Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Movie Poster Image

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Old-school, heartwarming classic for all ages.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1964
  • Running Time: 53 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Rudolph's story has a great message about nonconformity: Just be yourself, don't worry if you don't fit in, get the support of other "misfits," and you'll find that there's strength in numbers.

Positive role models

At first the other reindeer, and even Santa, are rather unkind to Rudolph. The role models are only boys, but Rudolph is a nonconformist. He and the other misfits learn to like themselves for who they are.

Violence & scariness

Mild peril, mostly related to the abominable snowman.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

A whole line of toys and other products based on the characters is available (most came out long after the special originally aired).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Rudolph's story has a great message about nonconformity: Just be yourself, don't worry if you don't fit in, get the support of other "misfits," and you'll find that there's strength in numbers. Kids older than 4 will likely get the message, and for those younger than that, the cute little reindeer and all the musical numbers -- as cheesy and outdated as they might seem now -- will hold their interest. Even the show's "scary" antagonist, the Abominable Snow Monster (or "Bumble"), seems harmless, especially by today's standards.

What's the story?

Burl Ives, in the guise of Sam the talking snowman, narrates the tale of a misfit reindeer named Rudolph (voiced by Billie Mae Richards) who's finally appreciated by peers and parents when Santa (Stan Francis) discovers the usefulness of his light-bulb nose to guide the sleigh during a terrible snowstorm on Christmas Eve. (But, of course, you already know the song: "All of the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names.") Rudolph finds his compatriot in an elf named Hermey (Paul Soles) who has become disillusioned with his job making toys and dreams of becoming a dentist -- which is, of course, out of the question for elves. Hermey and Rudolph run away from the North Pole together and, with new friend Yukon Cornelius (Larry D. Mann), make it to the Isle of Misfit Toys. Here they find company among others who stand out from the crowd.

Is it any good?


This classic, beloved holiday TV special -- the highest-rated, longest-running in TV history -- seems almost inextricable from the idea of Christmas. Parents will no doubt have memories of this delightful film, which first aired in 1964, from their own childhoods. And you can't watch it without appreciating the simplicity of a pre-computer-animation world. Just hearing Ives' voice and songs transports you back to a simpler time, when Christmas didn't hold as many TV-viewing options and McDonald's wasn't part of the marketing deal.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it means to not fit in with the crowd.

  • How would you feel if no one wanted to be your friend because you were different?

  • Families can also talk about the fact that Rudolph, who doesn't get much support from his father, decides to run away from home.

  • Could Rudolph have found another way to express his feelings about not being accepted?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 6, 1964
DVD/Streaming release date:August 31, 1999
Cast:Billie Mae Richards, Burl Ives, Paul Soles
Director:Larry Roemer
Studio:Sony Wonder
Run time:53 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Parent of a 3 year old Written byI Must Say December 16, 2010

Love the movie, but really it's full of horrible messages and scary scenes

Let me start by saying this was a childhood favorite of mine, my kids love it, and we watch it all the time. That said, the bumble is terrifying, as is the parental separation and peril. The sexist language is ridiculous. Even Santa bullies Rudolph. We make this into some warm-and-fuzzy story, but really it's a story showing that if you're a misfit you will not be valued until you can be exploited for your difference - at which time you're just valued for that usefulness and not just for being you. Love the movie for sentimental reasons, but feel like a bad mom every time I watch it and cringe!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 11 and 15 year old Written byCeltic1962 April 21, 2011
My favorite Christmas special growing up and my family and I still love it. Only concern is that very small children might be a bit frightened by the abominable snowman :)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byrobinrunner April 22, 2011
A stupendous Christmas that give all the rest a run for thier money! Spectacular charecters like Rudolph and his friends teach kids to follow thier dreams and work toward thier goals. They'res just one little iffy thing that mom's won't like where Rudolphs dad tells her that he should find they're lost son because he's the man. Theres also a huge monster that may look evil to really little kid's but you see he has a warm heart in the end of the movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models