'Twas the Night Before Christmas

  • Review Date: November 20, 2007
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1974
  • Running Time: 24 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Simple animated tale about believing in Santa.
  • Review Date: November 20, 2007
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1974
  • Running Time: 24 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Positive messages about the importance of meeting faith with action, the need to fix your mistakes when they affect others, and the healing grace of forgiveness.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Santa's actually puffing away on that pipe.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this holiday movie features a skeptic who doubts that Santa is real, and lumps him into a category with leprechauns and fairies. Songs about faith, miracles, and "the maker" give this an overtly Christian tone. An African-American family is repeatedly depicted, a rarity in holiday movies of this era.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

Using Clement Moore's beloved poem as a jumping-off point, 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS provides an imaginative take on what may have been happening in the days before the children were nestled in bed with sugarplum dreams. The answer? A human family and their mouse friends are scrambling to win Santa's favor back, after one of them writes a letter to the paper skeptical of the existence of the jolly old elf.

Is it any good?


This film tackles the notion of believing in Santa head-on, and may be a little risky for kids who are struggling with that notion. On the other hand, the message that we are responsible for helping to make our dreams come true is very positive and may provide the perfect context for having that discussion. Father Mouse (voiced by George Gobel) is wonderfully understanding and forgiving of his son's doubts.

Cheerful songs keep the action moving, and the animation will be familiar to fans of Rankin/Bass' Frosty the Snowman. And the dramatic reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas that caps the action will be seen in a new light, now that the viewer knows the back story.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Albert's actions and what he has to do to rectify his mistakes. Have you ever made a mistake that caused hurt to others, and what did you do to make up for it? What does it mean when the families sing "Even a miracle needs a plan?"

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1974
DVD release date:November 1, 2007
Cast:George Gobel, Joel Grey, Tammy Grimes
Directors:Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass
Studio:Warner Home Video
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:24 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas 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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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; OK 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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Adult Written byTimTheTVGuy October 16, 2012

Fun for the whole family!

There are positive messages,like CSM says.There's also great music,acting,animation,ect.BUT I was pretty suprised when Santa was smoking a pipe.Besides that,PERFECT MOVIE!
Parent of a 4, 4, and 7 year old Written bymagasalee March 18, 2011
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old November 29, 2008
This is a truly wonderful Christmas special! The music is great, the story is creative, the animation is pretty decent (I prefer the claymation side of Rankin-Bass, but the traditional animation is definitely wonderful).


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