadowy stroll via New York in winter and a ritualistic orgy, and so the movie actually captures each side of the season.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? You may do worse than to spend the holidays with Kubrick…however possibly watch for the youngsters to go to mattress first.

Where to stream: Showtime

Cast Away (2000)

The opening scenes play like a textbook model of a Hallmark/Lifetime-style Christmas film: Tom Hanks’ Chuck Nowland is a workaholic who abandons Christmas dinner to be able to take care of a piece drawback. Only his work drawback is in Malaysia, setting the FedEx govt off on a date with future in the kind of a horrific airplane crash and a volleyball named Wilson. Following that aviation catastrophe, most of the relaxation of the film takes place on a abandoned island, however “this all may have been prevented in the event you didn’t go to work on Christmas!” stays the overarching leitmotif.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? Nowland’s isolation may look like a fascinating fantasy amid the chaos of a household go to, although nervous air vacationers may want to keep away from it altogether.

Where to stream: Digital rental

The Ice Harvest (2005)

An completely under-the-radar neo-noir from the late Harold Ramis, The Ice Harvest situates its motion on Christmas Eve, a time when solely the most attention-grabbing individuals are out and about in the world. John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton play con males who simply ripped off a mobster to the tune of $2 million. All they need to do is get out of city, a purpose sophisticated by an ice storm that’s closed the roads, forcing them to chill their heels whereas avoiding their pursuers.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? It’s a pitch-perfect noir following the cascading, advanced occasions of a harrowing Christmas Eve, so it’s an incredible contender in the event you’re in search of one thing to place your private vacation chaos in perspective.

Where to stream: Digital rental

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Maybe don’t rob a toy retailer on Christmas? That’s about as near a seasonal message you’ll get out of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, however we’re not essentially right here for that. The muted vacation trappings of an LA Christmas are on show, embodied (pardon the pun) in Michelle Monaghan’s tight-fitting Santa swimsuit. Director Shane Black has an entire factor about setting his films round Christmastime, so you could possibly at all times pair this one with Iron Man III and settle right down to desires of holidays with Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer. This one is sort of definitely Black’s finest, although.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? As an motion various to Die Hard with a equally charismatic main man, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang may be a excellent substitute.

Where to stream: Digital rental

The Proposition (2005)

It’s Christmastime in the outdated west (Eighties Australia, truly, however western film type abounds), and there’s homicide in the offing. In this case, it entails a alternative given to renegade Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) by lawman Morris Stanley (Ray Winstone): Burns should both search out and kill his older brother, needed for rape and homicide, or his youthful brother, already in custody for lesser crimes, will cling. That resolution kicks off a contemplative journey via the outback, one drenched in large performances and elegance, if nary a touch of festive greenery.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? It may be a bit too quiet for sleepy Christmas Day viewing, however it deserves a spot someplace in your vacation watchlist.

Where to stream: Peacock, Tubi, Crackle, The Roku Channel, Freevee, Vudu, Kanopy, Pluto, Plex

In Bruges (2008)

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play a pair of not-so-great hitmen mendacity low in the title metropolis, as ordered by their more and more risky boss (Ralph Fiennes). This darkish comedy is full of good, humorous dialogue, and the virtually paternal relationship between the two assassins is genuinely charming…as is the Belgian Christmastime setting. Still, it is a film about hitmen that kicks off with the killing of a child in a church, so the laughs are of a really specific form.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? It’s positively bought a well-earned popularity as a cult traditional, so I’d say there is a good probability it is one you will need to return to.

Where to stream: Starz

Tangerine (2015)

Two trans intercourse employees (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor) set out throughout yuletide Los Angeles, on the hunt for Rodriguez’s character’s dishonest boyfriend/pimp. There aren’t a ton of queer vacation films (except Meet Me in St. Louis counts), and Tangerine compellingly explores a Christmas on the margins. It’s set in sunny LA, so the festive trappings are muted—and for the leads, “household” would hardly imply group images in cozy sweaters anyway—however it’s Christmas all the identical. A haunting, beautiful rendition of “Toyland” seals the deal.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? This may very well be your queer Die Hard, no query.

Where to stream: Mubi, Fubo, Kanopy, Plex

Carol (2015)

The chemistry between Rooney Mara’s Therese and Cate Blanchett’s Carol is palpable from the second their eyes meet throughout a crowded division retailer—Therese is working the Christmas rush, whereas Carol is a glamorous older girl going via a divorce and searching for her daughter. It’s 1952, and theirs is a love that dare not converse its title, even to 1 one other. The ladies undergo for his or her love, however not solely; ’tis the season for each heartbreak and romance.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? Christmas may at all times stand to be a bit gayer, and this one is already a queer traditional.

Where to stream: Netflix

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

A seasonal romance that culminates in a Hanukkah celebration, Call Me By Your Name’s sweaty Northern Italian setting doesn’t scream winter festivities…however who wants snow, anyway? You simply want a peach and a comfy hearth in entrance of which to cry artfully. The ending even entails themes of perseverance and renewal, and is due to this fact splendidly thematic.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? Armie Hammer’s problematic persona complicates the film’s popularity, however Call Me By Your Name in any other case makes for a bittersweet vacation romance.

Where to stream: Netflix

Spencer (2021)

Pablo Larraín’s moody and idiosyncratic biopic breaks virtually all of the guidelines of the style, to nice impact. Kristen Stewart performs Diana, Princess of Wales, spending the Christmas vacation at the royal household’s property at Sandringham as the tabloids assault from the outdoors and her personal in-laws eat away at her from inside the palace. It’s form of like The Shining, however with too many royals subbing in for all the ghosts.

Will it change into your subsequent vacation traditional? I’m undecided it is endlessly rewatchable, however the dreamy vibe is well-suited to a protracted winter’s night time.

Where to stream: Hulu

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