Now is the time for warm apple cider, bright Christmas trees and of course… Santa Claus! The Orem Public Library has tens of thousands of movies available to checkout, including Christmas films perfect for a cozy night-in with a flick. So come grab some DVDs or Blu-rays, pop some popcorn and prepare yourself for the Top Ten Movie Santa Claus:
#10 Elf (2003)
The Plot: After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity.
The Santa: Ed Asner plays Santa as a kind, traditional character who does love milk and cookies and has an actual sleigh with magic reindeer – but he also has installed a jet engine, has had run-ins with the NYPD, and finally has to admit, “I’m getting too old for his.”
Rated: PG OPL Call Number: CO 11532
#9 Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
The Plot: In arctic Finland, young Pietari, who lives with his stern reindeer-herding father Rauno, becomes curious about an excavation at a nearby mountain, but when Rauno’s reindeer herd is mysteriously slain and the children in town go missing, Pietari realizes that the dig has unearthed the evil Santa Claus of local lore.
The Santa: Santa is not the loveable, cuddly present-giver in this Finnish-language film. Rather, he is the Krampus of ancient legend, bringing rewards to good children and dealing out punishment to the evil kids, big and small. Long before Krampus came to U.S. theaters, Peeter Jakobi scared us as his menacing version of Santa.
Rated: R OPL Call Number: FL FIN 1007
#8 Mrs Santa Claus (1996)
The Plot: Mrs. Santa finds herself stranded in 1910 Manhattan when her sleigh is downed by a wind current while she is checking out a new round-the-world night-before-Xmas route for hubby.
The Santa: This Emmy-winning Hallmark musical gives us two great Santa’s – Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Santa Claus and Charles Durning as Old Saint Nick himself. It’s definitely a Made-For-TV movie, but Lansbury is beyond charming even as “Mrs. North” attempts to tackle serious 20th-century Christmas issues like child labor and women’s suffrage.
Rated: G OPL Call Number: MU 7065
#7 Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
The Plot: Story of how Santa came to be, with the aid of an elf named Patch.
The Santa: Portrayed in this film by David Huddleston (who some might recognize as Jeffrey Lebowski) as a peasant bestowed with the magic and mighty responsibility of being the next Santa Claus, we really get in to the mythology of the character… For the first portion of the movie. Sadly, it then becomes a modern(ish) Dudley Moore comedy.
Rated: PG OPL Call Number: FA 0671
#6 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
The Plot: The Grinch decides that he can’t take anymore happiness from the Who village, so he and his dog Max steal everything from trees and ornaments down to the last can of Who hash. They find that Christmas is more than presents, however.
The Santa: Shown on TV every Christmas since its debut in 1966, the Grinch doesn’t show a traditional Santa – but the Grinch himself starts as an imposter St. Nick looking to destroy Christmas but ends up being swept up in the spirit of Christmas and becoming Santa. Narrated and voiced by Boris Karloff, this is a Santa classic.
Rated: G OPL Call Number: KZ 1000
#5 Bad Santa (2003)
The Plot: Willie is a thief who teams up with his dwarf friend Marcus, for a very special Christmas scam. Willie gets a job as Santa Claus at a shopping mall, Marcus tags along as an elf, and they use their employee status to rob stores blind just before Christmas. But Willie is a bitter and foul-mouthed alcoholic who doesn’t care much for kids. A mall’s manager is certain something’s wrong, so he asks the chief of security to check out Willie. Meanwhile, one of the kids Willie is forced to talk to becomes a regular customer.
The Santa: While I initially hated Bad Santa because of its profanity and mean-spirited humor, the eventual softening and change in Billy Bob Thornton’s mad mall-Santa led me to include it in my top ten. It’s not a traditional Christmas movie in any sense, but it does present a modern-day Scrooge who must learn a Christmas lesson.
Rated: R OPL Call Number: CO 17556
#4 Arthur Christmas (2011)
The Plot: Arthur Christmas reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child’s question: So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night? The answer: Santa’s exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the center of the film is a story about a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns.
The Santa: Jim Broadbent plays the active Santa, Bill Nighy is his dad, Grandsanta, and in line to be the next Santa are sons voiced by James McAvoy and Hugh Laurie. The vocal cast is great and the animation by Aardman has the same charm as its Wallace and Gromit films, this is a future holiday classic.
Rated: PG OPL Call Number: KZ 2435
#3 The Santa Clause (1994)
The Plot: When a man inadvertantly causes Santa Claus to fall off his roof on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.
The Santa: Disney recruited Tim Allen to transform into Santa at the height of his popularity with tv show, Home Improvement. It seems like an odd choice at first, but by the time he becomes the traditional Santa Claus you will see that his has become one of the best movie Santas ever.
Rated: PG OPL Call Number: CO 5383/1
#2 Rise of the Guardians (2012)
The Plot: When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs, and imagination of children all over the world.
The Santa: My personal favorite portrayal of Santa Claus comes from Alec Baldwin in this animated gem. Here, Santa is known as “North,” the leader of the Guardians who lives at the North Pole in his Ice Castle and is served by loyal North Pole natives, the Yetis and the Christmas Elves. He not only brings children toys but saves them from evil plots, all through a thick Russian accent and humming some Stravinsky.
Rated: PG OPL Call Number: KZ 2025
#1 Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The Plot: When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.
The Santa: When most people think of a movie Santa Claus, they probably imagine Edmund Gwenn’s Oscar-winning turn as Kris Kringle. It has become so iconic a role that even Richard Attenborough still didn’t compare in the 1994 remake. According to Natalie Wood’s biographer, during the filming the young actress was convinced that Edmund Gwenn was actually Santa Claus – it wasn’t until she saw him out of costume at the wrap party that she realized he wasn’t Santa.
Rated: G OPL Call Number: DR 0945