Miracle on 34th Street (1994) Poster

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One of the better remakes out there, but I am not going to lie, the original is better
TheLittleSongbird10 June 2010
This remake is for me one of the better remakes out there, but it lacks the charm, magic and heart of the original, which I consider one of the best Christmas movies of all time for several reasons(Edmund Gwenn's performance being a pivotal one).

So what were the film's flaws? Well while I thought the last act was very well done and strong, the first act especially is rather juvenile and is hard to get into. The script lacks sparkle and could have done with more sophistication, and I found Dylan McDermott rather flat as Bryan Bedford.

However, it is beautifully filmed, perhaps looking a little more slicker than the original, and the score is sweet. The direction is good on the whole, while with the exception of McDermott the acting is fine. As Kris Kringle, Richard Attenborough positively twinkles and is easily the best actor in the film(though I still prefer Edmund Gwenn), and Mara Wilson, a very talented child actress, is undoubtedly charming as Susan. Elizabeth Perkins also gives a good performance as the somewhat cold-hearted yet sympathetic Dorey Walker.

Overall, a decent remake but lacks the sparkle of the original. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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great Richard Attenborough but not a good reason to remake
SnoopyStyle12 December 2014
Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) is the producer of the Christmas parade for Cole's department store. Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) is shocked at the drunken Santa in the parade. Dorey quickly puts Kris Kringle in to replace the drunk. Her daughter Susan (Mara Wilson) doesn't believe in Santa because her mother explained it all to her. Bryan Bedford (Dylan McDermott) is Dorey's boyfriend. Dorey hires Kris Kringle as the store's Santa who becomes popular for recommending shoppers to other stores. Susan is taken with the new Santa and starts to believe that he's the real deal. There is a rival store Shopper's Express which tries to sabotage Kris Kringle by getting him arrested.

There is the great Richard Attenborough and a cute little girl. There is nothing wrong with the acting. The script is a little dated. Some of the simpler elements seem charming in the original but seem naive in the modern version. This one has very little to offer other than Attenborough. Also for some reason, they got rid of the post office plot line. The mailbags piled into the courtroom is probably the most compelling scene in the original.
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I Suppose They Shouldn't Have Made This
Hitchcoc7 January 2017
With so many people upset with the fact that they enjoyed the original and have been watching it on TV their whole lives, this remake should never have been made. Remember that the beloved one is also a remake. I agree that the former was superior, but like other holiday movies, isn't it fun that we try to update and try things differently? Think about something like "A Christmas Carol" which has had numerous incarnations. For me the Alistair Sim version still rests on top, but does that mean we shouldn't have Albert Finney's version or, especially, that of George C. Scott (quite well done). I know that actors and directors interpret things differently. We are in a different world now, and personalities are going to be different. There are still the trials and the usual naysayers and the tools of the government presented in their utter humorlessness. It isn't perfect but it's still worth watching. Also, I enjoyed watching Mara Wilson as the little girl.
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the message is the important detail
Kirpianuscus5 December 2015
it is not exactly a remake. it is not , in real sense, a version of 1947's movie. because it looking be different. using new scenes, imposing new images and new sides of known characters. Mara Wilson is far to be another Nathalie Wood. she has the usual charm and courage to create a role in her style. Miracle on 34th Streed is a good demonstration. Richard Attenborough is a profound different Santa. and that is the essence of film - to say a story, its story, to a public who is not the public from 1947. the result - a Christmas movie who is more than decent. it is nice, moral, a lesson about the essence of mankind, a smart and touching definition of the spirit of a special holiday. a film who must be discovered not as adversary of the original but as package for a noble message. because that is its fundamental purpose.
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Kriss Kringle is here
Prismark1024 January 2016
The 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street was updated by writer and producer John Hughes already flying high with his Home Alone films and he manages to snag Richard Attenborough who was coaxed out of acting retirement a year earlier by Steven Spielberg for Jurassic Park.

The original is regarded as a classic in America but not as well known in the UK and here I could see this film in its own merits.

Hughes has followed the story of the original film with a department store executive Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) and her young daughter Susan (Mara Wilson) who do not care much for the spirit of Christmas. Dorey hires a venerable old man Kriss Kringle (Richard Attenborough) at the last minute when the usual Santa is found drunk. Kriss quickly becomes popular even if it means by always telling the truth that he directs people to rivals stores for toys because it would be cheaper there.

