Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July

Movie review by
Nancy Davis Kho, Common Sense Media
Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July Movie Poster Image
Dark, creepy story lacks Yuletide spirit.
  • NR
  • 1979
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters sacrifice their own needs for those of others, suffering steep consequences in the process. A married couple repeatedly talks about how much they love each other and their children, a mantra that comes in handy when they're threatened.

Violence & Scariness

No direct violence, but a suprising amount of threatening imagery for a holiday special, from evil King Winterbolt to his malevolent Genie of the Ice Scepter to "rein-snakes" that menace Rudolph.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There's lots of Frosty and Rudolph tie-in merchandise out there -- but most of it is tied to higher-profile specials.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a surprisingly dark tale, considering that it's part of the Rudolph and Frosty pantheon. Though it features beloved holiday characters, the complex plot and the villain's evil machinations -- which, while not overtly violent, put Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa in peril -- may make this iffy for the youngest kids. That said, the cheery Christmas carols interspersed throughout the story act as a welcome contrast to the sinister plot, and the characters learn lessons in the end.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7 year old Written by[email protected] December 23, 2010
Rankin-Bass put all the best and moderate of their filmology, dropped it into a Waring blender, and poured out this long, boring, convoluted, and contrived slop... Continue reading
Adult Written byDominicboo1 December 18, 2014

Dark But Mostly Sweet Tale

One star really? This special is certainly NOT that bad. It's actually good to see all of these characters together in my opinion. Sure there are some scar... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 29, 2008
Where is the true Christmas spirit in this movie? Seeing my favourite Christmas characters threatened like this isn't my idea of a good movie. Rankin-Bass... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 16, 2018

Weird

This is the darkest christmas classic I've ever seen. I don't know why they made this film so scary. This has creepy imagery and the villain will scar... Continue reading

What's the story?

RUDOLPH AND FROSTY'S CHRISTMAS IN JULY starts with the drawn-out tale of how Rudolph (voiced by Billie Mae Richards) earned his special red nose. His North Pole neighbors include Frosty (Jackie Vernon) and the cheerful snowman's expanded family -- much to the chagrin of evil King Winterbolt (Paul Frees), who wants to retake the frigid territory from Santa (Mickey Rooney). When the friends help a hapless circus led by Lilly Loraine (Ethel Merman) they unknowingly step into Winterbolt's scheme -- which will result in Frosty and his family narrowly escaping death by melting, Santa and Mrs. Claus getting caught in a funnel cloud, and, worst of all, Rudolph becoming an unwitting accomplice to a felony crime.

Is it any good?

For the most part, this '70s special is a better fit for a Halloween scare than Christmas comfort. Bringing all of the best-loved characters from Rankin and Bass's beloved holiday specials is a creative idea, but a complicated plot and scary imagery make this animated tale an iffy choice for the young audience at which it was presumably aimed. Cheerful Christmas songs -- punched up by secular hits like "Don't Let the Parade Pass You By" -- save it from being a total washout, but few kids will want to see Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph threatened with bodily harm over and over again.

The stop-motion animation and recognizable voice cast make the movie's style familiar, and the addition of Merman belting out tunes only improves it. The alternate world of Winterbolt's holiday, where the sleigh is pulled by hissing, slithering rein-snakes and the reindeer looks like he came off Skid Row, gets points for creativity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sacrifices that Frosty and Rudolph make on each other's behalf. Have you ever given something up to help a friend or family member? What made you willing to do it? Why do you think Scratcher was so jealous of Rudolph? Families can also discuss how this special compares to others starring Rudolph and Frosty. Is it scarier? Why or why not?

Movie details

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