Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie is a 1998 American Christmas animated adventure musical film about the character of the same name, who first appeared in a 1939 story by Robert L. May. The film was the first theatrical feature from GoodTimes Entertainment, long known as a home video company.[5] It stars Kathleen Barr as the voice of the titular Rudolph, and also features celebrity talents including John Goodman, Eric Idle, Cathy Weseluck, Whoopi Goldberg, Debbie Reynolds, Richard Simmons and Bob Newhart. [6] The film disappointed at the box-office, recouping only $113,484 of its $10 million budget from its theatrical release. [7]

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:
The Movie
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam R. Kowalchuk
Produced byWilliam R. Kowalchuk [1]
Screenplay byMichael Aschner
Story byRobert May
Based onRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Music by
Edited byTom Hok
Distributed byLegacy Releasing
Release date
  • October 16, 1998 (1998-10-16)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million
Box office$113,484[4]


One night, the Sprites of the Northern Lights - a group of singing sprites who fly around the North Pole - witness the birth of a baby reindeer named Rudolph, who has an unusual red, shiny nose. Later, Rudolph and his parents, Blitzen and Mitzi, meet up with Rudolph's three uncles - Dasher, Comet, and Cupid. Cupid tickles Rudolph and triggers his glowing nose, which draws attention and causes Rudolph to be mocked. Meanwhile, two of Santa Claus's elves, Doggle and Boone, cross the ice bridge of the wicked Ice Queen, Stormella, accidentally destroying several ice statues while delivering Santa's mail. When Stormella finds out, she demands Santa hand them over to her. When he refuses, she closes her bridge as punishment and warns that if anyone crosses it, she will create a blizzard so strong it will stop Santa from delivering presents to children around the world on Christmas Eve.

A year later, Rudolph starts school, where he is ridiculed by everyone including his mean-spirited cousin and Cupid's son, Arrow for wanting to be among Santa's reindeer, the Flyers, just like his own father, despite his nose. The only ones who don't tease him are his teacher, Mrs. Prancer and Zoey, a kind young doe who Rudolph has a crush on. After running away from school, Santa Claus meets Rudolph and reassures him that his nose is grand and that to be a Flyer, a reindeer needs to have a true heart, a trait that he sees in Rudolph.

Years later, a teenage Rudolph takes part in the Junior Reindeer Games, for selecting new Flyers for Santa. During a sleigh race event, Arrow (who is in a relationship with Zoey) causes the other competitors to crash and then tries to distract Rudolph by claiming that Zoey is only nice to him because she pities him, making Rudolph's nose glow in anger and accidentally blind Arrow. Though Rudolph wins, he is unjustly disqualified for blinding Arrow and Arrow wins by default. Zoey angrily confronts Arrow and ends their relationship. As Blitzen tries to defend his son's actions towards the rude referee elf, an eavesdropping Rudolph misinterprets his father's statements as an admission of shame towards him, and decides to run away from home.

At night, unknowingly with the help and guidance of the Sprites, Rudolph journeys across the North Pole, and eventually befriends an Arctic fox named Slyly and later, a polar bear named Leonard. Meanwhile, Zoey learns that Rudolph ran away from home, and runs off to search for him. She eventually comes across Stormella's bridge the next morning and decides to cross it despite the consequences. However, she is caught and imprisoned by Stormella. Santa sends Boone and Doggle to search for Rudolph and Zoey. Rudolph meets the Sprites, who teach him how to use his nose properly and inform him of Zoey's capture. Rudolph, Leonard, and Slyly journey to Stormella's castle, but upon arrival, Slyly stays behind out of fear of Stormella's pet wolves while Rudolph and Leonard enter.

After Rudolph and Leonard are captured and imprisoned by Stormella, she unleashes a massive blizzard upon the North Pole. After Stormella goes to sleep, Slyly, having gained some courage, sneaks into her bedroom and retrieves a key that unlocks the prison cells. However, Stormella wakes up, realizes this, and sends her pack of wolves after Rudolph and his friends, who eventually corner them on a cliff. When she threatens to freeze Zoey first, Rudolph uses his nose to blind Stormella, sending her toppling over the cliff and hanging on for dear life. Rudolph and the others then save Stormella, and she gratefully offers to grant him a wish. Much to the Ice Queen's dismay, Rudolph wishes that Stormella would be nice.

Though the wish takes full effect, Stormella is unable to stop the snowstorm that she created. Boone and Doggle later find and bring the entire group back to Santa's Village. Because of the blizzard, Santa is unable to carry out his flight this year, but when he sees Rudolph's glowing nose, Santa asks him to lead his team of Flyers while officially appointing him a true Flyer as well. Rudolph guides Santa's sleigh through the storm, and receives a hero's welcome when he returns.



Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 40% approval rating, based on 5 reviews. The audience gave a more positive score of 59%.[11]


In 1998, four books based on the film were released.

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: A Retelling of the New Animated Movie, which was based on the film's plot. [12]
  • Rudolph Save the Sprites, which served as a sequel and saw Rudolph and Zoey search for the missing Sprites of the Northern Lights.
  • Rudolph's Special Day in Santa's Workshop, which features an infant Rudolph getting a tour of Santa's Workshop.
  • Christmas Town: Rudolph's Sing-A-Long Book, featuring lyrics to the film's songs.


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