December means watching Christmas movies, whether on DVD or movies shown on television. In addition to the many classic Christmas movies a family can watch, there are also lots of animated Christmas films. But what about movies that aren’t considered Christmas movies but revolve around the holidays? Sometimes those movies are even better to watch when one is tired of the same old thing.
Here is a list of three of the best movies set at Christmas that aren’t actually about Christmas.
Number One Movie Set at Christmas but Not About Christmas: Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon, which came out in 1987, stars Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, and Gary Busey. Director Richard Donner’s film revolves around the partnership of cops Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs. Riggs, played by Gibson, has been crazy and suicidal since the death of his wife; he’s paired up with Murtaugh who is close to retirement. Eventually, the two of them take down a heroin operation and become close friends.
The movie is set around the holidays, and viewers see glimpses of Christmas trees here and there. One scene has Riggs undercover in a tree lot. A note from the bad guys hangs on Murtaugh’s Christmas tree. The end of the movie has Riggs joining the Murtaugh family for Christmas dinner. While it is an action movie, the holidays are a large part of it.
Number Two Movie Set at Christmas but Not About Christmas: Die Hard
Bruce Willis plays New York City cop John McClane in John McTiernan’s 1988 movie Die Hard. McClane has arrived in Los Angeles to reconcile with his wife Holly who is living and working on the West coast. She works for Nakatomi Corporation and is attending a party in the Nakatomi Plaza. She and her colleagues are taken hostage and it’s up to McClane to save them.
Bonnie Bedelia plays Holly. The main villain, Hans Gruber, is played by Alan Rickman in one of his first movie roles. The film is an action movie, but viewers get lots of Christmas in it. From McClane’s note to Gruber that says, “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho,” to “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow” and a Run-DMC Christmas song, the holidays have never been more exciting.
Number Three Movie Set at Christmas but Not About Christmas: The Ref
1994 saw this Ted Demme movie starring Denis Leary as The Ref. Set around the holidays, the movie is about a couple played by Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis who are having marital problems. Leary is a burglar who plans on hiding out in the couple’s home, but their fighting soon drives him to distraction. He becomes a referee between the husband and wife and even pretends to be their marriage counselor during their Christmas party.
Yes, The Ref is a comedy, but it’s set at Christmas. While its main focus is not the holidays, it actually turns out to be a heart-warming movie.
Not All Movies Set at Christmas Make the Holidays Their Focus
Those who want to watch a movie set during the holidays but don’t want typical Christmas film fare will enjoy watching one of these three films. It’s a way for movie watchers to have their Christmas candy and eat it too!