The store is subject to a hostile takeover from a rival and part of the shenanigans means that Kriss believes that he really is Santa Claus and finds himself in court to be declared insane.

The film is a decent family drama and although updated for a more cynical age which includes more disbelievers and non-nuclear families it does have plenty of festive spirit that families would enjoy but is never spectacular.

The film turns on the revelation contained on a dollar bill but personally if I had written the film I would had just told the Judge to look behind him. Most American courtrooms have the Judge sitting in front of the words 'In God we trust!'
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Nothing special but festive enough to do the job and featuring a good performance from Attenborough
bob the moo20 January 2005
A friendly but dubious old man is walking on the street when he sees a parade Santa Claus trying to do his job while drunk off his ass. As the real Santa Claus the man (Kris Kringle) steps in and summons the police – but finds himself escorted away. However, when the drunk can't do his job, Kris steps in and is so good that he is offered the job of store Santa by Cole's toy store. Taking the job, Kris is in his element but cannot convince his boss's daughter that he is the real deal. Things get worse when a rival store, so worried by the business Kris is drawing to Cole's, set out to set him up and taking him to court to get sectioned. Can Kris prove he is Santa, not only to Susan but also to New York State.

It is a weakness of Christmas TV that so many interesting movies are wheeled out on so many channels that, in late January, I'm watching a movie that never really sees the light of day outside of the month before Christmas. Anyway, when this came out I ended up going to see it at the cinema and felt that it worked as a Christmas movie but was somewhat lacking as a film. Watching it on television now it seems a lot more serviceable, feeling more suited to the small screen rather than the large. Of course you could question why anyone felt the need to remake the original film but, now they have, I suppose at least it is reasonably good. The plot starts enjoyably enough and features an enjoyable court case, it is only in the sentimental conclusion where it became an average film; up till this point it is structured enough to be enjoyable even if it is a bit "straight" but at the end it succumbs to the season but does it too late to really do damage.

Slighter older children will enjoy it even though I felt like it could have had more of an edge for adults to appreciate as well. The cast are good, although the film noticeably drops when Attenborough is offscreen. He is an affable character and creates a sense of wonder that the film really benefits from; he is well matched by a cute but enjoyable performance from Wilson. The rest of the cast don't have it so good and Perkins and McDermott are really left with a difficult "serious" narrative that is only going to mush. The supporting cast has a lot of well-known faces who are interesting even if they only have minor roles; Walsh, Remar, Prosky, Janney and Ackland all provide an interesting cast even if the whole film belongs to Attenborough.

Overall this is an OK film that will play well to older children as well as undemanding adults. Parts of the film are overly sentimental and devoid of the clever modern touches that it could have really had if it had not done it so "straight". Hardly earth shattering stuff but has enough festive cheer to do the job, partly thanks to a performance from Attenborough that adds a sense of wonder to it.
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Miracle on 34th Street
jboothmillard12 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this version before I realised there was the original 1947 Edmund Gwenn version, which is brilliant, but this remake is more recognised in popular culture, directed by Les Mayfield (Flubber, Blue Streak, The Man). Basically the actor playing Santa Claus for Cole's Department Store Thanksgiving Day parade is found drunk, so the special events director Dorey Walker (Big's Elizabeth Perkins) persuades the bearded man who found him, Kris Kringle (Lord Sir Richard Attenborough) to take his place. He proves to be a sensation with the public, and is quickly recruited to work in the Cole's store store on 34th Street to play Santa, Kris claims he is the real Santa Claus, and his employment documentation confounds Doris that his address and details relate to this as well. What gives the store really good business is that they market the fact that Kris is telling customers where to find toys, including at better prices, and he is really enlightening everyone's spirits, including Dorey's own daughter Susan (Mrs. Doubtfire's Mara Wilson), who she taught to reject any belief and fantasy. Shopper's Express owner Victor Landberg (Joss Ackland) wants to put Cole's out of business, he gets his associates Jack Duff (James Remar) and Alberta Leonard (Jane Leeves) to orchestrate a plan to get Kris fired, and with the help of the fired drunken Santa, Tony Falacchi (Jack McGee), they get him arrested for assault, after antagonising him. The charges are dropped, but Kris will go on trial, Dorey's friend and growing love interest, Bryan Bedford (Dylan McDermott), wants to help represent Kris, not just to prove his sanity, but unbelievably by proving he is the real, and the one and only Santa Claus! It is going to take a miracle for Kris to win, but they gain support from the public who believe there is a Santa Claus, but with lack of evidence it looks like Judge Henry Harper (Robert Prosky) has no choice but to rule against Kris. However, evidence is presented that wins the judge round, a one dollar bill with the words "In God We Trust", as there is no physical evidence of the existence of God, and Santa Claus being an equally believed being he is elated to dismiss the case. In the end, Kris is proved to be Santa Claus, and following the court case, Dorey and Bryan are surprised to be given a surprise wedding, Susan is overjoyed to see the house she always wanted, and she remarks that she also asked Mr. Kringle for a baby brother, Dorey and Bryan stare at her stomach, suggesting a baby is coming, and they share a kiss. Also starring J.T. Walsh as Ed Collins, William Windom as C.F. Cole and Allison Janney as Woman in Christmas Shop. Attenborough is a great choice to play the lovable eccentric man who believes himself to be the real Santa Claus, Wilson is adorable as the cynical young girl with a big wish, Perkins is charming as the mother, and McDermott is a nice guy. It follows pretty much exactly the same plot as the original film, but Macy's (who declined involvement) has become fictional store Cole's, a foreign girl becomes a deaf girl, in a touching scene, and the ending is more modernised (and in a way realistic), it is maybe not as magical as the original, but it colourful and glamorous Christmas movie, a nice charming seasonal family film. Worth watching!
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Magical film
studioAT24 December 2010
This is a great example of a good Christmas film that can be enjoyed by all ages. I haven't seen the original so cannot compare the two but the fact that both are often packaged together on DVD shows that both must be equally liked.

The story makes for by and large easy enough viewing with some captivating performances by Attenborough and young Mara Wilson. The film captures the spirit of Christmas well and the action moves towards its conclusion well. There are several well crafted scenes and some magical moments that make this a classic Christmas film.

It may be a little long for some people and the ending a little contrived but it remains a fun Christmas film that is well worth watching.
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Kris Kraft
writers_reign8 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It seems that Hollywood likes nothing better than setting up lovable eccentrics as funny farm fodder and then having them beat the rap in a courtroom finale - think of Mr Deeds Goes To Town, Rosie, even Harvey for God's sake. Often, of course - Longfellow Deeds, Rosie - there is money behind the motive and in this ill-judged remake (if it ain't broke don't fix it) money is once again behind the rival store's framing of Kris Kringle. Okay, the last movie that needed remaking was the original Miracle On 34th Street with its charismatic cast of Edmund Gwen, Maureen O'Hara, John Payne and Natalie Wood, but it HAS been remade so we're stuck with it. Dickie-all-I-want-is-knighthood-Attenborough is surely one of the most overrated actors on the planet yet he gives it the old college try even if you can see the technique a mile away. As for the lovers the less said the better and it surely speaks volumes that Macey's - who were more than happy to be associated with the original - wanted no part of this turkey even passing up free publicity. Okay, if you're ten years old and have never heard of the original this is acceptable, if you're between ten and twenty it's just about passable but if you're older than twenty why bother with this when the original is out there just waiting to be discovered and/or rediscovered.
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Dull But Respectable Remake of a Classic Original
zardoz-1318 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" director John Hughes has done an admirable job reworking writer & director George Seaton's Santa Claus on trial classic "Miracle on 34th Street" but he has made some interesting as well as creative changes with the narrative. The names of various characters have been altered and certain incidents from the original have been enlarged. First, the psychiatrist named Sawyer has been omitted. Second, Hughes has added some melodrama in the form of a villainous department store owner struggling to implement a takeover bid. This villain has a henchman who exploits the drunken Santa Claus that Kris Kringle revealed. The names of popular department stores, such as Macy's and Gimbals', have been altered, too, to fictional stores. .Hughes has taken certain liberties that were not done in the original. Elizabeth Perkins is far more reserved than Maureen O'Hara as the heroine, but she is incredibly sincere. Dylan McDermott is perfect as John Payne's replacement who is an attorney who desperately sets out to woo the Perkins heroine. If anybody bestows a sense of dignity to this respectable remake, actor/director Richard Attenborough does so as Kris Kringle. The strong supporting cast consists of James Remar as the rival department store owner's henchman; J.T. Walsh as the public prosecutor, and Robert Prosky plays Judge Henry Harper. Unfortunately, the remake lacks the passion of the original. There is no mail bag scene, and the Judge issues his ruling based on the circled words "In God We Trust" on a one dollar bill that secures Kringle's release. Like the original, the Santa Claus definitely believes that he is the one and only Santa. This "Miracle on 34th Street" is appropriate for our enlightened, cynical age and doesn't touch the commercialism of Christmas issue. Les Mayfield does a good job of shepherding the remake through to its inevitable conclusion. Alvin Greenman is the only cast member from the original, but he doesn't play a department store janitor this time. Instead, he is cast as a doorman. Although it lacks the spontaneity of the original, you may enjoy this version more. Inevitably, the two romantic leads unite at fade-out.
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Mr. Collins, I hope you've taken down that old TV antenna. I ripped my pants on it last year.
Sylviastel13 September 2018
The late Lord Richard Attenborough looked like he enjoyed himself in the role of Santa Claus aka Kris Kringle in this delightful updated remake. With a solid supporting cast, the film included a believable love story between Elizabeth Perkins and Dylan McDermott. Mara Wilson was wonderful as the child. There are other notable performances like Robert Prosky, Allison Janney, Mary McCormack in her first film role, J.T. Walsh and others. The film was shot on location in New York City. Instead of Macy's there is a Cole's Department store and a rival with Jane Leeves. The film has a charm all its own.
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Vincentiu24 December 2012
for the presence of Richard Attenborough. or for charming performance of Robert Prosky. but not more. because it is difficult to do a good remake to a masterpiece. because the actualization of story is not really inspired. but, if you do not know the original, this is one of touching films. humor and Christmas spirit are perfect options for entertainment and for a evening with family.correct - the reference to Saint Nicholas is a good point -it has not magic of original. is it a sin ? not but the hope is always a virtue.. a love story, a girl and Santa in his entire splendor. same story about spirit of holiday, faith and miracle. a nice film, yes, it is a nice film. with few drops of deep beauty grace of extraordinary mister Attenborough
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Good Remake, but Unarguably Inferior to the Original...
MovieAddict201613 February 2004
Miracle on 34th Street

A good, kind-hearted remake of the original that stars Mara Wilson as the little girl who gradually starts to believe that the local mall Santa Claus (Richard Attenborough) is the real deal. Her strict conservative mother (Elizabeth Perkins) thinks otherwise and sues Mr. Claus for pretending to be someone else. Hey, the original never made much literal sense either (especially if you're over the age of 10), but both the films have a good dose of sentimentality and cheerfulness that work. But the original is still far superior.

*** / *****
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Not bad Santa
Lejink5 December 2012
I enjoyed this modern-day remake of the old Christmas classic, but with some reservations. First of all, let me compliment Richard Attenborough's performance as the is-he-or-isn't-he modern-day Santa Claus, even if he plays it with an avowed English accent. He interacts sweetly with the children in the cast in particular and with a twinkle never far away from his eye, gets you rooting for him at the climactic trial scene by the end. He performs no "miracles" per se but still convinces you of his identity with his innocence, charm and sincerity. As for the rest of the cast, I'm not so sure. Elizabeth Perkins and Dylan McDermott as the yuppie couple bound to get together, lack warmth and seem just too perfect with their stylish clothes and coiffured hair. Worse, Mara Wilson as the little-miss-know-it-all 6-going-on 60 daughter of Perkins, really could just be a female Macauley Culkin, which was no doubt the aim but still isn't a good thing. There are some nice support turns though, especially Robert Prosky as the humane judge and JT Walsh as the persecuting counsel but they don't quite offset the main leads mentioned above. The seasonal shots of New York are a treat for the eye and with a pleasant Christmas-themed soundtrack too, this is enjoyable seasonal fare, well worth taking a break from gift-wrapping, to enjoy.
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Sometimes too "faithful" to the original, sometimes not enough...
ElMaruecan821 January 2018
To give the movie its deserved credit, Richard Attenborough is a wonderful successor to the iconic Kris Kingle as played by Edmund Gwenn in George Seaton's seminal Christmas classic "Miracle on 34th Street" and Mara Wilson is just as good as the little girl who doesn't believe in Santa but wishes she could and only asks for a proof. In fact, she embodies our very attitude toward the film, we love the original, we want to embrace this one with the same enthusiasm, so we're waiting for the script to charm us.

