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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 110,596 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


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?


It is sometimes speculated that the conductor time-traveled, due to the fact that his voice is heard as an older version of the main protagonist, and he went back in time to help his past self. 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

At the very end, it reads "In Dedication to Michael Jeter" with a picture. See more »


Referenced in AniMat's Reviews: Puss in Boots (2011) See more »


Deck the Halls
Performed by Mario Lanza
Courtesy of BMG Classics
Under License from BMG Film & TV Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

It Just Keeps Getting Better
29 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews


I found myself saying this over and over as I watched this movie on DVD went it came out just before Thanksgiving of 2005. It continually amazes me how far computer animation has come in the last decade. Each time I think I've seen the most beautiful or amazing artwork, something better - like this - comes along. I couldn't believe how good this looked on my flat-screen TV. I can't imagine how good it must appear on an expensive plasma television.

The visuals are just stunning, scene after scene. The sound ain't bad, either! Those not playing this on a surround system are missing an integral part of this movie and a lot of fun. The roar of train as it comes and goes, for one example, is awesome.

The story is very simple but yet entertains all the way with some very adventurous scenes. There are a couple of roller coaster-type scenes which were especially fun, and actually thrilling. Normally, 100 minutes is a bit long for me to sit through an animated film but this was filled with so many amazing sights and fun action scenes that time was no problem.

The only drawback I found were the kids in the story. Most of them were not anyone you could really warm up to, except for the girl and she was so overtly politically correct it was sickening and an insult to anyone's intelligence. A black girl was NOT in the book but the typically-Liberal filmmakers not only change that character but make her the only one in the film with absolutely nothing wrong with her. She's so sweet she makes Mother Teresa sound like The Grinch. None of the kids in the film, however, were brats or annoying. The only funny kid was the nerd, of course.

PC baloney aside, this was fabulous entertainment. Tom Hanks did a great job voicing over five characters and I've just simply never a better-looking film than this.

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