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The Santa Clause is a 1994 American film directed by John Pasquin, distributed by Walt Disney Pictures and co-produced by Hollywood Pictures. It is the only film in the Santa Clause trilogy to be rated PG by the MPAA.

In the film, Tim Allen plays Scott Calvin, an ordinary man who accidentally kills Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. When he and his young son finish Santa's trip and deliveries, they go to the North Pole, where Scott learns he must become the new Santa and convince those he loves that he is indeed Father Christmas.


Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is a divorced father and ad executive with a young son, Charlie, unfortunately Scott and his son aren't very close as Scott spends a lot of time on work. On Christmas Eve, Charlie comes over to spend the night with Scott before going back to his mother's for Christmas Day. That night, they are awakened by a clatter on the roof. Going outside to investigate, Scott can see someone on the roof. He yells at the trespasser, which causes the man to lose his balance and fall to his death. He later appears to be Santa Claus.

Santa magically disappears after his fatal fall, but his familiar red and white suit remains. Scott and Charlie find a card in a pocket which reads If something should happen to me, put on my suit. The reindeer will know what to do. Santa's sleigh and eight reindeer are found perched atop the house. Scott puts on the suit to please Charlie, and begins delivering toys from rooftop to rooftop.

Their final stop is the North Pole. The head elf, Bernard (David Krumholtz), shows Scott a tiny inscription on the card which says that, upon the death of the previous occupant, whoever wears the suit assumes the identity of Santa Claus and all the responsibilities that go with it. This is known as the "Santa Clause", as stated by Bernard: "You put on the suit, you're the big guy." (In other words: he is now Santa for life!) He also gives Charlie a snow globe. Bernard also tells Scott that he only has eleven months, until next Thanksgiving to get his affairs in order before becoming Santa full-time, which he tries to refuse. Bernard tells Scott firmly he does drop the role, he will be disappointing all the children in the world and the belief of Christmas itself will go as well. Then, he meets an elf named Judy who gives Scott some pajamas and a warm drink, sensing something is wrong she talks to him. He explains that he stopped believing in Santa years ago yet now he has to believe again. Judy assures him that seeing isn't believing but rather believing is seeing and explains that children don't need to see this place to believe it's real, they just know it is. She says good night and gives him assurance. Charlie and he spend the night at the factory. The next morning they awake back in Scott's home, where the only indication of their previous night's adventure is Scott's new silk pajamas with "SC" (which stands for either "Santa Claus" or "Scott Calvin") monogrammed on them. Scott dismisses it all as a dream.

Soon, however, Scott starts gaining weight and his boss, Mr. Whittle (Peter Boyle), likens him to the Pillsbury Doughboy. He develops a ravenous taste for Christmas treats, like Christmas cookies and hot cocoa. He grows a long gray beard, and shaving it off has no effect; it regrows instantly. His hair whitens, despite all attempts to dye it. He somehow knows who has been "naughty" and "nice". Children (who somehow know he's Santa despite not dressing the part) approach him with gift requests. Scott's rapid transformation worries his ex, Laura (Wendy Crewson), and her new husband, Neil (Judge Reinhold), who try to terminate his visitation rights to Charlie. They question Scott's mental stability, and believe that his changes are attempts at getting Charlie to like him.

Eventually, Scott's visitation rights to Charlie are taken away. Disheartened, Scott begins to lose some of his certainty about his job as Santa. While visiting Charlie on Thanksgiving, Charlie's insistence that Scott is Santa reawakens Scott's magic and he, with Bernard's help, whisks Charlie away to the North Pole. Laura and Neil, who think Scott has kidnapped Charlie against his will, call the police, who make a massive investigation.

Meanwhile, at the North Pole, Charlie helps Scott and the elves perfect a new sled and communication devices. He calls occasionally, but this only reinforces Laura and Neil's belief that he really is being held against his will. Eventually, Scott, as Santa Claus, goes on with his Christmas Eve trip, but is arrested while delivering presents to Charlie's home, and is falsely accused of kidnapping him. A team of rescue-elves known as the E.L.F.S. (Effective Liberating Flight Squad), free Scott from jail by tying up the front desk guard and using tinsel to break through the bars (which Scott is very impressed by), and fly Scott and Charlie home to his parents, to whom Scott/Santa gives the presents they always wanted since childhood but never got: Laura gets a vintage Mystery Date game and Neil gets an Oscar Mayer "Weenie Whistle". It was because of them not getting these presents that they became convinced Santa didn't exist.

Laura, finally realizing her mistake of not accepting that Scott is the new Santa, tosses the custody papers into the fireplace and welcomes Scott to come see Charlie any time he wants. Bernard tells Charlie that the snow globe is magic. Anytime he wants his father to visit, all he has to do is shake it. Neal owes Charlie an apology for refusing to accept that Scott is the new Santa and Charlie forgives him. After ten minutes, Charlie shakes it and Scott comes back, says he was off to Cleveland, and takes Charlie with him.




The film grossed over USD $144 million in the United States alone and over $189 million worldwide.

Critical reception[]

The film was generally well received by critics, and maintains a "Certified Fresh" rating of 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, with 41 positive reviews from 57 counted and an average rating of 5.9/10. The consensus from the site is "The Santa Clause is utterly undemanding, but it's firmly rooted in the sort of good old-fashioned holiday spirit missing from too many modern yuletide films."


The film's soundtrack, which contains mostly the score composed by Michael Convertino, was released on November 11, 1994 in the United States. It is the only film in The Santa Clause trilogy to be scored by that composer.

