What comes to mind when you think of Hanukkah movies? (Insert gif of crickets here.) Yes, you’d be forgiven if you draw a blank — because there just aren’t the same number of Hanukkah movies swirling around as there are movies about Christmas.
In fact, many Hanukkah movies are actually subplots about the Jewish holiday couched within larger plots about the Christmas season. Plus, a lot of Hanukkah content goes right to TV or streaming without ever seeing its day in theaters. And what’s even worse (if we’re being honest), a lot of movies with Hanukkah themes just… aren’t very good, and they hardly win critical acclaim!
Yes, it’s true. The Jewish community sorely lacks representation when it comes to holiday movies. But we’re here to elevate the Hanukkah movies that did manage to make their way to screens big and small — and stand among the proud few to offer inclusive holiday fun during the wintertime holiday season.
So make some popcorn (or fry up some latkes), light the menorah and grab a blanket to cozy up on the couch for a Hanukkah movie night at home. Our list of the best Hanukkah movies ranges from the inspirational (Full-Court Miracle) to the downright silly (anything involving Adam Sandler or Seth Rogen), with everything in between… so there’s something to watch for all eight nights.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
An American Pickle
Seth Rogen stars as both Ben and Herschel Greenbaum in this movie, which dives into Jewish family love and tradition across generations. It’s not specifically a Hanukkah movie per se, but it’s funny, poignant and actually kind of deep fare that’s just right for holiday time.
Eight Crazy Nights
Adam Sandler plays a 30-something party animal who overdoes it enough to face legal trouble. It’s the holidays, so the judge gives Sandler’s character one more chance to redeem himself: He can avoid jail time by doing community service as a referee for the youth basketball league. He thinks it’s a great deal… until he meets his boss. Although it’s animated, it’s hardly for the littlest kids: Toilet jokes and other off-brand humor make this one PG-13.
Disney Channel based this original Hanukkah movie on the real story of Lamont Carr, the beloved basketball coach. In the movie, a college basketball star is sidelined from the game because of a knee injury, so he becomes the head coach of a yeshiva’s hapless team in Philadelphia.
Mistletoe & Menorahs
A hard-working toy exec has to learn about Hanukkah — fast — to seal the deal with a new account. So she reaches out to her co-worker’s friend, who’s consumed with trying to turn his bachelor pad into a winter wonderland to impress his girlfriend’s dad. After initially failing to get along, they realize the need each other’s holiday knowledge. Eventually, they learn just how much they have in common… and, of course, romance ensues.
The Hebrew Hammer
Paramount Home Video
Hanukkah meets the Blaxploitation genre in this cult-favorite parody movie: The Hebrew Hammer is an orthodox Jew (played by Adam Goldberg) who goes on a mission to save Hanukka from Santa’s evil son, Damian (Andy Dick), who wants to destroy it along with Kwanzaa.
All I Want Is Christmas
This flick plays on the theme that Jewish kids feel left out of all the magic that goes along with Christmas. Here, a Jewish boy on his way to disappointingly sunny Florida tries to pursue his holiday dreams by swapping plane tickets with another kid, who is on his way to a wintry wonderland in Christmastown, Washington.
This sequel to Meet the Parents (2000) and Meet the Fockers (2004) provides some comedy relief for your Hanukkah nights. Or at least it tries to: the third film in the trilogy was utterly panned by critics. In this plot, the Fockers meet up for a celebratory holiday gathering. And for its misses, at least you get Barbra Streisand and Ben Stiller — and that’s a lot.
Hitched For The Holidays
A commitmentphobic bachelor goes online in an attempt to fulfill his grandmother’s dying wish to see him find a partner. There, he meets another Jewish single New Yorker trying to appease her family by appearing to be coupled up. The pair agrees to pretend they’re together to get through Christmas and Hanukkah with their families. Spoiler: Romance ensues.
The Night Before
It’s Christmas Eve and a group of childhood guy friends (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie) usually spend the night getting wild. But they’re adulting now, so the tradition is changing big time. Still, they set out to find the most major Christmas party ever, the Nutcracker Ball. As usual, Rogen brings the Jewish humor in this holiday flick.
An American Tail
Who could forget the ‘80s’ lovable animated Fievel? He’s a young Russian mouse who finds himself separated from his parents on the way to America, where they’re headed for safety because they think it’s a land without cats. When he gets there, he tries to find his family and keep up hope… all while dodging cats.
Hallmark Channel’s much-touted Hanukkah movie is also kind of Christmas-y, which isn’t surprising. In the movie, a hard-charging career woman gets a promotion opportunity that dashes her Hanukkah plans. The boss asks her, as well as her main competitor for the promotion, to work together on the office Christmas party to demonstrate cooperation and flexibility.
Fiddler On the Roof
This musical comedy-drama is an adaptation of the 1964 Broadway show by the same name. The plot focuses on Tevye, a poor dad to five daughters in pre-revolutionary Russia, and his efforts to keep up Jewish traditions against antisemitism — and the will of his kids.
A single woman in New York is consumed by the bookshop where she works and the intellectual community that swirls around it. But her grandmother isn’t exactly satisfied with this lifestyle for her granddaughter, so she enlists the services of a Jewish matchmaker. Enter: a potential suitor, who is a working-class Jewish pickle vendor, vying for her attention against another suitor, who is decidedly not those things.
A Serious Man
If you are a fan of the Coen brothers’ style of filmmaking, here’s your dark Hanukkah movie. It focuses on a Jewish physics lecturer in Minnesota in the ‘60s; he is a very serious man. He’s also in the midst of a tangle of utterly messed-up life circumstances, and seeks advice from rabbis to help steer him.
Oops, this Hallmark Channel Hanukkah movie is kind of about Christmas. But suspend your disbelief and enjoy: A woman gets dumped right before Christmas and enlists an actor to play her boyfriend for the holidays. But he turns out to be Jewish, which isn’t exactly what her family was expecting.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below