Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town


Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

Critics Consensus

Arriving with light-hearted cheeriness and the best musical numbers, Santa Claus Is Comin To Town is a magical story told by charming wood-figure animation.



Total Count: 14


Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,530
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Movie Info

The story of how Santa Claus came to be is brought to life through the magic of stop-motion animation in this Christmas-themed production for the family. A friendly postman (voiced by Fred Astaire) explains how friendly Kris Kringle (voice of Mickey Rooney), a foundling taken in by a family of toymakers, took it upon himself to bring some happiness to the children of Sombertown, despite the grumpy opposition of Burgermeister Meisterburger (voice of Paul Frees) and the Winter Warlock (voice of Keenan Wynn). Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town was directed and produced by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr., who created another popular animated story of the season, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

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Critic Reviews for Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4)

  • Two of these, ''Santa Claus is Comin' to Town'' and ''The Year Without a Santa Claus,'' [are] both giddy and delightful.

    Nov 26, 2018 | Full Review…
  • This origin story for Santa Claus has all the elements that have made their productions perennial favorites every holiday season, including Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney as the kindly narrator and a young Kris Kringle.

    Nov 26, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Santa Claus is Comin' to Town is your standard non-denominational origin story. A family of elves, fondness for children, deep and abiding love for wooden toys - this is pretty festive stuff.

    Nov 21, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Filled with fun ideas and intricate wood-figure animation, Santa Claus might be the Rankin-Bass high-water mark.

    Nov 20, 2018 | Full Review…

    AV Club Staff

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • So overall it is an odd trippy little film but I enjoyed watching it.

    Apr 17, 2019 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…
  • With terrific set designs and the best musical numbers of any of the old Rankin-Bass animated specials, it really holds up well even to this day. The story of how Santa Claus came to be, it's a must-see if you've got little kids in the household.

    Nov 29, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town

  • Dec 03, 2012
    Classic holiday special
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2011
    Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town stands as the best of the stop-motion animated Christmas classics. Featuring the talents of Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, and the Westminster Children's Choir, this feature is excellently cast. The story is particularly clever in creating an origin story that interweaves and explains all the elements of the Santa Claus mythology: the red suit, flying reindeer, Christmas stockings, etc. The animation is especially well-done and is charming in an old-fashioned way. Additionally, the music plays well with the story and adds to its enjoyment. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town is an enjoyable romp that sparks the magic of childhood.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 11, 2011
    A really wonderful Christmas special from Rankin and Bass. I kind of wish I had these growing up, but I'm glad they are still around today. Fred Astaire plays a mailman that decides to educate us about the origins of Santa Claus. This was done in a very original way, and handled a lot of the traditions in a way I hadn't heard before. In the town of Somber, toys are outlawed. Enter Kris Kringle, a man raised by Elves that love to make toys and have no way of delivering them. We are introduced to some wonderful chaarcters, such as The Winter Warlock and Topper the lost penguin. The songs aren't as memorable as other specials, but the film has so much creativity and charm that I was taken in by it all. Will certainly be promoted to my yearly watchings.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2011
    It is extremely slow-paced, but overall Tim Allen can't touch this. This is a very honest very family friendly "re-telling" of Santa Claus. A definite recommend.
    Jackson W Super Reviewer

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