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After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity.



1,436 ( 511)
2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


Buddy was a baby in an orphanage who stowed away in Santa's sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs. Hobbs, on Santa's naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy, meanwhile, experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can. When Walter's relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities. Written by Ken Miller <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This holiday, discover your inner elf.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild rude humor and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

7 November 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elf, el duende  »

Box Office


$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$31,113,501 (USA) (7 November 2003)


$173,381,405 (USA) (27 February 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When baby Buddy is put in his crib on Christmas Eve, the nun at the orphanage gives him a bottle and leaves. While we now know that this is a dangerous practice, at the time that the scene was set, this was common. Parents and caretakers did not know of any risks, as physicians did not advise against it. See more »


After Buddy was arrested for assaulting the store Santa, he was let out pretty easily. In real life, Buddy wouldn't be released out so easily, as when he was booked at the jail, the NYPD would have been suspicious of the fact that he had no identification and no background (of course, if Buddy insisted he was an elf from the North Pole, the police would have probably thought he was insane and committed him to an asylum). See more »


[first lines]
Papa Elf: Oh, hello. You're, uh, you're probably here about the story.
[the pages flip to show Papa Elf talking to the camera]
Papa Elf: Elves love to tell stories. I-I'll bet you didn't know that about elves. There's, uh, probably a lot of things you didn't know about elves. Another, another interesting, uh, elfism, uh, there are only three jobs available to an elf. The first is making shoes at night while, you know, while the old cobbler sleeps.
See more »


Spoofs James and the Giant Peach (1996) See more »


Santa Claus Party
Written by Eddie Pola and George Wyle
Performed by Les Baxter
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

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User Reviews

A really nice, funny movie for Christmas despite a little bit of the inevitable smaltz
16 November 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Accidentally finding his way into Santa's bad once Christmas Eve, little baby orphan Buddy ends up in the north pole, where he is raised by the elves as one of their own. As he gets ever bigger and less and less suited to the elf lifestyle he is told about his real father and decides to go to New York to find him. However Buddy's natural smile and elfish enthusiasm doesn't really fit in with New York, not to mention a father who rejects him.

When I first saw the trailer for this film I laughed slightly but I also thought that it could easily be just awful. Despite this fear I decided to go and see it on the basis of seeing Ferrell in the Reloaded MTV spoof on the DVD and being very funny. I was glad that I did as the film was refreshingly funny very enjoyable despite the weaknesses inherent in a seasonable film of this nature. The jokes are a mix of adult and children

  • but not separately, the humour is of a nature families can all enjoy

rather than being of a `one for me and one for the kids' type.

The film does get a little sweet towards the end, but it manages to avoid this usual trap for the majority of the film and can't be expected to not be all Christmas cheer at some point! The fish out of water stuff is pretty funny and Farrell makes his character funny without being annoying to the audience (as he feared he might be from the trailer). Caan is good but has to work with the `scrooge' character of the film and thus gets fewer laughs. The support cast is good with fun turns from Newhart, Asner and Steenburger.

It does get a little sickly sweet towards the end and the fish out of water jokes do wear a little thin towards the end but mostly it is very funny and refreshingly fun to watch. The film is made better by a performance from Farrell that is perfectly pitched without being annoying and full of spark and wit.

48 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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