Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street

Synopsis of Movie

Forget the December shopping rush... forget that it took you an hour and a half to find parking at the mall…Santa is real! Miracle on 34th Street, taught us that important truth back in 1947, and today, along with Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life and a handful of others, it stands the test of time as a holiday classic.

No-nonsense, heard-it-all-before Macy’s executive Doris Walker desperately needs an in-house Santa. Her new hire certainly looks the part, but as for his heartfelt pleadings that he’s the real thing…well, Doris and her equally skeptical six-year-old daughter Susan (a young Natalie Wood) don’t believe a word of it. “Santa” is deemed mentally unstable, but with the help of a young lawyer, he gets his day in court and a chance to prove he’s no red-suited imposter after all.

If there was ever a man destined to be cast as Kris Kringle, that man was Edmund Gwenn. What he lacked in traditional Santa belly girth, he more than made up for with that cherubic face and grandfatherly voice. Listen to him wax idealistically about how miracles are real, about how we have to have a little faith in this busy, cynical world of ours…even the most perennial Christmas cynic lets his guard down a little, and maybe even goes to work on his toy wish list.

The film also included Thelma Ritter’s auspicious screen debut, paving the way for years of sharp-tongued roles with her turn as an outspoken mother in Macy’s. Just on the strength of this bit part, Fox signed her to a contract. Also look for young actor Jack Albertson (future dad to Charlie in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) as a good-natured postal employee.

Writer Valentine Davies earned an Oscar for Best Original Story (which he adapted that same year into a Miracle on 34th Street novel), George Seaton won for Best Screenplay and Edmund Gwenn won for Best Supporting Actor. And though she may have won no statuette, Natalie Wood won plenty of hearts with her portrayal of Susan Walker. We watch the movie through her eyes, and as this doubting little girl’s beliefs are transformed, so are ours.

Movie Release History

1947 - Miracle on 34th Street

Movie Sub Categories


Movie Studio

20th Century Fox


Doris Walker Maureen O'Hara
Fred Gailey John Payne
Kris Kringle Edmund Gwenn
Judge Henry X. Harper Gene Lockhart
Susan Walker Natalie Wood
Mr. Sawyer Porter Hall
Charles Halloran William Frawley
District Attorney Thomas Mara Jerome Cowan
Mr. Shellhammer Philip Tonge
Post Office Employee   Jack Albertson
Mr. Macy   Harry Antrim
Mrs. Shellhammer   Lela Bliss
Reporter   Jeff Corey
Terry   Teddy Driver
Girl's Mother  Mary Field
Dr. Rogers  William Forrest
Department Store Window Dresser  Robert Gist
Mrs. Harper  Jane Green
Alfred   Alvin Greenman
Assistant to Thomas Mara   Alvin Hammer
Cleo  Theresa Harris
Drunken Santa Claus  Percy Helton
Mr. Gimble  Herbert Heyes
Thomas Mara Jr.  Bobby Hyatt
Reporter  Richard Irving
Doctor  Robert Karnes
Dutch Girl  Marlene Lyden
Macy Salesman  Robert Lynn
Drum Majorette  Ida McGuire
Bailiff  Joseph McInerney
Secretary  Jean O'Connell
Secretary to Mr. Sawyer Anne O'Neal
Mail-Bearing Court Officer  'Snub' Pollard
Peter's Mother  Thelma Ritter
Security Guard  Stephen Roberts
Dr. Pierce  James Seay
Alice  Patty Smith
Mrs. Mara  Ann Staunton
Peter  Anthony Sydes
Post Office Employee  Guy Thomajan
Intern  Basil Walker
Unknown Bob Reeves

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