Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1948 film)

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Directed byMax Fleischer
Produced byMax Fleischer
Written byRobert L. May
StarringPaul Wing
Narrated byPaul Wing
Music by
CinematographyCharles Schettler
Animation by
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byJam Handy Organization
Release date
  • November 11, 1948 (1948-11-11)
Running time
CountryUnited States

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a 1948 animated short film produced and directed by Max Fleischer for Jam Handy based on the 1939 Robert L. May poem Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, about a flying reindeer who helps Santa Claus.

The song and the scenes were added in Very Merry Christmas Songs, the Christmas video volume from Disney's Sing Along Songs. [1]

It was also featured on Rifftrax in 2009. [2]


Rudolph is a reindeer, with an unusual red nose that shines (some would even say that it glows). Because of this, he is laughed at and told to go home by his peers. Saddened, he goes home, hangs his stocking and goes to bed. Meanwhile, at the North Pole, Santa Claus notices that the coming fog will be difficult to get through. Nevertheless, he and his reindeer brave out the storm and go anyway. While on the way, an airplane throws them off course; they land at Rudolph's house, where Santa greets him. Telling Rudolph, "I need you tonight to guide my deer on the rest of our flight", Rudolph helps them. Due to his bravery and his glowing nose, he is accepted and respected by his fellow reindeer and made their commander-in-chief by Santa; the reindeer enjoy a merry Christmas together. [3]



This 8 minute animated interpretation of the Christmas poem preceded Gene Autry's 1949 song "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and the animated 1964 version. It was based on Robert L. May's 1939 story, rather than the song. [5] The 1964 film more closely resembles the song rather than the original story. [6]

This short film was created to advertise Montgomery Ward department stores, the publisher of the original story. The original release included a credit for the company, and it lacked the famous song, with the opening credits instead playing over an instrumental version of "Silent Night, Holy Night". The 1951 re-release of the film added a choral version of the song to the credits and removed the Montgomery Ward name.[7]

The 1951 reissue is widely available on public domain video tapes and DVDs, as well as on the Internet. The original version is stored at the Library of Congress, and it was posted online by them in 2014.[7]


  1. ^ Disney Sing-Along-Songs: Very Merry Christmas Songs (Video 1988)-Connections-IMDB
  2. ^ RiffTrax
  3. ^ FilmAffinity
  4. ^ Flickchart
  5. ^ Library of Congress Unveils ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Restoration|Animation World Network
  6. ^ Rudolph the Red-Nosed
  7. ^ a b Mashon, Mike. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's First Starring Film Role". Library of Congress Blogs: Now See Hear!. Retrieved 12 April 2018.

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