Nutcracker Fantasy is an animated film by Sanrio, loosely based on Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker and E.T.A. Hoffman's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. It was nominated for the 1980 Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film and the 1980 Young Artist Award for Best Motion Picture featuring youth. It won the 1980 Young Artist Award for Best Musical Entertainment.
The movie begins with the narrator talking about the Ragman, a creepy and mysterious old man who turns children into mice if they don't go to bed on time. The Ragman roams around the city looking through windows of people's houses, spying on sleeping children. A little boy is up past his bedtime reading, whereupon the Ragman turns the boy into a mouse.
After the opening, Clara and her aunt Gerda are in Clara's bedroom, and Clara is talking about how excited she is about her cousin Franz's upcoming visit. Aunt Gerda tells Clara to get into bed or else the Ragman will come and turn Clara into a mouse. The door slowly opens, frightening Clara and Aunt Gerda, and a tall figure is behind the door. But it is only Clara's uncle Drosselmeyer. After Uncle Drosselmeyer and Aunt Gerda's conversation, Drosselmeyer talks to Clara and presents her with a gift: a wooden nutcracker doll. Clara simply adores her new nutcracker, and she and Drosselmeyer talk about fantasy and love. Aunt Gerda tells it's time for Clara to sleep. So, Uncle Drosselmeyer says good night to Clara and exits, saying "Tick, tock, tee..." over and over.
As Clara sleeps, she starts dreaming about fantasies, and then awakens to the sound of mice squeaking and to find her nutcracker gone. Clara sees mice making off with the nutcracker and tells them to give it back to her. Clara follows them down the stairs into the living room and sees many mice. She grabs the nutcracker and is confronted by the leader of the mice, the two-headed rat queen, Queen Morphia. Queen Morphia demands that Clara give her the nutcracker, but Clara refuses. A mouse scratches Clara on the arm and Clara starts to fall asleep. Just as Queen Morphia orders the mice to attack Clara, the nutcracker comes alive and fights back while Clara watches. As Queen Morphia and her army flees, Clara falls asleep.
When Clara wakes up, she finds herself in her bedroom with Aunt Gerda tending to her. Clara asks Aunt Gerda if she saw any mice in the living room the previous night, but she denies it. After Aunt Gerda leaves the room, Clara looks at the scratch on her arm and wonders if it was a dream. She then gets up out of bed, exits the room, and looks over the stairs in the living room. She then goes down and looks at the clock and hears Uncle Drosselmeyer saying "Tick, tock, tee..." repeatedly. Clara looks in the clock and then proceeds to climb in.
While walking through the innards of the clock, Clara keeps asking if Uncle Drosselmeyer is inside. It appears to be the Ragman. Frightened, Clara keeps wandering around, but the Ragman keeps popping up. After sitting there, afraid, Clara walks around in darkness and spots a ballerina whom she dances with. Once the dance is finished, it grows even darker, and when the light returns, Clara finds herself in a huge palace.
Voice Cast (in order of appearance)
- Michele Lee- Narrator
- Melissa Gilbert- Clara
- Lurene Tuttle- Aunt Gerda
- Christopher Lee- Uncle Drosselmeyer, Puppeteer, Street Singer, Watchmaker
- Jo Anne Worley- Queen Morphia
- Dick Van Patten- King Goodwin
- Roddy McDowall- Franz Fritz
- Eva Gabor- The Queen of Time
- Nutcracker Fantasy has often been mistaken to be a Rankin-Bass production, due to its similar use of stop-motion Animagic animation. Coincidentally, Nutcracker Fantasy's director, Takeo Nakamura, worked as an animator on the Rankin-Bass special, Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town.
- In the Japanese version, singer Kaoru Sugita (who was 14 at the time) provided Clara's voice.