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Arthur Christmas (2011)

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Santa's clumsy son Arthur gets put on a mission with St. Nick's father to give out a present they misplaced to a young girl in less than 2 hours.




(screenplay), (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur (voice)
Steve (voice)
Grandsanta (voice)
Santa (voice)
Mrs Santa (voice)
Bryony (voice)
Peter (voice)
Chief De Silva (voice)
Gwen (voice)
Ernie Clicker (voice)
Lead Elf (voice)
Lead Elf (voice)
Lead Elf (voice)
Lead Elf (voice)


Arthur Christmas reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child's question: 'So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?' The answer: Santa's exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the center of the film is a story about a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. Written by Sony Pictures Animation

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Ever wonder how 2 Billion presents get delivered all in 1 night? See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

23 November 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Arthur Christmas in 3D  »

Box Office


$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,068,931 (USA) (18 November 2011)


$46,440,491 (USA) (6 January 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Script writer Peter Baynham, born in Cardiff, Wales, included a reference to an obscure bit of Welsh history in his script, with Mimosa Avenue in Trelew. In 1865, about 150 Welsh emigrants sailed on the ship Mimosa to Patagonia, Argentina. They founded a town called Trelew, where there is now a street called Mimosa, after the ship. Baynham postulated an avenue by that name in Trelew, Cornwall, to complete the confusion between the two locations. (The movie's placement of Trelew in Mexico, instead of Argentina, is apparently an error.) See more »


When Arthur saves Gwen's drawing from the fire the top left corner is burnt away. When he reaches Trelew he looks at the drawing and it is whole again. See more »


Santa: [trying to operate the S-1 himself, denting it and jolting it violently, Flashing red lights flash all over the S-1's bridge] OK! 23 Mimosa Avenue, Trelew
Mrs. Santa: [Reading the manual] Reading up! There is no harm in using the manual
Santa: [Agitated, pressing buttons, levers and knobs all over the bridge causing the S-1 to rock and sway violently] Margaret! I Order you to DISEMBARK! It's not safe!
Mrs. Santa: [Trying to calm Santa] I did a microlight flying course on the internet! It can't be that different!
Santa: [...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the end of the credits, there is a seven second scene, all in black silhouette on a blue background. One of the elf-lowering-cables descends, pauses, then lifts up an elf, who proceeds to throw snowballs at the screen until it's all black. See more »


Spoofed in The Simpsons: Steal This Episode (2014) See more »


White Christmas
Written by Irving Berlin
Published by Warner/Chappell Music Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Magic of "Arthur Christmas"
5 December 2011 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

Old Santa (Jim Broadbent) with his sons, Arthur (James McAvoy) and Steve (Hugh Laurie), silently witness the magic of Christmas morning, as their animated faces fill with wonder in "Arthur Christmas". My eyes welled, as Director and Writer Sarah Smith touchingly and whimsically reminds us that the world works when no one is left out, and they know this. Sony Animation's "Arthur Christmas" is visually amazing. I did not see it in 3D, and I thought it was great. It is the heartwarming and hysterical screenplay by Smith and Peter Baynham that lives and breathes in "Arthur Christmas".

So how does Santa Claus deliver all those presents on Christmas Eve, so every child in the world can open their gifts Christmas morning? This generation of Santa is advanced technology and complex mission operations leveraging GPS and NORAD databases. No kidding. Santa commands the helm of S1, a Star Trek Enterprise-like ship that also cloaks as the Christmas night sky. The Elves go all Tom Cruise- Mission Impossible executing Special Forces synchronization delivering the presents in the designated drop zones. Smith directs the animated chaos with excitement and precision. Leading the Mission Operation from Mission Control North Pole—amazing ice citadel of Elves and flat screens, is older brother Steve, (Hugh Laurie, brilliantly confident on the verge of pompous). Old-school and misunderstood nerd younger brother Arthur (gentle and passionate James McAvoy), intervenes the operation with handwritten letters to Santa, "I just want everything to be perfect!" All heart Arthur personally writes back all of the 2 billion children, who write letters to Santa. To his soul, Arthur believes that Santa is the greatest man in the world.

After celebrating this Santa's 70th mission, gift wrapping Elf Master Bryony (great and spirited Ashley Jensen) discovers an undelivered gift—a child was missed! This is the pink bicycle sweet little Gwen requested from Santa. Arthur had assured Gwen (precious Ramona Marquez) that Santa exists and gave his word that she will be remembered on Christmas. From Steve's perspective that is a 10 sigma error, within the parameters of mission success. Steve brazenly believes he is heir apparent to Dad. Santa (Broadbent) over the years, is the jovial old man reduced to figure head, also perhaps lapsing into Alzheimer's. He is content to spend quality time with Mrs. Santa (sensible Imelda Staunton) following the mission.

Arthur enrolls the help of Grandsanta (crotchety Bill Nighy), because Gwen must wake up Christmas morning with her bike. Be careful what you wish for. Grandsanta goes really Old School, dusting off the Sleigh and the reindeer. And Arthur is reluctantly along for the ride with stowaway Bryony. Every gift must be wrapped. Obviously, all does not proceed as planned particularly without GPS navigation. The animated flight and visuals are seamless and fun. However, Grandsanta's action is all about making others wrong. Arthur's spirit is tested, but for him it is always about bringing joy to a little girl on Christmas morning. He is the selfless noble soul, who gets that it doesn't matter who delivers the gift. It's about love. "Arthur Christmas" is touching, funny, and gets it right.

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