Miracle on 34th Street

Critics Consensus

Irrefutable proof that gentle sentimentalism can be the chief ingredient in a wonderful film, Miracle on 34th Street delivers a warm holiday message without resorting to treacle.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 47

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 47,575

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Movie Info

In this Christmas classic, an old man going by the name of Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) fills in for an intoxicated Santa in Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Kringle proves to be such a hit that he is soon appearing regularly at the chain's main store in midtown Manhattan. When Kringle surprises customers and employees alike by claiming that he really is Santa Claus, it leads to a court case to determine his mental health and, more importantly, his authenticity.

Cast & Crew

Maureen O'Hara
Doris Walker
John Payne
Fred Gailey
Edmund Gwenn
Kris Kringle
Gene Lockhart
Judge Henry X. Harper
Natalie Wood
Susan Walker
Porter Hall
Granville Sawyer
William Frawley
Charlie Halloran
Thelma Ritter
Peter's Mom (uncredited)
Jack Albertson
Mail sorter (uncredited)
Jerome Cowan
District Attorney Thomas Mara
George Seaton
Screenwriter
Cyril J. Mockridge
Original Music
Lloyd Ahern Sr.
Cinematographer
Charles G. Clarke
Cinematographer
Robert L. Simpson
Film Editor
Richard Day
Art Director
Richard Irvine
Art Director
Ernest Lansing
Set Decoration
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News & Interviews for Miracle on 34th Street

Critic Reviews for Miracle on 34th Street

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Miracle on 34th Street

  • Dec 24, 2013
    Perhaps it is a crime to rate this with only three stars on Christmas Eve but it seems appropriate. While the story is holiday cheery, it is also a bit time locked rather than timeless. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why attempts to remake it in a more modern period have fallen on their heads.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 06, 2013
    Fred Gailey: Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don't you see? It's not just Kris that's on trial, it's everything he stands for. It's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles. "Capture the spirit of Christmas with this timeless classic!" Miracle on 34th Street is every bit the timeless holiday classic I had heard it was, and is now easily my second favorite Christmas film behind only It's a Wonderful Life. This is a heartwarming and smart film that stays away from all the normal cliches that most holiday films get wrapped up in. It's original in every way, but what you have to love about it is the way it makes you feel. It makes me want to believe in Santa Clause. A man arrives in New York sporting a long white beard and claims his name is Kris Kringle. He is hired on as Macy's Santa Clause when he successfully replaces a drunk Santa Clause for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. A few people begin to think that Kris is insane because of his belief that he is Santa Clause and he is soon brought to trial for commitment to a insane asylum.  The cast is fabulous in this one. Maureen O'Hara is terrific as a mother who doesn't want her daughter believing in any fantasies such as Santa Clause. John Payne gives a good performance as the neighbor of O'Hara's character and Kris's lawyer. Natalie Wood plays Susan, the daughter who doesn't believe in Santa Clause in one of her first roles and her first major role. And Edmund Gwenn is delightful, embodying the very essence of what we would think Santa Clause to be in an Oscar winning role.  Miracle on 34th Street is definitely going to be a new tradition for me around the Christmas season. I'm just a little disappointed that this wasn't always a holiday tradition for me. My parents screwed up there I guess. It's a must see movie, that has wonderful heart and beautiful and witty sense of humor. This is definitely a movie to put on your must see list. 
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 21, 2012
    Miracle on 34th Street is a brilliant and charming Christmas classic about a department store Santa. This movie has a delightful tone and characters to it, and the performance from Edmund Gwenn was astonishing. His kindness and heart is what makes the movie so perfect and memorable. I loved this film and its really a heartwarming experience.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 12, 2012
    Now here is a Christmas movie. There's no BB guns, kids outsmarting criminals, angels getting wings, or Will Ferrells dressed as elves. There's just pure Christmas spirit. Don't get me wrong, those films I referenced are all good and a couple even classics, but I question whether I would put any other holiday movie ahead of this one. This film is synonymous with the spirit of Christmas. As Kris Kringle states in the film, "Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind." That line, along with plenty of other lines and scenes in this film, never fails to get me in the festive mood. It also never fails to give me that warm feeling that only Christmas brings. It isn't quite the same as the goosebumps I get at the end of It's a Wonderful Life, but it's a great feeling nonetheless. One of the biggest things about this film is how simple it is. There is no intricate plotting or deep characters, but it works so well. The actors are all memorable (Edmund Gwenn IS Santa Claus in my mind) and the lines all quotable. If your looking to get in the cheerful spirit of the holidays, look no further than this well acted, funny, and fully enjoyable masterpiece of a film that is among the best (if not THE best) Christmas films out there.
    Drew O Super Reviewer

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