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The Night They Saved Christmas (1984)

TV Movie  |  Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Family, Fantasy  |  13 December 1984 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 795 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 4 critic

An oil company is exploring two Arctic sites for oil. The needed blasting at the first site rocks Santa Claus' North Pole village. He realizes that any blasting at the second site will ... See full summary »

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Title: The Night They Saved Christmas (TV Movie 1984)

The Night They Saved Christmas (TV Movie 1984) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Claudia Baldwin
...
...
Michael Baldwin
...
Sumner Murdock
...
...
Ed
...
David
Laura Jacoby ...
Marianne
R.J. Williams ...
C.B.
...
Marin
...
Loomis
Anne Haney ...
Hedda
Buddy Douglas ...
Dr. Fernando
Billy Curtis ...
Jack
Michael Keys Hall ...
Faulkner
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Storyline

An oil company is exploring two Arctic sites for oil. The needed blasting at the first site rocks Santa Claus' North Pole village. He realizes that any blasting at the second site will destroy his home. He enlists the aid of a woman and her children to convince her husband (who works for the company) that the first site is where the oil they want is. Along the way, Santa explains all his secrets in delivering presents all around the world. Written by Tony Berkoff <aberkoff@hq.caci.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You're going to believe in Santa all over again!

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Joulupukki pulassa  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Santa tries to prove to Claudia that he's Santa, he knows that she was living in Houston, Texas at an early age. In real life, Jaclyn Smith (Claudia) was born in Houston, Texas. See more »

Goofs

When Ed is taking them to North Pole City in the tracked vehicle, the tracks of the camera vehicle can be seen in the snow in one wide shot of the tracked vehicle traveling forward through the snow. See more »

Quotes

[everyone is seeing North Pole City]
Claudia: If this is a practical joke, we're in big trouble.
David: I know mom, I know.
See more »

Connections

References 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A spirit of Christmas past
28 November 2008 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Somewhere between the sugary sweet fantasies of Rankin-Bass and the more cynical (yet enjoyable in their own right) offerings like "Scrooged" lies this little TV movie. It makes few efforts at being cool, instead aiming for pre-teen innocence, or maybe just the innocence adults think they had at that age. In any event, whether by design, by accident or even by the idealizing effects of misty childhood memory, this movie has won a place in the hearts of many kids and kids at heart who watched it in the 1980s.

It has all the usual ingredients for a decent Christmas movie. Family strife, imminent peril but no real violence, little people as elves, singing, colorful toy clutter, and some fairly imaginative Christmas-themed props. But it takes itself fairly seriously and doesn't devolve into complete goofiness like "Elf."

This was one of the early movies showing a "high tech" Santa, far presaging "The Santa Clause" or "Santa vs. the Snowman." Of course, by modern standards, the effects are primitive, but remember that this is a kid's movie, and kids are not nearly as picky as adults are. Which is a good thing. Take it for the story and don't whine that it's not a Disney/Pixar visual extravaganza. It could have been a lot worse, being a TV movie, and you have to give them points for doing quite a bit of exterior filming on location in Alaska rather than some fakey soundstage. The interiors of North Pole City were small, limited by the budget, but there was a bit of homey coziness in there.

If there is one real weakness in the movie, it's the acting. Many were fine, including Jaclyn Smith, Art Carney, June Lockhart, Paul Williams (alas, at 5'2", too tall to look convincing as an elf, especially when around all the real dwarfs playing elves) and veteran character actor Mason Adams. On the other hand, R.J. Williams was not a good child actor, being roughly in the same league as the "Full House" era Olsen twins. He overacted during most of his scenes, and the emotion just never seemed genuine. In the other direction was Paul Le Mat as his father. Every line, facial tic and gesture seems to come out of an acting class technique. It doesn't feel like anything comes from his heart. With flat delivery of his lines and an unexpressive face, he was terrible and as unconvincing as his young co-star. A second problem is that Santa was very passive in this. He never really does anything to try to save North Pole City other than convincing Claudia and the kids. Later on, in desperation, he says that he'll have to take matters into his own hands and convince Michael himself, but nothing comes of this.

All in all, it's a worthwhile treat for the family, although it may bore some adults who didn't grow up with it.


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