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The Christmas Tree (1996)

A story about a forming friendship between an elderly nun, Sister Anthony, and New York's Rockefeller Center's head gardener Richard Reilly, who wants to fell a tree she's been growing for ... See full summary »


Sally Field


Julie Salamon (book), Jill Weber (book) | 2 more credits »


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Credited cast:
Julie Harris ... Sister Anthony
Trini Alvarado ... Beth
Andrew McCarthy ... Richard Reilly
Suzi Hofrichter ... Anna
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Betty Aberlin ... Sister Sarah
Nili Bassman Nili Bassman ... Anna (Age 18)
Imogene Bliss Imogene Bliss ... Sister Lucia
Therese Courtney Therese Courtney ... Mother Superior (1939)
Angela M. Da Costa Angela M. Da Costa ... Spectator
Lulee Fisher Lulee Fisher ... Sister Rose
Jessica Hecht ... Sister Mary
Shannon Holt Shannon Holt ... Sister Lucia (1939 / 1959)
Lynne Innerst Lynne Innerst ... Sister Frances
Chad Luberger Chad Luberger ... Roy
Kathleen McEntee ... Sister Margaret


A story about a forming friendship between an elderly nun, Sister Anthony, and New York's Rockefeller Center's head gardener Richard Reilly, who wants to fell a tree she's been growing for decades and move it to New York for Christmas display. Written by Abakusek

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family






English | Spanish

Release Date:

22 December 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L'arbre de Noël See more »

Filming Locations:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Gorgeous Christmas film from slim novel...
30 October 2006 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Sure, it's sentimental. Sure, it's schmaltzy. But isn't Christmas, when you get that warm glow from thinking about the holiday season--in a Norman Rockwell kind of setting--just as schmaltzy too? I read the beautifully illustrated book and thought it would make a wonderful present for my sister who lives in Maine. After this made-for-TV film came out, I contacted her to find out how she liked the film--which I thought was wonderful. She just found it empty, not saying much, a disappointment.

But I think it was a very slender story to begin with and Sally Field has directed it with an eye for warm details and, yes, sentiment. And JULIE HARRIS gives the kind of performance she's famous for--simple, earnest, truthful. The tree had become something so close to her that she was reluctant to see it torn down to serve as New York City's famous tree at Rockefeller Center.

Unfortunately, the story details escape me now, having seen it only once the night it made its debut in '96 and expecting that it would become a rerun the way IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE did. No way. All of the performances were fine and although many would find it a bit hokey to make such a fuss over a tree that ends up in Rockefeller Center, it was done in a way that had a magic sort of appeal. Beautifully photographed with lush vistas of New England landscapes, it had a certain charm that tried to capture the warmth of the book.

Summing up: By all means worth seeing, if you can. I have no idea why it has simply disappeared from sight.

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