Top 10 Holiday Movies From Around the Globe

There are so many great things about the holiday season: the hot cocoa, the general feeling of goodwill and joy, the valid excuse to consume only carbs and casseroles—and if you’re lucky, the SNOW! But maybe the best part of all is that it’s now socially acceptable to binge watch holiday movies. Whether you’re a Hallmark aficionado or watching whatever new choice Netflix throws your way, we’ve rounded up the top holiday movies filmed around the world. So, get in the holiday spirit—globally!

Love, Actually

Rent on: Amazon, AppleTV

And that’s the list! Arguably one of the most popular holiday movies of all time, this cheesy, star-studded flick is a top notch rom-com that has wedged itself into everyone’s hearts (and depending on the person, either with love, or a long groan that this movie will be on loop for the next month.) There’s so much going on in this plot we won’t attempt to summarize it. Just give it a watch.  

merry christmas GIF

Alles ist Liebe (All is Love)

Rent on: AppleTV

Take Love, Actually and make it German. Following ten men and women in Frankfurt as their lives intermingle during the holiday season, this film is based off a Dutch film…which itself was a reinterpretation of Love, Actually.

Last Holiday

Czech Republic
Stream: Peacock
Rent on: Amazon, AppleTV

It’s the holiday season down in New Orleans, and a patient (Queen Latifah) is mistakenly diagnosed with a terminal illness by a faulty MRI machine. Ready to live her last few weeks to the fullest, she takes her funds and jets off to Europe on a grand vacation in the spa city of Karlovy Vary.

Vacanze di Natale (Christmas Vacation)

You’ll have to hunt down an old-fashioned DVD!

This 1983 Italian film starts with one of our favorite tropes: one upscale family and one…not so much, causing hijinks as they repeatedly run into each other during their holiday vacation on the slopes of Cortina d’Ampezzo.

The Holiday

Rent on: Amazon, AppleTV

Two women—one in LA, the other in London—face romantic disappointment, which leads to them swapping apartments for the Christmas holiday. Not only do they get a new environment to take in, they also find new love (of course)!

A Christmas Tale

Rent on: Amazon

When the French matriarch in this movie, which received a nod for the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or award, gathers her family for Christmas, she knows it may be her last. In determining which relative could potentially be a bone marrow donor, she causes deep frictions to the already tumultuous relationships in the family.

Tři Oříšky pro Popelku (Three Wishes for Cinderella)

Czech Republic/Germany
Another DVD purchase!

This 1973 film, originally released in both Czech and German, is a seasonal tradition in Eastern Europe. Poor Cinderella is kept from the king’s ball by her stepmother, but ultimately finds her Prince Charming. It’s a familiar story, but instead of a Fairy Godmother, three hazelnuts grant Cinderella’s wishes. Wondering how this is a Christmas flick? It’s traditionally aired on Christmas Eve across a swath of European countries!

Tokyo Godfathers

Rent on: Amazon, AppleTV

Our pick from Japan is of course an Anime film! It’s Christmas Eve in Tokyo when a ragtag trio finds a newborn baby. Left with a handful of clues about the baby’s parents, the crew goes on an adventure through the city streets to reunite the child with its parents.

Joyeaux Noel

Rent on: Amazon, AppleTV

For the history buffs out there, this one’s for you. This sentimental French film follows the lives of six soldiers on various sides of World War I, inspired by the moment when Germany’s Crown Prince sent an Opera singer to the frontlines on Christmas, which sparked an unofficial truce.

The Tower

South Korea
Rent on: Amazon, AppleTV

Looking for a movie with slightly less cheer? Try this South Korean disaster thriller, where a manager of a luxurious high-rise attends a Christmas party (holiday related!) held by the owner. However, disaster strikes, and the film focuses on the attempted escape of everyone within the tower. Do they make it out?! Guess you’ll have to watch to find out.

Want to keep the holiday vibes turned up? Check out our holiday playlist on Spotify!

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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