50 user 22 critic

Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)

Ernest helps Santa Claus as he searches for his successor.


John R. Cherry III (as John Cherry)


Ed Turner (story by), B. Kline (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Varney ... Ernest P. Worrell
Douglas Seale ... Santa
Oliver Clark ... Joe Carruthers
Noelle Parker ... Harmony (as Noëlle Parker)
Gailard Sartain ... Chuck
Billie Bird ... Mary Morrissey
Bill Byrge Bill Byrge ... Bobby
Robert Lesser ... Marty
Key Howard Key Howard ... Immigration Agent
Jack Swanson Jack Swanson ... Businessman
Buddy Douglas Buddy Douglas ... Pyramus
Patty Maloney ... Thisbe
Beecher Martin Beecher Martin ... Agent Skippy
Barry Brazell Barry Brazell ... Cab Passenger
George Kaplan George Kaplan ... Mr. Dillis


Ernest P. Worell, a sweet but silly taxi driver who at times suffers delusions of grandeur, has just chauffeured a rather extraordinary fare: "His Great Red Oneness, the Claus" himself. It seems Santa hasn't got the magic for another Christmas season, and has come to Orlando, Florida for Joe Carruthers, the man he has chosen as his successor. But things quickly begin to unravel, thanks to Joe's meddling agent and Santa's increasingly unreliable memory. Incredibly, dimwitted Ernest soon becomes Santa's only hope! Joining forces with a young runaway named "Harmony Star", Ernest rushes to save the holidays as we know them. Written by Madkap

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He's back! And this time... See more »


Comedy | Family | Fantasy


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Jim Varney and Douglas Seale both started in Disney animated movies. Seale played the Sultan in Aladdin (1992) and Varney played Slinky Dog in Toy Story (1995). See more »


Right after Santa Claus tells Ernest that he doesn't have money, the clothing that the girl is wearing changes. See more »


Ernest P. Worell: i mean vern its not the cab company cany aforrd to give out a free ride after all it is christmas the time for chestnuts open on a roasting fire,
See more »

Crazy Credits

(closing wishes) Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! KnoWhutImean? See more »

Alternate Versions

Some VHS and DVD prints have slightly different opening and closing credit sequences, notably some have "and Douglas Seale as Santa Claus," while others just have "and Douglas Seale." The closing credits on some prints also feature smaller type. See more »


Followed by Ernest's Greatest Hits Volume 2 (1992) See more »


Deck the Halls
See more »

User Reviews

Must See
27 December 2001 | by goldenhawk40See all my reviews

This IS my favorite Christmas movie. It is funny, in a totally ridiculous, moronic, Ernest sort of way - it has all of his best schtick and then some. I really like the message, too - that Christmas is in the heart. Unlike some of the typical Christmas movies there is no major transformation where the mean man becomes the nice guy -the nice guy stays the nice guy and becomes even better. Suspend your need to see Citizen Kane and just watch it for the total silliness. You will enjoy it.

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Release Date:

11 November 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ernest Saves Christmas See more »


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,710,734, 13 November 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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