The television adaptation of the Baryshnikov production.



Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gelsey Kirkland ...
Alexander Minz ...
Gayle Young ...
Sallie Wilson ...
Warren Conover ...
Fritz - Clara's Brother / Shepherd Dancer
Rebecca Wright ...
George De La Pena ...
The Moor / Russian Dance
Marcos Paredes ...
The Mouse King / Drunken Christmas Party Guest
Cynthia Harvey ...
Jolinda Menendez ...
Snowflake Soloist / Spanish Dance
Rodney Gustafson ...
Charles Maple ...
Eric Nesbitt ...
Gregory Osborne ...


The television adaptation of the Baryshnikov production.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This Friday, [December 16, 1977] join Mikhail Baryshnikov in the realm of toy soldiers, dancing snowflakes, and sheer magical entertainment. (poster for original telecast)


Fantasy | Music | Romance

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 December 1977 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(original telecast)| (recent telecasts)


Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


Costume designer Frank L. Thompson died six months before the first telecast of this production. He was only fifty-six. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: It is Christmas Eve. In just a few hours, the clock will chime midnight - a time of magic, and of dreams.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Marcos Paredes, who dances both the roles of The Mouse King and the drunken guest at the Christmas party, does not receive any screen credit for playing the drunken guest. See more »


Version of Casse-Noisette Circus (2000) See more »


The Nutcracker
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played by the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Schermerhorn, with the Boys of the Desborough School Chorus,
conducted by Roger Durston
See more »

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User Reviews

The best-danced production widely available
26 December 2002 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

While other film and video productions of the Tchiakovsky classic emphasize pageantry, amazing sets, and holiday warmth, the American Ballet Theater's `Nutcracker' concentrates on strong dancing and intricate choreography. There is consequently much to adore in this production. Gelsey Kirkland, at the prime of her career, and before her drug addiction and battle with anorexia tragically destroyed her dancing talent, plays Clara as a young girl who matures over the course of the ballet. As such, Baryshnikov's version is less a story of a young girl's Christmas dream, and more a coming-of-age tale.

The party scene of `The Nutcracker' is usually a showcase for the children's classes of a ballet company. The Balanchine version, for example, does not really employ any serious dancing until the Waltz of the Snowflakes; most of the first act features children mulling about with their presents. Baryshnikov chose instead to concentrate on adult dancers, turning the Drosselmayer gift sequences in particular into amazingly intricate, well-danced pieces. The Moorish dance stands out as one of the finest, most exciting dances ever to be caught on film.

Unfortunately, this production does have a few weaknesses. The dancers reportedly complained that the television set where it was filmed was too cramped, and that the soundtrack was too slow. Indeed, the sound throughout is awful; there are many more vibrant recordings of the music that could have been used. These dancers are professionals used to working with a live orchestra, and they seem confined by the canned music. The sets are unspectacular and washed-out, making this version perhaps the least exciting for young children; both the NYC Ballet and the Sendak version are more visually stimulating.

Still, for fans of serious dance, this version must be seen. It is still a thrill to watch Baryshnikov and Kirkland perform.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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