The Night They Saved Christmas (TV Movie 1984) Poster

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Amazing movie. Captures the Christmas feeling perfectly.
guitarburst0525 December 2006
The whole movie gives such a warm, cozy feel. The style of the movie is just perfect. It's very believable, and down to earth, you could say. The explanation of Santa's powers is about as believable as it gets in Christmas movies, and Art Carney is the only person who could ever fill the boots of Mr. Claus so well. When I close my eyes and envision my ideal Santa, it's his face that pops to mind. That's the lasting impression this movie has left. It's been my favorite Christmas movie since I was old enough to remember.

The setting is a departure from the usual Christmas fare, as well. The family travels as it moves to new oil drilling sites, and as a little boy, seeing the construction equipment in the intro credits, coupled with the fact that it's a Christmas movie left an impression upon a lot of my interests at that age. All little boys love dump trucks and construction equipment, and somehow it fits into a Christmas tale.

If you've never seen this, you must.
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Nice Film to Watch
Christmas-Reviewer12 September 2016

The Night They Saved Christmas is a 1984 American made-for- television Christmas film directed by Jackie Cooper and executive produced by Jack Haley, Jr. and Robert Halmi, Jr. The film, about an oil company dynamiting in the North Pole in search of an oil field unaware that they are endangering Santa Claus, starred Jaclyn Smith and Art Carney and premiered on ABC on December 13, 1984.

This film is worth watching. It has a charming cast and a story line that hits all the right notes without diving into the deep end. This is a Television-Movie so the Special Effects are limited and not the best however the film story works and that is what counts.
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A spirit of Christmas past
TVholic28 November 2008
Somewhere between the sugary sweet fantasies of Rankin-Bass and the more cynical (yet enjoyable in their own right) offerings like "Scrooged" lies this little TV movie. It makes few efforts at being cool, instead aiming for pre-teen innocence, or maybe just the innocence adults think they had at that age. In any event, whether by design, by accident or even by the idealizing effects of misty childhood memory, this movie has won a place in the hearts of many kids and kids at heart who watched it in the 1980s.

It has all the usual ingredients for a decent Christmas movie. Family strife, imminent peril but no real violence, little people as elves, singing, colorful toy clutter, and some fairly imaginative Christmas-themed props. But it takes itself fairly seriously and doesn't devolve into complete goofiness like "Elf."

This was one of the early movies showing a "high tech" Santa, far presaging "The Santa Clause" or "Santa vs. the Snowman." Of course, by modern standards, the effects are primitive, but remember that this is a kid's movie, and kids are not nearly as picky as adults are. Which is a good thing. Take it for the story and don't whine that it's not a Disney/Pixar visual extravaganza. It could have been a lot worse, being a TV movie, and you have to give them points for doing quite a bit of exterior filming on location in Alaska rather than some fakey soundstage. The interiors of North Pole City were small, limited by the budget, but there was a bit of homey coziness in there.

If there is one real weakness in the movie, it's the acting. Many were fine, including Jaclyn Smith, Art Carney, June Lockhart, Paul Williams (alas, at 5'2", too tall to look convincing as an elf, especially when around all the real dwarfs playing elves) and veteran character actor Mason Adams. On the other hand, R.J. Williams was not a good child actor, being roughly in the same league as the "Full House" era Olsen twins. He overacted during most of his scenes, and the emotion just never seemed genuine. In the other direction was Paul Le Mat as his father. Every line, facial tic and gesture seems to come out of an acting class technique. It doesn't feel like anything comes from his heart. With flat delivery of his lines and an unexpressive face, he was terrible and as unconvincing as his young co-star. A second problem is that Santa was very passive in this. He never really does anything to try to save North Pole City other than convincing Claudia and the kids. Later on, in desperation, he says that he'll have to take matters into his own hands and convince Michael himself, but nothing comes of this.

All in all, it's a worthwhile treat for the family, although it may bore some adults who didn't grow up with it.
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Utter Christmas magic!
uds314 September 2002
I taped this wonderful little Christmas offering back in '84 when the kids were still in nappies. We have watched this flick religiously every yuletide season since (takes a LOT to wear out those old BETA tapes!) I'd like to see someone criticise this flick in the presence of my kids - that'd be really messy!!!

Well cast with engineer Paul le Mat being warned-off drilling near the North Pole for fear of his blasting, endangering Santa's workshop. He and wife Jaclyn Smith were the right choice here, exuding just the right amount of parental care and not-quite disbelief. Love the scenes in Santa's factory - Art Carney is simply perfect as Santa. If this one doesn't re-awaken the child in you, it simply was never there.

