Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The

MPAA Rating: G

Entertainment: +3

Content: +4

[This 1986 made-for-TV movie was not rated. It was reviewed as a video alternative for current films. Thematic elements would probably earn a G rating]

Every now and then, a children's Christmas story comes along which is outstanding. THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER is one of them. It's been around a while and is now considered something of a classic. It all starts in a small town being decorated for Christmas. Over at the church, Grace (Loretta Swit of TV's M*A*S*H) has just been persuaded to direct the children's Christmas pageant. This is quite a challenge because the Herdman children, Leroy, Ollie, Gladys, Claude, Imogene and Ralph, have decided to try out for the play. They come from a poor, fatherless family and are real terrors. They're members of the church, but spend much of their time cleaning out the offering plate, scribbling on the Bibles and putting chewing gum on the pews.

When the Herdmans bully themselves into the lead parts, everyone but Grace is convinced that the pageant will be a disaster. Grace is determined to make it the best Christmas pageant ever. As rehearsals get under way, Grace finds out that the Herdman children have never heard the Christmas story and reads it to them. Even so, the Herdmans fight and fuss during rehearsals, and Imogene causes quite a commotion when she smokes a cigar in the girl's rest room. When the time finally arrives for the pageant to begin, everything seems to be in order. But not quite. Leroy, who's playing one of the three Wise Men, has gone home to get a more impressive gift for the baby Jesus, a large ham. Not surprising, the pageant is full of bloopers and surprises, but some very touching moments as well. Children will love this meaningful, fun video, and parents will find it delightful too. It is available for rent at many video stores.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language:

Obscene Language:





Sexual Dialogue/Gesture:



Running Time: 60 minutes
Intended Audience: Age 6 and up

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.