1. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

It's A Wonderful Life ending

Yes, It’s a Wonderful Life is perhaps the quintessential Christmas movie. Yes, it’s partially responsible for the rise of Christmas movies in general. Yes, it’s a Corner of Film tradition to watch it on Christmas Eve. That doesn’t mean that it’s actually about Christmas, though, does it?

The idea of taking a man and showing him all the ways that he has enriched the lives of those around him is a touching and brilliant premise for a movie, we aren’t arguing that. It’s a Wonderful Life is a heartfelt and beautiful piece of cinema, no doubt – it just isn’t Christmassy at all. In fact, the only scene that really concerns Christmas at all is the final one, and that’s only because the entire populace of Bedford Falls gathers around the Baileys’ tree to sing Auld Lang Syne.

Though It’s a Wonderful Life is a Christmas classic, the holiday is not an important part of the movie at all. In fact, you could take out the mentions of Christmas and it wouldn’t make even the slightest bit of difference to the story as a whole. Of course, the angels and the snow are distinctly festive, but they aren’t inherently Christmassy. In many ways, It’s a Wonderful Life shaped the modern Christmas movie, and it did so without technically being one.

And that’s our list. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow Corner of Film on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @corneroffilm to keep up to date with all our excellent content!