Miracle on 34th Street (1994 film)

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Miracle on 34th Street
Miracle on 34th Street poster.jpg
Original theatrical poster
Directed by Les Mayfield
Produced by John Hughes
William Ryan
William S. Beasley
Screenplay by George Seaton
John Hughes
Based on Miracle on 34th Street, story by Valentine Davies, original screenplay by George Seaton
Starring Richard Attenborough
Mara Wilson
Elizabeth Perkins
Dylan McDermott
J. T. Walsh
Music by Bruce Broughton
Cinematography Julio Macat
Edited by Raja Gosnell
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • November 18, 1994 (1994-11-18)
Running time 114 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $46,264,384[1]

Miracle on 34th Street is a 1994 American Christmas fantasy film written and produced by John Hughes, and directed by Les Mayfield (the two would reunite for 1997's Flubber). It stars Richard Attenborough, Mara Wilson, Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan McDermott, and Horatio Sanz, and is the fourth remake (and the second theatrical version) of the original 1947 film. Like the original, this film was released by 20th Century Fox, to mixed to positive reception.

The New York City–based Macy's department store declined any part of this remake, so the fictitious "Cole's" was used as its replacement. Gimbels had gone out of business in 1987; hence it was replaced by the fictional "Shopper's Express".

Plot[edit]

When the Cole's Santa Claus gets drunk before taking part in the Thanksgiving parade, Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins), Cole's director of special events, fires him and must find a replacement immediately. She spots an old man (Richard Attenborough) berating the inebriated Santa, and begs him to take over. He claims his name is Kris Kringle. Kris does so well during the parade that he is immediately hired to be Cole's main Santa for the holiday period. All the children in New York begin to believe that he is the real Santa, with the exception of Dorey's six-year-old daughter Susan (Mara Wilson). Dorey's boyfriend, Bryan Bedford (Dylan McDermott), does his best to convince Susan to believe. While being babysat one night by Kris, Susan shares with him her Christmas wish, she would like a dad, a house (used every year for the Cole's catalogue photoshoot) and a baby brother. Kris asks if she would begin to believe in Santa if she got all those things. Susan agrees that she would.

Kris is credited with bringing in many more sales to Cole's than previous years, until one night, when he is arrested, then sanctioned for supposedly assaulting a man on the street. Later, the truth emerges, that the man he assaulted was the original drunk Santa, who set up Kris to be arrested, with the help of members of staff from a rival of Cole's, Shopper's Express. With the help of Bryan, Dorey takes Kris's case to court, and drums up support for him from the public. It soon becomes clear that to get Kris acquitted and freed, Bryan must prove that not only does Santa exist, but that Kris is the real one. It is a seemingly impossible task until Bryan comes up with a plan that requires some help from Susan.

Just as the judge is about to make his decision – and it seems he was going to rule against Kris – Susan walks up to the judge with a Christmas card containing a $1 bill. On the back, the words In God we trust are circled. The judge realizes that, since the U.S. Department of Treasury can believe in God with no hard evidence, then the people of New York can believe in Santa Claus in the same way. This leaves the elated judge no other choice but to declare that Santa is real, thus freeing Kris.

Following the court case, Dorey and Bryan are maneuvered by Kris into realizing their true feelings for each other, and are married in a very small ceremony right after the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. On Christmas morning, Susan wakes to the news of the marriage and is elated to see that she has part one of her Christmas wish, a dad. Together, Susan, Dorey and Bryan drive out to the catalogue house and upon arrival, find that Kris has arranged for them to purchase the house. Susan, now having got two out of three of her wishes, excitedly runs upstairs in the house to look at her bedroom. Dorey and Bryan ask her what the last part of her Christmas wish was, and she triumphantly announces that it was a baby brother. Dorey and Bryan both look at each other, shocked, before glancing down at Dorey's stomach and sharing a kiss. The film ends with the belief that Susan has now gotten all she asked for in her wish. It is mentioned that Kris has gone overseas.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

At the box office, the film opened at #8 with $2,753,208[2] and eventually finished with $17,320,146 in North America and $46,264,384 worldwide.[1]

The film received mixed to positive reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film a score of 61% based on reviews from 23 critics.[3] TV Guide called the film "curiously depressing",[4] while Desson Howe of The Washington Post claimed that, by comparison to the 1947 version, "[it] will not be found on television (or its computer equivalent) half a century from now."[5] Its supporters include Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert, who gave the film "two thumbs up" on their show (the quote is also on the front of the movie's home video release). Michael Medved of Sneak Previews said "This is the new holiday classic America has been waiting for."

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