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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Miracle on 34th Street can be found here.
Special events director Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) hires a white-haired and whiskered old man, who calls himself Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough), to play the role of Santa Claus at Cole's department store in New York City. Dorey's six-year-old daughter Susan (Mara Wilson) takes a liking to the old gent and, despite her tendency to be the quintessential realist, Susan begins to believe that Kris might really be Santa Claus, so she asks him to bring her the one thing she wants most -- a dad, a brother, and a real house of her own. However, when the Santa Claus that Kris replaced (because he was drunk) sets up Kris to be charged for assaulting him, Dorey's boyfriend Bryan Bedford (Dylan McDermott) must prove to a court of law that Kris is not only Santa Claus but that he is the REAL Santa Claus. Otherwise, Kris will be committed to Bellevue Hospital for being insane.
Miracle on 34th Street is a remake of Miracle on 34th Street (1947), which is based on a story idea by American film-writer Valentine Davies and a screenplay by American film-maker George Seaton. The screenplay for this movie was updated by American film-maker John Hughes, who also coproduced the movie. Davies also penned a novella version of the story, which was published simultaneously with the 1947 film release. Two other versions of 'Miracle on 34th Street' have also been made -- Miracle on 34th Street (1959) and Miracle on 34th Street (1973), both made-for-TV.
An article posted in the Los Angeles Times on 17 April 1994, two reasons are given. One reason, reported by a spokeswoman for Macy's, explained that 'we feel the original stands on its own and could not be improved upon.' A second speculation is that Macy's did not want to cooperate because it was, at that time, nearly $6 billion in debt and didn't want to be in the spotlight until the bankruptcy was settled. However, the Macy's spokeswoman did not comment on this subject.
It looks like Bryan is going to lose the case until he suddenly hits on a new approach. When court reconvenes the next day, he gets Susan to walk a handmade Christmas card directly to Judge Harper (Robert Prosky). Inside the card is a one dollar bill with the words 'In God We Trust' circled. Harper, who really doesn't want to rule against Kris, suddenly sees a way out. He reminds the court that the dollar bill was 'issued by the Treasury Department of the United States and backed by the government and the people' and announces that 'if the government of the United States can issue its currency bearing a declaration of trust in God without demanding physical evidence of the existence or the nonexistence of a greater being, then the state of New York, by similar demonstration of the collective faith of its people, can accept and acknowledge that Santa Claus does exist and that he exists in the person of Kris Kringle.' He then dismisses the case.
Dorey and Bryan meet at St Francis' church, each believing the other set up the meeting. When it becomes apparent that Kris Kringle tricked them, they decide to use the ring and the priest and get married. The next morning is Christmas, but Susan seems a bit sad until she notices that her mother is wearing a wedding ring and Bryan comes out of the bedroom. Realizing that her first wish has been granted, Susan perks up on the ride to the catalog house. Dorey tries to remind her that a house is an awfully big present to expect from Santa Claus, but Susan is convinced that Kris will provide. When they arrive at the house, Susan runs inside. Dorey and Bryan are met at the door by Mr Shellhammer (Simon Jones) who explains that Dorey has gotten a large bonus and that Kris told him they were looking for a house. He then hands her the keys. In the final scene, Susan says that she'll probably have to wait for the third thing. 'If Kris says he'll get you something,' Bryan says, 'I bet it's already on the way.' As she goes upstairs to see her new bedroom Susan reveals that the third thing was a baby brother. Dorey and Bryan stand flabbergasted, both of them looking at Dorey's abdomen.
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