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Entertainment Weekly

Movies

8 of the jolliest Santas in pop culture

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Michael Gibson/Netflix; Everett Collection; Attila Dory/Walt Disney/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Making a list, checking it twice

He's one of the most popular guys on the planet (what with all that excessive gift giving), so it's no wonder he's been brought to the big and small screens many times over the years. Yes, we're talking about Santa Claus! And since it's the season to be jolly, here are some of his most memorable appearances in pop culture. 
Everett Collection

Tim Allen, The Santa Clause

Okay, so technically Allen kills Santa Claus (accidentally!) — but hey, at least he steps up and takes on the demanding job. Okay, fine, he doesn’t have any choice in the matter, but in the end he even delivers gifts to his obnoxious ex-wife! And he got two sequels as a reward!
Everett Collection

Richard Attenborough, Miracle on 34th Street

Yes, the original movie is considered the classic, but the dulcet tones and kindly demeanor of Mr. Attenborough make his take on Kris Kringle the stuff of miracles.
Everett Collection

Ed Asner, Elf

Maybe he’s a little overshadowed by an elf, but still: Santa?! We all know (and love) him!
Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.

Paul Giamatti, Fred Claus

I mean, he’s literally a saint. Need we say more? Shame his saintliness couldn’t save the movie overall, though. 
Aardman Animations/Sony

James McAvoy, Arthur Christmas

Granted, the O.G. Santa isn’t so great in this telling, but when his younger son, Arthur, steps up and delivers a present to the kid his dad missed, he more than earns the coveted red suit.
Netflix

Kurt Russell, The Christmas Chronicles

If you didn’t think Santa could be sexy, watch Russell as the man in the red suit and reconsider.
Tvc/Channel 4

The Snowman (1978 book and 1982 TV special)

A Santa who knows how to throw a party is so important at this time of year. Just look at those dance moves!
Everett Collection

David Huddleston, Santa Claus: The Movie

Befriending an orphan and then adopting him even after he takes the reins and flies his sleigh under the Brooklyn Bridge? Yes, this version of Mr. Claus definitely lands on the nice list.
Outbrain

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