And it's only fair to have high anticipations, the film was made in 1994 when commercialism was as preeminent as five decades later, and written by John Hughes who could give a subtle dimension of satire and benign cynicism, all these elements could have given an edge to the 1994 remake. Unfortunately, the film doesn't really manages to deliver: when it's good, it's just as good as the original, the rest of the time, it's just a pale copy that fails to capture the the taste of its era. This film could have been made in the 80's or the 70's as well because the story is timeless, but not in the 'appealing' meaning of the word.

It's incredible but "Miracle on 34th Street" manages to feel more dated than its glorious predecessor, the 1947 version starring Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara and young Natalie Wood. Maybe the remake was liable to feel dated because the 1947 classic was already ahead of its time for its take on Christmas consumerism, its portrayal of a divorced mother and a precocious girl (tired tropes today), so any attempt to duplicate the charm of the movie was likely to fail... unless it tried to modernize the original premise a little bit.

The problem with Les Mayfield's movie and John Hughes' screenplay is that the two men seem to be in awe with the original and never really dare to make the original structure shatter, not a bit. As a result, we have quite exactly the same movie, and the changes operated in this one never feel as improvements but rather inspire the opposite feeling. For instance, the climactic trial scene with the bags of mail delivered on the courtroom is only replaced by a parallel drawn between the existence of Santa Claus and the faith in God which, as smart as it is, is anticlimactic and leaves many things in wanting.

We all know the story is heading toward a heart-warming and magical conclusion but there's just something curiously depressing in the turn of events that lead the gentle Kris Kingle in jail and the way his aura immediately fades while the set-up of his downfall is quite obvious. There was a moment where I expectedKingle to tell that the man he assaulted had just literally accused him of the worst possible crime and had the punch coming, but the scene dangerously flirts with the idiotic plot where the lines that can get you off the hook aren't said, for no other reason that they're waiting for the right moment.

I feel a bit guilty to be so judgmental, again there's that snow beard in Richard Attenborough and that glee in his eyes that makes many scenes with him very touching, I loved his interaction with the deaf girl (a smart remake of the Dutch scene), his chemistry with Mara Wilson hit the right chord, and that little girl is a genuinely good actress conveying the right mix of smartness and innocence (a bit like a real-life Lisa Simpson). But the film reminded me of that scene where Kingle and Bryan, the lawyer enamored with Susan's mother, and played by Dylan McDermott, discuss about the mother (Elizabeth Perkins) and say there's something quite sad about her.

There's something sad in the film as well, sometimes, Elizabeth Perkins overplay that feeling and make any scene she's in a killjoy, even her romance with Dylan, while integral to the original happy ending, are only inserted in the movie as an 'obligation' but it's obvious these moments slow down the script more than anything. There are a few good characters in the film, the judge played by a scene-stealing Robert Prosky, the so underrated J.T. Walsh as the prosecutor but the film loses its way in many unnecessary plot points, and escalate to a trial where we feel cheated because we didn't have our bags of mail, after all, there was no Internet yet in 1994, it could work.

The film is still an enchanting moment that can please any child of any age, but it lacks that little sharpness, the taste of modernity it needed, and luck, too. Macy's didn't want its name associated with the film so they had to come up with a fictional company had to invent a and make the rival an evil businessman, missing the opportunity of the 'marketing policy' subplot that made the first film so ahead of its time. It's like Mayfield and Hughes didn't trust their own material, they had so charming protagonists who could carry the film alone, who needed villains? Especially when the "system" or the world's cynicism was good enough an antagonist.

A good film nonetheless, but so one-dimensional in its treatment it feels dated by the original film's standards.
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Great Christmas Spirit, Albeit Lacking the Charm of the Original,
lesleyharris302 January 2017
Miracle on 34th Street is a good movie with a reasonably well developed plot and a great cast. It is a very sweet, heartfelt Christmas movie on which we follow a ton of controversy erupt after a man claims to be Santa Claus. Richard Attenborough shines as Kris Kringle himself, embodying the role significantly, he is quite possibly one of the most believable of any movie Santas, feeling close to the real thing, he was just as good, if not better, than Edmund Gwenn.

In comparison to the original 1947 film, it simply is not as good, even John Hughes' writing presence could not help that. The magic and the Christmas atmosphere feels a lot more forced here, as newer movies simply are less subtle about getting a message across, and everything is very in your face here.

Santa Claus is also not nearly as much developed as a character here, he is well established and his personality is brought tremendously in the original, however, he is a lot more two dimensional here. I not blaming Attenborough, but the writers for only giving the character cliché Santa dialogue.

It shows that remakes always try too hard to be bigger and better than the original, which is often their biggest downfall. While its certainly flawed, the Christmas spirit is alive and well here, I would recommend Miracle on 34th Street to anyone looking for a good movie for the whole family to enjoy.

A man who claims he is the real Santa Claus is forced to prove it in court.

Best Performance: Richard Attenborough
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Lovely remake of the incomparable 40's classic, another gift from John Hughes to the world
inkblot1127 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Dorey (Elizabeth Perkins) and her daughter, Susan (Mara Wilson) live in New York City, where Dorey works for a long-established department store called Coles. It's Thanksgiving Day and Dorey is in charge of the Coles' parade through Manhattan. Naturally, things don't go as planned when the Santa she hired turns up tipsy and belligerent. But, very fortunately, a kind, white-bearded gentleman, Kris (Sir David Attenborough) is in the right place at the right time. He saves the day with his wonderful parade presence and Dorey hires him to be in the in-store Santa from that day forward. Going home to Susan, the two gals have a handsome dinner guest, lawyer-neighbor Bryan (Dylan McDermott) to share their turkey and trimmings. Bryan is in love with Dorey but, she is very reluctant to encourage his affections for she was jilted long ago and left with the sole responsibility for Susan. A nearby department discount chain, Shopper's Express, is mighty peeved at Coles' new Santa, for he begins to turn things around for the ailing Coles. Sabotaging his performance, they get dear Kris sent to jail on various charges. Dorey begs Bryan to represent Kris in a trial that will decide if he is, truly, Santa Claus. But, can Bryan succeed at winning Kris' freedom and stature as well as securing Dorey's heart? We'll see! The old classic, with Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara, is still the definite version of this tale but this one comes awfully close in charming its viewing audience. First, the cast is marvelous, with Perkins, McDermott, Attenborough and darling little Wilson giving very nice performances. The supporting cast, including J.T. Walsh, is also wonderful. Then, director and writer Hughes has added some nice touches and modern situations to the timeless tale, making it feel "more up-to-date". All of the production values, from costumes to sets to camera work, are of the finest. In short, don't shy away from this new version, even if you love the original. Both of them are magical in their own unique ways. March up your street and get this one for the holidays, or, indeed, any time you need a shot of that warm, happy feeling.
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A new classic I have only seen bits of before
lisafordeay8 December 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Miracle on 34th Street is a 1994 family fantasy starring Richard Attenbourgh,Mara Wilson and Elizabeth Perkins alongside Dylan McDermott. It tells the story of an elderly man named Kris Kringle(Attenbourgh) who is fully convinced that he is Santa Clause. Only a little girl named Susan(Wilson) and her mom's (Perkins)boyfriend who happens to be an attorney named Bryan(McDermott) can help Kris prove his real identity to the courts.

Overall I enjoyed this film. It was a sweet movie to watch this holiday season. From the director of Flubber (1997) and the producers of Home Alone.
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Another one of the best Christmas movies I've ever seen
Catherine_Grace_Zeh22 November 2005
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, in my opinion, is another one of the best Christmas movies I've ever seen. If you ask me, it was really funny when Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) punched out the drunk Santa (Jack McGee). I was also really moved when Bryan (Dylan McDermott) and Dorey (Elizabeth Perkins) started dating. Also, in my opinion, Susan (Mara Wilson) was a really well-behaved kid. She makes this holiday smash worth seeing. In conclusion, I highly recommend this holiday smash to everyone, especially all you Richard Attenborough or Elizabeth Perkins fans who have not seen it. When you see it, prepare to laugh and have a good time.
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NateWatchesCoolMovies15 December 2015
I haven't yet seen the original Miracle On 34th Street film, so until then I'll focus on Les Mayfield's pristine 1994 update. It's a warmhearted delight of a piece, painted in bold, kindly strokes and starring Richard Attenborough in a wonderful, childlike, good natured yet vulnerable performance as Kris Kringle, and elderly gent living in New York City who is convinced that he is really Father Christmas. Like.. for real. Little Susan Walker (Mara Wilson) believes and befriends him. Wilson was a child actress staple in the 90's, also making adorable impressions in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire. She's precious here, full of wonder and blooming compassion that's kindled by spirited Kringle. Her mother (Elizabeth Perkins) is in charge of the Macy's Christmas parade and when the drunken Santa she's hired acts a damn fool and is fired, Kringle steps up to the plate. He's a hit, and when word gets out of his belief in himself as the real Santa, controversy stirs, in trademark obnoxious New York fashion. And so a media hooplah leads to a hysterical court case to prove whether Kringle is the real deal. He's defended by compassionate lawyer Dylan McDermott and prosecuted by a smarmy J.T. Walsh, always welcome. There's also work from James Remar as corrupt hoodlum Jack Duff who has a hilarious turn of faith near the end, Robert Prosky as New York's crankiest judg, and appearances from Jennifer Morrison, Jane Leeves, Allison Janney, Mary Mckormack, Jack Mcgee and Joss Ackland. The film comes out a winner thanks to Wilson and especially Attenborough, who plays Kringle with a frank naivety and beaming soul, qualities which everyone hopes and expects to see in Father Christmas, should he really be out there somewhere.
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Not quite as magical as I'd hoped
davispittman24 November 2015
This remake wasn't as magical and full of Christmas spirit as I hoped it would be. Unfortunately, the movie was kinda boring and dull instead of being sweet and fun to watch and enjoy. Elizabeth Perkins was good in it though, and was well casted in her lead role. So that's one plus to it. The little girl that stars in the flick was pretty good, not the best though. But I didn't have a real big issue with the casting overall. It was the lack of substance and weak script I took issue with here. The script and dialogue is kind of dull and lack luster in this movie. It's not a god awful film, but it's certainly not the magical Christmas ride you might expect. It is family friendly though, with the exception of a couple of bad words. So if you want a Christmas movie that's OK for the kiddos, then this might be for you. But in my opinion, this movie just wasn't that good, it had some potential, but I feel like it squandered that good potential. 4/10 for Miracle on 34th Street.
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Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain14 December 2011
A pretty darn awesome remake. It may bring some extra 90's cheese, mostly due to the needlessly dramatic music, and it may be overlong in places, but this certainly works. Attenborough is the only person I could imagine taking over this role. He comes across as a genuinely kind and considerate man, with nothing but kindness in his heart. Like the original, it keeps silent as to whether he is Santa or not. The court scene is particularly funny, with a few fist pumping moments. I'd still pick the original, but if you can't sit your whole family down in front of a black and white film, this certainly doesn't offend the original.
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You Really Can't Get Too Much of This Story
aimless-4615 December 2007
Few things are more amusing that reading the comments from the crybaby dishrags who whine about remaking a classic like "Miracle On 34th Street" (1947). How are these weepy rants helpful?

Did it need to be remade? No. But the source material is good enough that any number of professionally done remakes would still be entertaining. If this 1994 version had been the original, people would already be crowning it with the classic tag.

But it is not the original. It strikes a decent compromise by keeping many of the original story elements, deleting some, updating others, and making a few generally ill-advised additions.

There are even some clear improvements. Elizabeth Perkins and Mara Wilson are a much better mother and daughter match than Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara. There is a real chemistry between them and the producers appear to have grasped this connection. This "Miracle" is told much more from their respective points of view and in that sense is much more their story than in the original. Wilson brings a focus and intensity to her roles that few child actors can match. She gave a similar performance the next year in Matilda. Perkins is one of those actresses you don't really notice at first, memorable in "Big" and "Speak" for performances filled with subtle nuances.

It is no surprise that Richard Attenborough falls short of the Edmund Gwenn standard but that was Gwenn's signature role; and as much a part of cinema history as Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch. But look for the sequence where Wilson pulls his beard and discovers it is real-this is one of the great all-time scenes.

