How the Toys Saved Christmas

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How the Toys Saved Christmas
La freccia azzurra.jpg
DVD cover
Directed byEnzo D'Alò
Produced byMaria Fares
Written byEnzo D'Alò
Umberto Marino
StarringMary Tyler Moore
Tony Randall
Neil Shee
Music byPaolo Conte
Lanterna Magica
Monipoly Productions
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release date
  • 5 December 1996 (1996-12-05) (Italy)
  • 21 October 1997 (1997-10-21) (North America)
(Home Video release)
Running time
78 minutes

How the Toys Saved Christmas (Original Italian title La freccia azzurra, English: The Blue Arrow) is a 1996 Italian animated film directed by Enzo D'Alò.


When Santa's helper La Befana falls ill and must take off a Christmas Eve, she recruits Scarafoni to help deliver all the toys. No one but the toys know that Scarafoni plans to auction off the toys to the highest bidder, which means the toys won't make it to the children who have been good all year and deserve them. The toys decide to deliver themselves starting with a wind-up teddy bear going to the little boy's bed, and the story follows them as they struggle to avoid the heartless Scarafoni and to find their true homes. Meanwhile, a young boy named Francesco tries to find his true Christmas present - one special friend. In the end, the toys deliver themselves, but Scarafoni still has the money. However, everyone rushes to the toy shop and find Scarafoni with the money and manage to get it back from him, as Scarafoni is sent to prison. Francesco gets his true friend - a new puppy whose name is Jingles (voiced by Sonja Ball).

U.S. version[edit]

In 1997, the film was imported to the U.S. and released direct-to-video by Buena Vista Home Video, under the title "How the Toys Saved Christmas" (although, as shown in the previews, originally going to be titled "The Toys Who Saved Christmas"). The film featured Mary Tyler Moore as the voice for the Befana, who was named "Granny Rose", Tony Randall as Scarafoni (whose name suggest "scarafaggio" that means beetle), who was named "Mr. Grimm", and Michael Caloz as Francesco, who was named "Christopher Winter". The film also had some scenes from the original Italian release deleted or placed before other scenes, along with some music scores taken out and new music added in.

In the original version, the story took place during the Epiphany Eve, because in Italian folklore the Befana is a good witch that gives presents and candies to the children during the night between 5 and 6 January.


Character ItalyOriginal Italian United StatesEnglish Dub (Miramax version)
Santa Neil Shee
Granny Rose Lella Costa Mary Tyler Moore
Mr. Grimm Dario Fo Tony Randall
Mr. Tinker Walter Massey
Christopher Alida Milana Michael Caloz
Jingles the Dog Monica Bertolotti Sonja Ball

Home video releases[edit]

Buena Vista Home Video released the film in its English-dubbed version on DVD in 2003. Echo Bridge Home Entertainment re-released the film on DVD in 2011.

External links[edit]