The colorful holiday classic is finally brought to the big screen, designed by famed children's story author and artist Maurice Sendak, and written for the first time to be as close as ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Bigney ...
Herr Drosselmeier / The Pasha
Vanessa Sharp ...
Patricia Barker ...
Dream Clara / Ballerina Doll
Wade Walthall ...
Maia Rosal ...
Carey Homme ...
Mr. Stahlbaum / Moor
Russell Burnett ...
Jacob Rice ...
Martha Boyle ...
Adult at the Party / Snowflake / Waltz of the Flowers
Laura Schwenk ...
Adult at the Party / Snowflake / Moor / Waltz of the Flowers
Benjamin Houk ...
Adult at the Party / Mouse Captain / Dervish
Beatrice Bassett ...
Adult at the Party / Grandparent
Ann Renhard ...
Adult at the Party / Snowflake / Waltz of the Flowers
Dianne Brace ...
Adult at the Party / Snowflake / Moor / Waltz of the Flowers
Christian Cederlund ...
Adult at the Party / Moor
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Storyline

The colorful holiday classic is finally brought to the big screen, designed by famed children's story author and artist Maurice Sendak, and written for the first time to be as close as possible to the original story. A lavish, exciting and heart-warming celebration of dance, of music, and of life. Based upon the Pacific Northwest Ballet's original production. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A magnificent Christmas spectacular

Genres:

Family | Fantasy | Music

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nutcracker: The Motion Picture  »

Box Office

Gross:

$781,727 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| (35 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maurice Sendak includes a homage to his favorite composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. During Clara's dream, as the furniture around her seems to grow, we see an enormous bust of Mozart peering down at her. See more »

Quotes

Adult Clara (narrator): In the language of this dream, in that palace of delight, we spoke with our whole selves... And my tall Nutcracker Cavalier had eyes only for me, for at least as long as that dream could be.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Wade Walthall is listed in the credits as playing the Nutcracker, when in fact he plays the Nutcracker Prince. The Nutcracker himself is billed in the credits as "Fighting Nutcracker", and is played by Jacob Rice. See more »

Connections

Version of Care Bears Nutcracker Suite (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

The Nutcracker
Ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Op. 71)
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Mackerras
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A childhood favourite that holds up on re-watch, very underrated
9 March 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Thinking of all the great productions of The Nutcracker I've seen, I thought back to see if there was one I'd forgotten from childhood. I realised I had, this film version by Carroll Ballard, responsible for directing the brilliant Black Stallion. I knew I wanted to see it again, as I love the ballet so much- the story and ballet are among my all-time favourites in regard to anything- and would watch any production or film version. I was intrepid though as well, as I remembered that it was quite dark, darker than the usual production of The Nutcracker. And unfortunately not all the productions that take a darker edge have been particularly good, Maurice Bejart's production was a self-indulgent mess and the 2008 Mariinsky one was incoherent and ugly managing to waste the talented performers. But I watched Ballard's film version anyway for the first time since I was 10, in two minds of what to expect, and I am glad I did. Whether it is the best version of The Nutcracker I am not sure, seeing how much I love the 1977, 1985, 1989, 2001 and 2009 productions. But it is for me the most underrated one, and a long way from the worst. Considering some of the reviews I'd read beforehand(Ebert, Maltin, RadioTimes) I was expecting it to be bad. But it wasn't.

It is as dark as I remembered, as well as quite serious with some sexual tension perhaps in the mix. But unlike Bejart and Mariinsky, this dark approach is actually cohesive and come to think of it the Hoffmann story has some dark elements anyhow. The more somewhat sensual chemistry between Clara and Drosselmeyer in the party scene is not going to please everybody, I am not sure myself. But compared to everything else, it is something I could ignore easily. The sets and costumes do look stunning, those of the second act of the ballet have many vivid colours. Ballard's editing has been much criticised, I think overly-complicated was how it was described, true maybe there are a few too many shots of dancers' limbs but overall it didn't interfere that much with the dancing. Speaking of the dancing, aided by the truly magical choreography(some of the best I've seen for any production of The Nutcracker), it is impeccable, not only does it look so elegant and graceful but the dancers don't forget to emote. The Pas-De-Deux brought tears to my eyes, the party scene is joyous with a very Christmassy feel and the divertissments in the second act are characterfully danced. The dialogue is only in the narration, and I was really impressed by how colourfully and affectingly the story was told without words spoken, narration excepted. The narration is thoughtfully delivered also.

Summing up, not all my childhood favourites have held up, most have and this is one of them. While not my favourite Nutcracker ever it is an underrated one and much better than I'd heard it was. I'm glad that other people have a fondness for it also. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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