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Nutcracker Fantasy (1979)


Takeo Nakamura


Shintarô Tsuji (story), E.T.A. Hoffmann (story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King") | 2 more credits »
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michele Lee ... Narrator (voice)
Melissa Gilbert ... Clara (voice)
Lurene Tuttle ... Aunt Gerda (voice)
Christopher Lee ... Uncle Drosselmeyer / Street Singer / The Puppeteer / The Watchmaker (voice)
Jo Anne Worley ... Queen Morphia (voice)
Ken Sansom Ken Sansom ... Chamberlain / The Poet Wiseman (voice)
Dick Van Patten ... King Goodwin (voice)
Roddy McDowall ... Franz / Fritz (voice)
Mitchel Gardner Mitchel Gardner ... The Indian Wiseman / The Viking Wiseman (voice)
Jack Angel Jack Angel ... The Chinese Wiseman / The Executioner / Gar (voice)
Gene Moss Gene Moss ... Otto Von'Atra / The French Wiseman / Clovis (voice)
Eva Gabor ... Queen of Time (voice)
Joan Gerber Joan Gerber ... Mice Voices (voice)
Maxine Fisher Maxine Fisher ... Mice Voices (voice)
Robin Haffner Robin Haffner ... Princess Mary (voice)


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis


Let Yourself Believe that Once Upon A Time Good Prevailed Where Evil Existed and Puppets Walked Without Strings [us]


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Japanese

Release Date:

7 July 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kurumi-wari Ningyou See more »

Filming Locations:

Tokyo, Japan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby (Japan theatrical release)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was the first Japanese theatrical movie to be presented in Dolby Stereo. Incidentally, it was generally considered to be the first stop-motion animated feature to be presented in Dolby Stereo as well. See more »


Version of The Nuttiest Nutcracker (1999) See more »


Empty Heart
Lyrics by Randy Bishop and Marty Gwinn
Sung by Randy Bishop (as Bishop) and Marty Gwinn (as Gwinn)
See more »

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User Reviews

"True love is not like the puppets of the forest - there are no strings attached!"
22 December 2014 | by Machiavelli84See all my reviews

I first saw this film as a young'n, when it was perhaps shown on the Disney Channel or somewhere else. I remembered the stop motion; I remembered Drosselmeyer disappearing into the darkness while chanting "Tick tock tee"; I remembered a two-headed mouse queen talking to her son; I remembered a girl getting her feet stuck on the steps. Those were all I remembered as an adult, but nonetheless I also remembered liking it when I was a kid. So recently, when I was on a Nutcracker high and wanted to watch various interpretations of the story, I remembered this one and found it online. After watching it for the first time as an adult...I found that, amazingly enough, it still held up. In fact, I loved it even more.

The plot of the film is basically a mix of the original Nutcracker short story, and elements of the ballet. A young girl, Clara, is visiting her Uncle Drosselmeyer and Aunt Gerda. She comes across a Nutcracker owned by Drosselmeyer, and immediately takes a liking to it. During the night, however, mice attempt to steal the Nutcracker away, and when Clara pursues them, she encounters the two-headed mouse queen Morphia. The Nutcracker comes to life, fighting off the mice before Clara passes out. When she awakens, she wonders if it was all a dream. Investigating the scene, she finds Drosselmeyer running into the clock, into which she pursues him, leading her into the kingdom of the dolls, where Princess Mary has been turned into an unconscious mouse by Morphia. Clara and Franz, the handsome captain of the guard, work together to attempt to break the spell...and from here begins a chain of events that will bring the two closer together, right up to the film's climax.

"Nutcracker Fantasy" is a stop-motion animated movie from Japan, but the only version I am really familiar with is the English dub, which had quite a few celebrities putting in their hand. Usually celebrity ensemble dubs can be a mixed bag, but the talent here does an amazing job: Melissa Gilbert is wonderful as Clara; Roddy McDowall is charming as Franz; Eva Gabor does her thing as the Queen of Time; and Christopher Lee, who plays Drosselmeyer as well as a number of side characters, is absolutely splendid (as usual). Overall, the dub cast did a great job (although Gar's voice was at times perhaps too comical when it should have been serious).

Part of what I love about this version is that Clara is a wonderful character. Oftentimes Clara exists in the Nutcracker story simply to be an observer, or to be the obvious love interest. Here, however, Clara is not only a character who actually contributes to the plot (for example, it is she who discovers Morphia's weakness), but her personality is absolutely charming. She's caring, selfless, and has a love that isn't just in words. This is especially true in the film's final act, where she reveals just how willing she is to prove her love for Franz. I currently have a young daughter, and I can't wait until she's old enough to understand this film and can watch it with me, because I would love her to have someone like Clara as a role model for someone her age.

Another thing I love is the music. Obviously, you hear a lot of familiar tunes from Tchaikovsky's ballet, but there are some original songs in here that were haunting and beautiful. The main song, "Dance of the Dolls", is especially wonderful, and perfect for the story (I actually found a copy of it and put it on my iPod - that's how much it stuck with me).

The visuals for the film are also amazing. The animation quality is akin to your average Rankin/Bass stop motion affair, but far smoother (although you do have that odd jerkiness every now and then). Many of the sets, such as the doll castle or the land of happiness, are beautiful to look at. Some of the sequences are memorable, such as the doll attack on the mouse base, while others fit into the surreal world of dreams, such as the candy dancing sequence. Unfortunately, many copies of the English dub have poor video, so that much of the detail in the set designs are lost on the viewer, and you can't really appreciate how much work was put into the project.

Granted, as much as I love this film, I won't deny that it's not for all tastes. Some people don't like the seemingly random ballet dance sequences (although considering this is all from the point of view of a young girl who likes dancing dolls, and she participates in one of the scenes, I could only imagine ballet would fit in her dreams somewhere). Some people are freaked out by the infamous Ragman sequence. I'll also admit the only thing I don't like is the Asian stereotype voice that the English dub gave the Chinese wise man.

That being said, this is perhaps one of my favorite Nutcracker adaptations, if not one of my favorite animated films. It's charming, it's lovely, and it's enduring. If you remember this from your childhood as well, I would definitely recommend seeing it again. It still holds up, even today, and even when you are a child only in heart.

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