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Plot:

Horace McNickle (Edward Asner) is a two-time felon serving prison time for counterfeiting. On the week before Christmas, he escapes from prison dressed as Santa Claus due to his uncanny resemblance to St. Nick resulting from his long white beard and heavyset features. McNickle hides out from the police in a nearby suburban neighborhood where he is befriended and helped by two local children who think he is the real Santa Claus. McNickle takes advantage of the kids naivety to help him get his counterfeit money hidden somewhere in a local department store while he develops kind-hearted feelings for his two con victims that make him slowly understand the true nature of Christmas.

Also Known As: A Estrela de Natal, La estrella de Navidad, Seine letzte Chance West, The Christmas Star, La hotte magique, L'estel de Nadal, Kätketty saalis, To asteri ton Hristougennon

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  • jedrzej-winnik
    jedrzej winnik

    A very touching story, sometimes a little hoaky, about how the spirit of Christmas can touch even the crustiest old convict(Ed Asner) through the innocence of one litle kid(Barret Oliver) and his neighborhood friends. I was first drawn to it because of the child acting of Barret Oliver, who appeared in D.A.R.Y.L., The Neverending Story, and several other great movies. Luckily I taped it, because I don’t think it is available anywhere, but stellar performances by Oliver, Asner and Fred Gwynn enhance this Christmas tale.

  • marta-franchuk
    marta franchuk

    *Spoilers* First of all, this movie is…not good. It’s the kind of movie that’s only good if you enjoy watching bad movies to make fun of them. It absolutely does not make sense, even in movie terms. It is corny at best, and ridiculously stupid at worst.The movie follows a convict who escapes from prison by beating up a man from the Salvation Army and stealing his Santa suit. (Just puts you in the spirit doesn’t it?) After we meet our lovable felon Horace, we meet Billy, John, and Trudy. Billy and Trudy are siblings. Billy is an extremely optimistic and gullible young boy, and Trudy is something like a clone of Cindy Brady that went horribly wrong. Their parents are recycled nice parents who love their kids but are stuck in poverty. John on the other hand, is a complete and utter jerk. John’s father is an even bigger jerk who is a caricature of a modern day Scrooge, and is just short of emotionally abusive to his son. Not only that, but he plans on foreclosing on Billy’s family and all the other tenants by the end of the year. Then of course there is John’s (or is it Billy’s?) dog Spider, a scruffy stray that didn’t make the cut for the Annie movie.Anyway, after Horace escapes he becomes a… squatter I suppose, in the building the kids live in. Billy and Trudy find him and believe he is the real Santa, which he reinforces rather unconvincingly. Then he has the kids help him break into some special Santa throne that has a sack of money inside. No…really. Along with that, “Santa” bonds with John, relating to his cold and unfeeling relationship with his father. After Horace finally gets the money he ditches the kids and… has a bizarre Dickens-esque moment on a train he’s escaping on. This makes him go to give John’s dad an equally Dickens-like moment, and Christmas is saved! This movie is bad. The premise is strange, the acting is mediocre at best, and the characters are bland. The end of this movie created more questions in my mind than answered them. It was so confusing and made little sense. Along with that, Billy’s “innocence” is so exaggerated that he comes off as stupid. It might have been more believable if he were under age seven, but the boy is at least ten years old, maybe even twelve. There were some scenes that were decent, even “good” acting, but the characters were underdeveloped, so it had little emotional effect. It’s almost like they tried to put in too many story lines, and never finished any of them well enough. On top of that, the “Christmas star” is completely irrelevant to the plot! It only comes into play during the first few minutes of the movie, and then the last few minutes. Take those out and this would be the exact same, dumb movie. If anything the movie should have been called “The Christmas Convict.” This movie is stupid. Watch one of the other few dozen worthwhile Christmas films instead.

  • fru-margrethe-moller
    fru margrethe moller

    What a wonderful little film! I’ve just seen this on the Family network, and I only wish I’d had the foresight to throw a tape in the VCR, because this film is sadly out of print. I sell rare videos, and if this one ever comes into my paws, I’ll be keeping it! Just a wonderful film you’d like your children and grandchildren to see. Ed Asner steps inside and out of his Mary Tyler Moore character,and turns it inside out to create a gruff, loveable Santa. The child actors are suberb, and heartbreakingly beautiful. The bad guy gets ‘Scrooged’ in the end, in time to brighten everyone’s life, and even the dog that get’s offed returns in a new and brighter form. This film will make any viewer feel a little better, no matter how jaundiced, and in my cynical case, bring a tear to your eye. Lovely rarity, if you have the chance to see this film, turn off the phone and seep yourself in wonderful acting, a fun story, and a return to the Christmases of Yore!

  • univ-prof-gert-schmidt
    univ prof gert schmidt

    What I love the most about Christmas its that their his lots of old movie like this one on TV. It just finished an hour now and I wanted to write about it before I think of something else. This is a lovely film and it confirmed what I knew since a long time,That Barret Oliver was the greatest child actor their was during the 80’s,He his so natural.Even now compare him to Haley Joel Osmend and you can see that Barret was even better. Anyway, the film his simple but it work,after the credit roll you feel happy and full of hope for mankind. It’s a shame that they dont do Christmas movie like this anymore.

