Santa and the Three Bears
By Brian Costello,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Timeless, sweet holiday short movie shows its age.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This film is intended to entertain, not educate.
Christmas is about much more than receiving and giving presents. It is about belief in the spirit of giving as manifested by Santa Claus, and for Christians, it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Positive Role Models
The Park Ranger is eager to share in the true meaning and spirit of Christmas with the two young bear cubs under his jurisdiction.
Violence & Scariness
In the only instance of cartoonish violence, two bear cubs roll down a snowy hill and transform into a giant rolling snowball. At the bottom of the hill, they crash into the Park Ranger.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Santa and the Three Bears is a short animated Christmas story from 1970 that shows its age. While the holiday message is timeless, the poor picture and audio quality of this release adversely impacts the experience, especially for younger viewers accustomed to these HD times. Parents who grew up watching this special will no doubt recall the rickety and warbling quality of projector films shown in the pre-VCR days; unfortunately, this unrestored Christmas special has a similar look and sound. Still, if you can look past these aesthetic shortcomings, this is a sweet story that discusses the true meanings of Christmas without being heavy-handed or corny, and is an entertaining slice of 1970's animated fare as well.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Based on 3 parent reviews
Takes me back!
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
Winter is blowing in at Yellowstone National Park, and the mother of two bear cubs -- Nikomi (Christina Ferra-Gilmore) and Chinook (Bobby Riha) -- is ready for hibernation. But when the Park Ranger (Hal Smith) tells the restless cubs about Christmas and Santa Claus, the cubs don't want to sleep until Santa Claus arrives with their presents. The Park Ranger volunteers to be Santa on Christmas Eve, but when a blizzard traps the Ranger in an enclosed bus stop, the cubs' belief in Santa is tested, until the real Santa arrives in their cave bearing gifts for all.
Is It Any Good?
SANTA AND THE THREE BEARS is a sweet Christmas story that manages to discuss the true meanings of Christmas in a way that doesn't feel forced or heavy-handed. Filled with songs and a cute storyline, the film is at both a timeless evocation of the Christmas Spirit, and a pleasant slice of nostalgia for 1970's animated stories.
The biggest problem with Santa and the Three Bears is the audio and visual quality of the release. The sound quality is low and warbling, and the picture quality is faded. This will be problematic for viewers accustomed to HD and Surround Sound, and may prove difficult to understand for younger viewers. Still, for those who can get past these aesthetic shortcomings, this is an enjoyable and wholesome Christmas tale.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Christmas messages. What does this movie say is the true meaning of Christmas? Is that what you believe,too?
How can you tell that this is an old movie? Is it still enjoyable even though you can tell it's old?
How does this movie compare with other Christmas stories? Do you have any favorites?
- On DVD or streaming: February 18, 2010
- Cast: Christina Ferra-Gilmore, Hal Smith, Jean Vander Pyl
- Director: Tony Benedict
- Studio: Osiris Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Holidays, Wild Animals
- Run time: 46 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 1, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Classic Comedy Films
Best Holiday TV Specials
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate