Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (TV Short 1977) Poster

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I love this film!
Jackson-628 January 1999
This is one of my favorites of the shorter Christmas specials. I bought it several years ago and it has made me cry since I was a little kid, but I think I cry even more now. The early years of Nestor's life are the parts that are really heart-wrenching. It's the same old story of a character who is made fun of unmercilessly by his peers because of a different physical attribute, in this case it happens to be his abnormally long ears. All the while in the background the same song plays throughout, a pretty little tune explaining Nestor's plight, and it only makes you cry more. By the time it gets around to the part where he is chosen to carry Mary to Bethlehem, I am a blubbering idiot. But this gem of a Christmas special is well worth making it part of your collection or even catching it on FAM's 25 Days of Christmas. They show it every year and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves Christmas and is sentimental like me. Also great for kids.
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A wonderful Christmas story
hillpo24 December 1998
I was recently reacquainted with this film when The Fox Family Channel showed it as part of their '25 Days of Christmas' programming. I remembered that it made me cry as a kid. Surprisingly enough, it made me cry now too! The film is the story of an incredibly cute long-eared donkey named Nestor and his trials on the road to his place in history. Be prepared for some emotional hijacking as Nestor goes through some tough life experiences on the way there. I would recommend this film to any fan of RB stop-motion animation. It also deals with the origin of Christmas in a way most of their other films haven't, which is to say directly.
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It hits me too
atomicseasoning27 November 2003
Oh I know this Christmas special is always a tear jerker as well for me. Poor Nestor the Long Eared Donkey, the first part of the story reminds me of a cross between Dumbo (big ears/oddball) and Bambi (what happened to his mother)! I think I first saw Nestor about the same time I saw Bambi, so I srt of become confused remembering how each's mother died...but still it's sad at that point. Also the poigniant way Roger Miller sang & narrated this program really made it so tear jerking.

I'm glad though Nestor finds a better life as Mary & Joseph's donkey, who carries Mary all the way to Bethlehem, where she then has baby Jesus.

I always loved the Rankin Bass specials that gave the real meaning of Christmas storylines the best anyway.
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Available on DVD (Secondary to "A Year Without a Santa Claus")
ann_outsider27 November 2004
For those of you who have never seen this show, please try to find it on DVD. I bought my favorite Rankin/Bass Christmas shows on DVD this year. I was very pleasantly surprised to find this favorite from my childhood on the same DVD as "A Year Without a Santa Claus" (another real fave of mine).

Sure, there are some sappy moments in Nestor, but the story is very touching and heart-warming. I wish there were more Christmas shows on television brave enough to acknowledge the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ as the reason for the season.

And a short response to another poster about the blizzards in Rome... the beginning of the story sets it in Europe during the Roman rule and occupation... the cherub then guides Nestor over a long period of time to a stable closer to Bethlehem. As a child I never picked up on Nestor having to wait for a while to go to Bethlehem, but seeing it as an adult it touched me that we all at times have to wait for our opportunity to serve in some way and it might not come when we want it to, but when our Father does. But I digress.... a great Christmas treat!
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Good However
Christmas-Reviewer15 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers

Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey is a 1977 Christmas stop motion animated television special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions. The production is first rate. The story moves along and it was made by Rankin-Bass. However beware Nestor's mother dies and its very sad. I would not allow a child under 5 to watch.

Of all the Christmas animation special that Rankin Bass made this is one of the better ones.
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Still touches me...
TheLittleSongbird25 February 2011
What a lovely Christmas special from Rankin'/Bass. In fact along with The Little Drummer Boy, it is the most touching of their specials. The visuals are beautiful, the characters look convincing, the colours are homely and the backgrounds are gorgeous. I also loved the music, especially the main theme which is so beautiful and resonates with me emotionally every time.

Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey also has an engaging and poignant story that rarely has a wasted scene in its short duration, good pacing and strong writing. The characters are wonderful, all of them serve a purpose to the story, are likable and the chemistry between them is believable. Especially the title character, who is so sweet and likable that you feel sorry for him and his predicament immediately. The voice acting from the likes of Paul Frees, Don Messick and Roger Miller are top notch and fit their characters beautifully, while the ending makes me cry like a baby, same with the early parts of Nestor's life which are beautifully realised.

In conclusion, poignant, honest and timeless Christmas special that still touches me. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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Nestor, the sweetest
bonniehairdo196412 December 2007
I am 43, don't remember ever seeing this special when I was a kid. I watched it the first time when the Family Channel had their very first 25 Days of Christmas programming. I have watched it every year since, and bawl like a baby every time. The underdog is always the hero, but never so sweetly as in this story. Little Nestor with his way too long ears, loses his mother and is befriended by a little Cherub who tells him that he will save Someone as his mother saved him. It puts a spiritual spin on the usual "Christmas Special" line-up, where it actually has something to do with Christmas, rather than Santa or Frosty or whatever. It is a sweet story, and I think it is very kid-friendly. Mine have always loved it. It could even open up some interesting conversations about Christmas and its meaning.
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a parable of child abuse
dtucker8613 October 2003
Rankin Bass made a lot of fine Christmas specials for kids. I know that every Christmas we are treated to all those classic animated cartoons like Rudolph and Santa and of course the Charlie Brown show, OH AND LETS NOT FORGET ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE. I'm a Sergeant in the US Army and I remember seeing this special about Nestor vaguely when I was a kid. I was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas in the Christmas of 95 and happened to catch it again on the Fox network I believe. I am a tough, professional soldier who fought in Desert Storm, and yet I almost cried watching this again. Poor little Nestor and the pain he had to suffer. His mother froze to death protecting him. She made the greatest sacrifice for her baby. I cannot help but think how many children are abused like Nestor was. This story, to me anyway, is a parable about child abuse. I read other accounts of people who cried when they saw it and that is exactly how it affected me. Nestor ultimately leads Mary and Joseph to Bethleham where our Savior is born. That is the beautiful part of the story and it is moving, but its also very sad as well.
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A Deep-Hearted Holiday Tale
cairn611 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Rankin Bass has become synonymous with holiday specials, nearly every one of them centering around the commercial aspects. (Santa, gifts, etc). And for the entertainment factor on that behalf, they do a good job. However, "Nestor the Long-eared Christmas Donkey" showcases the studio's abilities in creating a story that not only entertains, but also reminds people that there is more to Christmas than presents and toys, in addition to presenting a moral lesson.

The story is a simple tale about a misfit donkey, unloved due to his large ears and untrained clumsiness, who after suffering a series of setbacks discovers that he is indeed important and of value after he successfully transports Mary and Joseph to the manger leading to the birth of Jesus. He accomplishes this through his own determination despite his past hardships.

Some viewers may find the program's content hard to stomach in some parts...there is some minor bullying of Nestor by the other characters, and of course his mother dies after sheltering him from a blizzard. But at the conclusion, one will see that even the bullies discover how wrong they assuming that Nestor was useless simply because he was different from everybody else...they were humbled just knowing that none of them would have been able to pull off what the little donkey managed to do.

The story is one of the few specials airing that focuses on the religious and true meaning of the holiday (at least for Christians). And while secular characters such as Rudolph and Santa are featured, their roles are only minor such scene being the heartwarming finale showing all the familiar faces surrounding a nativity scene reflecting on what is truly the "reason for the season".
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Nice to see a movie with the true meaning of Christmas.
magellan3335 December 2001
I had never even heard of Nestor The Long Eared Donkey until today. I was just about to change the channel when my wife came in and said we might as well watch it. She had never seen it either. It was a cute little story about a donkey who finds his entire existence hopeless until he is chosen by Mary and Joseph to carry Mary into Bethlehem. This is one of the few mainstream Christmas specials that actually acknowledges the birth of Christ, the true meaning of Christmas. That could very well be the reason it has gotten so little airplay over the years, networks fear it might be too religious. As a born again Christian, I was delighted to see it. The writing is not great, and the story of Nestor mirrors that of Rudolph a great deal. I agree with the previous reviewer that it might be much better if it were longer. It is a nice little Christmas story with good animation and can be enjoyed by the family during the holiday season.

John 3:16 ><>
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best thing... this... just brilliant
chrismoss232316 October 2007
I'm a 30 year old single dude with a history of lot's of sin and fun. I came from the tough guy/ party crowd and bla, bla, bla. All that biznus aside: This is the best 22 minutes of purity and tender entertainment I have found. Everything is perfect in it's own imperfection. The songs are genius, and these guys should have made 50 more films, that's all. They get it. Religious or not - the emotional levels are brilliant. I drop a tear every time. Sure, I also saw it as a kid - and that means something - but stoned, drunk, sober - I get lost every time. THIS LIL' FILM ROCKS!!! Watch it. If you have kids... put down the hip hop album (to the trash) and stick this in the DVD player. Yes, the Jewish folk as well. He wants you to. ;)
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What a great lesson...
wjosmek14 December 2006
I love the lesson in this Christmas story. Nestor is different than the rest of the donkeys, but his difference makes him the perfect animal for the job he has to do. This story also puts Jesus into the story, which many other Christmas stories for children fail to do. Roger Miller's voice is great for narration and gives the story a down home feel. The Rankin-Bass style of classic stop-action animation is once again showcased in this classic. I would recommend this story if you like the classic "Little Drummer Boy" story... it's along the same lines with a storyline of misfits being in the right place at the right time and finding out that their difference or talent that was once a hindrance has suddenly become a great asset.
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I wish it was on tv still
John M. Clones30 January 2004
I remember this show from when I was 14 or 15 in the late 70'. I wish that it was on the air more. It is a shame that not just this one but,Little Drummer Boy,Litlest Angel, The sequel to Frosty when They make him a wife and a snow parson and all other shows with religious overtones are not on as much any more. It just goes to show that they are trying to secularize Christmas
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This movie is a childhood favorite!
souleander5 December 2004
Despite the shortness of this animated Christmas film it is full of moral stories of love and acceptance. It one of the most overlooked Christmas animated films. There are only so many times over a Christmas holiday month I can stand to watch "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and all those. Its a breath of fresh air to stick this one in there. I had been unable to see it for the last two Christmas Eve's because the stations in the area do not play it. This has left me slightly heartbroken because of all the family memories that go with it. I hope I can help revive it so my children someday down the road may see it and enjoy it. It really has more of the meaning of Christmas behind it and in the story. Maybe if more people were to see it they would remember the meaning of Christmas and the spirit of the holiday. Maybe others could pass this joy onto their next generations.
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Aother Christmas classic from Rankin/Bass
Here is another Christmas special from Rankin/Bass that I love. It is about a little donkey with long, long ears named Nestor, who would become the donkey who would aid Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Now for those of you with sensitive hearts, you might cry at some scenes - just a reminder.

I thought Rankin/Bass did a good job in creating another Christmas classic, with the soundtrack, the story line, the moral (which I do not mind at all); Roger Miller (voice from Disney's Robin Hood) was superb. There is even some real history in this on the Roman Empire. So overall, I love this TV special.
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Another sweet and delightful vintage 70's TV holiday special from Rankin/Bass
Woodyanders15 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Tiny ostracized donkey Nestor has trouble fitting in because of his abnormally large ears. One fateful day Nestor gets thrown out into a raging blizzard, loses his mother, and hence has to fend for himself. Nestor embarks on a journey to Bethlehem. He's guided along the way by his helpful guardian cherub Tilly (given an endearingly hoarse voice by Brenda Vaccaro). This lovely, moving and uplifting fable about discovering your self-worth and achieving your destiny benefits greatly from its engagingly warm and simple story that has nice elements of the Disney classics "Bambi" and "Dumbo," a pleasant and positive tone, cool stop-motion animation, and a marvelous array of catchy and folksy songs (the titular number is especially charming and tuneful). Country singer/songwriter Roger Miller makes for a wonderfully amiable narrator and sings the aforementioned songs with his trademark infectiously hearty aplomb. Legendary voice actor supreme Paul Frees lends his gloriously mellifluous golden throat as both Nestor's cruel owner Olaf and a sleazy donkey dealer. Granted, this particular yuletide TV special starts out pretty sad and depressing, but eventually culminates in a truly touching happy ending. A sweet, sparkling little gem of a show.
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A Christ centered Christmas Special, that makes an atheist cry
lostidols3 June 2005
It amazes me that even long after I gave up my Christian beliefs, this little Christmas story tugs at my heart strings so much. I guess it is because the desire for acceptance by ones peers, the sacrifice of a parent for a child, and self-sacrifice are eternal truths. All of which far exceed the fantasy of cherubs, angels, and Santa Clause.

Some people may get caught up in the low tech animation (Tilly's wires always manage to show themselves). I also get a kick out of the lame expressions on Olaf's dog's face.

This is a must see for all children. All of us think we were dealt a hard lot in life. This movie teaches children that their perceived weakness can be a real strengths. I always loved the Rudolph story, but this one hits me far harder. I highly recommend it.
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All I want for Christmas is to forget I ever saw this
lasteven17 May 2001
I'm not overly sentimental--didn't cry during ET or Old Yeller--but this traumatized me beyond belief. I was in graduate school when my roommate and I sat down to watch some Christmas specials and get nostalgic. Ah Frosty, oh there's Kris Kringle, and Rudolph...and then came Nestor. Golly, never heard of Nestor before. And then we found out why.

In the first five minutes, we were treated to a vivid account of poor little Nestor's abusive childhood, his banishment from the stable, and then how his mother FROZE TO DEATH while trying to protect him. We found ourselves, two well-adjusted adults in their 30s, crying uncontrollably and frantically punching the remote control to change the channel to anything, anything at all, even QVC.

So, admittedly, the rest of the movie might be terrific and if so, then enjoy it by all means. But honestly, if it's too brutal for grownups, then it's probably too brutal for the little ones.
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I just want to hug little Nestor
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of my favorite Christmas television specials and it was made by the fairly famous Ranking and Bass almost 40 years ago. I am not religious at all, so the story is fine to me, but it does not leave a massive impact. The first reason why I love this so much is the main character. Nestor is really just as cute as it gets and I have always had a soft spot for donkeys. It's so much fun to watch this because he is in basically every single scene. And secondly, it's the music. Roger Miller adds a pretty unique touch with his singing here and it elevates the film a lot. I love his voice and it fits the tone of the film perfectly, be it the sad or the great moments. Shame on the other animals for bullying Nestor because of his rabbit ears. I felt they made him even much cuter than he already was. And there is some decent comedy in here as well, even if it's not immediately obvious. I found the scene hilarious at the end when Nestor uses his ears to ski down to the other animals. I saw this one here is actually a sequel to two Little Drummer Boy specials, but you don't need to watch them to enjoy this one here. In any case I enjoyed this animated Nestor movie a lot and highly recommend watching it.
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Great movie about being unique and overcoming tragedy
el by13 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I have always loved this movie, and cried during the whole thing--in good way. Yes, Nestor gets roughly abused, yes there is severe bullying, yes there is tragedy, yes it resembles real life in these ways. However, the story is wonderful to me for these reasons: 1) Nestor overcomes with help and by perseverance. 2) Children see how bad bullying and hating someone for being different can be. 3)It is a fresh look at the Christmas story that addresses God's way of making "all things work together for good," (Romans 8:28). 4)It is visually so well done.

My only negative criticism is that I do think it is foolish that Nestor went back to his birthplace. Why would he do that??? I believe he would just continue on with his life wherever he happened to be, but now he believes in himself and in God's leading.
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Beautiful Touching Christmas Story
utgard1415 December 2013
Lovely, touching Christmas special from Rankin-Bass. It's a real tearjerker so be prepared! The story is about Nestor the donkey, who has abnormally long ears. Because of his freakish ears, he is disliked and shunned. He suffers tragedy and heartache. Eventually though, long story short, his ears prove to be a blessing. Great writing, characters, stop-motion animation, and songs. This is a beautiful story that has more heart than anything they put out today. Due to it being tied into the Nativity story, it's not likely to be shown on TV much these days. Seek it out if you can. It's a real treat. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
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Nestor, The Year w/o Santa, and Baby New Year
lotsamagnets-121 January 2006
Boy do I love these specials! These are a few of which I grew up watching year to year! My favorite, Nestor and of course the Heat Miser, though my brother would disagree, his favorite, Cold Miser, oh well. This is a must have on DVD! Along with Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer and many others from the 70's style animation! "Have a Happy, Have a Happy, Have a Happy New Year!"

Anyone remember Cabbage Patch Christmas, how about Christmas comes to Pac-Land, too many to list here! Well that being said, The Peanuts (all of them) are classic in their own right too! Before I ramble more, TV series shows also have some quite clever Christmas themed episodes as well.
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Happy Christmas Picture--with real religious message
justfun-196721 December 2005
I have watched Nestor many times over the years. It is still one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time. As the story of the donkey who carried the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem, it has a strong religious theme. It ties in a wonderful message of acceptance and love as well. The animation is corny, and the US nickel doubling as a Roman coin is funny, but the meaning is worth the short time. Treat your kids to this story when they're young--get them hooked and keep showing it every year. Be prepared with tissues, though, if you're the soft-hearted kind. This one has me crying every year. There is nothing like a mother's love.
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This one is fine
gazzo-22 December 2000
Moving, insightful, again Rankin Bass take the old legends of the Stable animals and turns it into a classic show. They never show this enough-yeah it can get you right THERE. This and the Little Drummer Boy are probably the best they did, besides the obvious trilogy of Rudolph, Frosty and Heatmizer.

Check this out. You won't be disappointed.

***1/2 outta ****
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