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Elf (2003)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Family, Fantasy  |  7 November 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 133,078 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 376 user | 149 critic | 38 from

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.



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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:

Vilenjak  »

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 Buddy answers the phone, saying "What's your favorite color? Mine's Octarine," this is a reference to Terry Pratchett's Discworld book series, specifically The Colour of Magic. See more »


When Buddy is at the apartment having dinner with the family, the coke bottle is near Michael's right hand. When Buddy goes to drink the coke it is right next to him. He never asks for the coke to be passed. 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 »


Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 2 August 2015 (2015) 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

An instant holiday classic: Ferrell's crowning achievement to date!
10 November 2003 | by (fairview, nj) – See all my reviews

ELF (2003) *** 1/2 Will Ferrell, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Edward Asner, Bob Newhart, Zooey Daschanel, Daniel Tay, Amy Sedaris, Faizon Love, Andy Richter, Kyle Gass, Michael Lerner, Artie Lange, Peter Billingsley, Peter Dinklage, Claire Lautier, Jon Favreau. Ferrell gives an inspired lunacy turn as a man who was raised by elves at The North Pole and discovers to his dismay he's actually human sparking his quest to be re-united with his long-lost father (Caan in an inspired bit of casting), a 'naughty-list' occupant, who works as a children's book publisher in New York City, just in time for Christmas. Hysterically funny thanks to the goofy yet sweet and wonderful turn by Ferrell (no one else could pull off the razor's edge of looking like an idiot yet retaining the innocent glee of a child and bares a striking resemblance to Tom Hanks' turn in 'BIG') with a great cast especially the beguilingly pretty Daschanel as his fellow Santa's Little Helper at Gimbels'who he falls in love with. Directed with style and witty warmth by Favreau (who has a cameo) and written by newcomer David Berenbaum with a smart, fun script that caters to all ages with a nostalgic nod to classic animated holiday specials for good measure. An instant holiday classic. Trivia note: Billingsley, best known as Ralphie from the yuletide cinematic classic, plays 'A CHRISTMAS STORY' the elf foreman!

19 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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6.9!!! just_jesss
Probably the second worst Christmas movvie of all time chinaskee-418-613225
terrifyigly horrific garbage
If my husband's long-lost son showed up... bsmale
This movie is not appropriate for children really should be pg13 crunchman74
Did Alan Silvestri rip off the melody in this score? dmfreck
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