Santa Claus - The Movie parents guide

Santa Claus - The Movie Parent Guide

Overall B

This ambitious production tries to create the definitive Santa Claus, with elaborate sets and reindeer animatronics. Then the script places Saint Nick (David Huddleston) and his elf Patch (Dudley Moore) in a modern day misadventure with an unscrupulous toy maker (John Lithgow).

Release date November 28, 1985

Violence B
Sexual Content A-
Profanity B
Substance Use C

Why is Santa Claus - The Movie rated PG? The MPAA rated Santa Claus - The Movie PG

Run Time: 108 minutes

Parent Movie Review

When the father and son production team of Alexander and Ilya Salkind set out to create the definitive Santa Claus, they spared no expense. Working as hard as elves, they created the magic of the North Pole, the wonder of flying reindeer, and the merriment of Saint Nick by hiring the best set designers, employing the highest-tech animatronics craftsmen, and casting the most talented actors they could find. The resulting movie took audiences by storm during the Christmas season of 1985.

The epic tale begins with the introduction of Mr. Claus (David Huddleston) and his wife Anya (Judy Cornwell), who have no offspring of their own. On their annual pilgrimage to distribute homemade gifts to youngsters in neighboring villages, the charitable couple is caught in a terrible blizzard. Huddling together to keep warm, they are surprised when the snow suddenly stops and a bright star shines out of a clear sky. Then a group of elves appears on the frozen landscape. Greeting them with phrases like, “We’ve been expecting you,” the little men lead the puzzled pair to a magic kingdom, complete with home, workshop and reindeer stable. In short order, the Clauses are introduced to a new (and immortal) life, and given a new commission: to deliver toys to children all over the world.

As the centuries pass, Santa Claus (as he is now called) finds it harder to keep up to the demands of his busy schedule, so he takes an assistant from among his industrious helpers. Patch (Dudley Moore) has an innovative mind and quickly has the workshop running in a mechanized, assembly line fashion, which significantly speeds up production. But it is soon discovered that quality control has been sacrificed.

Feeling like he has disappointed his boss, Patch runs away from home to lose himself in the hubbub of civilization. There he bumps into another disgraced toymaker named B.Z. (John Lithgow). Naive to the unscrupulous practices of his mortal friend, the elf enters a business relationship with him. While Patch hopes to develop a product that will redeem his reputation in Santa’s eyes, the greedy B.Z. seizes the co-operative manufacturing opportunity for the possible positive publicity and the prospect of profits.

With commercial competition heating up, Santa turns to a couple of children he befriended on an earlier visit to New York City—wealthy heiress Cornelia (Carrie Kei Heim) and street urchin Joe (Christian Fitzpatrick). Although the sticky situation puts the youngsters in peril, they happily volunteer to help their white-bearded friend put the jolly back in the holiday.

The first half of this ambitious film does a nice job of bringing to life all the mythical aspects of Father Christmas. The last portion of the film unfortunately slides into nasty melodramatic cliches, such as villainous adults (who smoke cigars and spit out mild profanities) and vengeful endings. As much of a disappointment as that may be, tiny tots aren’t too likely to find it hard to sleep because of these scary depictions. Rather they’ll be anticipating Santa’s arrival thanks to this believable fantasy that will set their eyes all aglow.

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc . Starring Dudley Moore, John Lithgow. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release November 28, 1985. Updated

Santa Claus - The Movie
Rating & Content Info

Why is Santa Claus - The Movie rated PG? Santa Claus - The Movie is rated PG by the MPAA

Most of the movie’s content issues fall into the latter half—which is set in the modern day. Here a cigar-smoking villain is responsible for making unsafe toys, taking advantage of others, uttering threats and kidnapping a child. A few mild profanities and terms of Deity used as expletives are heard. Sexual content is limited to the costumes of some dancing girls hired to promote a product. Other minor depictions of concern include a man dressed as Santa and collecting money for the poor but instead uses the cash to buy alcohol, a child who is nasty to a cat, and the homeless situation of the character named Joe.

Page last updated

More parents' guide for Santa Claus - The Movie after the break...

Santa Claus - The Movie Parents' Guide

When Cornelia notices Joe’s impoverished state, she tries to help him. What are some ways you could reach out to the less fortunate in your community? Why does the Christmas season often motivate acts of charity?

Mrs. Claus is quoted as saying, “If you give extra kisses, you get bigger hugs.” How do you feel about that adage? How could it apply to your interactions with others?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Santa Claus - The Movie movie is October 26, 2010. Here are some details…

On October 26, 2010, Santa Claus—The Movie releases on Blu-ray in a 25th Anniversary Edition. Bonus extras include:

- Audio Commentary with Director Jeannot Szwarc and Moderated by Scott Michael Bosco

- Santa Claus - The Making of the Movie

- Talent Bios: Dudley Moore, Jeannot Szwarc

- Theatrical Trailers

Santa Claus: The Movie—20th Anniversary Edition
DVD Release Date: 4 October 2005

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Santa Claus: The Movie, Anchor Bay Entrainment presents a widescreen version on DVD with a mitt full of extras, such as a commemorative booklet, theatrical trailers and talent bios. Watching the one-hour long making-of featurette will help you really appreciate the skill that went into creating the special effects of this pre-computer-graphics production. And you’ll feel part of the crew as you listen to the commentary by director Jeannot Szwarc and special projects consultant Scott Michael Bosco. Audio tracks are available in English.

Related home video titles:

The commercialism of Christmas, and how it can rob the joy of the season, are themes also found in the animated holiday classics, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The amazing world of the North Pole was again created for the big screen in The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen.