48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2004
The man who plays Santa in this movie is the cutest, sweetest, most magical Santa Claus ever captured on film. I swear to this day...this man IS the real Santa. They could not have done a better job in casting this film. I get goosebumps every time they show Santa take off in the sleigh for the first time. Outstanding movie!!
51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2000
Anyone buying a copy of this film should really get the wide screen DVD version. The flying sequences are so much better in widescreen as are the scenes in the North Pole toy factory. The "full frame" pan and scan version just can't hold a candle to the widescreen (I have both so have carefully compared them.)
There is an excellent director's comment track with questions being asked by the Special Projects Consultant for Anchor Bay (the company distributing the DVD) and answered and expanded upon by the director, Jeannot Szwarc. It is worth the price of the package alone. However there is also a great "making of" feature that was produced as a TV documentary at the time of the theatrical release of the film.
This is a really great Christmas film for the whole family. The first hour telling the story of how a simple wood cutter and toy maker become Santa Claus is completely charming. David Huddleston is a wonderful Claus. Dudly Moore is excellent as the elf, Patch, who is into everything and constantly inventing new gadgets. He shows his tender side as he grooms and takes care of the reindeer. It is really tragic that Mr. Moore now has the disease that make it impossible for him to perform any longer. That makes this film that much more of a treasure as it shows him at the top of his form as an actor. (Too bad the producers couldn't have used his musical talents in some way.)
John Lithgow is a delightfully hammy villain in the second portion of the film showing the early stages of the character he later does in "Third Rock From The Sun". The two children are also great, very real and not the cloying poor child actors that could easily have been used.
Trim the tree, light a fire in the fireplace, pour an egg nog and enjoy the very special Holiday treat!.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2000
This is one of my favorite Christmas movies. It brings the legend of Santa Claus to life in a grandiose way (i.e. great Hollywood special effects and wonderful musical score!) This movie was produced by the Salkinds (which probably explains why some of the flying sequences are similar to the Superman movies.) I just recently found it is available now on DVD. The DVD gives you four movie trailers and a very interesting hour-long behind the scenes making of "Santa Claus: The Movie." It also has director's commentary, if you like that. Buy the widescreen version. Ever since owning a DVD player, I have enjoyed watching movies presented widescreen. I hate to see them "fit to screen," because it cuts so much out of the picture. The score is by Henry Mancini and is just magical, especially "Sleigh Ride Over Manhattan"! This is a wonderful Christmas movie that you and your family will enjoy for years to come!!
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Dudley Moore, John Lithgow, and David Huddleston star in the 1985 masterpiece (that's right, I said masterpiece), "Santa Clause the Movie". The film starts off by depicting the origin of one of the world's most favorite people, Santa Claus (David Huddleston), showing how he and his wife were brought to a workshop at the North Pole by elves in fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. There, they were granted immortality with the mission of delivering the elf-made toys to the children of the world on one night each year. The film charmingly takes us through the centuries and eventually lands in modern day, when a wealthy little girl named Cornelia befriends a homeless orphan boy named Joe in New York City. The pair also manage to befriend Santa on his nightly ride, but when he returns home and finds his heavy workload is becoming too much for him, Santa decides to take on an assistant. A competition is held, but when the result brings on disaster the following Christmas, an ambitious elf named Patch (Dudley Moore) decides to go out into the world and prove his worth to Santa. It's soon after that he meets B.Z (Lithgow), an unscrupulous, greedy maker of dangerously defective toys. Patch naively teams up with B.Z. to bring the world "something special" for Christmas, but in the end only Santa Claus himself, with the help of Cornelia and Joe of course, will be able to save Patch and everyone else from the hazardous gifts they create!
The Salkinds, the same people who brought you Christopher Reeve as "Superman," spared no expense in this epic tale of another high-flying force for good, Santa Claus, appropriately dubbed "Santa Claus the Movie." "Supergirl" director Jeannot Szwarc skillfully handles the reins on this one, and though he follows the same basic formula of the first Reeve Superman film, it's all the detail and charm that makes this holiday classic a masterpiece in its own right. With its magical first half and clever, modern-fairytale second half, "Santa Claus the Movie" adds up to the best movie about the big man in red made to date. Forget the others if you don't have this one yet! The cast is fantastic, by the way. David Huddleston simply IS Santa, Dudley is delightful as the unworldy, bright-eyed Patch, Lithgow is detestably hilarious as wicked toy pusher B.Z. (reminiscent of Dan Aykroyd's old SNL character), and the kids (Carrie Kei Heim and Christian Fitzpatrick) and Judy Cornwell as Mrs. Claus are perfectly cast as well. The chemistry throughout the cast is amazing, and so are the pre-CGI effects and classic '80's fantasy music from Henry Mancini with one song performed by Sheena Easton!
The DVD from Anchor Bay is a must own (mine is the older cover, but I hear it is exactly the same). It's presented in glorious enhanced widescreen and has fantastic extras. You get two U.S. theatrical trailers, plus the International and German trailers, an excellent audio commentary with the director accompanied by Special Projects Consultant for Anchor Bay Scott Michael Bosco, talent bios on the late Dudley Moore and director Jeannot Szwarc, and a fascinating, lengthy, revealing, and in-depth making-of featurette made during the making of the film. Try to ignore the director humiliating one of the elf actors during the "making-of" featurette, and the fact that it repeatedly drops the ball in keeping up the illusion it initially presents. If you really want to see some pre-CGI movie magic, you have to check out this excellent featurette, and this beautiful film! Get this one on DVD along with "The Nativity Story," and you'll have the two most significant origin stories of the Christmas season!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
When this film came out 20 years ago it was really hailed for it's special effects and technical achievments. Remember this was before CGI and the use of computer generated special effects was in its infancy. The achievement of getting Santa Claus and his reindeer and sleigh to fly was truly masterful. Not coincidently the film was produced by Ilya Salkind who produced the Superman Films and brought along some of the men who did the effects on the Superman films. Besides the flying sequences, the creation of the North Pole was the most elaborate ever seen on film up to that point, and possibly ever.
The movie begins in the past showing how The David Huddleston character eventually becomes Santa Claus. Huddleston makes for a truly striking Santa Claus, certainly one of the very best ever seen on screen. The film then jumps forward to modern day and loses a bit of steam. As Patch the Elf, Dudley Moore leaves the North Pole to head to the big city where the naive elf falls under the influence of ruthless corporate toy manafacturer B.Z. played by John Lithgow. This was one in a long line of villain roles the he would play in the late 80's and early 90's. Some people thinks he steals the show as a modern day Scrooge but to me he just chews up a bit too much scenery and takes some of the heart out of the film. That aside it's really a well done film, perhaps a bit dated but still good enough to be an annual holiday treat.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Santa Claus The Movie(1985) is a fun piece of 1980's camp. It was produced by Alexander and Ilya Salkind(the Superman movies) and directed by Jeannot Szwarc(Jaws 2, Supergirl). The music score by the late Henry Mancini is quite good. I remember when TV stations frequently showed this film on Christmas in the 80's. Dudley Moore and John Lithgow are given top billing, but it's character actor David Huddleston who plays Santa Claus. Judy Cornwell plays Anya/Mrs. Claus. Mr. Claus and Ayna Claus almost freeze to death in a blizzard and they are saved by elves. In the 20th Century, Santa Claus has to deal with an unscrupulous, corrupt, Grinch-like businessman(played by John Lithgow) who wants to ruin the spirit of Christmas.
The late Dudley Moore played head elf Patch. His name was Ollie in an early draft. John Lithgow is campy and over the top as corrupt toy maker B.Z. David Huddleston is warm, sincere and earnest as a flesh and blood Santa Claus. Carrie Kei Heim and Christian Fitzpatrick play kids who become Santa's friends. Burgess Meredith played The Ancient One. Santa Claus The Movie is impressive on a technical level and it was made on a $50 million budget. The filmmakers used over 20 flesh and blood reindeers as well as animatronic ones. The visual effects by Roy Field, David Lane, and Derek Meddings were state-of-the-art in 1985. It was made before movies used too much CGI. The script for Santa Claus does have some plot holes and there's McDonald's product placement in the middle of the film. Some people think of Santa Claus The Movie as "ponderous". At one point, the Salkinds tried to hire John Carpenter, Guy Hamilton, or Robert Wise to direct the film. The role of B.Z. was offered to Harrison Ford and Dustin Hoffmann. The Santa Claus The Movie novelization by Joan D. Vinge tries to give some backstory to the elves. The elves are also refered to as "Vendequm". Christmas is a religious holiday, yet Santa Claus The Movie was designed to not reference too much religion. Santa Claus The Movie is fun, lightweight, and wholesome. Check it out during Christmas.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2003
I remember watching this movie for the first time way back in 1985. I have always loved it and it has remained my favourite Christmas movie. Few movies have the ability to mix magic and wonder with a real theme. How many children today have the luxury of believing in Santa Claus? I was told at an early age exactly what the deal was but that didn't stop me from feeling the magic the first time I watched Santa Claus: The Movie. As an adult...I can't help but feel a little sad to look back at the innocence and wonder that I had as a child. Gone are the days when I could go to bed at night, wondering if Santa Claus, or The Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy were going to visit me that night. I think this movie allows the child in all of us, whatever our age, the feel that magic and unquestioning belief once more. After all, in our increasingly busy and stressful lives, who doesn't need a little magic now and again? I don't care if some people think the special effects are not spot on. Keep in mind, this movie was made quite a while ago and can't hope to match the level of computer effects today. I've read other reviews complaining about this but hey, think about it:
If you don't believe...you'll never see.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2006
I have been on a kick trying to find some of the old movies I remember and loved during my childhood. Santa Claus was my favorite Christmas movie by far. I hope my children love it as much as I still do!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I have watched this movies so many times.I never get tired of it. It really is a magical movie. If you love Christmas then you will love this movie!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2005
"Santa Claus, The Movie" is a film that my family and I watch every year at Christmas. As time goes on, I am sure it will be recognized as one of the all-time classic yuletide movies. As a Child of the 80's, this movie holds a special place in my heart, and only the presence of the superb "One Magic Christmas" (both from 1985) prevents me from giving "Santa Claus" 5 stars.
The late Dudley Moore plays the elf Patch in "Santa Claus", a sort of brilliant renegade inventor trying to become Kris Kringle's apprentice. John Lithgow overacts (wonderfully) as B.Z., the evil toy company owner who is out to use Patch's naivete (and magic powers) to take over Christmas and put Santa - who he considers competition - out of business.
The most magical scenes in the movie, however, take place at the beginning, as a mortal Claus discovers he is the Chosen One, meets the elves, and discovers what his role is going to be down through the centuries. The first flight of his sled is amazing, and the lack of fancy CGI animation is strangely welcome.
This movie has been ignored, basically because it belongs to a generation who has not yet come into its own culturally. The dominant movies are still "It's A Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story". But, as people who grew up with those classics age, a new crop of movies will be fondly remembered. When that time comes, I am certain "Santa Claus, the Movie" and "One Magic Christmas" will be recognized as two of the best seasonal movies of all time.
This 20th-anniversary edition of "Santa Claus" may be the first step. Do yourself a favor and order it from Amazon at its very reasonable price, and make up your own mind.