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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
(2023 Restoration)


Starring: Dudley Moore, John Lithgow, David Huddleston, Judy Cornwell and Burgess Meredith
Distributor: StudioCanal / Park Circus

Certificate: U
Release Date: 13 November 2023

The 1985 Christmas classic Santa Claus: The Movie tells the story of how a common woodcutter (David Huddleston) becomes the legendary Father Christmas. With a fantastical toy workshop run by elves and a herd of flying reindeer, Santa Claus has vowed to ensure that all good children are rewarded at Christmas. But the holiday season soon comes under threat when a rebellious but naïve elf called Patch (Dudley Moore) runs away to modern day New York. Lost in a world he doesn’t understand, Patch finds himself being exploited by a villainous toy manufacturer (John Lithgow). Could this be the end of Christmas or will the festive spirit prevail...?

This movie has become such a staple at Christmas that it's almost unbelievable that it's almost 40 years old. With an original origin story that tells how a simple woodcutter becomes Santa Claus, this movie has delighted generations of children and still continues to entertain not only the very young, but every member of the family.

The movie has been given a 4K restoration and is being rereleased theatrically. So, if you remember this from your childhood, a trip to the cinema is a must. It's aged incredibly well and still works on so many levels. It's also the perfect film to get everyone into the Christmas spirit.

Extras include New Interview with Mrs. Claus: Judy Cornwell (8 min, 23 sec which sees the actress recount some stories about her time on the movie in a 2023 interview); The Making of Santa Claus (50 min, 16 sec behind the scenes feature introduced by Dudley Moore. It looks at the film's reindeer (real and animatronic), shooting the blizzard scene, a look at the toys, elves and workshop. It also shows in more detail the really impressive mini animatronic reindeer and sleigh used for the flying scenes, Patch's mechanical machines, the child actors and how they were cast, and John Lithgow; Shooting the Press Conference Scene (28 min, 12 sec look at numerous takes of the press conference scene); and Deleted Scenes (7 min, 13 sec which includes Don Estelle's deleted scene as the elf cook).

There's a couple of product placements for McDonalds and Coca Cola which feel a little too in your face, but otherwise this is about as perfect a Christmas film as you could hope for. Yes, it's more geared towards young children, but there's enough here to appeal to the child in all of us.

A truly magical, timeless classic.


Darren Rea

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4K Blu-ray