This article is about the 1998 character. For the Rankin/Bass character, see Rudolph (Rankin/Bass)
Rudolph is the son of Blitzen and Mitzi, the nephew of Dasher, Comet, and Cupid, the cousin and rival of Arrow, the boyfriend of Zoey, the lead reindeer on Santa's sleigh team, and the main protagonist of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie.
Early Life Edit
Rudolph is first seen in his house as a newborn fawn taking his first steps. He stumbles into a pile of hay, causing him to sneeze, and his nose to lights up for the first time.
He is later seen with his parents showing him their village, where he meets his uncles Dasher, Comet, and Cupid. Rudolph is tickled by Cupid, and as a result his nose glows again. This causes him to be laughed at by the other villagers. He leaves with his parents to see Santa's toy factory, where he is given a teddy bear by one of the elves and witnesses Stormella threatening to cast a storm if anyone crosses her Ice Bridge.
As a Yearling Edit
A year later Rudolph starts school, where he is ridiculed by his cousin Arrow and the other students for his nose, except by a young doe named Zoey. Rudolph leaves the school, where he meets Santa, who tries to convince him that his nose is grand. At The Christmas Eve Launch, Rudolph watches his father, along with the other Flyers, guide Santa's sleigh off into the night. Afterward he acts out a speech about himself joining the team and accepting a Medal of Valor. Zoey joins him and says that she'd like to be his friend, and that she doesn't care about being seen with him. She says that she finds his nose unique like him, and asks Rudolph if he'd like to take a walk with her. They end up under mistletoe, but before the two can kiss, Arrow, who also has feelings for Zoey, arrives. Zoey assures him that she and Rudolph are just friends and tells Arrow not to get jealous, which he denies being. Arrow tells Zoey to come with him, which Zoey reluctantly does, but she looks back and smiles at Rudolph as she walks away, revealing that she has feelings for him.
Teenage Life and Saving Christmas Edit
Years later, a now teenaged Rudolph is seen with Zoey preparing to compete in The Junior Reindeer Games. Before the start of the games, Zoey gives him her pendant for good luck and gives him a kiss. At the start line for the first game, "The Sleigh Race", Arrow, who is now in a relationship with Zoey, notices the pendant on Rudolph and reminds him that Zoey is "his doe". Rudolph repiles by saying that Zoey "isn't a trophy and shouldn't be treated like one". During the first game, Arrow starts taunting Rudolph by saying that Zoey only likes Rudolph because she feels sorry for him. Rudolph tells him that he doesn't believe him, but Arrow replies that Zoey told him so. Overcome with rage, Rudolph's nose starts to glow and blinds Arrow, causing him and his elf driver to crash, allowing Rudolph and his driver Doggle to win. Unfortunately, the referee disqualifies Rudolph for this incident and makes Arrow winner instead, much to the anger of Blitzen and Zoey. Later, Rudolph overhears Blitzen arguing with the referee, saying that his red nose wasn't Rudolph's fault, and that it was an accident. Rudolph thinks that his father is ashamed of him, and decides to run away from home, leaving a letter to his parents.
After running away, Rudolph goes into a cave and meets a arctic fox named Slyly, who at first tries make him leave the cave, but after Rudolph fights him off he lets him stay. In the morning the cave collapses so the two are forced to find a new home. They find a cave owned by a polar bear named Leonard, and trick him into leaving. Leonard realizes he's been duped, however, and returns in anger. After Rudolph apologizes, though, Leonard lets him and Slyly stay. Later that night, Rudolph has a nightmare about the remarks people made about his nose and wakes up to get fresh air. Whilst he is out there he meets "The Sprites of the Northern Lights", Twinkle, Sparkle, Glitter, and Aurora, who tell him that they are admirers of his nose and that everyone has a light inside them but only a few have a light bright enough for the whole world to see. They reveal that Zoey has been captured by Stormella and teach him how to control his nose by telling him to think about everyone he loves and everyone who loves him and to let this love be the light of his heart.
