2. 'A Christmas Story' (1983)
One of the reasons this nostalgic comedy about Jean Shepherd's childhood Christmas in the 1940s has become such a favorite with audiences is that it so deftly balances the joys and the horrors of being a kid. The latter category definitely includes those visits to see Santa at a department store – who among us didn't freeze up or burst into tears at some point in our youth when placed on the lap of a red-suited stranger? Our hero Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) has come to ask St. Nick for a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle, but he can't get the words out. On his way down the slide, he finally finds his voice and makes his request to Santa, only to hear the same dispiriting sentence that every adult in Ralphie's life has uttered upon hearing his holiday wish list: "You'll shoot your eye out, kid."
Alonso Duralde is the author of 'Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas' (Limelight Editions).