I’ll say it again: I actually can’t believe I found another ten crime movies that take place at Christmas. I really, really thought I had scraped the bottom of the barrel last year, rustling up things like “Psycho because there are Christmas decorations in Phoenix while Marion Crane drives away with the money.” But no, thanks to two new movies this year, I’ve assembled another list of ten.
In December 2018, our editor Dwyer Murphy assembled ten thrillers that might surprise you with their holiday settings, and in December of 2019, I added ten more. And then in December of 2020, I added another ten more, and in 2021, I added another ten more, and last year I added yet another ten more.
Here’s how it works: these are crime movies set during the Christmas season but which are not really, technically “Christmas movies.” I explain this EVERY year but I’ll do it again: when I make another one of these lists, these aren’t movies like Die Hard or Bad Santa or Lethal Weapon or last year’s Violent Night: famously crimey and obviously Christmassy. NO SIR. These are the movies you probably don’t really remember are even set at Christmas.
PSA: If a movie isn’t on here and you think it should be, check the other five lists! There are 50 movies to check!
We also have put together a list of the ten MOST obvious crime movies set at Christmas, if you are looking for the first two Die Hards or first two Home Alones.
All right, I think that’s everything. For the SIXTH time (Jesus Christ), I present to you another ten more crime movies you might have forgotten take place at Christmas!
American Psycho (2000)
I’m actually really surprised that this one wasn’t on previous lists. But yeah, uncomfortable yuppie Christmas party amid all the murdering. Check!
The Last Boy Scout (1991)
It’s a Shane Black movie, so you’d assume it’d be set at Christmas. But The Last Boy Scout is one of his rare movies that seems to be subtle in setting. Still, it seems to be set at Christmas; Bruce Willis’s daughter keeps drawing pictures of a devily-St. Nick figure called “Satan Claus.” This seems to suggest that we’re approaching Yuletide? I’m gonna count it.
Silent Night (2023)
John Woo is back and he brought with him a controversial Christmas-set, neo-silent movie about a dad (Joel Kinnaman) who sees his young son get killed on Christmas Eve and then, while recovering from a throat injury that costs him his voice, goes after the gang responsible. This holiday, it won’t be just shepherds quaking at the sight!
Remember the Night (1939)
This charming Fred MacMurray-Barbara Stanwyck Christmas romantic comedy, written by the great Preston Sturges, is about an attractive lady thief who is caught shoplifting in a store during the holiday shopping rush, and the assistant district attorney prosecuting her who can’t get a jury together before Christmas so decides to *bring her with him when he goes home for the holiday.* Cheers!
3 Godfathers (1948)
Okay, so, this John Ford western about three fugitive bank robbers in the old west might not seem like a Christmas movie, except ahem, it’s a version of the story of the Three Wise Men making a pilgrimage for baby Jesus. In case you doubt this, when the three bank robbers FIND A WOMAN IN LABOR AND HELP HER GIVE BIRTH, AND THEN BECOME THE BABY’S PROTECTOR AFTER SHE DIES, one of those characters literally compares the baby to Jesus and the three of them to the Magi. So.
First Blood (1982)
Rambo!!! Yes, it’s set at Christmas!!! And this one, the first one, is actually appropriate for this list because it’s about a guy’s personal rampage rather than a movie about a guy returning to Vietnam to kill a lot of people. (In other words, it’s a crime movie rather than a WAR CRIME MOVIE.)
Meet John Doe (1941)
More Barbara Stanwyck! I’m not complaining at all, but it’s crazy how many Christmas movies she starred in! Hollywood’s one-woman North Pole. Anyway, this Frank Capra movie is about a journalist who commits fraud and hires a homeless Gary Cooper to help her cover it up. On Christmas Eve!
Eileen! This thriller, which is basically perfect almost all of the way through, snuck onto our radar only a few weeks ago. Anne Hathaway rocks her portrayal of a sultry, secretive psychologist at a young men’s prison in Massachusetts. She, Rebecca, is the first bright spot in a while that Eileen (Thomasin McKenzie), who works in the prison, has experienced, and it’s not long before Eileen begins to grow veeeeeery interested in her. The movie builds well and is really interesting, but a late-in-the-film monologue from Marin Ireland brings the house down.
Deep Cover (1992)
Yes, this incredible, early 90s Laurence Fishburne neo-noir classic centrally features Christmas: just look at this incredibly evocative, upsetting opening scene featuring a murder during Christmas time in snowy Cleveland, 1972.
Eastern Promises (2007)
Eastern Promises! I kind of can’t believe I forgot that this movie is set at Christmas, but hey, look at the title of this series! And it’s REALLY Christmassy! If you have any doubts, let me refer you to this article written by none other than S.A. Cosby, called “Eastern Promises or How Baby Jesus took down the Russian Mob.” Or, just watch the movie.