Parents' Guide to

Santa Claus: The Movie

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Dated '80s holiday movie has smoking, product placement.

Movie PG 1985 108 minutes
Santa Claus: The Movie Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 6+

Guess the Common Sense media are too young to understand

Saw this in theaters when I was 7. It still holds up all these years later. Wonderful Christmas movie about love , the spirit of Christmas, having a giving heart, and forgiveness . For its time , this was one of the best Santa Claus movies to come out by 1985, and what the authors of common sense fail to realize is this is during the Cold War era when many thought we may have a nuclear war , and many movies had a darker tone. This movie brought joy and a true feeling of Christmas to a public in need of such. As for commercialism, it was very common practice so don't know why its even a thing.
age 8+

Some language but a great story!

As long as you talk to your kiddos about words you don’t use even if you hear them, you should be fine. Damn, and dammit, crap, sucks, and hell are the only questionable words used. But the story has a homeless boy who is tied up and very street smart and calls names like punk, and stupid idiot creep.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (2 ):

The biggest problem with SANTA CLAUS: THE MOVIE is its jarring shift in style, tone, and attitude from the first half of the movie to the second. In the first half, the viewer is presented with a story of how Santa Claus came to be, and the film has the basic air of a wholesome and traditional Christmas movie. However, somewhere along the way, the tone shifts to something more cynical, perhaps like Scrooged in its humor, as the movie moves into 1980s New York City and follows a corrupt and greedy toy manufacturer looking to take Christmas (and its profits) all for himself. Santa Claus makes occasional appearances in the second half, but his scenes are flat-out stolen by the evil toymaker (played with over-the-top gusto by John Lithgow) and his unwitting accomplice, played by Dudley Moore.

If the movie had been entirely like the first half, or entirely like the second half, it would have been much better. Unfortunately, as a movie that tries to be two movies in one, it falls short in every way -- as both an attempt to present a heartwarming story of the origin of Santa Claus and as a satire of corporate 1980s-style greed at the expense of the real Christmas spirit.

Movie Details

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