Christmas Flicks Reindeer Fans Will Love

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Jessica, the daughter of an impoverished farmer, still believes in Santa Claus. So when she comes across a reindeer with an injured leg, it makes perfect sense to her to assume that it is Prancer.
December 13th, 2013

Christmas Flicks Reindeer Fans Will Love

 

Reindeer have become the quintessential Christmas animal, and their heroics allow children around the world to receive presents on Christmas morning. Over the years, a number of films have featured major reindeer characters, and many of these films rank highly on Christmas movie lists. Here are five Christmas movies that reindeer fans are sure to love.

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1. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"

Rudolph, everyone's favorite red-nosed reindeer, first appeared in song and later in comic books. It was the 1964 film, however, that firmly etched Rudolph into the Christmas mythology. The film follows a hard-working, friendly, and adorable reindeer who faces taunts due to his glowing red nose. His tormenters are ruthless, and he is even banned from the Reindeer Games. However, Rudolph's ability to illuminate the night sky gives him a clear advantage, and Santa Claus quickly promotes him to lead reindeer. Along the way, the audience is introduced to the Island of Misfit Toys, one of the most memorable places in any Christmas movie. Watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is a tradition for countless families during the Christmas season.

 

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2. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie"

The popularity of the 1964 Rudolph iteration meant that an updated version was inevitable, and one was released in 1998. Featuring an all-star lineup of talented actors, "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie" expanded on the original song and movie considerably. Comet, Cupid, and Dasher are the young Rudolph's uncles in this version, and his childhood is given a much more thorough treatment. Although this version of the classic tale includes no Island of Misfit Toys, children are sure to empathize with Rudolph and enjoy watching him overcome challenges and ascend to lead reindeer. Thanks in part to stellar voice acting by John Goodman, Whoopi Goldberg, Eric Idle, and Bob Newhart, fans of all ages will appreciate this film.

 

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3. "Prancer"

Some Christmas movie aficionados complain that Rudolph gets too much credit; for them, 1989's "Prancer" is sure to become a favorite. Starring Sam Elliot, Cloris Leachman, and Abe Vigoda, "Prancer" is a live-action film that gives audiences an up-close look at the majestic creatures. After finding a reindeer that has been shot, the protagonist, Jessica, decides to nurse it back to health and protect it from a wide range of potential threats. Santa Claus is never seen, but the sound of sleigh bells and a set of reindeer footprints leading off the edge of a cliff tell Jessica and viewers that Prancer has taken up his rightful place on Santa's sleigh team.

 

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4. "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"

Reindeer are beautiful, graceful creatures. However, they are also large and strong, and anyone caught in the path of a flying reindeer is in trouble. Based on a 1979 novelty song by Elmo and Patsy Trigg Shropshire, 2000's "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" shows the folly of trying to pick up a fruitcake when reindeer might be around. Grandma's amnesia causes a series of mishaps, and the characters must make difficult decisions about what to do with her shop. The animation in this hour-long film is delightful, and the writers' ability to transform a simple song into a worthwhile Christmas film is commendable.

 

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5. "The White Reindeer"

Most films involving reindeer are lighthearted; 1952's "White Reindeer" stands as a stark exception to this rule. This Finnish horror film, which is partially based on ancient Finnish folklore, follows the love affair of a young woman and a reindeer shepherd. The reindeer shepherd's duties keep the couple apart, which leaves the woman lonely. As a means to spend more time with her husband, she visits a local shaman for assistance. Unfortunately, her transformation into a shapeshifting vampire reindeer does not go over well with the villagers, and she finds herself hunted by locals. While the film lacks the terror of modern filming, it has a distinctly Nordic feel to it, and the photography alone is enough to compel a viewing.

 

Reindeer are staples of the Christmas holiday, and it is only thanks to their heroics and flying ability that children are able to receive presents. Since their introduction to the Christmas mythology in 1823 via the poem most commonly known as "The Night Before Christmas," writers and filmmakers have expanded greatly on how they help Santa Claus. While any film involving Rudolph is sure to be a hit with kids, those who enjoy the majestic creatures will find a number of great options to watch when Christmas draws near.

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