Best Movies To Watch With Your Family On Christmas Eve

Maybe this is a little controversial, but we don't think you should watch any of the big Christmas blockbusters on Christmas Eve. Save them for the big day instead. So what should you watch on Christmas Eve? Here's our pick for 2022.

Christmas Eve Movies
Benoit Blanc is on the case, here are the best Christmas Eve movies! | © Lionsgate / Warner Bros

Christmas Eve is arguably better than Christmas Day. Most people have stopped working, the excitement of Christmas is at its peak, and everyone is trying to get to that perfect level of drunk between tipsy and hammered. There might still be chores to do before the big day, but we're happy to do them.

Now, for many, Christmas Eve is spent at the pub. But if you're wise enough to avoid the potential hangover, you might instead be spending the night at home with your family. Of course, board games should be saved for the big day, but a movie is perfect.

When we sat down to make this list, we made a few simple rules. To help you understand our thinking, here they are:

  • Iconic Christmas blockbusters should be avoided. Like board games, these should be saved for the big day.
  • A Christmas Eve film needs to have broad enough appeal for the whole family.
  • Films that are too depressing or scary are an absolute no-go.
  • Ensemble casts are usually the safest bet because there's going to be an actor for everyone.

Okay, with our rules established, here are the five best movies for Christmas Eve.

5. Bullet Train (IMDB: 7.3)

We'll kick off with Bullet Train, an action film that sees Brad Pitt struggling to complete his latest "job" as an assassin on one of Japan's bullet trains. Even the most attention-deficient member of the family will stay off their phone for this one. But don't worry, it's not all mindless action; there are great performances from many of the cast, and some surprisingly compelling dialogue.

The film is clearly inspired by Kill Bill, although unlike Kill Bill, it isn't as relentlessly graphic, which is a good thing for Christmas Eve.

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (IMDB: 7.6)

We could have chosen any Harry Potter film really, and we're sure a great many of you will binge-watch every one this Christmas. But why are these films so perfect for Christmas? It's probably the ivy-covered walls of the old castle, and characters like Hagrid and Dumbledore, which bring such profound comfort. The first film seemed like an obvious choice for a list like this because it's where an HP movie-marathon starts and because, unlike the later films, Harry can enjoy a truly peaceful Christmas without the overbearing threat of You Know Who.

3. Hell or High Water (IMDB: 7.6)

Best described as a western for the 21st century, Hell or High Water tells the story of two brothers who go on a series of bank robberies to raise enough money to repay their mother's loans and keep possession of the family ranch in West Texas. It's a masterpiece that blends fast-paced action with moments of poignancy and tenderness. But it never gets too dreary, thanks to a good deal of well-written and well-delivered humor.

This is especially recommended to those with a good TV and audio setup. The soundtrack is fantastic, and shots of the open road perfectly capture the romance of The Great American West.


2. Uncut Gems (IMDB: 7.4)

This is an A24 production, so you know you're going to be in for a solid watch. And they probably are the only production company who are still able to get good performances out of Adam Sandler. After all the self-indulgent Happy Madison films, it's easy to forget that Sandler is a talented actor (or at least, he has the potential to be when he can be bothered).

In Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler plays the role of a washed-out jewelry dealer in New York. He wants to live the high life, and he has all the affectations of wealth, but in reality he's in a loveless marriage and suffering from a gambling addiction. His gambling leads him into trouble with the mob, and instead of trying to come clean or find a rational solutional, he makes one last outrageously daring play. It's a captivating film, and once the action starts it hardly stops.

1. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (IMDB: 8.0)

This should be on everyone's list. The original Knives Out is fantastic, and the sequel is perhaps even better. Plus, it meets all of our Christmas Eve criteria.

This is a murder mystery film with a great ensemble of actors, led by Daniel Craig, an enigmatic detective from Kentucky called Benoit Blanc. Craig's southern drawl is surprisingly good, and the intelligent twists and turns of the plot are more akin to something from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle than a typical Netflix whodunit. Just do yourself a favor and watch this film.


And there you have it folks, our recommendations for Christmas Eve. We wanted to include the Whale, but it's just a bit too sad (although you should absolutely watch it at the first opportunity). Anyway, merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Of course, if you're a family that are going to be gaming rather than binge-watching this Christmas, why not pick something from the Steam Christmas Sale?