The basic premise is somewhat dubious the bit about having faith in what looks only like a reindeer and with no evidence it is one of Santas reindeer other than Rebecca Harrell seeing a plaster model falling hardly convinces. Far better is the side of the film that uses Rebecca Harrells belief to change and bring out the softer side of the adults the transformation of Cloris Leachman as Rebecca Harrell drapes her house in Christmas lights, or how Harrells pleas and finally the talk of the reindeer being Prancer manages to win over Abe Vigoda. Sam Elliott gives a typically gruff performance but one that is nicely haunted by seriousness. Rebecca Harrell, with a winning line in whiny pleas, is the standout when she cries you can almost believe they are real tears.
Childrens films always have an inability to cope with unhappy endings. As such, Prancer is trapped by its genre, unable to do anything but avoid a fantastical ending that gives the film its sole means of inclusion here. It would have been a far more interesting film if it had ended on the turning point in the script where Rebecca Harrell realises that she has been a fool to believe and that giving up belief in Santa Claus is part of growing up but alas ...
Director John Hancock first appeared with the eerily haunting horror film Lets Scare Jessica to Death (1971), which has become a minor cult classic. Hancock went on to make the acclaimed baseball drama Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) before being hired and then fired as the director of Jaws 2 (1978). For Hancock, the 1980s and 90s were filled with sporadic tv work and occasional films that never attained much profile, although he did return to the horror genre with Suspended Animation (2000).
There was a made-for-tv movie sequel Prancer Returns (2001).
Full film available online here:-