Oh and that final scene? everyone looking in different directions? It's a classic!
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One of the Best Christmas movies ever
disabledvetmemph5 December 2006
I recorded this movie off Television many years ago. My entire family watches it each year (several times). My kids are now 17 and 19 and still watch this MUST SEE movie. We all still believe, after watching this movie how can you not believe. We have watched it so very many times our copy is now dragging and the sound is just awful. I would very much like to surprise my family by ordering a copy either VHS or DVD, because I am afraid my copy will soon be useless. If any one knows of where I could buy a copy of this movie, please let me know. Jaclyn Smith is my favorite actress of all times and she continues to show her talent in "The Night They Saved Christmas".
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super movie
sierrat-111 December 2005
I've been looking for this movie all over the internet, all i can find is amazon, even my local video stores don't have of the most heartwarming stores I've ever seen, just a super job of bringing you a little down then lifting you up with the belief in the north pole folk. Wish it were a little more widely available. Best Christmas movie I've seen. It would be a good investment for a family who wants to spend some quality time together and see the magic of Christmas. Paul Lemat and Paul williams are excellent as is Jacly Smith who seems to appear all to infrequently in movies these days.

Again a masterful job of bringing the magic of Christmas alive and making believers out of even the most cold hearted.
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Great Holiday Family Film
AresWargod30 November 2005
I've enjoyed this movie ever since I've first seen it back in the 80s and still enjoy it today. The special FX are decent especially for the era this film came out of but better than most(Santa Claus conquers the Martins). The plot of drilling for oil at the North Pole area is unique. And Santa's dislike of the song "Jingle Bells" can be agreed upon by most during the Christmas season. The scenes of Northpole City are very creative. The use of technology however does take a little away from the mystery surrounding Santa Claus but then people today want everything answered with science. The movie helps make Santa into a more realistic character. A highly enjoyable film for the whole family.
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LOVE this movie!!
norm-224 May 1999
This is one of my favourite movies from my childhood. It's a must-see if you love Christmas and the whole idea of Santa Claus. Every child should see this movie (but you'll enjoy it even if you aren't a kid anymore!!)
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Great Christmas movie
katesgram200019 November 2007
I loved watching this one with my kids when they were little and now can't wait to share it with my grandkids.

North Pole city was so magical.

Great scenery.

I loved the way Santa made the Jaclyn Smith character believe in him.

It has something to appeal to all ages from 2 year olds up to .......

Not too heavy for kids and not to silly for adults.

The only thing I didn't like was the way the parents were at odds over

living up there.

I didn't see the relevance of that as far as bringing anything to the movie- that part could have been left out.

Anyone who doesn't like this movie is just an old Scrooge. :D
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Great movie, just one question.
rodney-leick23 November 2010
The film is terrific! The question I have is, does anyone know why the DVD is not available for Region 1 players. The only DVD I can find is for Region 2 only. I have the VCR tape now but would really like to get the DVD. It doesn't have to be Blu-ray. We look forward to watching this movie every year at Christmas time & our VHS tape is getting kind of bad. No matter how many times we watch it, it is still one of our favorites. Any help in finding this DVD would be appreciated. I've tried all the obvious sources but can't seem to find it. Too bad they didn't do a second movie a year after the first, I think a follow up would have been a great idea.
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bbrasher11 March 2001
THE NIGHT THEY SAVED CHRISTMAS has to be one of the most annoying movies ever-(made-for TV or otherwise). The storyline is really insipid, the performances-with all due respect to Art Carney-are unbelievably bad.

A real good-for-nothing holiday non-classic.

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE 3000 can't even salvage this one.

Rating: 1/4 * out of *****
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You're going to ruin Christmas forever.
lastliberal8 December 2007
Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police academy - two in Los Angeles, the other in San Francisco - and they were each assigned very hazardous duties. But one married a geologist and his company was dynamiting near North Pole City. Now she works for me. My name is Santa.

A new assignment for the former member of "Charlies Angels." Jaclyn Smith has to save Christmas from the greedy oilman, Mason Adams, from "Lou Grant." Her husband played by Paul Le Mat (American graffiti, Melvin and Howard) doesn't believe she met Santa. He doesn't really care about anything but bringing in that oil for his boss.

Art Carney (Harry and Tonto, "The Honeymooners") is Santa, who really doesn't do much other than moan about the dynamiting that will destroy North Pole City. In fact, no one does much in this film, and no one really save Christmas. It just so happens that they discovered oil seconds before they were going to destroy Santa's home.

But, what the heck, we don't watch these films for great acting. They are just for fun and to get into the spirit.
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Great Christmas Adventures.
OllieSuave-00725 December 2014
I caught this movie on TV once when I was kid. I don't remember too much of it, only to say that it was one of the more exciting Christmas TV movies I've seen, with a catchy music score and dramatic acting. The plot about an oil company unknowingly disturbing Santa Claus' North Pole village while exploring for oil, which leads to Santa enlisting the aid of the explorer's wife and children is pretty captivating.

