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One Magic Christmas (1985)

An angel must show a mother the true meaning of Christmas. It's not just presents and materialistic things, but the people she cares about.

Director:

Phillip Borsos

Writers:

Thomas Meehan (story), Phillip Borsos (story) | 2 more credits »
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ON DISC
2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Steenburgen ... Ginny Grainger
Gary Basaraba ... Jack Grainger
Harry Dean Stanton ... Gideon
Arthur Hill ... Caleb Grainger
Elisabeth Harnois ... Abbie Grainger (as Elizabeth Harnois)
Robbie Magwood Robbie Magwood ... Cal Grainger
Michelle Meyrink ... Betty
Elias Koteas ... Eddie
Wayne Robson ... Harry Dickens
Jan Rubes ... Santa Claus
Sarah Polley ... Molly Monaghan
Graham Jarvis ... Frank Crump
Timothy Webber ... Herbie Conklin
Joy Thompson Joy Thompson ... Mrs. Monaghan (as Joy Thompson-Allen)
John Friesen ... Mr. Noonan
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Storyline

Gideon, a Christmas angel, is sent, by Santa, to help Ginny Grainger. Ginny is a cynic, and she hates Christmas. She and her family (husband, Jack and two kids, Cal and Abbie) have fallen on hard times, making it even harder to believe in anything that can't be seen. With help from Abbie, and a trip to see Santa Claus himself, can Gideon find a way to make Ginny believe again? Written by jwhale9382

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A magical film like this only happens once in a lifetime. Now everyone will believe in Santa Claus. See more »

Genres:

Family | Fantasy

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 November 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Czarodziejskie Boze Narodzenie See more »

Filming Locations:

Collingwood, Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,662,241, 24 November 1985, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$13,677,222
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Elisabeth Harnois. See more »

Goofs

When Mrs. Santa Claus opens the door to Abbie, from the back her hair is a markedly different color and texture to how it is from the front (and in all subsequent shots). The back shot was obviously filmed with a stand-in wearing a wig. See more »

Quotes

Abbie Grainger: Gideon can make it so Dad's not dead any more!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas! (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Lost In The Stars
Words by Maxwell Anderson
Music by Kurt Weill (as Kurt Wiell)
Chappell & Co., Inc. and Richmond Organization
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best (and most underrated) Christmas movies ever!
25 December 2005 | by filmmakkerSee all my reviews

One Magic Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time. While I don't remember seeing it in the theater (apparantly I did, but I had just turned 3 years old), I watched our videotaped copy (recorded off of the Disney Channel circa 1986) so many times as a little girl(regardless of the season), the first few minutes of the tape literally wore out, filling with snow and static. This, and the fact that I had every line memorized, has become something of Christmas Lore in my family. Tonight (Christmas 2005), I watched the film again with my parents and sister for the first time in many years, and was stuck by several things: first, how well the film has held up over the last twenty-years; second, how special and unique the message is from "traditional" family holiday movies that were made in the 80s and 90s; and third, how I still remember many of the lines of dialog -- they are indelibly etched into my brain after literally hundreds of viewings.

"One Magic Christmas" is sort of an alternate take on "It's a Wonderful Life" -- centering around a family who has fallen on hard times with a mother who never says "Merry Christmas" and is generally devoid of any holiday sentiment altogether. Her daughter Abbie, together with the Christmas Angel Gideon, embark on a plan to help her re-find the Christmas spirit.

Mary Steenburgen is fantastic as the loving, but icy mother. Her performance is very real -- she is both funny and dramatic, and her character is developed in a way that most family films omit. Harry Dean Stanton is perfect as Gideon, the angel - calming and knowing. You believe he is who he says he is. The child actors in the film are equally fantastic. In a family film, the kids can either make it or break it. These children act like real kids -- they aren't trying to be cute for the camera (although they really are adorable -- and this is coming from someone who dislikes most children on TV/movies) and they hold their own with their adult counterparts with ease. The little girl that plays Abbie is effortless in her portrayal of a girl with an non-wavering belief in Santa Clause.

Honestly, one of the things I think that I like best about this film is how real it seems. Considering magic and faith are primary elements of the story - this really says something. The acting is so good, the dialog believable, that the more mystical situations do not seem out of bounds. The film also delves into darker, more realistic themes than you get in most family fare. This is really exceptional, especially considering this was a Disney picture. The ultimate message of the film is heartening and poignant - even for those of us who are grown and long-since stopped believing in Santa and magic.

This is one of those movies that just feels good to watch. I can honestly say, even if this film didn't have the sentimental value it does for me, I would still recommend it as an excellent Christmas movie.


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