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Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Family  -  2 May 1947 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 25,315 users  
Reviews: 139 user | 85 critic

When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.

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Title: Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Porter Hall ...
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Jerome Cowan ...
Philip Tonge ...
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Storyline

At the Macy's Department Store Thanksgiving Day parade, the actor playing Santa is discovered to be drunk by a whiskered old man. Doris Walker, the no nonsense special events director, persuades the old man to take his place. The old man proves to be a sensation and is quickly recruited to be the store Santa at the main Macy's outlet. While he is successful, Ms. Walker learns that he calls himself Kris Kringle and he claims to be the actual Santa Claus. Despite reassurances by Kringle's doctor that he is harmless, Doris still has misgivings, especially when she has cynically trained herself, and especially her daughter, Susan, to reject all notions of belief and fantasy. And yet, people, especially Susan, begin to notice there is something special about Kris and his determination to advance the true spirit of Christmas amidst the rampant commercialism around him and succeeding in improbable ways. When a raucous conflict with the store's cruelly incompetent psychologist erupts, Kris ... Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@rogers.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Capture the spirit of Christmas with this timeless classic!


Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

2 May 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Wunder von Manhattan  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording) (5.0) (L-R)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unbeknownst to most parade watchers, Edmund Gwenn played Santa Claus in the actual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade held November 28, 1946. He fulfilled the duties of most parade Santas, including addressing the crowd from the marquee of Macy's after the parade was over. He was introduced to the crowd by actor Philip Tonge (he played Mr. Shellhammer in the movie) and he later unveiled the mechanical Christmas display windows to the accompaniment of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite." This gesture symbolized the opening of the Christmas shopping season at the store. See more »

Goofs

One of the letters to Santa Claus delivered by the New York Post Office is postmarked Indianapolis, Ind. See more »

Quotes

Kris Kringle: If that's normal, I don't want it!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gossip Girl: Last Tango, Then Paris (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

National Emblem
(1906) (uncredited)
Music by Edwin Eugene Bagley
Played at the beginning and other times during the parade
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Genuine Article, Still A Miracle
25 December 2001 | by (San Francisco, CA USA) – See all my reviews

There's a "legend" connected with this film, one which has recently gained new life via AMC: Supposedly, upon completion of principle filmmaking, 1947's "Miracle On 34th Street" then had to be submitted to the heads of Macy's and Gimble's department stores who -- had either man withheld approval -- could have cost 20th Century Fox a small fortune in rewrites and reshootings.

Frankly, in view of the fact that much of "Miracle" had already been shot on location in Macy's New York City store (to say nothing of the fact that studio heads of that era -- or any era, for that matter -- were notoriously prone not to take such financial risks), this "legend" is likely just so much "hype," otherwise known as "nonsense."

Thankfully, this is the only trace of phoniness attached to this jewel of a movie. "Miracle On 34th Street" is just that, in every sense of the word: a miracle.

Take a perfectly-crafted, thoughtful screenplay. Add an impeccable cast (from top-to-bottom, by the way; catch, just as one example, Thelma Ritter's uncredited turn as "Peter's Mother"). Throw into this mix an on-location "shoot" (along with Macy's, there's the store's actual 1946 Thanksgiving Parade, footage in a post office facility and a courthouse) which gives this film a nice sense of verisimilitude . . . just in case you're not already prepared (courtesy of Edmund Gwenn, in a totally-deserved Oscar-winning performance) to recapture your belief in Santa Claus.

"Miracle On 34th Street" is many things: a celebration of the Christmas spirit, a heartfelt plea against the "over-commercialism" (even in 1947)of Christmas, an examination of faith itself . . . just to name a few.

It works on every level. Every bit as well today, 54 years after its initial release, as then. Don't waste your time with the remakes -- both on TV as well as theatrical productions (and the less said about an abortive 1963 Broadway musical adaptation, "Here's Love," the better.)

Go for the original film. Go for the genuine article. Again and again and again.


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Is this a most cynical film? irvberg2002
Would a mother like Doris Walker have done that? dmnemaine
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The Ending Jeremy6100
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Prosecution Assistant looked familiar tomtac
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