The Small One
Studio: Disney Release Date : December 16, 1978
Cumulative rating:
(1 rating submitted)


A young boy must sell his undersized donkey to raise money for food. But instead of being sold to the local merchants, the donkey is destined for a very special passenger on a very special journey.


Buena Vista Distribution


United States

Walt Disney Mini Classics : The Small One


Micky und Pluto Feiern Weihnachten
Der Esel von Bethlehem


The Small One

Laserdisc (CLV)

United States

Paul Bunyan / The Three Little Pigs
Kids is Kids Starring Donald Duck


Merry Christmas
Mickey's Christmas Carol and The Small One


United States

Classic Holiday Stories
Walt Disney Animation Collection : Volume 7 : Mickey's Christmas Carol


Micky's Lustiger Adventskalender


3 … 2 … 1 … E Natale

United Kingdom

Countdown to Christmas


Classic Cartoon Favorites : Volume 9 : Classic Holiday Stories

Technical Specifications

Running Time: 25:18
MPAA No.: 25368
MPAA Rating: G

Reviews and Comments

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From Robs :

I saw this movie as a child, and even then was incredibly moved by it. It is a beautifully done story and I recommend it highly.

From Melissa Stanaitis :

This movie haunts me. It was so beautiful and soulful. I was a child and I adored this film, as it moved me to tears. My parents bought me the album book, and I am currently trying to get my hands on it again, as I very much need to experience this story once again. I hope to find the video, so that I can share it with my future children.

From Candy :

I saw The Small One on the Disney Channel many years ago. What impressed me about it was Disney's willingness to even do a serious treatment of this subject. They seemed to shy away from doing too many things that were specifically Christian, though the old Disney cartoons and films did portray religious themes and symbols quite often. The Small One was different in that it dealt with the Christmas story very specifically. I felt that it was handled with a lot of sensitivity and sincerity. It's not easy to depict things that people regard as sacred, and I think that Disney did a very good job of depicting the story in a sensitive and yet entertaining way. I love the last scene of the film, where the Star of Bethlehem shines brighter and brighter until it fills the sky. That scene was done with an almost reverent attitude. Christians who don't like Disney and think that they never made any religious films should see The Small One.

From Alicia (from Australia) :

I saw the short on TV when I was little, and my mum taped it. I've watched it a few times since, my tape is nearing its final run. I am hoping to find it out on DVD with many of Disney's great classics in time to show my children. It is a great tearful cartoon which really conveys the real meaning of Christmas.

From kkl :

This is a treasure, and one of the best Christmas specials ever made (I'm a Christmas special junkie). Even though I'm an agnostic, this moves me to tears without fail every year. It should be a standard classic for the holidays, as available as Handel's "Messiah," Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," or Schultz's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" -- and it probably has a wider appeal than any of the others.

From Esteban :

The Small One has become a Christmas favorite for quite a few years now for people all around the world. It captures the spirit of the Holiday season, with one of the most beautiful stories to ever come out from Disney animation.

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it!

From Deb :

I watched small one first as a child on a video my mum had. I love the music and the story is so sweet it makes me cry. I'm not religious but I enjoyed it anyway. I really watched it for the donkey and I'm glad I did. So cute, so sweet, so special. Now I watch it every Christmas, in fact I'll be watching it soon.

From Braeden Rowland :

Rusty and Mom gave the DVD to me last month in September, along with Pluto's Christmas Tree" (1952) and Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983). Does it tell us about the birth of Jesus Christ? Yeah, I think it was. It's very cool. But, I've never seen that film before.

From Marjie :

I first saw this as a short before a feature film in a theater. Wow, was I blown away! My kids were raised on it since then, and I'm showing it to my students, too. The film is extremely well done, and as many have said, consistently brings a tear to my eyes.

From Linda :

This was my daughter's very favorite Christmas video for years and years. It was watched off and on all year round at first. She knew the wonderful songs and watching this video with her was an important part of her Christmas. She is now married and grown and the mother of an 18 month old. She just called me to tell me she found The Small One on DVD and is so excited to begin the tradition of this precious story with her little son. The story is beautifully told and the music is engaging. Children and adults will enjoy the experience. It is a great way to involve little ones in a Christmas story where Santa, snowmen and reindeer are not the stars. I am thrilled to see her remembering and wanting to share this in her new little family.

From Viola McGarity :

I'm a third grade classroom teacher and I make sure I show this short every year! So many kids today don't really know the true meaning of Christmas. They love it!

From Bryan Hensley :

This legendary featurette had its 30th anniversary in 2008, and boy, this is a great Christmas classic! Even if it's only on one particular Disney DVD as of May 2009, which is volume 9 of Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites collection. I'd be amazed if this went on being in a Christmassy volume of Disney's Animation Collection, along with Mickey's Christmas Carol, either separately or together. Just like in The Reluctant Dragon, the boy in this story doesn't have a name. Small One's name must have been the only important one here, everyone else's didn't seem important. Thankfully in the end, he played a huge role in history; bringing Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem! This short should've been an Oscar-winner if it was even nominated in 1978! I hope all of you enjoy this holiday classic as well as Mickey's Christmas Carol! (which was released only five years later!)

From Angie :

I had the story book and record for The Small One, and as a child I listened to it and read along with the book, but it wasn't until I got older that it really started hitting home. "Friendly Face" without fail brings me to tears. I am currently on the hunt for the DVD so that I can share the story with my niece and nephew. Whether you are religious or not, everyone can enjoy this story, and hopefully can pass it on for generations to come.

From Amber :

I was born in 1977 and as long as I can remember I used to sit next to my moms old record player and read along to the story. To this day I can still remember it. I loved it. I don't have many gifts for my girls this year, but I will make sure that this will be under my tree. They are wonderful kids and I know that they will appreciate it as much as I did. Couldn't believe my mom still had it. Have a wonderful holiday!!!