Prancer (1989)

G  |   |  Drama, Family, Fantasy  |  17 November 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,906 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 17 critic

A farm girl nurses a wounded reindeer she believes is one of Santa's, hoping to bring it back to health in time for Christmas. Her holiday spirit inspires those around her, something her disheartened father is having trouble understanding.


(as John Hancock)


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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. McFarland
Orel Benton
Mr. Stewart / Santa
Jessica Riggs
John Duda ...
Steve Riggs (as John Joseph Duda)
Carol Wetherby
Herb Drier
Billy Quinn
Walter Charles ...
Victor Truro ...
Mr. Young
Marcia Porter ...
Mrs. Fairburn
Mr. Soot
Robert Zimmermann ...


Jessica, the daughter of an impoverished farmer, still believes in Santa Claus. So when she comes across a reindeer with an injured leg, it makes perfect sense to her to assume that it is Prancer, who had fallen from a Christmas display in town. She hides him in her barn and feeds him cookies, until she can return him to Santa. Her father finds him and decides to sell him to the butcher, not for venison chops, but as an advertising display. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Christmas adventure for the whole family. See more »


Drama | Family | Fantasy


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 November 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jessica und das Rentier  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$18,587,135 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The real name of the reindeer who played Prancer was Bob. See more »


From the "non-splintery" broken edges of the smashed deer-statue, it is clear that the statues are plastic, yet Jessica's friend states that they are made of wood. See more »


Jessica Riggs: Alright for you, Carol Wetherby! You're not my friend anymore!
Carol Wetherby: What did I say?
Jessica Riggs: That there was no Heaven!
Carol Wetherby: So?
Jessica Riggs: [tears up] What about my mother, then?
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: 15th Anniversary (1989) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An integral part of our Christmas
8 December 2002 | by (California) – See all my reviews

This film proves that there are still unspoiled hearts left on Planet Earth. Those who find it sappy or irrelevant have spent too much time wearing Grinch suits and need a good dose of humanity to thaw that hard matter in their chests that passes for a heart.

The child actors are the heart of _Prancer_. They are real, never overacting or coming off as children playing at making a film. Sam Elliot is the epitome of the overstressed, depressed man who has lost his wife and despairs of losing everything else too. His transformation is believable and worthy of the time spent to watch his character unfold. Cloris Leachman is a delight as the female Scrooge who is touched by two children--Jessica who reintroduces her to the joy of Christmas, and a little boy in church who reintroduces her to the joy of human fellowship.

Above all, this is a story of transition. The earnest child must move forward to knowledge, and the jaded grownup must move back to mystery and faith. If your Christmas is too much take and not enough give, I prescribe hot chocolate, hot buttered popcorn, and a viewing of Prancer with people you love. Better yet, do as we have and make this movie part of your personal holiday tradition. It might help make you a better person the rest of the year.

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