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The Polar Express (2004)

G  |   |  Animation, Adventure, Family  |  10 November 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 108,790 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 435 user | 187 critic | 36 from

A young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express. During his adventure he learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.



(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hero Girl (voice)
Brendan King ...
Andy Pellick ...
Josh Eli ...
Mark Mendonca ...
Rolandas Hendricks ...
Mark Goodman ...
Jon Scott ...
Sean Scott ...
Gordon Hart ...


This is the story of a young hero boy on Christmas Eve who boards on a powerful magical train that's headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus's home. What unfolds is an an adventure which follows a doubting boy, who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole; during this ride, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery which shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Written by Anthony Pereyra {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


All Aboard In IMAX 3D this holiday See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 November 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience  »

Box Office


$165,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$23,323,463 (USA) (12 November 2004)


$665,426 (USA) (28 December 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| | |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film used 3D motion capture techniques to digitally record the physical performances of the actors before "skinning" them with their animated forms. All the children's roles were acted by adults using oversized props to get the movement right. See more »


Whenever the train is shown during the movie, all the cars' windows are fully lit from the inside. However, when the car containing the damaged and unwanted toys is shown in an interior shot, it is very dark and unlit. See more »


[first lines]
Hero Boy: On Christmas Eve many years ago I laid quietly in my bed. I did not rustle the sheets, I breathed slowly and silently. I was listening for a sound I was afraid I'd never hear: the sound of Santa's sleigh bells.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The production company credits are covered with snow and ice. See more »


Spoofs Speed (1994) See more »


Good King Wenceslas
Written by John M. Neale
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

For Goodness Sake
29 November 2004 | by (Washington DC) – See all my reviews

Clearly the reviewers who panned this wonderful film can no longer hear the ringing of the silver bell. I am reminded of the know it all kid in the film when I read these reviews. Some said it was too dark. Too dark? It was set at 5 minuets to midnight.....As I recall its dark then. Another called it ghostly; a condition true of a Christmas Carol, the film is in good company there. While I will admit that the computer motion capture in facial expressions is not as strong as it could be it did not detract from the story. Some reviewers did not like the roller-coaster effects. One even pointed out that trains can not do what this one does.....It's a dream...physics don't count. It is a sad commentary that the meaning of Christmas and belief in it's historically documented magic is so lost on those with access to the press. My's good and it is best if you make up your own mind. I could hear the bell ring and I hope you can too.

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