7.9/10
32,817
159 user 99 critic

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Family | 2 October 1947 (Argentina)
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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Won 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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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

Taglines:

You've got them mixed up! You're making a mistake. You're making a mistake with the reindeer. Tsk tsk tsk See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

2 October 1947 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Christmas Miracle on 34th Street  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,650,000 (USA)
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of District Attorney Thomas Mara is clearly based on Thomas E. Dewey, a Manhattan District Attorney who went on to become the governor of New York and twice the (unsuccessful) Republican candidate for President (1944 and 1948). Jerome Cowan, the actor who played Mara, and Dewey bear a strong physical resemblance and both wore mustaches, highly unusual for professional men of the time. Also, the Judge mentions that the District Attorney is a Republican, also a rarity back then for elected officials in New York City. See more »

Goofs

Outside the courtroom, the shadow of a camera can be seen on the pillar as Kris walks down the hall. See more »

Quotes

Fred Gailey: I must be a pretty good lawyer. I took a little old man and proved to the world that...
[looks off screen]
Doris: [sees a cane resting on the wall] Oh no, it can't be. It must have been left by the people who moved out.
Fred Gailey: Maybe... and maybe I didn't do such a good thing after all.
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Connections

Referenced in Murdoch Mysteries: A Merry Murdoch Christmas (2015) 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

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User Reviews

 
Santa is in New York!
9 December 2003 | by (Fairview, Oregon) – See all my reviews



The movie starts out in a festive atmosphere. It is Thanksgiving and the employees of Macy's department store are busy with preparations for the annual Thanksgiving day parade. Doris. Walker (Maureen O'Hare) is in charge of the parade. She anxiously hires Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) to replace the man she hired to play Santa Claus when she discovers the original Santa is too intoxicated to even get on the float. Kris does such a good job that Mrs. Walker asks him to stay on in the role and be the department store's Santa. She soon has serious doubts about her decision when she discovers that her new Santa really believes he is Santa Claus.

Mrs. Walker is working, single mother, who works for Macy's Department Store in New York City. Natalie Wood plays her daughter, Susan. As the result of a failed Marriage, Doris raises her daughter to accept reality. There is no room for fantasy or make believe in her life. Susan is a quiet, child who acts more like a grown up than a 6 year old. She has difficulty using her imagination, and has become just as skeptical as her mother.

Since Kris, believes that "the important thing is to make children happy," winning the affection of Susan and her mother is his main objective.

Whether or not Kris is the real Santa Claus, there is no doubt that he seem to have an influence on almost everyone he meets--except for Macy's staff psychologist .Mr. Sawyer believes that Kris is delusional, and has him committed to thrown into a mental institution. In order to get out, Kris must face a court hearing, where not only is his sanity questioned, but the state of New York will decide if there really is a Santa Claus. Fred Gailey (played by John Payne) a neighbor of Doris Susan Walker agrees to represent Kris. The predictable end to the story is that Fred and Doris become attracted to each other, and as Fred works hard to secure Kris' freedom, Doris finds herself not only believing in Kris, but also in believing in fantasy.

Maureen O'Hara portrays Doris Walker with poise and sophistication. Although the movie is over 55 years old, the idea of a single working mom trying to raise her daughter after a bitter divorce, tells a story that is relevant by today's standards. Natalie Wood does such a good job at playing as the bright six year old, Susan, that you can almost imagine her going straight from being a baby to being an adult. John Payne, as Fred Gailey, predictably plays the handsome attorney who falls in love with Mrs. Walker. Even though it seems a bit unbelievable, this movie is all about fantasy, so we'll allow a bit of romance. Finally, Edmund Gwenn's portrayal of Santa Claus is so believable, that you almost believe that truly is the jolly old elf himself!

This reviewer would give the movie a 5 out of 5 rating. It is a Christmas classic that will be remembered for years to come as one of the best Christmas movies ever filmed. The message of the movie is not about the real meaning of Christmas, nor is it about the commercialism that has overshadowed the holiday for years. The message of the movie is that make believe and fantasy play an important role in our live. Without them we would have no basis for our hopes and dreams


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