  • clavs-kjaer
    clavs kjaer

    ed asner gives a great performance as Horace mcnickle in a Disney family film gifting the full spirit of the festive season mcknickle who escapes prison he was a counterfeiter he looks very like st nick the search is on for him by the police and the one detective who looking for him cant catch a break and want to be home for Xmas but with so many Santa’s to find one is tough ordeal for police mcknickel lost something from his last caper but decides to take advantage of two kids who accidentally find him sleeping rough but as he realizes as it dawns on him about his past his past catches up with in the form of 3 ghost of Xmas past so in order to help the kids he pays hi dues gives them something to cheer so rather than keep running he tries to change and promise to be more cheerful this is a great family movie at 1hr30mins its not to bad

  • daniel-chandler-ii
    daniel chandler ii

    Unrepentant convict Horace McNickle (Edward Asner) escapes from prison by stealing the Santa Claus costume during the Salvation Army party. Vicious landlord Mr. Sumner (Rene Auberjonois) intends to evict everyone during the holiday season. Money is tight for the Jameson family and they’re one of those being evicted. Young boy Billy Jameson finds Horace sleeping in the basement and believes him to be the real Santa Claus. Police detective Waters (Fred Gwynne) suspects that Horace is after his missing stolen loot.This is essentially a Christmas Carol with two Scrooges. It’s uber-cute when the kids come down to the basement to sit on Santa’s lap. This may work better if McNickle gets visited by the three ghosts of Christmas throughout the movie. Instead, it takes a surreal turn in the last act to do its own version of Christmas ghost. The encounter between McNickle and Sumner also needs to be expanded and revised. This is an interesting murkier take on the many Christmas movies.

  • aylin-cadefau-coret
    aylin cadefau coret

    Two youngsters come to Santa’s rescue, so to speak and in turn makes for a merrier Christmas. This Disney Sunday Movie of 1986 is very enjoyable and a shame to be missed. Horace McNickle (Ed Asner) is partner in a heist that manages to walk out of a minimum security prison by “borrowing” a Santa Claus outfit as a disguise. He hides in the basement of an apartment building and is discovered by two impressionable kids, believing he is the real deal. They are easily influenced to help Santa search the loot his partner hid in a department store Christmas decoration. Whimsical and fun. Also featured are: Rene Auberjonois, Fred Gwynne, Nicolas Van Burek , Vickie Wauchope and Jim Metzler.

  • karin-nielsen
    karin nielsen

    It’s a shame that this movie isn’t available on DVD (or VHS, for that matter). Thankfully, I did tape it on VHS (commercials & all) when it last aired. Truly a wonderful film, it made remember some of those “warm & fuzzy” feelings that I used to have about Christmas when I was a child. A Disney © production, maybe someday it will be available for purchase…

  • nathan-ho
    nathan ho

    Yes, a small gem of a Canadian film. Ed Asner is great as usual. I saw it as a little kid (one of my classmates – also once a friend – starred in it. It has been rerun countless of times since and still holds up the test of time. Not a great piece of cinema – but as far a family films and Christmas films go, this is one of the best.For all the “reviewers” who keep adulating about Barrett Oliver’s performance and how he was the best child actor of the 80’s – well here is a shocker: Oliver does not star in this film!! He is confused with the talented Nicolas Van Burek. Please get the info straight before you subject us to your opinions…

  • anu-kivi
    anu kivi

    Probably one of the most underrated Christmas movies out there. Ed Asner was perfectly cast as a grumpy prisoner, the storyline was a very touching one, and the acting was all-around excellent. Would recommend this to anyone. Only wish I could find a tape or DVD of it somewhere …

  • soraia-nascimento
    soraia nascimento

    Disney is releasing this Yuletide classic Sept. 7, 2004. One of the truly great Christmas films. Ed Asner, Fred Gwynne, Rene Auberjenois, and writer/ director Alan Shapiro and his talented crew make this Dickens-esque family perennial a must-see. If you like “A Christmas Carol”, “Miracle on 34th St.”, you will also love “The Christmas Star”. Originally made for Disney’s Sunday Night Movie, it has run for years on X- Mas but, unfortunately, was never released on video — until now. Do yourself a favor and get a copy!

  • curt-brandt
    curt brandt

    Convicted con artist Ed Asner escapes from prison dressed as Santa Claus. He hides out in the basement of an apartment building where two kids live who believe he’s the real Santa. He uses them to help recover some money he hid before he went to prison. As he spends time with the kids and their friends, he softens and slowly starts to understand the true meaning of Christmas.Ed Asner is gruff but likable. That pretty much sums up his career. The kids are good, particularly the adorable little blonde girl. Rene Auberjonois is the obligatory Scrooge character. Fred Gwynne’s the cop on the case. He’s always fun. Susan Tyrrell has one great scene but I wish she was in it more. I’m not entirely sure why Asner’s character didn’t immediately shave and find a change of clothes to help evade capture but I guess we wouldn’t have had a movie then. And how about that prison? They have the dumbest guards imaginable. Dude just literally walked up to the door and asked to be let out. Still, it’s a good TV movie with nice humor and sentimental touches. Corny at times but appropriately so. Gets better as it goes along so stick with it.