Christmas Movies officially began in local movie theaters Friday with "The Rescuers Down Under," "Rocky V" and "Home Alone."

And the most unusual thing about them is that one - "Home Alone" - is actually set during Christmas!If that's not enough, the climactic "Rocky V" fight occurs during Christmas.

Otherwise, the major movies scheduled for the Christmas season represent business as usual -

mobsters, "Saturday Night Live" alumni, invisible aliens, cartoons, sequels, Stephen King horror, slapstick comedies and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not necessarily in that order.

In addition to Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, stars coming out for the holiday season include Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kirstie Alley, Bruce Willis, Tom Hanks, Melanie Griffith, Kevin Costner, Cher . . . .

And, yes, after months of playing will-it-or-won't-it-open, Paramount Pictures has announced that "The Godfather, Part III" will be here for Christmas- it opens Christmas Day, in fact.

On the other hand, some previously announced holiday pictures have been pushed back. Woody Allen and Bette Midler in "Scenes from a Mall;" "Guilty by Suspicion," starring Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese; "Once Around," with Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter; "Valkenvania," Dan Aykroyd's directing debut, in which he stars with Chevy Chase, Demi Moore and John Candy (in drag); and Candy's "Delirious" are films that won't open until 1991.

Struggling films already playing in some cities, which we may or may not see in the next few weeks, include "The Hot Spot," with Don Johnson; the anthology horror "Grim Prairie Tales," James Earl Jones; "The Tall Guy," Jeff Goldblum; "Fools of Fortune," Julie Christie; and "The Fifth Monkey," Ben Kingsley.

And, as always, there are the usual films you will read about in national publications when they open in large urban centers to qualify for Oscar nominations, but which won't come our way until January or February - "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge," starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward; "Come See the Paradise," Dennis Quaid; "The Long Walk Home," Sissy Spacek, Whoopi Goldberg; "Silence of the Lambs," Jodie Foster; "The Sheltering Sky," Debra Winger; "Awakenings," Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro; Woody Allen's "Alice," with Cybill Shepherd, William Hurt, Alec Baldwin and Mia Farrow; "The Grifters," Anjelica Huston, John Cusack; Franco Zeffirelli's "Hamlet," Mel Gibson and Glenn Close; "Ce'est La Vie," Nathalie Baye; and "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Green Card," both starring Gerard Depardieu.

So, keeping in mind that dates will change and movies may be dropped, added or shifted around, here is the schedule of the moment: NOVEMBER

Dances With Wolves - Kevin Costner stars in and directed this three-hour Western about a soldier living among Indians.

The Nutcracker Prince - Animated Canadian feature, based on the Hoffman story, with the Tchaikovsky score. Voices of Kiefer Sutherland, Peter O'Toole.

Predator 2 - The creature that attacked Schwarzenegger and friends in South American jungles returns to battle Danny Glover in Manhattan.

Three Men and a Little Lady - The baby has grown up for this comic sequel from Disney reuniting Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg.

Misery - Stephen King's yarn about a novelist (James Caan) who finds himself in the remote home of a dissatisfied, psychotic fan (Kathy Bates).


The Rookie - Thriller teaming novice Charlie Sheen with tough cop Clint Eastwood. 1/3 Almost an Angel - Paul Hogan drops his " `Crocodile' Dundee" persona to play a thief who becomes convinced he's an angel in this comedy-adventure.

Edward Scissorhands - Horror-comedy from Tim Burton ("Batman," "Beetlejuice") about a boy born with scissors for hands.

Havana - Gambler Robert Redford romances political activist Lena Olin in Cuba as the Batista regime is about to fall in 1958.

Life Is a Long Quiet River - French comedy about a rich couple and a poor couple whose babies are accidentally switched at birth.

Mermaids - Serious-minded daughter (Winona Ryder) tries to get her free-spirited mother (Cher) to cool it in this comedy-drama. Bob Hoskins.

Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Melanie Griffith take the principle roles in this adaptation of Tom Wolfe's controversial novel.

Kindergarten Cop - Tough cop Arnold Schwarzenegger goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher and meets his match - the kids - in this comedy.

Wait Until Spring, Bandini - Locally filmed story of Italian immigrants struggling in a small Colorado town in 1928; Faye Dunaway, Joe Mantegna.

The Russia House - The popular John le Carre novel about a British publisher (Sean Connery) helping a courier (Michelle Pfeiffer) smuggle a document.

The Godfather, Part III - Francis Coppola's second sequel in his Oscar-winning series, the most highly anticipated film of the season.

The Icicle Thief - An Italian comedy, in part a spoof of De Sica's classic "The Bicycle Thief," about a filmmaker showing his movie in a TV studio.

Look Who's Talking Too - Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and Bruce Willis' voice return; added is a new baby with Roseanne Barr's voice.