Each movie listed includes:
(1) Title (2) Rating (3) Genres (4) Starring (5) Synopsis (6) My Personal Review (7) Scoring 1-5
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Santa and Pete (1999)
Genres: Drama, Fantasy
Starring: Hume Cronyn, James Earl Jones, Tempestt Bledsoe, and Flex Alexander
Synopsis: A man tells the story of St. Nicholas and his partner.
Review: This is a different take on the Santa origin story. We see how Santa evolved from St. Nicholas including his clothes, the reindeer, and his sleigh. There’s a subtle religious aspect with references to faith. I think children will love this movie. This would be a wonderful film for families to watch together. It’s more grounded than magical but it’s a special story.
Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
Starring: Jay Ripley and Shay Garner
Synopsis: When Santa's sleigh gets stuck in the Florida sand, he tells a group of children the story of Thumbelina until the children and a bunny help him.
Review: I’m struggling to find the words to describe just how awful this movie is. Part of the problem is it makes absolutely no sense. I have no idea where the writer came up with this. The story is, well, not really a story, the costumes are hideous, and the music is enough to make you want ear plugs. This may be the worst movie I’ve ever seen.
Santa and the Three Bears (1970)
Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Hal Smith
Synopsis: When a park ranger tells two bear cubs about Christmas and Santa Claus, they want to skip hibernation to celebrate, but their mother doesn't believe in Saint Nick and wants them to sleep.
Review: This is an adorable movie. Children will love it and it’s one adults will enjoy watching with them. The two cubs’ curiosity and excitement is contagious. The poor mom is doing her best even though she’s exhausted. I actually found myself smiling throughout the movie.
Santa Buddies (2009)
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Danny Woodburn, Tom Bosley, Richard Kind, Christopher Lloyd, George Wendt, and Tim Conway
Synopsis: When Puppy Paws (the fun-loving son of Santa Paws) gets bored, he finds Budderball on Santa's naughty list and figures he's just the dog to show him how to be an ordinary pup. When the magical Christmas Icicle starts to melt however, and the world begins to forget the true meaning of the season, it's up to Puppy Paws and his newfound Buddies to journey back to the North Pole and save Christmas.
Review: Yet another talking animal movie. I found it to be beyond silly but the dogs are cute. I’d put this in the for kids not adults column.
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Starring: Pia Zadora
Synopsis: The Martians kidnap Santa Claus because there is nobody on Mars to give their children presents.
Review: If you like poorly made circa 1960s/1970s sci-fi, you may enjoy this but you’ll probably be the only one. It’s so absurd. The story, acting, effects, and costumes are ridiculous. This can’t even count as “it’s so bad it’s good”. It’s just bad.
Genres: Animation, Fantasy
Starring: Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney,
Synopsis: A mailman reveals the origin of Santa Claus.
Review: This may be my favorite of all the Rankin/Bass productions. I really enjoy the way they explain the origins of Santa Claus including how he got his name, why he delivered toys, his red and white outfit, and how he met Mrs. Claus. Burgermeister Meisterburger provides plenty of comic relief. This is a mandatory must see for us every year. I highly recommend it for children and adults.
Santa Claws (2014)
Genres: Family, Fantasy
Starring: Ezra James Colbert
Synopsis: Tommy, who is unable to celebrate Christmas because his mom says Santa isn't real, leaves his kittens out for Santa to take back to the North Pole, but after a major allergic reaction Santa can't fly the sleigh or deliver presents anymore, so the kittens have to deliver the rest of the presents to all the boys and girls before sunrise.
Review: This movie was so hard to sit through. It’s so insipid. Small children may like the cats but that’s it.
Santa Fake (2019)
Genres: Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Heather Morris, Judd Nelson, and John Rhys-Davies
Synopsis: A young man emigrates from Ireland to the United States and finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of shenanigans. He gets a job as a shopping mall Santa to hide from a gang of hooligans only to find out his role as Santa is more than just a disguise.
Review: Overall this was a good movie. It was corny at points, as so many movies are, but that’s the point. This movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s fun if you can handle the silly.
Santa Girl (2019)
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Barry Bostwick and Jennifer Stone
Synopsis: Fleeing the family business and an arranged marriage, Santa’s daughter chooses a magical adventure of her own: college.