Many made-for-TV Christmas movies have a sappy message with a romantic subplot. This one has an actual rescue mission theme, which makes this a suspenseful story. You will also get to see Santa explain his secrets in delivering presents all around the world. I also remembering the lead character receiving a sparkling star from Santa Claus as a gift, reminding you the miracles of Christmas.

Overall, it's a pretty good family film for Christmas time.

Grade B
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I just knew there was a scientific explanation for all of this
Rand King22 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Science takes on a big one here: Santa Claus. How does he deliver customized presents to all the good little boys and girls all in one night? You'll finally get precise, detailed explanations for it all. Thus and forever taking all the fun and magic out of Christmas.

You won't get this knowledge, however, without paying a price. A scary guy in women's makeup with a sandpaper voice guides you to Santa's secret lair, which seems to be backdrops created by sixth graders. When you get there, Santa won't have trouble hearing you, 'cuz his hearing aid is huge. After you meet Martha, his wife, you'll listen to Santa explain all the magic away. Then Santa sends you back to where you came from, a land of wood-paneling and trailers, where your husband and a man named Gaylord accuse you of ingesting hallucinogens. You've gotta stop this Gaylord, 'cuz he's got scientific plans of his own - to get crude oil. Santa forgot to file mineral rights claims on his property, so maybe he's not so smart after all. But he seems like a nice guy, even though he's got some sort of little-person enslavement camp going on, so you save him from the evil energy consortium. The End.
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This is the best Holiday movie I have ever seen.
craftypamy19 September 2004
I first saw this movie when it was on TV. I just loved it. It made me believe in Santa Clause. It shows such imagination. A very heart warming story. I think everyone should see it. I watch it several times during the Christmas season. The movie depicts Santa's north pole like I think it would look. It's the best depiction ever. The movie is such a feel good movie. I cry a happy cry every time I watch it. If this movie doesn't make the scroogeiest person believe in Santa, nothing will. My thanks to the cast for making this movie. I have a young great niece and nephew and I intend to have them watch this movie this year. I know they will love it.

Thank you for making the best Christmas movie ever.
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I love this movie
LUTZFAMILY519 December 2004
This is my favorite Christmas movie, every year I look threw all the listings to find what time it is on! I want to find it on before Christmas, it always seems to be on Christmas day or the day after. Watching this movie always makes me feel so good! They have Great actors in it and they all fit perfectly together! I really feel as if they are at Santa's house, I love the outfits they wear to keep feeling the same temperature always! It makes you believe in Santa all over again! Hot chocolate never looked so good! My children and I have been watching this movie for years, and it always brings a smile to our faces when we walk away from the television.
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Great Movie!
john-shelman13 January 2005
I think this is a great movie, and that Art Carney made a wonderful Santa Claus. This is one of my "must watch" movies every Christmas. June Lockhart makes a great "Mrs. Santa" as well and you get a good glimpse into Santa's modern North Pole workings. The father, busy trying to hit the oil that he knows is there, and trying to appease a very demanding and inconsiderate boss, is losing touch with his youngest. His wife has had enough of the constant up-rooting of the family, and informs him that she and the kids are going back to civilization after the New Year, with or without him. Next he is confronted by "Ed" who is Santa's "Chief Elf" who tries to convince him that his use of explosives is endangering the existence of "North Pole City, and there is good chance he will blow up Santa Claus". He thinks it is s joke, being pulled off by a well known company prankster, but when his wife and kids go with Ed, and do not return, and the prankster knows nothing about any of it, things turn serious. Even with his wife and kids missing, the boss doesn't lighten up one bit, but rather threatens his job if he doesn't find that oil and soon. Find the oil, wife and kids missing, hateful boss, wife ready to leave him, and some elf says he's destroying Santa...what next?
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The Night they saved Christmas
Budjieboo23 January 2005
I disagree with Mr. Brasher because it must be taken in its fun context. Of course it isn't major drama and I didn't take it that way but in a fanciful fun way to make my holidays sweet. This movie is about a family(dad, mom, and 3 kids) that live in the cold Artic. Dad works for a drilling company trying to get oil out of 2 different places there. Mom is trying to hold family life together and it is set around Christmas time. Dad's boss wants results "yesterday"(so to speak) and dad is trying to balance boss with family. Family wants him for Christmas. When dad seems to hold job over family and Christmas spirit--Santa's elf comes to call. He takes mom and kids to North pole and they get visit of lives. Returning home, they try and tell dad stop drilling at one of the sites you are killing Santa's home. Undaunted and continuing the drill, dad ignores them. Mom and 2 older kids return to Santa and tell him of the news. C.B. -youngest and dad have to get together if possible to save family and Christmas. Will they? and How do they solve it? To figure out check out the movie.
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One of the better holiday films.
lbevil1 December 2001
A thoroughly enjoyable holiday film. It has become one of my favorites. Having a VHS copy of this movie, I pull it out every year to watch it. Only wish it were available on DVD. It would be a definite buy for me. If you can find a copy of this movie, be sure and watch it. **** out of ****
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Wonderful Movie
emolina18 June 2000
This is my favorite movie from my childhood and I find this movie enchanting and facinating, especially when your a child. I really recommend for children to watch this and will show that there really is a Santa Claus. I look foward watching this movie every year.

