6.4/10
3,785
36 user 20 critic
A farm girl nurses a wounded reindeer she believes is one of Santa's, hoping to bring it back to health in time for Christmas. Her holiday spirit inspires those around her, something her disheartened father is having trouble understanding.

Director:

John D. Hancock (as John Hancock)

Writer:

Greg Taylor
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Elliott ... John Riggs
Cloris Leachman ... Mrs. McFarland
Rutanya Alda ... Aunt Sarah
Abe Vigoda ... Orel Benton
Michael Constantine ... Mr. Stewart / Santa
Rebecca Harrell Tickell ... Jessica Riggs
John Duda John Duda ... Steve Riggs (as John Joseph Duda)
Ariana Richards ... Carol Wetherby
Mark Rolston ... Herb Drier
Johnny Galecki ... Billy Quinn
Walter Charles Walter Charles ... Minister
Victor Truro Victor Truro ... Mr. Young
Marcia Porter Marcia Porter ... Mrs. Fairburn
Loren Janes ... Mr. Soot
Robert Zimmermann Robert Zimmermann ... Wagnall
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Storyline

Jessica, the daughter of an impoverished farmer, still believes in Santa Claus. So when she comes across a reindeer with an injured leg, it makes perfect sense to her to assume that it is Prancer, who had fallen from a Christmas display in town. She hides him in her barn and feeds him cookies, until she can return him to Santa. Her father finds him and decides to sell him to the butcher, not for venison chops, but as an advertising display. Written by <Vertigus@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Something magical is about to happen. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jessica und das Rentier See more »

Filming Locations:

New Carlisle, Indiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,914,486, 19 November 1989, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$18,587,135
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This movie was filmed in Three Oaks, Michigan. See more »

Goofs

The reindeer playing Prancer is clearly female, even though she is referred to as "he" in the film. Both male and female reindeer have antlers, though a female's are smaller and daintier than a male's. See more »

Quotes

Jessica Riggs: Alright for you, Carol Wetherby! You're not my friend anymore!
Carol Wetherby: What did I say?
Jessica Riggs: That there was no Heaven!
Carol Wetherby: So?
Jessica Riggs: [tears up] What about my mother, then?
See more »

Connections

References He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An Authentic Feeling of Childhood
23 December 2003 | by scott-551See all my reviews

Few movies inhabit the world of childhood quite as authentically as "Prancer." Until the very last moments, it doesn't matter whether young Jessica's belief that she has found one of Santa's reindeer is literally true. The fact that she could believe such a thing so strongly, and selflessly act on her belief to help the lost reindeer, is compelling enough on its own. Children occupy a world where naive clarity mingles with a confusing knowledge of how much of adult life remains unknown. "Prancer" creates an atmosphere that lets adults dip back into that almost-forgotten way of experiencing the world.

Sam Elliott delivers a fantastic performance as Jessica's father, a farmer who has recently lost his wife and will soon probably lose his farm. He is on the verge of losing his family, and the father-daughter relationship at the heart of the movie feels unaffectedly real. Cloris Leachman's turn as an embittered neighbor deserves note as well.

The film's greatest flaws occur in its last two minutes. First, a critical continuity error shows that the reindeer has shed a jingle-bell harness just before the sound of the harness is supposed to indicate the animal's presence. Finally, at the very end, the movie shatters its ambiguity about the literal truth of the reindeer's identity. In doing so, it negates the foundation of the story's authenticity and dramatic power, and trivializes the final reconciliation between Jessica and her father. If the reindeer is not a supernatural being, then Jessica is a silly little girl and the audience has been had. But if the reindeer is a magical beast from Santa's stable, then it is not a leap of faith for Jessica's father to accept her improbable belief in the animal. By revealing the answer one way or the other, "Prancer" cheapens itself and significantly undermines the emotional power of an otherwise subtle and moving drama.


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