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5 Great Christmas Date Movies

Love Actually poster
Universal

There’s a lot of running around at this time of year, from work parties to open houses to your last-minute shopping run. Nonetheless, you’ve still got to carve out some time to snuggle on the sofa with your significant other and take a breather from all the craziness of the season.

Lots of holiday fare is geared toward children or family audiences, but there are plenty of terrific movies that are both Christmas-related and perfect for date night. All featured in my book ‘Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas,’ these are films that you and your significant other will enjoy together every December:

LOVE ACTUALLY

You either cop to loving this movie or you enjoy it in secret, but it’s well-nigh impossible to resist the charms of this sweet and hilarious rom-com. Richard Curtis, who wrote ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ and ‘Notting Hill,’ assembled the mother of all ensemble casts to tell these intertwining tales of love during the holidays, with everyone from schoolboys to the Prime Minister finding romance as the calendar counts down to December 25.

REMEMBER THE NIGHT

A nearly forgotten gem from Hollywood’s golden era (until TCM recently rediscovered it), this romantic comedy-drama pairs Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck as two people much nicer than the conniving murderers they famously played in ‘Double Indemnity.’ To keep shoplifter Stanwyck from having to spend the holidays behind bars, D.A. MacMurray takes her home to Indiana, where the affection she gets from MacMurray and his family lets her see the person she might have become under better circumstances. A lovely little romance (written by the great Preston Sturges) with a pretty hilarious road trip thrown in as a bonus.

DESK SET

Sparks fly when TV network research librarian Katharine Hepburn goes toe-to-toe with computer genius Spencer Tracy in this sprightly workplace comedy. She and her staff (which includes the hilarious Joan Blondell and the gorgeous Dina Merrill) think that Tracy and his “electronic brain” are going to put them all out of a job; as for Tracy, he just wants to win Hepburn away from network exec Gig Young. This movie takes us back to the days when computers were the size of rooms and office Christmas parties were drunken bacchanals where “sexual harassment” hadn’t been invented yet. (There’s another great holiday blowout in Billy Wilder’s classic ‘The Apartment.’)

HOLIDAY AFFAIR

Ordered by RKO chief Howard Hughes to play a kind-hearted role to repair his public image following a marijuana-possession arrest, Robert Mitchum stars as a Manhattan department-store employee who falls in love with young widow Janet Leigh, despite that she’s already got a fiancé. Leigh wants stability for her young son, whose father died in World War II, but even though Mitchum’s a bohemian who wants to run off to California to build boats, he’s still Robert Mitchum, so resistance is pretty much futile.

SOME GIRLS

Before Patrick Dempsey became McDreamy and before Jennifer Connelly won an Oscar, they paired up for this delightfully naughty farce about a hapless college student (Dempsey) who travels to Quebec to spend Christmas with his girlfriend (Connelly), who left school when her grandmother took ill. Upon Dempsey’s arrival, Connelly informs him she no longer loves him, and that’s the first of many loops for which he’ll be thrown. She’s got two sexy sisters keeping an eye on him, and Grandma is convinced he’s her late husband. Also starring Andre Gregory, Sheila Kelley and Lila Kedrova, this is a smart and saucy indie that deserves a larger cult following. (It also makes Christmas in Quebec City look like the most gorgeous thing ever.)

Need a great gift? Try ’Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas.’

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