Rudolph and Leonard travel to Stormella's fortress and find Zoey, but are caught and imprisoned by Stormella. As a result of Zoey crossing her Ice Bridge, Stormella reveals that she will ruin Christmas with a storm of the century. During this time, Rudolph and Zoey confess their feelings for each other. Afterwards, Slyly arrives and steals the keys to free them, the group start to leave, but are confronted by Stormella, who threatens to harm Zoey. Rudolph jumps in front of Zoey and his nose glows, causing Stormella to fall over the edge of a cliff. With the others help, however, Rudolph saves her. As thanks, Stormella grants Rudolph one wish, so he asks for her to be nice and turns down her offer to give him a normal nose. Stormella becomes nice, but says that she can't call off her storm. The group are then found by Doggle and Boone, who were sent out by Santa to find Rudolph and Zoey. They return home, where they are happily welcomed back by their parents and the other villagers.
After seeing the light coming from Rudolph's nose, Santa asks him to guide his sleigh through the storm, to which Rudolph accepts. After good luck wishes from his friends and a kiss from Zoey, Rudolph is given a Medal of Valor by Santa, before guiding the other Flyers through the storm to deliver the presents. The next day it is shown that Rudolph left presents for the others, such as his teddy bear for Slyly, his red scarf for Leonard, and Santa leaves a new ice statue for Stormella. When Rudolph returns from the flight, everyone celebrates and sings "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"
Rudolph had a light brown coat with white spots as a yearling, and dark brown and cream fur and short antlers as a teenager. He also has black tipped ears, brown eyes, blond hair, and a bright red nose. Like all Flyers, he wears a Medal of Valor.
- Rudolph's antlers appear and disappear twice in the film, first when he and the Flyers are about to take off and second near the end of the film when he and the Flyers return from delivering the presents.
- At an early story development meeting, a Good Times merchandising exec claimed that the team's biggest challenge would be how to translate a reindeer with long spindly legs into a huggable plush doll. She proposed a "cuter and more cuddly" Rudolph character design reminiscent of a Care Bear with short stubby legs and a heart-shaped birthmark on his chest. Thankfully, that idea was scrapped.
- Heated behind-the-scenes discussions took place over Rudolph's age and the exact length of his antlers. The writer believed that Rudolph should mature into adulthood (as in the '64 Rankin/Bass version), but a merchandising exec insisted that a younger Rudolph would make a cuddlier plush toy.
- At the treatment stage, the writer proposed a very different opening: Longing for a child of their own, Blitzen and Mitzi patiently wait as a flock of storks deliver babies to other expectant reindeer parents. Blitzen and Mitzi remain long after the other reindeer couples depart with their newborns until they lose hope that their package will ever arrive. Meanwhile, the stork carrying Rudolph suffers a terrible cold and accidentally loses his bundle after a violent sneeze. Baby Rudolph lands on a drifting ice floe until The Sprites of the Northern Lights take pity on him. They endow baby Rudolph with a glowing nose so Blitzen and Mitzi will notice and rescue him. Blitzen and Mitzi believe baby Rudolph is the answer to their prayers and his glow as a miracle that saved his life and made them a family. The writer hoped this approach would begin the story on a dramatic note, help distinguish it from other versions of Rudolph, explain the origin of his nose, and establish a personal relationship with the sprites that would run through the rest of the story. However, one Good Times executive worried the beginning was too similar to "Dumbo" and the producer rejected the idea as too dark and potentially frightening for young children.
- When Boone and Doggle safely return Rudolph and friends to Santa's village toward the end of the movie, an earlier draft of the script had Mitzi planting a sloppy welcome home kiss on Rudolph's cheek. Rudy blushed and said, "Aw, Mom! Not in public!" A Good Times exec insisted that the screenwriter remove the line because "Rudolph would never say that."
- Rudolph's name means famous wolf in German.
- Despite their relation, Rudolph and Arrow never address each other as cousins in the film. Probably because, Arrow doesn't want to be reminded that he's related to Rudolph.
- Despite their differences, Rudolph and Arrow share the same goal in life: To be Flyers like their fathers.
- In the book Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: A Retelling of the New Animated Movie, Rudolph (as a yearling) is shown to have antlers. But in the film, he doesn't get antlers until he becomes a teenager.