  1. Come Together
  2. Immgrint Song
  3. All I Want for Christmas is You
  4. Let's Go
  5. Believing Is Seeing
  6. Sash Completes the Ensemble
  7. Flight
  8. Weightless
  9. Away to the Window
  10. Bells of Christmas
  11. Listen
  12. Goodnight, Goodnight...Don't Forget the Fire Extinguisher
  13. Visitation - The Drifters
  14. Rose Suchak Ladder
  15. Gimme All Your Lovin' - ZZ Top
  16. List - Loreena McKennitt
  17. Elves with Attitude
  18. Someone in Wrapping
  19. Near Capture
  20. Comfort and Joy
  21. Not Over Any Oceans
  22. Christmas Will Return

VHS and DVD[]

The film made its home video debut on VHS and Laserdisc on October 20, 1995. It was later one of Disney's earliest DVD releases, released on October 6, 1998. The DVD presented the film in non-anamorphic widescreen and included the theatrical trailer.

In 2002, to promote the release of The Santa Clause 2, a Special Edition DVD was released, in pan-and-scan fullscreen and anamorphic widescreen variants. It included two featurettes "So You Wanna Be an Elf?" and "Making Santa Snacks with Wolfgang [Puck]" and a set-top trivia game titled "Santa's Helper"; playing through the game allowed the viewer to watch the 1933 Silly Symphonies short The Night Before Christmas. The disc also included two DVD-ROM features, an Advent calendar titled "25 Days Till Christmas", and a writing program titled "Letters to Santa". For some reason, the theatrical trailer was not also included on this disc.

The movie was released on Blu-ray on October 16, 2012, both individually and in a box set with the sequels. The Blu-ray retained the two featurettes from the 2002 DVD, as well as the The Night Before Christmas, but dropped the trivia game and the DVD-ROM features.

The movie was released on DVD and Digital on October 22, 2024 was released, in pan-and-scan full screen variants.


The popularity of the film spawned two sequels: The Santa Clause 2 in 2002 and Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause in 2006. Much of the character cast remains the same for each film, but with some additions.

In The Santa Clause 2, Scott has been declared to be the best Santa ever, but with Charlie on the naughty list and the work becoming more hectic, he learns he must find a suitable wife or give up his duties as Santa.

In The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, the North Pole and its holiday operation is threatened by the villainous Jack Frost (Martin Short), who plans to take over Christmas.

There is also a TV spinoff called The Santa Clauses, which was released in 2022 during the holiday season.


  • Despite its PG rating, several scenes were cut from the film's Freeform broadcasts, including the scene where Scott (while still transforming into Santa) shows his enlarged chest to the dietitian (possibly due to a confusion with nudity) and mild swearing.
  • This movie was filmed from April 26 to July 9, 1994.
  • Initial releases of this movie had Laura giving Scott a card with Neil's mother's phone number before she left. This was removed in future versions because the number on the card, "1-800-SPANK-ME" is a real sex hotline number and it raised huge phone bills.
  • Though the story is set in a city in Illinois, the film was shot in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
  • The books The Berenstain Bears and Trouble with School and The Magic School Bus: On the Ocean Floor can be seen in the classroom of Charlie's school.
  • In the original script, Scott was going to shoot Santa off of the roof with a shotgun. Once Disney bought the script, this was rewritten so that instead Scott scares him off the roof.
  • In 2020, the Disney Channel aired a Lip Switch short presenting an abridged gag dub of The Santa Clause featuring the main cast of Big City Greens (with Bill as Scott, Cricket as Charlie, Tilly as Bernard, and Alice as Comet the reindeer).


External links[]

v - e - d
Disney The Santa Clause Logo
The Santa Clause (video/soundtrack) • The Santa Clause 2 (video/soundtrack) • The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (video/soundtrack) • The Santa Clauses
The Santa Clause: Scott Calvin/Santa ClausCharlie CalvinLaura MillerNeil MillerBernardDet. NunzioMiss DanielsJudyMr. WhittleSusan PerryBobbyPrincipal ComptonDr. Pete NovosJudge G. WhelanOfficer MaloneFireman O'Hara

The Santa Clause 2: Carol Newman-Calvin/Mrs. ClausLucy MillerAbbyCurtisMother NatureFather TimeSandmanTracyToy Santa
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause: Jack FrostBud and Sylvia NewmanCometBuddy Calvin-Claus
The Santa Clauses: Simon ChoksiGrace ChoksiBettyNoelSandra Calvin-ClausDoc MartinMarie CalvinRileyBefanaSanta 17KrampusKris MorenoMagnus Antas

IllinoisNorth Pole
Season One: "Chapter One: Good To Ho" • "Chapter Two: The Secessus Clause" • "Chapter Three: Into the Wobbly Wood" • "Chapter Four: The Shoes Off the Bed Clause" • "Chapter Five: Across the Yule-Verse" • "Chapter Six: A Christmas to Remember"

Season Two: "Chapter Seven: The Kribble Krabble Clause" • "Chapter Eight: Floofy" • "Chapter Nine: No Magic at the Dinner Table!" • "Chapter Ten: Miracle on Dead Creek Road" • "Chapter Eleven: B-E-T-T-Y" • "Chapter Twelve: Wanga Banga Langa"

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Santa Claus is Comin' to TownJingle BellsRun Rudolph RunSanta Claus LaneGreatest Time of Year