There are times when a great Christmas movie marathon includes some dramatic works instead of high-energy family films or badass action hits like Die Hard. Sometimes, all audiences need is a little bit of timelessness and emotion to really bring out the spirit of the holiday season.
The following is a list of drama films that aren’t all necessarily Christmas-themed, but they certainly go well with the holiday. When Christmas comes, be sure to snuggle up with loved ones, sip your hot chocolate and dim the lights while enjoying these wonderful movies.
10 Far And Away (1992)
Real-life couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman reunited two years after making Days Of Thunder to star in this film about a young Irish couple who flee to the States for a new life. They face incredible challenges that test their resolve and provide them the opportunity to forge a new path for themselves as landowners.
The film is a masterpiece of period filmmaking that gives it a timeless adventure feel with just the right amount of drama thrown in. It remains one of director Ron Howard’s most underrated dramatic works.
9 Rain Man (1988)
Tom Cruise played the self-centered Charlie Babbitt who finds out that his autistic savant brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) has just inherited a $3 million dollar trust fund bestowed upon him by their late father. He takes Raymond out of his mental institute in an attempt to get the inheritance, only to be foiled by Raymond.
As Charlie learns more about Raymond, he starts to understand that his own life of swindling, womanizing, and selfishness is completely meaningless. As he grows to love his brother more, he starts to understand what family is all about – perhaps for the first time.
8 The Ten Commandments (1956)
Whether you’re a believer or not, The Ten Commandments is one of the greatest epics of all time, and definitely fits in nicely during a Christmas movie-thon. Believers take it as gospel, while non-believers enjoy it as an entertaining work of fiction, but there’s no denying the impact it made on moviemaking.
Charlton Heston plays Moses, a man destined by the almighty himself to lead his people out of bondage under the cruel yolk of the Egyptian Empire. With powerful forces at his side, Moses locks horns with a cruel Pharaoh who refuses to back down, until he too finally becomes a believer.
7 Stand By Me (1986)
Stephen King penned a unique story called The Body which was translated into a lighthearted work (compared to his other stories) about a group of young boys who set out to find the body of a young boy presumed to be missing. Things get complicated when a group of bullies picks up their trail, however.
The film continues to stand the test of time not just as a cult classic, but a commentary about the importance of friendships and bonds, even as we age. It’s not for the kids, but older audiences will definitely enjoy the spirit of the film.
6 Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Johnny Depp scored a major hit when he starred in this quirky Tim Burton classic about an artificial man who’s creator dies just before he is able to receive a set of hands. Instead, he’s forced to live out a lonely existence in an empty house with a pair of scissor hands that prove to be a danger not just to himself, but others.
It’s a timeless tale about the sadness and sorrow brought on by bigotry and prejudice, and the love that can overcome it. Though the story ends on a bittersweet note, it’s still a great fit for the Christmas holidays and should be shared with new generations.
5 Joyeux Noël (2006)
French director Christian Carion took on the wonderful task of telling a true story about a truce called between Western Front and German forces on Christmas Eve, 1914. On that day, the guns were put down, and soldiers on both sides fraternized and enjoyed the holidays together.
Sadly, the event would not go unnoticed or unpunished, which highlights the importance of the date. Joyeux Noël is one of the most important Christmas films ever made, and one with a powerful message that would best be heeded by all.
4 Miracle On 34th Street (1994)
This 1994 remake of the classic Christmas film manages to update the story for a modern audience without losing the spirit of what came before. This time, Kris Kringle is portrayed by the lovable Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park) who goes through relatively the same series of events, including a court case to try and prove he’s the real deal.
However, there’s a bit more magic to this particular story thanks to Kringle’s relationship with little Susan Walker, a girl who doesn’t believe Kris is actually Santa until three of her Christmas wishes suddenly become true.
3 Forrest Gump (1994)
Tom Hanks shed his 1980s comedy career and translated fully to dramatic roles after playing the lovable Forrest Gump in the 1994 classic. It’s the timeless story of an intellectually challenged guy who charms the world with his straightforward and wise views on life.
Not only was Forrest Gump a technical marvel, but its dramatic story is one for the ages. In fact, the film made such an impact that it’s still remembered fondly today thanks to its pop culture quotes and excellent cast performances.
2 Jerry Maguire (1996)
Christmas movies are always the best when they have happy endings, and Jerry Maguire is no exception. This dramatic Tom Cruise hit came out of nowhere and made the phrase “you complete me” part of the cultural lexicon.
Cruise plays a sports agent who goes through an epiphany that ends up costing him his job and his elite client roster. With only one left to his name, Maguire sets out with fellow former employee Dorothy Boyd to try and forge a new path. Along the way, he comes to understand what’s truly important in life, which was right in front of him the whole time.
1 War Horse (2011)
Steven Spielberg is no stranger to World War epics, but he’d never done one from the point of view of a horse until this 2011 dramatic masterpiece arrived. When prized horse Joey is sold to the cavalry at the start of the First World War, he ends up on the front lines before taken by German forces.
This is the catalyst for an adventure that takes Joey across Europe and into the hands of a number of different people before completing a full circle back to his original owner. That puts it right up there in the pantheon of feel-good Christmas movies.
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