‘Tis the season to be jolly! We’re well into the second week of December and it’s time for the Ultimate Christmas Movie Showdown’s Round of 16 to kick off! With over 3,000 votes cast so far—across Twitter, Instagram, and That Shelf—we’ve seen many festive favourites voted out, a few dark horses advance, and several facts become rather clear. Arguments against Die Hard and Gremlins as holiday films are very much a thing of the past and the Venn diagram of Love, Actually and Holiday lovers is actually a circle. The more you know…
The first face off in this new elimination round brings two of our most beloved animated classics up against each other: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Fahoo fores dahoo dores, it seems almost impossible to choose between them but no one said this would be easy!
See where things stand in the brackets overall then head below to vote for your favourite!
Round of 16:
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
The holiday season doesn’t truly kick off until you cozy up with this stop-motion yule-tide gem from Rankin/Bass. The hour-long special follows Santa’s famous ninth reindeer as he grows from a talented but ostracized young buck to the brave, Christmas-saving Rudolph of modern legend. Along the way he meets up with a spirited group of misfits that have become almost as synonymous with the season as Rudolph himself—Hermey, the elf with dazzling dreams of dentistry, Yukon Cornelius, a prospector who finds more snow than precious metal, and an island full of unwanted and unloved toys. Then there’s Clarice, Fireball, King Moonracer, Donner, Comet, Santa, and Mrs. Claus too. And don’t forget the Abominable Snowman, or “Bumble”, a monster feared by the population of the North Pole but who has special, helpful skills of his own.
Narrated by Burl Ives’ Sam the Snowman, this heart-warming tale of love, difference, and acceptance also introduced audiences to a host of iconic holiday tunes including “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Silver and Gold.” So while streaming services and network television are bursting at the seams with various animated seasonal specials, there is only one Rudolph and that’s the way it should be.
Fun fact: With the exception of Ives, the voice talent of Rudolph was all Canadian as Rankin/Bass preferred to record dialogue in Toronto.– Emma Badame
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1968)
Bursting with silly rhymes and tantalizing tongue twisters, How The Grinch Stole Christmas first aired in 1966. Based on Dr. Seuss’ 1957 children’s book, this non-religious holiday tale is nonetheless filled with the joys of the season, complete with its very own Christmas miracle and a batch of signature Seussian carols.
This is the story of an evil Grinch (voiced with a sinister delight by horror star Boris Karloff), sitting atop a mountain, looking disdainfully down at the Whos down in Whoville, gentle creatures that love Christmas and rejoice in the celebrations.
Dreading yet another, he hatches a dastardly plan to steal all the things – the toys, decorations, even taking the crumbs not big enough to feed a mouse—in order to stop all the “noise, noise, noise” that is Christmas. Even a chance meeting with that most innocent child, “Cindy-Lou Who, who was no more than two” doesn’t faze him.
But this creature with a heart “two sizes too small” learns something vital that day—transforming him—and instead spreads an enduring magical message of holiday cheer that resonates every year. – Barbara Goslawski
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Voting ends December 11 at 11:59 EST.
The elimination showdown runs from December 1 until the 23, with the Ultimate Christmas Movie being unveiled on Christmas Eve! You can vote here, on Twitter, or on Instagram. Tune in tomorrow for two new face offs…