Miracle on 34th Street (also called The Big Heart in the UK) became an instant holiday classic as soon as it was released in 1947. The film was written by Valentine Davies, was directed by George Seaton, and starred Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood, John Payne, and Edmund Gwenn.
The miracles begin when Kris shows up to the Macy’s day parade and introduces himself to the parade Santa Claus. However, Kris is disappointed to find the man portraying Santa is drunk! Furious, Kris Kringle reports the Santa imposter to the parade director who in turn convinces Kris to play the role in the parade and subsequently in the department store. Children and adults alike are drawn to Kris and many begin to believe that Kris Kringle is the real Santa Claus.
The film was highly recognized at the Academy Awards. Edmund Gwenn, who played Kris Kringle, won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and the film also won Oscars for Best Writing: Original Story and Best Writing: Screenplay. It was also a nominee for Best Picture. Miracle on 34th Street has since received several other honors. The American Film Institute ranked it ninth on its list of “100 Years… 100 Cheers.” AFI also ranked the film fifth on its list of the top ten films in the fantasy genre. And in 2005, Miracle on 34th Street was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
There have been several remakes of the classic film, including four movies and a Broadway musical. There were television movies made in 1955, 1959, and 1973. The Broadway musical based on Miracle on 34th Street was called Here’s Love and opened in 1963. It was written by Meredith Wilson (who is best known for writing The Music Man). The latest remake of the film was released in 1994. The script was adapted by John Hughes from the original 1947 script, and starred Dylan McDermott, Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins, and Mara Wilson. Macy’s refused to allow this film to use its name, so the store was renamed Cole’s.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade scenes in the 1947 film were shot during the real-life 1946 parade. Since they were using the real parade in the film, re-shoots were of course impossible, so the film crew set up numerous cameras along the parade route to ensure they got everything they needed. Unbeknownst to most parade-watchers, the Santa in the 1946 parade was actually played by Edmund Gwenn, the actor who plays Kris Kingle in the movie.
The scenes at Macy’s were shot on location at the real Macy’s Department Store on 34th Street. During filming, it turned out that the film crew required more electricity than the store could provide, so additional power sources had to be set up in the Macy’s basement.
Despite the fact that Miracle on 34th Street is a Christmas movie, the producers of the original 1947 film wanted to release the film in May, since more people went to see movies in the summer. While advertising the film, they kept the fact that it was a Christmas movie secret! Hop on the Holiday Lights & Movie Sites Tour to get an up close and personal look at Macy’s.
* In an effort to stay current, we are constantly updating our tours with new locations and cannot guarantee the presence of locations mentioned on our site. If you have a particular interest in locations from a specific TV show or movie, please let your tour guide know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.