Review: This is blah. Start with Mrs. Claus is dead, Santa doesn’t eat carbs, and their daughter is a lazy and spoiled brat. That about sums up the Christmas spirit of the movie. Of course, everything works out. I just didn’t really care. Maybe more of a movie for tweens.
The Santa Incident (2010)
Genres: Comedy, Family
Starring: Greg Germann and Ione Skye
Synopsis: After his sleigh is shot down while flying through restricted military airspace, an earthbound Santa is sought for questioning by a pair of overzealous Homeland Security agents. The fate of Christmas is now in the hands of the disbelieving by-the-book duo, unless their faith in Santa can be restored by two children and a trio of elves who have arrived from up North to help out a friend in need.
Review: I found this to be a little dumb, children may enjoy the children in the movie. That is if they can handle Santa’s sleigh being shot down. This is one you can skip.
Santa Jaws (2018)
Genres: Adventure, Comedy
Starring: Reid Miller
Synopsis: Trying to survive the family Christmas, Cody makes a wish to be alone, which ends up backfiring when a shark manifests and kills his entire family.
Review: Yes, it’s B movie. No, it’s not campy and fun in a Sharknado way. It’s just plain stupid. A comic drawing shark coming to life. Okay, sure. Then you have mediocre acting and horrible effects. Just awful in every way.
Santa Jr. (2002)
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Lauren Holly, Judd Nelson, and Nick Stabile
Synopsis: Father Christmas's son tries to follow in his father's footsteps, but gets arrested while delivering presents.
Review: I’ll admit it’s a little cheesy but I think it’s a nice family film. I enjoyed the adventures and all the characters. The Christmas magic makes it even better.
Santa Paws 2 (2012)
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Starring: Cheryl Ladd and Pat Finn
Synopsis: When Mrs. Claus travels to Pineville, the playful Santa Pups stow away on her sled. Taking mischief to a whole new level, they begin granting joyful wishes to Pineville's boys and girls, but something goes terribly wrong - the Christmas spirit begins to disappear. Now the Santa Pups and Mrs. Claus must race to save Christmas around the world. From the creators of Disney Buddies, this magical, heartwarming tale is brimming with hope, cheer, and Christmas spirit.
Review: While it’s yet another talking animal movie, this one is better than many others, not that that’s saying much. This one is geared towards children.
Santa Quest (2014)
Starring: John Dunsworth
Synopsis: Renowned Canadian actor John Dunsworth is tackling one of the most challenging acting roles of his illustrious career - becoming Santa Claus.
Review: I enjoyed seeing the Santa Winter Games and some other places. I didn’t like the way Dunsworth vacillated between making Santa a joke and showing him reverence. Between the cursing, talk about parents buying gifts, and other hints about the reality of Santa. I didn’t mind seeing it once but unless you’re a huge Dunsworth fan, I’d skip it.
The Santa Squad (2020)
Genres: Family, Romance
Starring: Aaron Ashmore, Rebecca Dalton, and Jayne Eastwood
Synopsis: An unemployed art teacher has to accept a job with the Santa Squad to help wealthy widower Gordon and his two daughters rediscover the magic of Christmas.
Review: Any time I see Jayne Eastwood I know I’m going to love it. This is no exception. The story of a widower finding love with the woman his children adore is nothing new but the addition of the senior center is fun. It’s a typical love story but the girls are amazing.
Santa Stole Our Dog: A Merry Doggone Christmas (2017)
Genres: Family, Fantasy
Starring: Ed Asner
Synopsis: On a snowy and cold Christmas Eve, Santa Claus accidentally steals the family Dog. So begins an epic journey through the twelve days of Christmas as the family ventures to the North Pole to get their beloved canine back.
Review: This movie started out really slow and a little boring. As it went on, they added Christmas magic. They even included a talking-and sneezing-snowman. The story got better. It even included information on global warming. It’s cute but it seems geared more towards children.
The Santa Suit (2010)
Genres: Drama, Fantasy
Starring: Kevin Sorbo and Jodie Dowdall
Synopsis: Hunter Toys CEO Drake Hunter turned his father's company from a cozy quality manufacturer into a ruthless, profitable business. After denying his staff any festive generosity again, the scrooge is suddenly and magically transformed into Kris Krandall. That forces him to work as a Santa in Norm Dobson's toy store, with weird would be-actor Sebastian. Drake reassesses his values and priorities in life.
