It’s Christmas, so we can pretty much count on another hundred thousand sappy holiday movies added to the Lifetime, Hallmark, Netflix, and Amazon Prime movie catalogs. For many, those ooey-gooey romantic Christmas movies are like candy — they just can’t get enough and their collective sweet tooth is forever unsatiated. And for others, we can pretty much do without and still have a very merry Christmas. And for one elite group of film buffs that enjoy action movies AND Christmas movies, you can find comfort in knowing that for every hundred thousand sappy romance Christmas movies starring recycled pseudo-celebrities, the movie industry provides the world with one killer Christmas action movie.
When Violent Night premiered in October 2022, the world received yet another addition to the Christmas action films canon. The movie stars David Harbour (of Stranger Things fame) as an apathetic Santa Clause with a drinking problem.Read More »
Check out the Violent Night trailer.
It’s a delightful throwback to some awesome holiday action movies that reminds us that every time a streaming service oozes out a sappy holiday movie, an angel gets his wings — and a gruff New York cop gets another machine gun and shoots another international terrorist on Christmas Eve. Ho – Ho – Ho.
So without further ado, here is a list of the best Christmas action movies ever made for your holiday movie marathon. So pop some corn, throw another log on the fire, pour yourself something brown with or without ice, and get ready to curl up with these action-packed Christmas flicks all night long.
1. Die Hard (1988)
The quintessential Christmas action flick that spawned a franchise, Die Hard stars Bruce Willis as John McClane, a New York cop who visits his estranged wife’s workplace in Los Angeles and runs into a band of terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). With gallons of sweat and bullets, McClane single-handedly saves the day on Christmas Eve. Some holiday movie buffs put Die Hard in their top five lists, up there with It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and Elf. It’s a classic and it’s hands-down the best Christmas action movie of all time.
Check out the Die Hard trailer.
2. Lethal Weapon (1987)
It’s Christmas Eve in Los Angeles and the racial tensions between Danny Glover and Mel Gibson are as high as ever. But they’re forced to work together when a drug cartel kills Glover’s LAPD partner and goes after his family during the holidays. If that’s not enough, there’s also a renegade Vietnam veteran on the loose who’s trying to blow town. Directed by Richard Donner and scored by Michael Kamen, the original Lethal Weapon is an 80s classic that spawned a few sequels and remakes.
Check out the Lethal Weapon trailer.
3. Batman Returns (1992)
It’s Christmas in Gotham City and all hell is breaking loose. The Penguin has hatched a plot to usurp the mayor’s office and Catwoman is out for revenge on her former boss. Only Batman (Michael Keaton) can stop these two maniacal villains in this fantastic Tim Burton flick that features some truly bizarre moments (like the penguin army). It stands up today as one of the best Batman movies ever made and a great Christmas action movie.
Check out the Batman Returns trailer.
4. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
It’s Christmas in Hollywood and Robert Downey Jr. is out for revenge against an old friend who got him into some trouble. Directed by Shane Black, this neo-noir action flick has some of the best dialogue ever written and features Val Kilmer as a private investigator with a knack for getting into trouble. It’s a hilarious and thrilling movie that stands out as one of Downey Jr.’s best performances.
Check out the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang trailer.
5. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
When an amnesiac schoolteacher (Geena Davis) discovers her past life as a trained assassin, she unwittingly gets caught up in an international conspiracy and must survive long enough to set the record straight. Along for the ride is Samuel L. Jackson — and what a ride it is. This is a thrilling action movie that doesn’t skimp on the humor or the explosions.
Check out The Long Kiss Goodnight trailer.
6. Die Hard 2 (1990)
John McClane returns to take on an entire team of terrorists led by Col. Stuart (William Sadler) who crash land at Dulles International Airport on Christmas Eve and take several hostages. It’s up to McClane and Sgt. Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) saves the day once again in this exciting sequel that delivers plenty of action, suspense, and one-liners.
Check out the Die Hard 2 trailer.
When a father brings home a mysterious creature as a Christmas present for his son, it sets in motion a series of events that leads to all sorts of hilarity and chaos. Directed by Joe Dante, this classic 1980s horror-comedy was one of the first to feature cuddly little monsters that turn into monsters when exposed to water. It’s a great movie for kids and adults alike, so check it out!
