Surveys reveal most popular Christmas movies in California, the High Desert

Jeff Gillen, left, and Peter Billingsley in a scene from the 1983 movie "A Christmas Story." Two surveys reveal the most popular Christmas films in the High Desert and California.
Jeff Gillen, left, and Peter Billingsley in a scene from the 1983 movie "A Christmas Story." Two surveys reveal the most popular Christmas films in the High Desert and California.
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High Desert movie fans recently shared some of their favorite Christmas-themed films, including “Elf,” "Die Hard" and the 1947 classic “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Of all the Christmas-themed movies produced, Californians chose a dark fantasy film as the state’s most popular holiday flick. A recent survey by CenturyLink Internet revealed that Tim Burton’s animated film “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was at the top of the list for California movie-buffs.

In the 1993 Burton film, a bored Pumpkin King Jack Skellington of Halloween Town discovers the magical world of Christmastown, placing Santa’s job in jeopardy as the ambitious king plans to take over.

In the survey, Burton’s film also took the top spot in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Maybe it has something to do with warmer weather or the desert.

For the survey, CenturyLink researched a list of 50 top Christmas movies, according to IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes scores. They also reviewed pop culture lists by Screen Rant, Time Out, and Town & Country Magazine.

Topping the Christmas movie list nationwide was the film “Elf,” which stars actor Will Ferrell as “Buddy” the elf, who leaves the North Pole to find his family.

“Elf” topped the charts in seven states, including Idaho, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

Three movies tied for second place, claiming the top spot in five different states: “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Four Christmases” and “Love Actually.”

"Die Hard" was revealed as the nation’s fourth most-searched movie, and Washington’s state's favorite.

The survey also showed that folks in snowy Utah and Wisconsin love the 1954 classic film “White Christmas.”

High Desert Christmas favorites

Locally, a survey of nearly 200 High Desert residents showed their top Christmas movie favorite as Director Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring James Stewart as George Bailey.

After a financial misstep, Bailey believes he is a failure—worth more dead than alive. Clarence, a guardian angel in training, is sent from the heavens to protect him.

Clarence gives Bailey a glimpse of what the world would be like without him. Persuaded by his value to his community, he breaks out of his suicidal depression, returns home to his family and realizes that the love and fellowship of others is what makes one’s life truly wonderful.

The second most popular holiday movie in the High Desert survey was 1989’s National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation,” starring Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, who tries to plan the perfect Christmas for his family.

The film also features an all-star cast of iconic actors including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Beverly D'Angelo and Randy Quaid.

The third most popular Christmas movie is the 1954 holiday classic musical “White Christmas,” which tells the tale of performers Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye), who met during World War II. After the war, the two became popular singers and producers, launching a popular musical and touring the U.S.

The two later meet up with Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen), a sister act. The four eventually team up to save General Waverly’s (Dean Jagger), the boys’ general in World War II, Vermont Inn.

Other popular movies included “Miracle on 54th Street,” “A Christmas Story” and “A Christmas Carol” starring George C. Scott.

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz

This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Surveys reveal most popular Christmas films in California, High Desert