Candles in the Dark
Written byNicholas Niciphor
Directed byMaximilian Schell
StarringAlyssa Milano
Chad Lowe
Music byRichard Bowers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producerJames M. Dowaliby
ProducerIlmar Taska
Production locationsTallinn, Estonia
Running time88 minutes
Production companyFamily Productions
DistributorThe Family Channel
Original networkThe Family Channel
Picture formatColor
Audio formatDolby
Original release
  • December 3, 1993 (1993-12-03)

Candles in the Dark is a 1993 American made for television Christmas drama film directed by Maximilian Schell. Produced for The Family Channel,[1] the film stars Alyssa Milano and Chad Lowe.


When her father thinks she is too spoiled, he sends Sylvia to her aunt in Estonia. She soon finds herself engulfed in a struggle with her father, and finds herself being hunted by the KGB. Meanwhile, after she meets Jaan, Sylvia immediately falls in love with him. Together, they fight to keep the Christmas spirit alive in the dark and old fashioned city.



The film was shot between August and September 1993 on location with an Estonian crew, most of whom did not speak English.[1] According to the Los Angeles Times, this was the first non-Estonian film to be shot in Estonia.[1] Maximilian Schell looked back on production and the crew: "They would say 'yes' to everything. Sometimes it would fit and sometimes it wouldn't. Our time was very short with the sound and music, all of the coordination. It was a lot to do in such a short period of time."[1]

The version aired on the Family Channel was not Schell's final cut. He planned on buying the film's rights to distribute a re-edited version overseas, but this never happened.[1]


Variety magazine wrote: "Candles in the Dark is a sweet, endearing but safe story that occasionally suffers from low production values and muddled sub-characters but will no doubt make the family weep."[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Mendoza, N.F. (November 28, 1993). "'Candles' sheds light on freedom in a holiday movie on Family Channel". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  2. ^ Variety magazine. December 3, 1993.