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This is one of my favorites of the shorter Christmas specials. I bought it several years ago and it has made me cry since I was a little kid, but I think I cry even more now. The early years of Nestor's life are the parts that are really heart-wrenching. It's the same old story of a character who is made fun of unmercilessly by his peers because of a different physical attribute, in this case it happens to be his abnormally long ears. All the while in the background the same song plays throughout, a pretty little tune explaining Nestor's plight, and it only makes you cry more. By the time it gets around to the part where he is chosen to carry Mary to Bethlehem, I am a blubbering idiot. But this gem of a Christmas special is well worth making it part of your collection or even catching it on FAM's 25 Days of Christmas. They show it every year and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves Christmas and is sentimental like me. Also great for kids.
For those of you who have never seen this show, please try to find it
on DVD. I bought my favorite Rankin/Bass Christmas shows on DVD this
year. I was very pleasantly surprised to find this favorite from my
childhood on the same DVD as "A Year Without a Santa Claus" (another
real fave of mine).
Sure, there are some sappy moments in Nestor, but the story is very touching and heart-warming. I wish there were more Christmas shows on television brave enough to acknowledge the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ as the reason for the season.
And a short response to another poster about the blizzards in Rome... the beginning of the story sets it in Europe during the Roman rule and occupation... the cherub then guides Nestor over a long period of time to a stable closer to Bethlehem. As a child I never picked up on Nestor having to wait for a while to go to Bethlehem, but seeing it as an adult it touched me that we all at times have to wait for our opportunity to serve in some way and it might not come when we want it to, but when our Father does. But I digress.... a great Christmas treat!
I was recently reacquainted with this film when The Fox Family Channel showed it as part of their '25 Days of Christmas' programming. I remembered that it made me cry as a kid. Surprisingly enough, it made me cry now too! The film is the story of an incredibly cute long-eared donkey named Nestor and his trials on the road to his place in history. Be prepared for some emotional hijacking as Nestor goes through some tough life experiences on the way there. I would recommend this film to any fan of RB stop-motion animation. It also deals with the origin of Christmas in a way most of their other films haven't, which is to say directly.
Rankin Bass made a lot of fine Christmas specials for kids. I know that every Christmas we are treated to all those classic animated cartoons like Rudolph and Santa and of course the Charlie Brown show, OH AND LETS NOT FORGET ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE. I'm a Sergeant in the US Army and I remember seeing this special about Nestor vaguely when I was a kid. I was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas in the Christmas of 95 and happened to catch it again on the Fox network I believe. I am a tough, professional soldier who fought in Desert Storm, and yet I almost cried watching this again. Poor little Nestor and the pain he had to suffer. His mother froze to death protecting him. She made the greatest sacrifice for her baby. I cannot help but think how many children are abused like Nestor was. This story, to me anyway, is a parable about child abuse. I read other accounts of people who cried when they saw it and that is exactly how it affected me. Nestor ultimately leads Mary and Joseph to Bethleham where our Savior is born. That is the beautiful part of the story and it is moving, but its also very sad as well.
Oh I know this Christmas special is always a tear jerker as well for me.
Poor Nestor the Long Eared Donkey, the first part of the story reminds me
a cross between Dumbo (big ears/oddball) and Bambi (what happened to his
mother)! I think I first saw Nestor about the same time I saw Bambi, so I
srt of become confused remembering how each's mother died...but still it's
sad at that point. Also the poigniant way Roger Miller sang & narrated
program really made it so tear jerking.
I'm glad though Nestor finds a better life as Mary & Joseph's donkey, who carries Mary all the way to Bethlehem, where she then has baby Jesus.
I always loved the Rankin Bass specials that gave the real meaning of Christmas storylines the best anyway.
I am 43, don't remember ever seeing this special when I was a kid. I watched it the first time when the Family Channel had their very first 25 Days of Christmas programming. I have watched it every year since, and bawl like a baby every time. The underdog is always the hero, but never so sweetly as in this story. Little Nestor with his way too long ears, loses his mother and is befriended by a little Cherub who tells him that he will save Someone as his mother saved him. It puts a spiritual spin on the usual "Christmas Special" line-up, where it actually has something to do with Christmas, rather than Santa or Frosty or whatever. It is a sweet story, and I think it is very kid-friendly. Mine have always loved it. It could even open up some interesting conversations about Christmas and its meaning.
What a lovely Christmas special from Rankin'/Bass. In fact along with
The Little Drummer Boy, it is the most touching of their specials. The
visuals are beautiful, the characters look convincing, the colours are
homely and the backgrounds are gorgeous. I also loved the music,
especially the main theme which is so beautiful and resonates with me
emotionally every time.
Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey also has an engaging and poignant story that rarely has a wasted scene in its short duration, good pacing and strong writing. The characters are wonderful, all of them serve a purpose to the story, are likable and the chemistry between them is believable. Especially the title character, who is so sweet and likable that you feel sorry for him and his predicament immediately. The voice acting from the likes of Paul Frees, Don Messick and Roger Miller are top notch and fit their characters beautifully, while the ending makes me cry like a baby, same with the early parts of Nestor's life which are beautifully realised.
In conclusion, poignant, honest and timeless Christmas special that still touches me. 10/10 Bethany Cox
I had never even heard of Nestor The Long Eared Donkey until today. I was
just about to change the channel when my wife came in and said we might as
well watch it. She had never seen it either. It was a cute little story
about a donkey who finds his entire existence hopeless until he is chosen by
Mary and Joseph to carry Mary into Bethlehem. This is one of the few
mainstream Christmas specials that actually acknowledges the birth of
Christ, the true meaning of Christmas. That could very well be the reason
it has gotten so little airplay over the years, networks fear it might be
too religious. As a born again Christian, I was delighted to see it. The
writing is not great, and the story of Nestor mirrors that of Rudolph a
great deal. I agree with the previous reviewer that it might be much better
if it were longer. It is a nice little Christmas story with good animation
and can be enjoyed by the family during the holiday season.
John 3:16 ><>
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rankin Bass has become synonymous with holiday specials, nearly every
one of them centering around the commercial aspects. (Santa, gifts,
etc). And for the entertainment factor on that behalf, they do a good
job. However, "Nestor the Long-eared Christmas Donkey" showcases the
studio's abilities in creating a story that not only entertains, but
also reminds people that there is more to Christmas than presents and
toys, in addition to presenting a moral lesson.
The story is a simple tale about a misfit donkey, unloved due to his large ears and untrained clumsiness, who after suffering a series of setbacks discovers that he is indeed important and of value after he successfully transports Mary and Joseph to the manger leading to the birth of Jesus. He accomplishes this through his own determination despite his past hardships.
Some viewers may find the program's content hard to stomach in some parts...there is some minor bullying of Nestor by the other characters, and of course his mother dies after sheltering him from a blizzard. But at the conclusion, one will see that even the bullies discover how wrong they assuming that Nestor was useless simply because he was different from everybody else...they were humbled just knowing that none of them would have been able to pull off what the little donkey managed to do.
The story is one of the few specials airing that focuses on the religious and true meaning of the holiday (at least for Christians). And while secular characters such as Rudolph and Santa are featured, their roles are only minor cameos..one such scene being the heartwarming finale showing all the familiar faces surrounding a nativity scene reflecting on what is truly the "reason for the season".
I remember this show from when I was 14 or 15 in the late 70'. I wish that it was on the air more. It is a shame that not just this one but,Little Drummer Boy,Litlest Angel, The sequel to Frosty when They make him a wife and a snow parson and all other shows with religious overtones are not on as much any more. It just goes to show that they are trying to secularize Christmas
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