Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

miracle on 34th street poster 1934
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great script, sometimes a bit dark, great acting


Movie Info

Movie Name: Miracle on 34th St.

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Genre(s): Drama/Family/Seasonal

Release Date(s): May 2, 1947

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

miracle on 34th street edmund gwenn natalie wood

My mom says you’re not real…

Santa Claus is coming to town…the real Santa Claus…or is he?  A man (Edmund Gwenn) claiming to be Santa Claus has turned New York City upside down by revolutionizing shopping for Macy’s by actually helping parents get their children the toys they want.  When he meets a little girl named Susan (Natalie Wood) and her divorced mother Doris (Maureen O’Hara), he learns Susan doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.  Kris Kringle’s identity comes into question and now a young attorney Fred Gailey (John Payne) must prove in a court of law that Santa does exist.

Directed by George Seaton, Miracle on 34th Street was actually a summer movie (advertising campaigns worked to hide that it was a Christmas movie).  The movie was well received and won an Academy Award for Supporting Actor for Edmund Gwenn, Best Writing for an Original Story, and Best Original Screenplay.  It lost a Best Picture award to Gentleman’s Agreement.

miracle on 34th street santa mental hospital edmund gwenn john payne

Yo…you’re crazy, dude.

Miracle on 34th Street was a mainstay on holiday weekends growing up.  It played a lot but not as much as It’s a Wonderful Life…but as a kid the movie was much more accessible and more in the spirit of Christmas.

The story is a very smart story that is also very cynical and somewhat dark.  It is remembered as a happy story that goes to show the power of belief, but there are also moments where Gwenn’s character is considered mentally unstable (and a trip to the mental institution).  It is an uplifting story overall, but it isn’t as light as people might remember.

The acting is very strong and it is a great ensemble cast.  Gwenn is the perfect Santa Claus and radiates a warmth but also seems like the type of guy who make the hard calls when a kid is naughty.  O’Hara and Wood make a great mother and daughter and it is kind of interesting to see a divorced mother at this time (usually it seems like a single woman with a child has been widowed in older movies).

miracle on 34th street macys gimbels shake edmund gwenn

Bringing salespeople together to screw children

The movie has the classic look of Christmas including a trip to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  In the idea of a child’s view of Christmas, the visuals (despite dated to the ’40s) still hold true to what you imagine Christmas to be as a kid.

Miracle on 34th St. is one of the best Christmas movies out there.  It is a strong, smart movie that has held up well over the years.  There have been remakes including a big screen adaptation in 1994 and stage adaptation, but stick to to the original if you have a choice.  Even an adult can enjoy Miracle on 34th Street, and it can make you believe.

Related Links:

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response