While Christmas is usually associated with glorious re-runs of Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean, every so often we have those gems that are set at Christmas, but are never actually about Christmas. Here are some of the best examples:

Die Hard and Die Hard 2

Kicking off this list, we have not only the first, but also the second Die Hard film. In this blockbuster action pairing, we have Bruce Willis’ John McClane battling not one, but two sets of terrorists – who both have the cheek to attack at Christmas time! The first movie is relatively famous for its blend of big budget action and wise-cracking protagonist, whilst also including Alan Rickman and his band of thugs with hilariously bad German accents. Its critical and box office success did lead to a franchise. The second entry, Die Hard 2 — also set at Christmas — expanded significantly on the scale of the original, and included John McClane playing real life Call of Duty with a bunch of rogue Special Forces agents in Dulles International Airport. The danger of 400 passengers stranded in a Boeing jet running dangerously low on fuel made for some great not-so Christmassy Christmas entertainment.

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Home Alone

This particular beauty is about a young boy who is left at home (alone obviously) on Christmas, and beset by con men with designs to steal all valuables in the house. So what are you to do as an 8 year old boy in this situation? Proceed to terrorise these con men of course! Very festive indeed!

The ensuing 100 minutes of action in this film is hilarious and even managed to spawn a movie franchise. Macaulay Culkin’s performance catapulted him into one of America’s brightest child actors, and the film as a whole is another great Christmas watch.

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Batman Returns

Tim Burton’s sequel to the 1989 Batman was incredible, and really brought out the sense of fear that Gotham is associated with. With a cast of villains that included Danny DeVito’s Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, and even Christopher Walken as Max Shreck, this Batman tale was extremely dark, opening with a Christmas newborn being thrown into a sewer. Yeah, not a Christmas film at all! Despite the dark overtures, it was some of Tim Burton’s best work, and stands tall against the test of time.

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Iron Man 3

The best not-so Christmas film came off the back of the mind-blowing Avengers, taking the shape of Iron Man 3. Released as a summer blockbuster in April, audiences were not expecting a host of Christmas references that included a Jingle Bells remix…

Robert Downey Jr.’s billionaire, playboy protagonist is at his best, and the film is definitely up there with the greatest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Grossing $1.215 billion, the film deals with both the light and dark sides of Tony Stark. Somehow, he retains his trademark humour whilst also grappling with the very real topic of PTSD. To top it all off, this not so Christmas movie had some very Christmassy snow everywhere.

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Shaun Brewster

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