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The Nutcracker (1977)

The television adaptation of the Baryshnikov production.


Tony Charmoli


Yanna Kroyt Brandt (narration)
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mikhail Baryshnikov ... Nutcracker / Prince
Gelsey Kirkland ... Clara
Alexander Minz ... Drosselmeyer
Gayle Young Gayle Young ... Mr. Stahlbaum
Sallie Wilson Sallie Wilson ... Mrs. Stahlbaum
Warren Conover Warren Conover ... Fritz - Clara's Brother / Shepherd Dancer
Rebecca Wright Rebecca Wright ... Doll
George De La Pena ... The Moor / Russian Dance
Marcos Paredes ... The Mouse King / Drunken Christmas Party Guest
Cynthia Harvey Cynthia Harvey ... Snowflake Soloist
Jolinda Menendez Jolinda Menendez ... Snowflake Soloist / Spanish Dance
Rodney Gustafson Rodney Gustafson ... Court Buffoon
Charles Maple Charles Maple ... Court Buffoon
Eric Nesbitt Eric Nesbitt ... Court Buffoon
Gregory Osborne Gregory Osborne ... Court Buffoon / Harlequin


The television adaptation of the Baryshnikov production.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This Friday, [December 16, 1977] join Mikhail Baryshnikov in the realm of toy soldiers, dancing snowflakes, and sheer magical entertainment. (poster for original telecast)


Fantasy | Music | Romance

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

16 December 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Nutcracker See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Company Credits

Production Co:

Jodav Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (original telecast)| Stereo (recent telecasts)



Aspect Ratio:

See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Gelsey Kirkland nearly dropped out of the program in order to undergo plastic surgery (to remove her silicone breast implants). See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: It is Christmas Eve. In just a few hours, the clock will chime midnight - a time of magic, and of dreams.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Marcos Paredes, who dances both the roles of The Mouse King and the drunken guest at the Christmas party, does not receive any screen credit for playing the drunken guest. See more »

Alternate Versions

The opening narration itself, the only section of the narration included on the 2004 DVD and all current telecasts, has been somewhat altered as well. On the original CBS telecasts, and on the first few PBS telecasts, all the dolls that Drosselmeyer conjures up were identified by the narrator, including the Harlequin, the Ballerina Doll, and the Moor. (This was before the actual Christmas Party scene.) On the remastered DVD, and on current telecasts, the Harlequin, the Moor, and the Ballerina Doll are not actually identified by the narrator; the camera simply pans over them as the music plays. See more »


Version of Barbie in the Nutcracker (2001) See more »


The Nutcracker
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played by the National Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Schermerhorn, with the boys of the Desborough School Chorus, conducted by Roger Durston
See more »

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User Reviews

Baryshinikov's and Kirkland's solo and duet dancing brilliant in this best of all possible and produced Nutcracker ballets!
26 December 2017 | by texallennycSee all my reviews

The Nutcracker (1977) ballet starred then 29 year old Michail Baryshnikov who, in 1977, could out do Michael Jordan and Disney's Peter Pan (1952) in the "flying effortlessly" department. Baryshikov and his 1977 dance partner and muse, Gelsey Kirkland, defied gravity when this classic ballet was produced on monster, empty, no-audience TV sound stages in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The camera didn't lie. Those two really did what viewers can still watch and admire, can still gasp at while smiling in delighted amazement.

Ballet is all about human beings who can fly ......... defy gravity when all is said and done. The best ballet dancers (Baryshikov and Kirkland in the 1977 version of The Nutcracker ballet) do it better than others ...... fly higher, longer, and smoother.

Not many ballet dancers (or people generally) can fly. That was true of the National Ballet Company of Canada supporting dancers who fill out the parts of this show when Baryshikov and Kirkland are not on stage, busy mesmerizing viewers.

Baryshikov and his management staff produced The Nutcracker in Canada on the cheap for TV broadcast. They went over the USA border to Canada where union problems and costs which encumber producers in USA ballet cities (New York City and Los Angeles) were not present, and where a very large, detailed, and gaudy background stage setting could be built on one of Toronto Canada's then huge sound stages.

The result was that Baryshinikov and Kirkland's amazing flying abilities were provided with a much more spacious venue than normal stages in the USA ever offer. The setting in the Nutcracker (1977) was spacious and wonderfully decorated, and the very space and stage decoration of this show became co-stars with the amazing flying dance abilities of the two major stars.

Michail Baryshikov was 29 years old in 1977, and was at the height of his airborne talents.

Baryshikov's choreography in the Arabian dance, Russian dance, Chinese dance segments of the presented ballet is absolutely unparalleled.

The action slows down when Baryshikov and Kirkland are not dancing.

National Ballet Of Canada dancers (probably not paid or rehearsed much for this thrifty dance show) perform for Michail Baryshikov and Gelsey Kirkland.

They are adequate. They are not brilliant or memorable. Not at all as good as the two main stars.

These secondary National Ballet Company Of Canada dancers perform by turns a Spanish dance, an Arabian dance, a Russian dance, a Chinese dance, each performed by a male and female duo. These secondary dancers are not gifted with the sort of precision and therefore the grace of the star dancers, and the contrast is noticeable.

Not to worry, not to gripe.

The chance to see Michail Baryshikov and Gelsey Kirkland dance (fly effortlessly) at the height of their dance careers and abilities is worth the price of admission and the time invested in watching their incredible performances. Never mind about less than ideal "fill in" parts of the show unavoidable because material resources (money!) was limited, and because spectacular dance talent is hard to find, manage, recruit. It's never cheap when it is presented, and the quest for "cheap" explains the shortcomings of this show.

"It's a waste of time to worry over things that they have not! Be thankful for ....................... the things they've got!" (There Is Nothing Like A Dame song from the broadway stage musical 1949 classic, South Pacific). -------------------------- Written by Tex Allen, SAG/AFTRA actor and movie historian. More about Tex Allen and his 119 IMDb movie reviews (as of December 26, 2017) by visiting IMDb.Com and using Tex Allen as search terms. --------------------------------------

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