6.6/10
2,697
73 user 12 critic

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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Director: Paul Bogart
Stars: Jason Robards, Mildred Natwick, Lisa Lucas
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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 Sarah Polley 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

Featured in At the Movies: Is Hollywood Selling War to Kids? (1986) 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

 
Bittersweet holiday fantasy. Not for tots.
13 November 2001 | by jckruizeSee all my reviews

Exquisitely made holiday fable with a decidedly dark edge, not unlike "It's a Wonderful Life" in tone. Mary Steenburgen is very convincing as a woman whose heart has been hardened by life's harsh realities. Christmas has become an empty ritual to her and it takes a highly unusual angel named Gideon (played by a softspoken Harry Dean Stanton in a long cattleman's duster) to make her see the light. Her conversion requires some grim but realistic machinations by Gideon, as well as the simple and unquestioning faith of her optimistic husband and children. But the result is an emotionally powerful finale that is honestly earned, not the easy tearjerking of lesser films.

Special mention should be made of the two terrific child actors who play Steenburgen's kids, especially Elizabeth Harnois as the youngest, Abbie, whose unsticky line readings are a treat. Character actor Jan Rubes makes a wonderful, matter-of-fact Santa Claus. The production is further enhanced by Frank Tidy's meticulous cinematography, some imaginative art direction, particularly in Santa's toy shop, and a lovely score by Michael Conway Baker. Thomas Meehan's scenario delves into some dark territory for a genre that is all too often treacly instead of real, but its clear antecedents are treasures such as "A Christmas Carol" and the aforementioned Capra classic. A word of caution, however: this is not recommended for very young children. But for 8 and above, and adults, it's a Christmas tale that may well become a perennial in your house, as it is in mine.


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