Ebenezer Scrooge has been crowned as the most iconic festive film character.

The legendary Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Culkin, from Home Alone and Will Ferrell’s Buddy from Elf come in second and third respectively, following the protagonist originally from Charles Dickens' 1843 novella.

The character has been depicted by many famous actors – including the likes of Michael Caine in The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

The poll of 2,000 film fans saw The Grinch, from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, came in fourth while, controversially, John McClane, from the unconventional festive flick Die Hard, rounded off the top five.

Those surveyed also declared the adorable Zuzu Bailey’s delivery of “Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings” from It’s a Wonderful Life as the best Christmas movie quote.

While Home Alone 2’s “Merry Christmas, you filthy animal” came a close second.

It was also revealed more than half (52 per cent) think classic Christmas films evoke feelings of nostalgia, while 64 per cent say these films bring beloved childhood memories.

A spokesperson for Vue, which commissioned the study to mark the launch of its festive film programme, said: “Christmas and brilliant films are one of the most iconic duos – and these famous characters and lines certainly get us in the mood for the big day.

“Each Christmas film has such a unique way to raise our spirits at this time of year and often what makes them hold a special place in our hearts are those little lines and scenes that fill us with festive cheer.

“That’s why at Vue we are thrilled to be able to share those magical Christmas moments with cinemagoers as we enjoy some of our favourites on the big screen, as they were meant to be seen.”

Christmas puzzle

To celebrate some of the nation's favourite Christmas film icons, Vue has created a puzzle to challenge film fans to spot some familiar festive faces in a packed cinema.

It comes after 61 per cent of those polled will typically watch more films than usual at Christmas, with more than half (56 per cent) choosing to watch with their partners.

While four in 10 enjoy these films with their kids, and almost one in five watch with their siblings.

Festive favourite

More than one in four (28 per cent) will typically watch a handful of festive favourites each year.

But 29 per cent start watching their festive favourites from the beginning of December, while a fifth will hold off until the week building up to the big day.

Nearly six in 10 believe watching Christmas films is one of the highlights of the entire festive period, while 71 per cent believe Christmas wouldn’t feel the same without these films.

The survey, carried out via OnePoll, went on to ask about Christmas traditions – with almost six in 10 (59 per cent) claiming that watching movies together is a family tradition.

Decorating the tree, tucking into a turkey with all the trimmings and telling bad jokes from crackers were other fond Christmas pastimes.

And for one in 10 heading to the cinema is part of the festive traditions.

The big screen

Of these, 68 per cent love seeing their favourite Christmas characters on the big screen and 62 per cent believe it’s the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle.

In fact, 71 per cent say it’s their family traditions that make Christmas so special, while 86 per cent believe an important part of Christmas is making time to spend quality time with their loved ones.

The spokesperson from Vue [myvue.com], added: “Over Christmas it’s so important that we get together and share the wonder with our friends and family to make the occasion as special as possible.

“Christmas films are one of the popular traditions that help ignite memories and give the season a special sense of occasion that brings loved ones together.”

TOP 20 CHRISTMAS MOVIE ICONS

1. Ebeneezer Scrooge – A Christmas Carol

2. Kevin McCallister – Home Alone

3. Buddy – Elf

4. The Grinch – How the Grinch Stole Christmas

5. John McClane — Die Hard

6. Ghost of Christmas Present – Scrooged

7. Gizmo – Gremlins

8. Jack Skellington – Nightmare Before Christmas

9. The Conductor – The Polar Express

10. Bird Lady – Home Alone 2

11. Susan Walker – Miracle On 34th Street

12. Billy Mack — Love Actually

13. Rizzo the Rat – Muppet Christmas Carol

14. Karen – Love Actually

15. Cousin Eddie – Christmas Vacation

16. Wilie - Bad Santa

17. The Octopus Kid – Love Actually

18. The Kid – Bad Santa

19. Luther Krank – Christmas with The Kranks

20. Ralphie – A Christmas Story