What are the best Santa Claus movies of all time? We love a good Christmas movie here at The Digital Fix, so much so that we aren’t content with a simple list of the best festive movies – we want to look at the best films featuring the big man in red, too.
Few images are quite as symbiotic with the happiest time of the year than old Saint Nick and his red and white suit. Father Christmas, Chris Kringle, Santa Claus, whatever you call him, he’s one of the key ingredients for any Christmas movie.
With this in mind, we’ve drawn up a small but sweet list of the best Santa Claus movies. The one rule – the film must have either Santa himself, or a character acting as Santa, as the main focus of the story. Let’s Ho Ho Go!
The best Santa Claus movies are:
- The Christmas Chronicles
- Bad Santa
- Arthur Christmas
- Father Christmas
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
What could be better than seeing action movie hero Kurt Russell taking on the role of Santa? Leaving his badass persona behind, Russell becomes a charming and very fun version of Father Christmas for this Netflix movie which, somewhat surprisingly, is brilliant.
When two kids try to capture Santa on camera, they go on an unexpected journey with the man himself as he tries to complete his Christmas Eve mission despite losing his reindeer, magic hat, and all the presents that need delivering. Oh, and there’s also a musical number, if that wasn’t enough!
Bad Santa (2003)
Not every Santa Claus movie needs to make you feel all warm inside, and this comedy movie starring Billy Bob Thornton is decidedly more adult than the rest of the films on this list. Bad Santa is a 2000s movie which feels very much of its time, but as a once-a-year treat it certainly does the trick.
Willie (Thornton) is a conman who sees the holiday season as a great opportunity to infiltrate department stores and steal from them, all under the guise of being a jolly Santa impersonator. That’s pretty naughty, but there’s always a chance to make your way on to the nice list again, as Willie finds out.
Arthur Christmas (2011)
There’s just something about Christmas and animated movies that go together so wonderfully, and Arthur Christmas is a really sweet modern addition to the Christmas catalogue. With an all-star cast including the likes of James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, and Hugh Laurie, this flick has a certain magic to it.
Arthur, the son of Santa, goes on a mission with his grandfather to help deliver a present that was missed on Christmas Eve night. The only problem is, Grandsanta hung up his red hat a while back, and chaos is at every turn as the misfit team attempt to save one girl’s Christmas.
Father Christmas (1991)
We all know the picture perfect image of Santa as a relentlessly happy, good-spirited, gentle man, but this quaint ‘90s movie offers us a real insight into how Saint Nick behaves when he’s not in his sleigh. Father Christmas is funny, endearing, and has to be an absolute staple of the festive viewing schedule.
From Raymond Briggs, the man who also created the classic story of The Snowman, comes a short film combining two of his books to show us what Santa gets up to on his holidays, and how he prepares for the big night each year. There’s just something so heartwarming about seeing Santa doing household chores and chilling with his pets and this film will always bring a huge smile to my face.
You never really expect new movies to find their way into your annual Christmas rewatch line-up, but when the streaming service Netflix produced Klaus, they absolutely captured the magic of Christmas. Quite literally, this Netflix Christmas movie is one of the most beautiful animated films you’re likely to find.
Klaus tells the story of Jesper, a spoiled young man who is sent to the remote island of Smeerensburg to teach him a lesson for his failures in the postman training academy headed up by his father. Determined to get off the island by any means, Jesper teams up with a kindly old toymaker hidden away in the woods to bring joy to the children of Smeerensburg, and help himself achieve his secret target of posting 6000 letters.
While originally having selfish motivations, Jesper falls in love and discovers that he and Klaus are actually making a genuine difference to the community with their work. As time goes by, the tradition of well-behaved children, letters to Klaus, and toy deliveries in the night becomes what we now know as Christmas, and Jesper becomes a hero.
Klaus is a gorgeously animated, emotionally powerful, and rather funny family movie that I look forward to watching every year, and it is without a doubt the best Santa Claus movie ever made.
For more festive fun, check out our list of the best Amazon Prime Christmas movies or the best Disney Plus Christmas movies. Or for something a little different, dive into our list of the best Christmas horror movies if you dare.