Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer lights up with criticism


Critics are considering the Rankin Bass film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which first aired in 1964, “seriously problematic,” according to  The Huffington Post shared a video on Twitter addressing all the problems critics have noticed in the movie, such as Donner, Santa, and Rudolph’s coach verbally abusing him.  The recent strife concerning the movie and its portrayal of bullying is causing dismay among fans, including those in the Sacred Heart Greenwich community.  Many people, however, support the movie because it represents Rudolph as a hero who overcomes adversity.

The DVD cover depicting the Rankin Bass film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Courtesy of

American songwriter Mr. Johnny Marks first wrote the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in response to author Mr. Robert L. May’s book Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Critics argue that the lyrics, notably “all of the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names, they never let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games,” insinuate bullying, according to
The premise of the song is to illustrate how Rudolph, although different because of his red nose, is praised by Santa Claus when he leads the other reindeer through the fog on the night of Christmas Eve to deliver gifts.  Rudolph faced adversity, but became the “hero” of the night, according to
Critics of the movie claim that Donner, Rudolph’s father, his coach, and Santa alienate Rudolph because of his red nose.  Donner and Rudolph’s coach supposedly verbally abuse Rudolph and isolate him from the other reindeer. Donner wants Rudolph to cover his red nose, although Rudolph insists on letting his nose show.  His coach forbids the other reindeer from playing with him as well.  Yet, many fans do not view the film from this negative perspective.
“People accused Santa of being a bully,” American actress Ms. Whoopi Goldberg said, according to “Don’t they know the song?”
Adding to Ms. Goldberg’s opinion, Sacred Heart junior Sophia Curto strongly opposed this criticism and noted the importance the movie has to her and her family.
“The film celebrates Rudolph’s individualism and should not be perceived as a negative concept,” Sophia said. “This version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has been one of my favorite movies since I was little, and brings me and my family so much Christmas cheer.”
Some of the Twitter posts criticizing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Amelia Sheehan ’20

American actress Ms. Corinne Conley voices Sue, a toy doll, in the 1964 film.  Ms. Conley disagreed with the criticism and admitted that although bullying is a serious concern today, the creators intended for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to be a fictional, joyous Christmas story, according to  Ms. Conley concluded by noting that Rudolph’s journey does end happily at the finale of the film.
“Certainly, in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, everyone is reconciled happily at the end of the movie,” Ms. Conley said, according to  “I just can’t imagine it affecting anyone in a negative way.”
– Amelia Sheehan, Sports & Health Editor
Featured Image by Amelia Sheehan ’20