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horrible Halmi holiday hash
grizzledgeezer19 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This review contains a major spoiler... to wit... It's a /terrible/ movie, MST3K fodder all the way.

To call this exercise in "Christmas warmth" irritating is to horribly understate its appalling ickiness. Not surprisingly, it's from Robert Halmi, who's done for live-action TV films what Hanna-Barbera did for TV animation (ie, churned out a huge pile of crap).

The script is dreadful ("You're just going to have to forge ahead at the other site!"), and Jackie Cooper's (!!!) direction is even worse. He evokes loud and/or unconvincing performances from just about everyone, especially Mason Adams. June Lockhart comes off as a chunk of animated cardboard. Art Carney seems annoyed beyond belief, anxious to collect his paycheck and getouttahere. When the badly-made-up-as-an-elf Paul Williams gazes at Jaclyn Smith and emits an intended-to-be-overwhelmingly-winsome grin, make sure you're not standing near the TV, or your last meal will land on it. Only Smith, who has little more to do than strike a pose of "I really don't believe this", more or less survives. A pall of "We're only doing this for the money" hangs over the proceedings.

The "special effects" are miserable. Smith & her kids are taken to Santa's place in a sleigh decorated in such poor taste it's obvious none of Santa's elves is gay. Even a 3-year-old can see it's a badly made miniature being pulled through a thoroughly unconvincing model landscape. (The last American film with such awful miniatures was 1940's "Rebecca".) And the matte paintings are incredibly amateurish.

Ick. Phooey. Patooey. The perfect film for Christmas Eve -- if you want to get your friends laughing. It's thoroughly deserving of a Golden Turkey. There's not one thing in the film -- not even Paul LeMat's beard (which ought to be thicker and fuzzier for someone working in the Arctic) -- to mitigate my 1-star "awful" rating.

"Santa's factory?! Are we going to see that, too?"

"Oh, yes. And as a special Christmas treat -- for us -- you'll all be gutted -- while alive -- then ground up and made into Soylent products."

PS: Slowing time is /not/ "a scientific impossibility". The writers obviously know nothing about Special or General Relativity.
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I liked it!!!
jacki487518 November 2006
I liked this movie.

I remember watching this as a little kid with my mom and really believing that it was all real.

It's a real shame this movie isn't played that often anymore.

It's a light-hearted Christmas movie that serves its purpose, to make children believe in Santa and everything Christmas!

Art Carney was great at playing Santa and the set was adorable!

I loved Jaclyn Smith's character!

She, as always, looked beautiful.

That woman can't age!
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Good family viewing.
jd-alessandro1 November 2006
Feel good holiday entertainment for the entire family. Good take on how Santa's home in the North Pole can exist without anyone finding it. Old time theme where no one believes the children until it's almost too late. Race against time to save Christmas, Santa and the North Pole make for a thrilling finish. The best part is when Santa tells the mom about her own childhood Christmas and she is awe struck and brought to tears. Remember the magic of Christmas is in our hearts. Jaclyn Smith is one of the most beautiful and classy actress of all time. Her grace and beauty alone is worth watching this picture. I recommend it for children of all ages.
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Christmas that i never knew existed
kyle_wardstrom27 November 2005
this movie is really great! especially to a person who loves the holiday season.

i am glad that i could catch it on cable.

otherwise, i would have never heard about it.

it gives me this great warm feeling and renews my love for the season.

i only have one question.

what's with the bearded lady elves and the main guy elf wearing eyeshadow?

i thought he was angela lansbury at first but then i found out it was a man elf.

the movie definitely gets a person to think about what humans are doing to nature as well.

i could not go without this movie.

I'm going to make it a personal tradition.
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very good for children
albertosmom199112 November 2005
The Night they saved Christmas is very good for a child imagination about where Santa Clause lives and works; it is especially great for those of us {who are young} who still believes.. very good background sets at the North Pole; i did not like the part about the oil fields , but all in all the children in my home truly loved this movie ' ,and the network should play this one and others like it at Christmas time for all the children and adults that are young at heart to enjoy ;what ever happened to the Christmas movies that where around in the 1960's and 1970's when Christmas was important not just to kids but to everyone not like these times when everything about Christmas is about money and sports on Christmas day and not about loved ones and family togetherness;; thank you
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