Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

  • Review Date: November 30, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1994

Common Sense Media says

Not better than the original, but still smiley holiday fare.
  • Review Date: November 30, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1994

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The courtroom scenes provide a few historical lessons on the origins of the Santa Claus story.

Positive messages

Explicitly positive messages around faith in things we can't prove, an appreciation for magic and mystery, the importance of fantasy in children's lives, and the value of helping loved ones. Some mixed messages here because Santa talks a lot about how Christmas
is about faith and generosity, but is squarely focused on what gifts
children want.

Positive role models

Kringle is a model of generosity and kindness, though he's a bit hotheaded in this film. The young girl acts intellectually older than her age, but also uses her own judgment to decide her beliefs about Santa. The mother is guarded, but her heart warms near the end.

Violence & scariness

Kringle gets very angry with a fake Santa and in one scene knocks him down with his cane after the man baits him by suggesting he is a pedophile.

Sexy stuff

The romantic relationship between the mother and her friend the lawyer is a strong thread throughout the film. They kiss several times. He proposes marriage. And at the end the film suggests she's pregnant.

Language

Several angry arguments occur through the film, some which include language like "fool," "big fat fake," and "cripple."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Fake Santa drinks from a liquor bottle before he gets into the holiday parade sleigh. One brief scene shows a room full of men dressed as Santas drinking beer and acting drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this treacly holiday film introduces the idea that Santa Claus might not be real, and comes to the conclusion that he is indeed real. The film includes several mild physical altercations between Santa Claus and another man, including one where Santa knocks the man down with his cane. A fake Santa is seen drinking alcohol and one brief scene shows a bar full of men dressed as Santas drinking beer and some acting drunk. A fake Santa's pants slip down a bit as he climbs a ladder, revealing the top of his rear end. A bit of mild language and yelling pops up.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Like the original 1947 version, this film tells the story of a young girl (Mara Wilson) and her mother (Elizabeth Perkins) who do not believe in Santa Claus. When the mother, who works for Cole's department store, hires Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) to play Santa Claus in her store, their worlds change dramatically. Kringle insists he is the real Santa Claus and becomes the delight of shoppers when he begins to point them toward other stores that have sales on the gifts they want. This turns into a brilliant marketing scheme, angering the rival chain of stores. The rivals set out to first steal Kringle away from Cole's, and when they fail, they bait him into a fight. He ends up in a mental facility and then before a judge where his psychological stability is to be determined. The hearing ends up being about whether or not Santa Claus exists, which debates the concepts of faith, imagination, magic, generosity and childhood innocence.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This remake stays pretty true to the original and so contains all the sentimental elements that can be very enjoyable for children and adults. The Kringle character is appealing and the precocious child is funny and sweet. The other adults in the film are less appealing and the remake does little to improve upon the original. This version has a bit of a darker streak, too, delving deeper into the idea of corporate greed than the original.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Santa Claus and other magical figures. What do we believe about these figures and why? Do you think believing in things you can't see or prove is important? What other things do we believe in even though we can't see them?

  • What other tales about Santa Claus do you enjoy? How are they similar?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 18, 1994
DVD release date:October 31, 2000
Cast:Dylan McDermott, Elizabeth Perkins, Richard Attenborough
Director:Les Mayfield
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Holidays
Run time:114 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild language.

This review of Miracle on 34th Street (1994) was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written bymahii paul January 7, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

M.P.

i really love this movie.......i have watched this movie......and its a really good movie.........

Teen, 13 years old Written bysoftballdiva716 December 13, 2009
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

P.G.

I love this movie! I would soo let anyone watch this movie!

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old Written bysmartwatcher December 6, 2009
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

A good movie.

Its a good movie. Kris Kringle whacks a fake santa with a cane in one scene, but thats the only violent part. In fact he doesnt even really whack him, it was a fake. Theres a relationship between the mom and the lawyer, and talks a little about pregnancy. The fake santa says "kiss my @!#" in a scene. Theres also a scene with tons of drunk fake santas and a guy smoking. Its pretty good though.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models

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