Donner is one of Santa Claus's reindeer, originally named in the poem The Night Before Christmas (though in the original text, his name was spelled Donder). Donner's name is also the German word for 'Thunder', and in ancient pagan times, the similarly-derived 'Donar' was the name in German lands for the Aesir deity Thor.


Prominent appearances

In the following specials, Donner makes a prominent appearance in the story and/or has a speaking part.

Picture Production Voice actor Year Notes
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Paul Kligman 1964 Donner plays a prominent role in this Rankin/Bass special, in which he is Santa's lead reindeer and also the title character's father. While teaching Rudolph the art of being Santa's reindeer and surviving in the world, Donner finds his son's glowing nose a shock and attempts to disguise it by covering it with a fake nose made of dirt. When this ultimately fails, Donner receives some harsh scolding from Santa and is disappointed in his son. After Rudolph runs away, Donner becomes worried and goes looking for him, eventually being joined by his wife and Rudolph's girlfriend, Clarice. They eventually get captured by The Abominable Snowmonster of the North, but Rudolph comes to their rescue. Later, after Santa asks Rudolph to guide his sleigh on Christmas Eve, Donner expresses how proud he is of his son.
Rudolph In Traditional Animation.jpg
Rudolph's Shiny New Year N/A 1976 As this is a sequel to the 1964 Rankin/Bass special, this version of Donner is the same version from that special. He makes a brief cameo in Rudolph's flashback. In the flashback, Donner has dark brown fur rather than the light brown fur he had in the first special.
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Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July Don Messick 1979 As this is a sequel to the 1964 Rankin/Bass special, this version of Donner is the same one from that special. He briefly appears in the flashback to Rudolph's birth at the beginning of the film.
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Santa Claus: The Movie 1985
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie Matt Hill 1998 Unlike the 1964 film, Donner is not Rudolph's father; instead it is Blitzen.
Robbie the Reindeer series Jane Horrocks (original UK version)

Britney Spears (US redub)

1999, 2002, 2007 In this trilogy, Donner is a young female reindeer who falls in love with Rudolph's son Robbie, who later reciprocates and starts a relationship with her, before the two later marry. Unlike the other members of the Sleigh Team, she doesn't pull the sleigh instead she serves as support crew and doing things such as physio, cooking and washing up for the reindeer. In the third film, Close Encounters of the Herd Kind, it is shown that she has a sister named Emmy who works for a secret government agency that monitors alien activity on Earth.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys 2001 As this is a sequel to the 1964 Rankin/Bass special, this version of Donner is the same version from that special. But unlike the first film, Donner's role is only minor and he has a slightly different appearance.
Donner Richard Cox 2001 Donner serves as the protagonist of this special.
Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas Jeff Bennett 2004
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The Flight Before Christmas Michael Iwannek 2008
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Back at the Barnyard: "It's an Udderful Life" John DiMaggio 2009 Alongside Blitzen, Donner is a college friend of Otis's.
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Doctor Who: "Last Christmas" 2014 Donner along with Rudolph and Blitzen appear in this Christmas special.
Elliot the Littlest Reindeer John Cleese 2018 In this film, Donner has a son named DJ.

Minor appearances

In the following specials, Donner is named onscreen, but only has a minor/silent role and/or is indistinguishable from the other reindeer.

Santa's team DasherDancerPrancerVixenCometCupidDonnerBlitzenRudolph (Rankin/Bass version)
Others AnnabelleArrowBarnabyBlizzardClariceClarice's fatherDartDelphiFireballFredFrostGargoff • Gift Givers of the Grove (Alice/Aurora/Bori) • Gobie (His friends/grandfather) • GrandpaGrandsanta's Pet ReindeerHollyJonniLeaderLenniLightningMitziMrs. DonnerMrs. PrancerNicNikoOld JingleOliveOonaPrancyRennyRobbieRogerRustySagaSanta Claus's Reindeer's Great-Great-GrandchildrenScratcherSchnitzelSparkleSvenTapirThrasherTobiasZoey (her father/mother)
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