The Best Christmas Day Movie Releases, 1973-2013

With a slew of big movies hitting theaters on December 25, here are 6 of the best flicks to come out on Xmas Day over the past 40 years.

With The Wolf of Wall Street and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty both hitting theaters on Christmas Day, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite flicks to be released on December 25 over the past 40 years. Thankfully, none of them are actually Christmas movies. Because, fuck that noise.

Django Unchained: December 25, 2012

Quentin Tarantino’s slavery revenge movie was one of last year’s most entertaining films. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, and Leonardo DiCaprio all completely crush it, and it was positively refreshing to see Leo playing a murderous villain for once. Speaking of Leo, when it comes to Christmas Day movie releases, this dude is all over that shit. Django and The Wolf of Wall Street are just the latest in a string of DiCaprio films to hit theaters on 12/25 in the course of his career: There was also What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Catch Me If You Can (2002), and…

The Aviator: December 25, 2004

In Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, DiCaprio tried to snag that ever-elusive Oscar by portraying troubled aviation tycoon Howard Hughes in a biopic that spanned the entrepreneur’s whole adult life. Was it the best movie of all time? Good God, no. But any movie in which a severely paranoid rich person spends years holed up in his mansion’s screening room, peeing in jars, is something we can get behind.  

Ali: December 25, 2001

If you want to know what it looks like when a star falls from grace, all you have to do is watch this epic film about the rise of boxer Muhammad Ali – which scored Will Smith an Oscar nomination for Best Actor – and then immediately follow it up by watching the steaming pile of lazy garbage that is After Earth.

Angela’s Ashes: December 24, 1999

Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt’s powerful memoir about growing up in poverty in pre-war Ireland, the film adaptation of Angela’s Ashes wasn’t a box office hit. But by releasing it on Christmas Day, the studio was making a statement: Namely, that holiday cheer can eat a dick. If you want to appreciate everything you have this Christmas, go watch as little Francis McCourt and his siblings freeze and starve in a bleak Irish hell while their degenerate alcoholic father spends the welfare check at the pub. It’s fun for the whole family!

The People vs. Larry Flynt: December 25, 1996

Woody Harrelson! Courtney Love! Drugs, sex, and filth! Truly, is there any more appropriate way to honor the birth of our lord and savior than by watching a movie about famously polarizing smut-peddler and Hustler founder Larry Flynt? If you opted to see The People vs. Larry Flynt on opening day in 1996 instead of spoon-feeding tiny pieces of a Christmas ham to your catatonic aunt Gertie, then you, sir, are a Goddamn boss.

The Sting: December 25, 1973

Hey guys, remember the ‘70s? No? Well, neither do we. But every movie aficionado should be familiar with this Paul Newman/Robert Redford classic, which snagged seven Academy Awards including Best Picture. Set in the 1930s, the film centers on a low-level crook and a seasoned con-man, who join forces to avenge the murder of their compatriot by conning the mob boss responsible for his death. It’s got nefarious hired guns, dead waitresses, high-stakes gambling, FBI sting operations…in short, everything you could want from a Christmas movie. (Editor’s note: The first commenter to ask what the salad dressing guy is doing in a movie is going to get punched in the face….Merry Christmas!)