As long as Perkins and/or Wilson are being featured, the film works quite well. And it really only stumbles seriously during the courtroom scene and during the subplot elements featuring James Remar and Jane Leeves. The film staggers along a bit but recovers itself in time for an original and very effective conclusion. As Roger Ebbert said, while it will never replace the original; this is a sweet, gentle, good-hearted film that stays true to the spirit of the original and doesn't try to make everything slick and exploitative.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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"Which is better, a truth that brings a tear or a lie that draws a smile?"
PredragReviews5 April 2017
This film is the ultimate Christmas film and granted to put you deep into the Christmas spirit, as you ask yourself whether or not you believe in Santa Clause. The story-line deals with the belief in Santa Claus, but it is handled very well, so there is no danger that your kids will stop believing in Santa Claus after watching this movie, I would say just the opposite. It is so well written that the story is believable without the need for magic or hocus pocus. It is a remake of the classic film but with brilliant actors such as Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle. When Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) hires a seemingly insignificant elderly gentleman (Kris Kringle) to be their Cole's Santa she has no idea of the success it would bring Cole's. Just as every thing in life is peachy, Cole's rivals decide to discredit Santa by framing him. When it goes to court to decide weather Kris Kringle is a nut case as he believes he is Santa it is up to the judge to decide if Santa Clause is real, challenging all that is good and pure about Christmas.

There are scenes that make you laugh, and scenes where tissues are needed. Romantic sparks also fly across the screen, which is an added bonus. I know the acting is contrived and the actors merely walk-through the film, but that doesn't matter. I think the director wanted the film to resemble a remake of the original with the idea of the classic American feel. The guy is far too good looking and the woman always glamorously made up, which adds this massive dollop of American schmaltz to the proceedings. The only things that stood out were an Elizabeth Perkins's performance, she was great in the role of a mother, and Richard Attenborough plays the part of Chris Kringle so well, it's like he was made for the part! Overall, though a great story-line based on the original film, lots of magical moments. A great family film.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10.
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None of the fun the 1947 version had
FlushingCaps26 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
While I believe a great film can be updated to fit more recent times, the 1994 remake of the 1947 classic Miracle on 34th Street is an example of how good intentions can go astray.

I thought Richard Attenborough did a fine job in the lead role. The spirit of the film was truly much like the original version. Where they went wrong was getting too heavily into the serious plots—the scenes between Mrs. Walker and the attorney were too long and too detailed, without being humorous at all.

{Spoiler alert} One scene near the end was troubling to me. They appeared in a Catholic church after midnight Mass and the priest was happy to marry them even though they obviously had not agreed to get married beforehand. This isn't Las Vegas. Any normal minister on seeing that the couple had not really planned on getting married, but were just then considering it, would have wanted to wait until they were sure before performing a ceremony.

What really hurt was that most of the scenes from the original that made it such a fun film were eliminated in the remake. The comical interaction between Kris and Susan as he tried to let her learn to pretend, and, most significantly, the great courtroom scene where all the huge bags of mail were carried in, convincing the judge that the postal service considers Kris to be Santa were not in the remake.

In fact, the "big courtroom scene" had the judge all ready with his verdict, then, on seeing one familiar phrase on the back of a dollar bill, suddenly rendering a totally different verdict on a rather flimsy bit of logic. In the original, the judge's dilemma was saved by thousands of pieces of unexpected evidence. In the remake, the judge changed his mind over seeing something that he could easily have thought about on his own—the concept of trusting someone or something you can't see is not unique to the phrase on the our money.

I will agree that the 1994 Kris had more reason to strike his antagonist in the remake—but the scenes of him being tormented were not fun to watch. When he struck at the man, he swung his cane quite hard—hard enough to have done some real damage, which is something I'd like to think a real St. Nicholas would simply not do. In the original, he was simply frustrated at the annoying Macy's employee and gave a light tap that clearly would not have seriously hurt anyone.

Even the opening scene in the remake removed the humor of the original. I remember well how I was impressed the first time I saw the original, where Kris is walking down the street and happens to see reindeer and a Santa figure in a display window, and he knocks on the door and proceeds to instruct the man that he has the reindeer misarranged. The 1994 version simply has Kris standing at a stop light and when the man beside him says that the little boy next to him thinks Kris is Santa Claus, he leans over and whispers, "I am Santa Claus." Ho-ho-dull.
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