25 best Christmas movies countdown #4: The Polar Express


We are now in the top 5 of Hidden Remote’s 25 best Christmas movies countdown and at #4, I talk about the Christmas tale I find the most fascinating of them all: The Polar Express.

Having first seen this film at the age of nine, my younger self was understandably mesmerized by the sheer epic scale and scope of the Robert Zemeckis-directed Christmas adventure film, The Polar Express. From the odd, yet beautiful textures of the ultra-realistic animation to the age-old message of keeping Christmas spirit alive, the kid in me immediately fell in love with what was shown onscreen. It’s #4 on Hidden Remote’s 25 best Christmas movies.

The animated adventure film, co-written, co-produced, and directed by Back to the Future maestro, Robert Zemeckis, The Polar Express got its name off of a 1985 book of the same name, each telling the story of a man recounting an experience he had as a boy. In this telling, we see the boy hop on the mysterious Polar Express that stops by his house on Christmas Eve. The train is headed towards the North Pole and despite being a doubter, the boy goes along for the adventure of a lifetime.

The Polar Express, which premiered in theaters on Nov. 10, 2004, is also notable for its cast, which includes the late Michael Jeter, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, an early performance from pop star Tinashe, and perhaps most famously a six-role performance from the one and only Tom Hanks, who plays the conductor, the boy all grown up, the boy’s father, a hobo, Santa Claus, and even a motion capture performance of the boy himself.

Photo Credit: The Polar Express/Warner Bro. Entertainment Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media
Photo Credit: The Polar Express/Warner Bro. Entertainment Image Acquired from Disney ABC Media /

It’s a film that is most definitely going to pull a reaction from its viewers. It is incredibly well-directed and beautifully animated, but the story itself is sure to conjure up discussions on the very idea of Christmas. It is here where differences in opinion will most likely differ. The critical reception for The Polar Express has always been fairly mixed, with its Rotten Tomatoes score at 56%. Not all critics were in love with this one, but the box office gross of $310 million in theaters alone shows the popularity of the film quite well.

There’s clearly a strong love for The Polar Express that continues to ride strong into the end of 2018. TV reruns have kept the film alive during each and every holiday season. It’s high on this list for a reason: it continues to hold a place in many people’s hearts and honestly that’s what this Christmas list is all about: bringing you a choice selection of Christmas films that continue to stand the test of time.

You may love it, hate it, whatever, but it’s a film that is practically essential viewing for Christmas. Whether you leave the film with a smile on your face or an expression of intense confusion, The Polar Express is a film that is guaranteed to keep the spirit of Christmas alive, for better or worse. Depends entirely on you!

The Polar Express is available to stream on all platforms and will have reruns airing every day until Christmas on the AMC channel!

Next. 25 best Christmas movies countdown #5: A Christmas Story. dark

What is your opinion of The Polar Express? Do you agree with its position at #4 or do you think it deserves a different spot? Sound off in the comments below!