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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 110,653 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 435 user | 187 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

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 {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This Holiday Season... Believe. 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?


In the beginning of the movie, Hero Boy looks at a picture of himself on a store Santa's lap. The store's name on the photo is Herpolsheimer's, an old department store in Grand Rapids, Chris Van Allsburg's hometown. Later the train passes by the store. See more »


The Engineer is commanded by the Conductor on the ice using "Left full!" and "Right full!" in order to steer it toward the tracks. In reality and as can be seen when the ticket is blown under the engine, the drive wheels of the locomotive are connected by thick, solid axles, which though they can move forward and backward, would not allow the train to turn left and right like the Polar Express was able to do. 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 »


Referenced in Beowulf: Mapping the Journey (2008) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

This is one of the best animation features ever!
11 December 2004 | by (Arcadia, Oklahoma, USA) – See all my reviews

The Polar Express delivered me all the way back to childhood and my own faith in Santa Claus at the age of five. I could not only hear the bells, I could see his sleigh in the night sky. Chris Van Allsburg is to be commended for writing an excellent fantasy and Tom Hanks for conducting the wonder tour to beat them all. The special effects are just outstanding, the story line credible and heartwarming. The characters are believable and utterly charming. The children depicted are our own. I would recommend this film to any and all who love Christmas and remember what it is to believe. The experience of watching makes you a participant, breathless to see what comes next. I can hardly wait to view it on IMAX and am taking my entire family, including seven grandchildren to the Tulsa Cinemark this season. Let's hope we see more of this quality venue in months and years to come.

74 of 113 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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