What are some of the Rankin Bass Christmas movies produced by Rankin/Bass Productions?
This animation company produced one of the all-time classic and much-loved holiday programs.
The company behind the iconic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer shorts has also worked on other projects.
Initially established in 1960 as Videocraft International, Ltd., the company changed its name to Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc. in 1968.
Their signature Animagic stop-motion works include doll-like characters and were groundbreaking when they were released (a single-frame stop-motion method).
Nine features, thirty-three TV specials, thirteen TV series, and four TV movies were produced during the studio’s run.
Despite the fact that Rankin/Bass went out of business after being acquired by Lorimar-Telepictures in 1987, their holiday-themed programs have endured.
Rankin/Christmas Bass’s specials hold a unique position in our annual celebrations because they are magical, touching, and epitomize the holiday spirit in every way. On the other hand, some specials are different.
Without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of Rankin bass Christmas movies Worth watching this Christmas holiday.
1. The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold (1981)
In search of a Christmas tree, a young Irish sailor called Dinty Doyle sails to an undiscovered island.
When he digs up the tree he came for; he releases Old Mag the Hag, a banshee who wants to take the riches from the Leprechauns who live on the island.
She will surely perish if she has the gold before Christmas. Now Dinty must guard the precious metal.
This movie has proven to be one of the Rankin bass Christmas movies worth watching this Christmas holiday.
The film’s holiday references seem irritatingly tacked on, the protagonist is a bumbling idiot, and the villain’s unjustifiable and cruel demise isn’t resolved satisfactorily.
While the studio put much effort into earlier specials, this one needs to measure up.
2. The Little Drummer Boy, Book II (1976)
Second in the list of Rankin bass movies is The Little Drummer Boy, Book II (1976).
It’s a continuation of the previous Little Drummer Boy special. Therefore it has the same religious undertones.
Aaron, a young orphan, and his three animal pals join up with one of the historical Magi to defend a pair of silver bells intended to toll at Christ’s birth from a troop of greedy Roman soldiers.
This film provides a warm and satisfying holiday tale. It’s not terrible, but it’s not high on the list because it’s very obnoxious.
3. The First Christmas: The Legend of the First Christmas Snow (1975)
A group of nuns from a neighboring monastery take in Lucas, a blinded orphan shepherd after he is hit by lightning. A gentle nun tells Lucas, who has never seen snow, everything about it.
Lucas is cast as the angel in the school’s annual Christmas pageant, and the audience witnesses snowfall and a series of miraculous occurrences.
Unlike the rest of the Rankin Bass Christmas movies on this list, this half-hour program is grounded more in reality.
Despite its protagonist’s tragedy, the piece captures the warmth and comfort of a cozy winter evening.
4. Pinocchio’s Holiday (9/12) (1980)
To purchase Gepetto a Christmas present, Pinocchio needs money. After being conned out of his money, he becomes a part of a puppet performance, takes possession of a puppet called Julietta, and escapes.
Pinocchio’s Blue Fairy, Lady Azure, advises him that love is all he needs to give Gepetto in the film.
After a long journey, Pinocchio returns home just in time for a Christmas morning meal.
The movie, one of the Rankin bass Christmas movies, takes on the story of Pinocchio in a refreshingly devoid of Disney trappings.
It’s lighthearted and entertaining, with a fresh spin on both the original narrative and the holiday classic.
Still, it didn’t cut since it was less authentic and impactful than some of our other submissions.
5. Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979)
Years ago, a terrible wizard called Winterbolt was put to sleep by Lady Borealis. At her death, Lady Borealis transferred the remainder of her power to Rudolph, giving him his signature red, shining nose.
Frosty and Rudolph join a circus to figure out how to beat Winterbolt and his accomplices.
While Rudolph’s power is temporarily drained, Winterbolt is transformed into a tree, and Frosty’s whole family is killed, Jack Frost rides in from South America on Big Ben the Clockwork Whale and brings them all back to life.
I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out: this special is bizarre, and you’d be right to think so.
The film’s outlandish premise and extensive development of Rudolph’s legend that no one asked for give the entire thing a ridiculous air, making it seem like fanfiction written by a lunatic.
This movie is also worth watching with your family if you are looking for one of Rankin bass Christmas movies.
6. Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977)
Donkey Nestor stands out due to his unusually large ears. Nestor’s donkeys are stolen by Roman soldiers who also capture Nestor.
Olaf, Nestor’s owner, places the responsibility on the animal and sends him and his mother outside in the storm.
Nestor’s mom passes away amid the blizzard. Tilly, a cherub Nestor encounters later, informs him that his ears can hear things that no one else can.
They go to Bethlehem, where Mary and Joseph welcome Nestor because of his “soft eyes.” When Mary is ready to give birth, he guides her and Joseph through a desert storm without incident.
The film’s emotive character journey and attractive protagonist make up for the fact that it plays out like a bizarre rehash of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Dumbo with a Christian twist.
7. The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
Aaron, a young farmhand, receives a drum that causes the animals to dance. However, Aaron’s parents are murdered by bandits who also take their cattle and burn down their property.
Aaron, now tired, is conscripted to serve as a caravan entertainer despite his newfound antipathy for human beings.
