The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold (1981)

leprechauns christmas gold poster 1981 movie dvd
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Still love Rankin/Bass animation

Weak, forced story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold

Studio:  Rankin/Bass

Genre(s):  Seasonal/Animated

Release Date(s):  December 23, 1981

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

leprechauns-christmas-gold-blarney-kilakilarney -art-carney-old-mag-the-hag

Nothing more Christmasy than a leprechaun and a banshee…

Dinty Doyle accidentally unleashes a banshee called Old Mag the Hag when he digs up the tree trapping her on the Emerald Isle.  Old Mag wants the Christmas gold and now Dinty Doyle and the leprechaun Blarney Kilakilarney must find a way to stop Old Mag the Hag and foil her plans again.

Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr., The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold is a claymation animated holiday story in the line of other holiday classic stories like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.  The special premiered on December 23, 1981 and is rarely re-aired (even during the holiday season).  It is available on DVD as part of other collections.  It features the voice of Art Carney as both the narrator and Blarney Kilakilarney.


Nothing terrifying here…

The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold is a pretty dull Christmas special.  With specials for every holiday, Rankin/Bass started to blend holidays for maximum holiday coverage.  As a result, you get Rudolph’s Shiny New Year and Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July…they aren’t very good quality and feel as forced as their titles imply.  I wasn’t even aware that this one existed in that you never see it on TV…there’s a reason for this.  I don’t see many families gathering together on Christmas Eve to watch a cartoon about leprechauns and evil banshees…that really doesn’t say Christmas to me.


I always loved waking up and getting Christmas gold!

The one thing that specials like The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold does get right is that it has some fantastic stop-motion animation.  When you consider when these films were made and compare them to more modern stop-motion animation like Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas, they are cruder, but you can see how they evolved into modern claymation.  I will say that at a few points, Mag the Hag is a bit scary (especially when she transforms from a young woman into the Hag).

If you are looking for holiday fun, and you’ve seen everything else, check out The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold.  It is only a half-hour special (as opposed to some of Rankin/Bass’ longer animated specials), but it moves quick and maintains the look you’d expect from a great producer of childhood memories.

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.

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