Review: The premise is corny but that’s it. I found this to be touching. A man learns how others see him, how to be there for others, how to empathize, and how to be a good man. I truly enjoyed watching this one. This will be an annual movie for us.
Santa Who (2000)
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Musical
Starring: Leslie Nielson, Steven Eckholdt, and Robin Lively
Synopsis: Santa Claus develops amnesia after accidentally falling out of his sleigh and only the innocence of a small child can save him. Meanwhile, Santa has to battle the disbelief of a newsman.
Review: This movie is a little silly but it’s good for children and those who are a child at heart. It’s got everything you’d expect; a child, a grinch, and a Santa in need of help.
Santa With Muscles (1996)
Starring: Hulk Hogan
Synopsis: An evil millionaire believes he is Santa Claus after an accident renders him amnesiac.
Review: If you like Hogan, you may enjoy watching him. Other than that, the movie has nothing to offer.
Santa’s Apprentice (2010)
Genres: Animation, Fantasy
Synopsis: Santa doesn't want to retire, but rules are rules and he must train someone to replace him. The lucky winner, to be chosen from among millions of children, must be named Nicholas, be an orphan and have a pure heart. On the other side of the planet, there is a little boy who is a perfect match, but his lack of self-confidence and fear of heights make him a poor contestant. Will Santa agree to step down, and help his apprentice take his place?
Review: If you want to talk to your children about other children saying there’s no Santa, bullying, orphans, families losing their homes, and why there’s so many Santas because they have to have apprentices, have at it. I believe the way these topics were addressed, plus all being in one movie, makes it dark, joyless, and devoid of Christmas spirit. This movie even made Santa seem not so nice at times.
Santa’s Boot Camp (2016)
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
Starring: Eric Roberts and Storm Reid
Synopsis: Willy Wonka meets "The Breakfast Club" at Christmas. When kids become so bratty and self-centered that Santa's elves go on strike, Santa, in desperation, must bring six unscrupulous youths to his boot camp to help save Christmas.
Review: It’s an enjoyable, if not silly, movie. It’s one that children should really appreciate and parents who don’t appreciate it with them will at least not feel tortured watching it. The elves are played by younger children while the bratty kids are younger teens. This makes it easy to tell them apart. The elf ears don’t hurt either. A good family film.
Santa’s Boots (2018)
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Megan Hilty, Noah Mills, and Teryl Rothery
Synopsis: Holly returns home for Christmas and is put to work as Santa’s elf at her family’s store, where she meets Nick, and falls in love. When Nick disappears days before Christmas, Holly searches for him with her only clue, his black boot.
Review: While the story has many of the classic components of a Christmas romance, the approach to them is something I haven’t seen before. I really enjoyed not knowing exactly how it would end. The cast, the story, and the setting were all wonderful. Keep an eye open for the nod to “Cinderella” at the end.
Santa’s Castle (2018)
Synopsis: Based on L. Frank Baum’s Christmas tales, this is the story of when Santa was kidnapped by a group of creatures determined to cancel Christmas. Santa’s loyal magical creatures have to save Santa and Christmas before the night is over.
Review: This was surprisingly interesting and not what I expected. I’m not sure why it’s not rated G because it’s clearly for children and not scary. The only part that I didn’t care for was some of the costumes, like the elf hat with tons of buttons. This would be good for a family to watch together.
Santa’s Letters (2000)
Starring: Jonathan Arkin
Synopsis: Santa’s curiosity is piqued when he receives a letter from a boy asking him not to visit this year.
Review: This movie was dreadful. The children were played by adult actors. Just trying to keep up with who was a child and who was an adult was tiring. The fact that it’s a low budget indie film has little to do with how bad it is. Skip this one.
Santa’s Summer House (2012)
Genres: Drama, Fantasy
Starring: Daniel Bernhardt
Synopsis: Five travelers land on a strange island and discover they share a common discontent.
Review: This is a standard poorly acted low budget film. If I didn’t know the title, I’d have no idea what’s going on. The croquet scene alone was ridiculously long. The concept is good but very poorly executed.