- For the character from the 1947 film, please see Kris Kringle
Kris Kringle is the central protagonist of the 1994 movie Miracle on 34th Street. He was portrayed by the late Sir Richard Attenborough.
After Dorey Walker - Cole's Department Stores Director of Special Events - fired the man portraying Santa Claus for showing up drunk to the Thanksgiving Day Parade she needed a replacement right away. She asked Kris Kringle for help when she spotted him dressing down the drunk man for giving Santa a bad name, and was able to convince him to assist. He does so well in the parade that Cole's hires him to play Santa for the holiday season.
Kris proved to be very popular with New York City area children and their parents, leading to an increase in sales for Cole's. The children started to believe he was actually Santa Claus. Kris befriended Dorey's daughter Susan, who did not believe him to be Santa Claus. He got her to share her wishes - a dad, a house similar to the one used by Cole's every year, and a baby brother. She agrees with Kris if she gets those things she would start to believe in Santa Claus.
Everything seemed to be going well but then Kris was arrested after allegedly assaulting a man one night. It turned out that Kris was set up by the drunk Santa and a few employees working for the Cole's rival Shopper's Express. Dorey's boyfriend Bryan Bedford signs on as Kringle's lawyer, and takes the case to court. Dorey meanwhile drummed up public support for Kris. Byron decides that in order Kris to be accquited he has to prove that Santa Claus does exist and that Kris Kringle is him.
The task proves to nearly be impossible until Susan gives Judge Henry Harper a Christmas Card with a dollar bill enclosed. On the back of the bill the "In God We Trust" motto had been circled. Judge Harper explained that the dollar bill would be returned to Susan, but that if the United States Treasury Department could put official faith in God with no hard evidence, then people could believe in Santa Claus the same way. He orders Kris released.
Kris got Dorey and Byron to reveal their true feelings to each other and the two were married in a small ceremony after the midnight Mass. Susan woke up to the news that she now had a new dad - fulfilling her first wish. Kris further arranged for Dorey and Byron to purchase the house used in the catalog shoot, which is now possible due to the size of the bonus Dorey received from Cole's. This fulfils her second wish. When she asks about the baby brother Byron and Dorey look at her stomach before sharing a kiss. The film implied that Susan had received that wish as well. After Christmas Kris left the city and went overseas.