Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
The holidays just wouldn't be the same without Linus explaining "what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown," the Grinch carving the roast beast, or Rudolph coming to the rescue of the abandoned Misfit Toys. Based on the beloved Johnny Marks song, this was the first, and best, of the Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated holiday specials. Rudolph, whose red nose makes him a North Pole outcast, teams up with kindred misfit spirit Hermey, an elf who aspires to dentistry, and prospector Yukon Cornelius, on an odyssey that leads them to a showdown with the Abominable. The "Bumble," as Cornelius refers to him, has captured Clarice, a young doe whose fondness for Rudolph led her to recklessly go off in search of him. Well, when Rudolph and Clarice return to the North Pole, amid a ferocious storm sure to cancel Santa's annual mission, the reindeer-with-your-nose-so-bright's destiny becomes apparent. And then, when Cornelius and Hermey -- presumed doomed -- return with the defanged Bumble in tow, it's among the most heartwarming finales in the Christmas-classic canon. The superb soundtrack includes "Holly Jolly Christmas," "Jingle Jingle Jingle," "We're a Couple of Misfits," "There's Always Tomorrow," "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year," and "Silver and Gold." Rudolph is presented on DVD fully restored with footage that was deleted over the years for its annual television broadcasts.
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
An instant classic when first broadcast in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has become a Christmas tradition for millions of families. While the stop-motion animation in Rudolph may seem primitive by contemporary standards, it's still a visually effective piece, thanks in large part to the simple but engaging character design. More importantly, the script is a real winner, with lovable and clearly-drawn characters, amusing dialogue and a heartwarming, engrossing story. Using the famous title song as its basis, the script adds in such delightful touches as an Abominable Snowman, an Island of Misfit Toys, and a curious elf who wants nothing more than to be a dentist. Rudolph is also blessed with a charming score, highlighted by the Christmas-themed "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Silver and Gold." Both of these are performed by narrator Burl Ives, who brings a delightful folksy quality to the proceedings. The vocal cast is strong overall, and Larry Roemer's direction is efficient and professional. While the film's creaky production values diminish its appeal somewhat, it's still fine holiday entertainment.