Holiday Movie Watchers Pine for ‘Wonderful Life’

December 23, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Broadcast & Cable | Media & Entertainment | Youth & Gen X

For the second year in a row, Americans say that Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is? their favorite holiday movie, according to recent results from The Marist Poll’s annual holiday movie survey.?

More than one-fourth (26%) of Americans say that the 1946 classic starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore is their top holiday movie pick. The more contemporary A Christmas Story from 1983 is preferred by 21% of Americans.


Other top holiday flick picks are Miracle on 34th Street (the favorite of 18% of “believers”), 1954’s White Christmas (preferred by 14%),? and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (also preferred by 14%).

Results this year are similar to last year’s findings. When Marist asked about Americans’ favorite holiday movies in December of 2008, Wonderful Life placed first, A Christmas Story came in second, and Miracle on 34th Street rounded out the top three. White Christmas took the fourth slot, and A Christmas Carol and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer tied for fifth place.

Movie Preferences Vary by Age

Not surprisingly, holiday movie preferences vary by age. Americans between ages 18-44 currently think A Christmas Story is the ultimate holiday movie. Three in 10 (31%) of those ages 18-29 believe this to be the case as do 34% of those ages 30-44. Residents 45-59, however, align with the overall population. A significant? 37% of those in this age group rank It’s a Wonderful Life as the top Christmas movie.

Americans 60+ are more divided, according to Marist. More than one-fourth (27%) within this age bracket say White Christmas takes top honors, while 25% believe It’s a Wonderful Life reigns supreme.

Rudolph and Charlie Brown Top Animated Fan Favorites

When it comes to animated holiday movies, two favorites tie for the number-one spot. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas each receive 26% of Americans’ vote. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the favorite of 25% of Americans. Some 11% prefer Frosty the Snowman, and 6% most enjoy Santa Claus Is Comin to Town.


This year’s results show some shifts in preferences since last year. When Marist last asked about favorite animated Christmas movies last December, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was the favorite and A Charlie Brown Christmas came in at #2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas was, and remains in the #3 slot.

Last year, Frosty the Snowman followed in fourth and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town slid into the #5 spot.


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