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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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(written for the screen by), (story)
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ON DISC
Won 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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:

Capture the spirit of Christmas with this timeless classic! 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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Company Credits

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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

In the 1970s Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner were approached about doing a TV remake of the film with Natalie's daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner as Susan. Wood turned it down because she'd been a child star herself and didn't want her very young daughter to start acting at such an early age. See more »

Goofs

While prosecutor Mara is making his final arguments to the Judge, defense attorney Gailey is out in the hall presumably talking to the postmen. Gailey returns to the courtroom just as Mara finishes his statement. No judge would allow final arguments to proceed in the absence of the attorney for the opposing party. See more »

Quotes

Doris Walker: I was wrong when I told you that, Susie. You must believe in Mr. Kringle and keep right on doing it. You must have faith in him.
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Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.62 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Sabre and Spurs
(1918) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played when Doris is in her apartment and at other times during the parade
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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