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Still shot from the movie: Miracle On 34th Street (1994).

Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

In this John Hughes remake of the Christmas classic, a young girl (Mara Wilson) wrestles with her cynical opinions about Santa after she meets Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough), an elderly gentleman employed to play the jolly-old-elf at the department store where her mother (Elizabeth Perkins) works. The old man's quiet charm also has a miraculous effect on her single parent and their handsome neighbor (Dylan McDermott). Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: A- 5.0
Violence: A-
Sexual Content: A
Language: B+
Drugs/Alcohol: A-
Run Time: 114
Theater Release: 18 Nov 1994
Video Release: 06 Oct 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
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Miracle on 34th Street is a Christmas tradition in many homes, although mine is not one of them. I have always been fond of another Christmas classic, It's A Wonderful Life. But either way, millions of people look forward to seeing these beautiful movies on an annual basis. Now, just like cola drinks and phone companies, we have a choice of miracles from which to select, with John Hughes' 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street.

If you are scratching your head wondering where you have heard the name John Hughes before, you may remember him as the creator of the Home Alone series, along with a few other films of the same genre. I was sorely disappointed when I found out he was doing the remake, as I couldn't imagine this time honored story being intermixed with stupid crooks and smart mouthed kids. Fortunately, my disappointment was short lived.

This highly recommendable version of the 1947 classic features intelligent characters. Richard Attenborough is Kris Kringle, the department store Santa, who really believes he is the midnight present giver, while Elizabeth Perkins plays the skeptical Mrs. Walker who is trying to protect her precocious daughter Susan (Mara Wilson) from believing in fairytales like Santa Claus! The script is tight and manages to hold onto the same spirit that has held the black and white film in it's chosen place for so long thanks in part to Hughes's use of George Seaton as a co-writer I'm sure. Seaton wrote and directed the original production that led him to win an Oscar for best story and screenplay, as well as a nomination for best picture. Working together, Hughes and Seaton have managed to update the story and provide some new twists, without losing any of the charm.

What I really like about the film is that it doesn't demand children believe in the Jolly Old Elf in the literal sense. Unlike The Santa Clause, another popular movie, the viewer is left with the option of deciding who and what they think Saint Nick is all about. Except for a few bad words from the villain, this movie should be suitable for f the whole family and even offers a spiritual message in the end. Religion in a Christmas movie? What will they think of next...

Miracle On 34th Street (1994) is rated PG:

Cast: Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan McDermott, Mara Wilson
Studio: 1994 20th Century Fox

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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