Check out the Gremlins trailer.
8. The Santa Clause (1994)
When Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall off his roof on Christmas Eve, he must take up the mantle of the big man in red himself. This charming family comedy is full of laughs and heart, making it one of the most beloved Christmas movies ever made. Check out The Santa Clause to see if Scott can save Christmas!
Check out the Santa Clause trailer.
9. Bad Santa (2003)
This black comedy stars Billy Bob Thornton as Willie, a miserable and alcoholic department store Santa whose only goal is to pull off a major heist over the holidays. It’s an irreverent and foul-mouthed romp that features some great performances from Tony Cox and Bernie Mac. Check out Bad Santa for some seriously twisted holiday entertainment.
Check out the Bad Santa trailer.
10. Home Alone (1990)
This classic Christmas comedy follows the misadventures of Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) as he accidentally gets left behind when his family goes on vacation during the holidays. Filled with laughs, heartwarming moments, and plenty of pratfalls, it’s a movie that never gets old. Check out Home Alone to see the resourceful Kevin take on two bumbling burglars!
Check out the Home Alone trailer.
10. Reindeer Games (2000)
When a small-time thief (Ben Affleck) gets out of jail just in time for Christmas, he finds himself mixed up in a high-stakes robbery with the help of his cellmate’s beautiful sister (Charlize Theron). It’s an entertaining action movie that takes some surprising turns and features great performances from Affleck and Theron. Check out Reindeer Games for a thrilling holiday caper!
Check out the Reindeer Games trailer.
11. Invasion U.S.A. (1985)
When an elite squad of terrorists from the fictional country of Kalistan invades the continental United States, it’s up to retired CIA agent Matt Hunter (Chuck Norris) to take them down. This classic ’80s action movie features plenty of explosions, car chases and one-liners that only Norris can deliver. Check out Invasion U.S.A. for some classic action entertainment!
Check out the Invasion U.S.A. trailer.
12. The Tower (2012)
When a massive fire breaks out on the top floor of a skyscraper, it’s up to an elite team of firefighters to rescue the trapped tenants and put out the flames. This intense South Korean disaster movie is full of thrills and suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Check out The Tower trailer.
13. The Ice Harvest (2005)
The Ice Harvest is a 2005 Christmas-themed dark comedy crime film directed by Harold Ramis. The film follows Charlie Arglist (played by John Cusack), a shady lawyer in Wichita, Kansas, who has been hired by Bill Guerrard (Randy Quaid) to help him embezzle two million dollars from his boss, crime lord and strip club owner, Vic Cavanaugh (Billy Bob Thornton). Charlie teams up with his friend and bar owner, Pete Van Heuten (Oliver Platt), and the two plan to leave town with the money. However, Charlie is pursued by Cavanaugh’s goons, and he must outsmart them and make it to the airport in time. Along the way, Charlie is forced to confront his past and make decisions that will determine his future. The film is filled with dark comedy, suspense, and action, and ultimately serves as a cautionary tale of the consequences of greed and corruption.
Check out The Ice Harvest trailer.
14. The Silent Partner (1978)
The Silent Partner is a 1978 Canadian action thriller film directed by Daryl Duke and starring Elliott Gould, Christopher Plummer, and Susannah York. The film follows Gould’s character, Miles Cullen, a bank teller whose life is turned upside down when he becomes involved with a criminal, Harry Reikle (Plummer). After Reikle steals money from the bank, Miles comes up with a plan to keep the money for himself and get revenge on Reikle. The film follows Miles’ attempts to outsmart Reikle and keep himself out of trouble, leading to a thrilling climax. Through a combination of wit, nerve, and sheer luck, Miles manages to keep the money and get revenge, while also learning a valuable lesson in the process.
Check out The Silent Partner trailer.
Fire Up Some Christmas Action Tonight!
So there you have it, folks! From timeless classics to modern-day gems, these Christmas action films are sure to get your heart racing and put you in the holiday spirit. So gather around the TV this season and fire up some Christmas action tonight!