Aaron departs with his donkey and lamb when the caravan leader haggles the price of his camel.
The lamb is injured when a Roman chariot collides with him as he tries to reach the camel.
In hopes that the infant Jesus might cure the lamb, Aaron plays the drums in his honor. Aaron’s happiness returns when the lamb is saved.
If you were brought up in a Christian family, the story of The Little Drummer Boy, one of Rankin bass Christmas movies, is likely one of your favorites.
In this drama, filmmaker Jason Reitman treads a fine line between sorrow and optimism, with Aaron’s tragic past providing the film’s most potent emotional foundation. And that’s why it’s so satisfying when he finally does.
8. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
A baby reindeer named Rudolph was born with an unusual sparkling nose. With another outcast, an elf called Hermey, who aspires to be a dentist, he decides to break for it.
Eventually, they find themselves on the Island of Misfit Toys after meeting Yukon Cornelius and facing the fearsome Abominable Snow Monster. On Christmas Eve, Rudolph makes his annual visit to Santa’s Workshop.
A snowstorm prevents him from flying, but Santa is persuaded to let him take to the skies once he sees Rudolph’s glistening nose.
Christmas is saved when Rudolph becomes the sleigh’s leader instead of Blitzen.
Although a timeless classic, it does not hold the top spot. Maybe it’s because the story’s been told so many times, but this movie doesn’t strike out as anything special.
And yet, wrapped up in the cozy blanket of a white Christmas, this narrative remains a classic in its ability to teach a universal lesson about the value of loving oneself and others around you. This is indeed one of the best Rankin bass Christmas movies.
9. The Complete Story of Santa Claus (1985)
The Great Ak discovers a baby in the woods, giving it to a lioness and a fairy to care after.
After seeing life in the mortal world for the first time, thanks to Ak, Claus resolves to stay and try to improve it.
He achieves this goal by creating toys for the kids in the community. But King Awgwa and his people attempt to thwart Claus, which sparks hostilities with the immortals.
In the end, the immortal’s triumphs, and Santa makes his rounds to give goodies.
Children start to refer to him as “Saint Claus” or “Santa Claus” because of his generosity.
We learn at the story’s conclusion that Claus has been accepted into the ranks of the Immortals by the Council.
This is the last Rankin/Bass stop-motion Christmas special, and while it is not a very well-known picture, it is nonetheless one of the best Rankin bass Christmas movies.
The inventive backstory, entertaining characters, and unexpectedly fascinating action are all hallmarks of the studio’s narrative approach, and they all appear here.
However, the graphics of the picture seem odd as a consequence of the crew’s attempts at experimentation.
10. Jack Frost (1979)
After saving a human girl called Elisa from Kubla Kraus, Jack Frost finds himself falling in love with her.
After Elisa announces her love for Jack, he turns to Father Winter, pleading for him to take human form so that he and Elisa may wed.
So Jack and his two pals decide to become humans. Kraus kidnaps Elisa again, and Sir Ravenal has to come to the rescue.
When Jack and his pals transform back into sprites, he freezes Kraus and his army with a snowstorm.
To depose Kraus, Jack reverts to human form and leads the soldiers to their doom by leading them down a cliff.
He returns to Elisa with the intent of proposing but is crushed to learn that she is already engaged to Sir Ravenal.
Jack gives his approval to the union and goes back to his pixie self. In contrast to our other top picks, this film centers on Jack Frost rather than Santa and is fun.
The story the villain comes up with is entertaining, the visuals are clever and endearing, and the way the story and romantic plot are resolved is a nice change of pace from the typical “main good guy has to get the girl.” This story has a happy ending and a magical, whimsical feel.
11. The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
The Year without a Santa Claus is another thrilling addition to the Rankin bass Christmas movies.
Because of his illness, Santa has decided to postpone the holiday. Santa’s wife, Mrs. Claus, has sent two elves, Jingle and Jangle, to track out a child or adult who may be lonely without him.
When they go to Southtown, they discover that none of the kids there believe in Santa.
After some shenanigans cause it to snow in Southtown, the mayor contacts other mayors, and Santa gets a day off work everywhere.
Santa is moved by the letter but immediately sets to work, announcing that Christmas will go as planned.
A video that shows Santa Claus as a kind person who wants to be recognized for his efforts is a rare and unique thing.
The picture also has great creative aspects, such as the Miser Brothers, and a heartwarming subplot involving the rediscovery of the joy of fantasy.
12. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970)
The Kringle Elves take up an abandoned newborn and name him Kris. The citizens of Sombertown can count on Kris Kringle to bring the toys he and his family have manufactured for them.
However, after being hurt by a toy himself, the Burgermeister Meisterburger has passed a rule making it a crime for anybody to have one in their possession.
By becoming friends with the town’s kids and their teacher and supplying them with gifts, Kris attracts the attention of the authorities.
Instead of staying in prison, he escapes and eventually makes his way to the North Pole, where he assumes the identity of Santa Claus.
A masterwork worthy of first place has been found. Both the heroes and the bad guys are hilariously amazing.
The animation and storyline make it one of the classic Rankin bass Christmas movies.
The story is complex and well-developed without being overlong. Excellent pace, gorgeously designed images, a story full of emotion, and the uplifting messages of Christmas make for a very great film.