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.

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(as John Hancock)

Writer:

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mrs. McFarland
...
Aunt Sarah
...
Orel Benton
...
Mr. Stewart / Santa
...
Jessica Riggs
John Duda ...
Steve Riggs (as John Joseph Duda)
...
Carol Wetherby
...
Herb Drier
...
Billy Quinn
Walter Charles ...
Minister
Victor Truro ...
Mr. Young
Marcia Porter ...
Mrs. Fairburn
...
Mr. Soot
Robert Zimmermann ...
Wagnall
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Storyline

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 <Vertigus@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Something magical is about to happen. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

17 November 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jessica und das Rentier  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,914,486 (USA) (19 November 1989)

Gross:

$18,587,135 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Prancer was filmed in Three Oaks, MI. See more »

Goofs

When Prancer is joining Santa at the end, you see Jessica and her father standing apart in the wide shot, but in the closeups they are embracing each other. See more »

Quotes

Jessica Riggs: I don't think all of this is necessary, he's probably used to being around people.
Orel Benton: What am I, an elf?
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Connections

Followed by Prancer Returns (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Holiday sentiment, well-acted and unsappy.
18 December 2002 | by (North Hemis) – See all my reviews

Some occasionally clumsy dialogue only mildly undercuts the virtues of Greg Taylor's thoughtful script, which provides a surprisingly realistic depiction of the joys and heartaches of simple lives at Christmastime.

Rebecca Harrell is superb as 9-year-old Jessica, who finds an injured reindeer in the woods near her Michigan farm and determines to nurse it back to health in time to help pull Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. She's a marvelously realized character, refreshingly minus the cute kid mannerisms of many a Hollywood acting tyke. I particularly liked the way she deflected her father's tirades with her singlemindedness of purpose: he might get mad at her, but she was still going to do what she had to do. Very childlike, and very real.

A subplot about Jessica's helping a reclusive, eccentric neighbor (played by Cloris Leachman in a virtual cameo) seems truncated and unnecessary, but for the most part Taylor's scenario sticks to the basics and is better for it. Characters surrounding Jessica act like real people, not stereotypes, and events transpire with a sense of realism, not melodrama.

Credit for this tale's effectiveness also goes to Sam Elliott, who plays Jessica's father, a recent widower, with a harsh demeanor that seems to mask real pain and desperation. Thus his rapprochement with his wayward daughter carries unexpected depth of feeling and could not fail to move all but the most cynical. For a dad like me, I admit it put a big lump in my throat.

Despite a somewhat flawed climax -- to my mind, the vfx shot of Santa's sleigh coursing across the sky is unnecessary, given the magic moment just prior to it that reveals reindeer hoofprints leading to a precipice -- this nice little holiday film delivers a timeless message about faith and selflessness. Recommended for mature kids of 8 or older.


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