7.1/10
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482 user 202 critic

Bad Santa (2003)

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A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid.

Director:

Terry Zwigoff
Reviews
Popularity
211 ( 58)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Bob Thornton ... Willie
Tony Cox ... Marcus
Brett Kelly ... The Kid
Lauren Graham ... Sue
Lauren Tom ... Lois
Bernie Mac ... Gin
John Ritter ... Bob Chipeska
Ajay Naidu ... Hindustani Troublemaker
Lorna Scott ... Milwaukee Mother
Harrison Bieker ... Milwaukee Boy
Alex Borstein ... Milwaukee Mom with Photo
Alexandra Korhan Alexandra Korhan ... Girl on Santa's Lap
Dylan Charles Dylan Charles ... Milwaukee Bratty Boy
Billy Gardell ... Milwaukee Security Guard
Lisa Ross ... Milwaukee Bartender
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Storyline

Willie T. Stokes is a convicted con man who's led a miserable life. He drinks heavily and constantly embarrasses himself publicly. He only works once a year dressed as Santa. But then come Christmas Eve, he and his pint-sized helper dwarf Marcus stage elaborate robberies and take their department stores for everything they got. This time around, Willie gets distracted by large women, a bartender who is attracted to Santas, and a kid who's convinced he's the real deal. However, Marcus must once again put up with Willie's heavy drinking and a series of incidents that constantly shoot themselves in the foot. Will Willie and Marcus make it to next Christmas? Or will this be the year the dynamic duo finally face justice? Written by halo1k

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Get Naughty this Holiday Season. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexual content and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 November 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Badder Santa See more »

Filming Locations:

Long Beach, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,292,952, 30 November 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$60,060,328

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$77,147,031
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (unrated)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Kitnerboy Redoubt safe is fictional. It is a reference to Jaws (1975) where one of the victims is referred to as "the little Kitner boy". See more »

Goofs

When Willie is in the bath talking to The Kid, the cloth he has draped over his face changes pattern and color between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Willie: Hey, can I get another drink down here?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers of Stolichnaya Vodka caution viewers to consume alcoholic beverages responsibly and lawfully and not to consume such beverages in an abusive or irresponsible manner. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 99-minute 'Badder Santa' was assembled by the studio without any input from the director. The 88-minute 'Director's Cut' was assembled and approved by Zwigoff. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Dear Santa (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Deck the Halls
Traditional tune, lyrics by Thomas Oliphant (uncredited)
Arrangement by Tommy Newsom
Performed by Boots Randolph
Courtesy of LaserLight Digital and Buster Ann Music
By Arrangement with Source/Q
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It took two viewings to really get into it- and really laugh my head off
18 January 2004 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

The first time I saw Terry Zwigoff's latest effort (co-executive produced by the Coen brothers) Bad Santa, I didn't know whether I was watching a comedy that had astonishingly funny and madcap moments, or if it was a really bad movie. At times the script felt like it was under the penmanship of demented cretins off loan of some low-rent porno company. But there were scenes and moments with good old Billy Bob Thornton that had me laughing uncontrollably, so I decided to see it again recently. Now I understand it- this is a dig-in nails, ribald, hardcore satirical look at one (un-kept is a term used loosely) man in the midst of Americana during Christmas time.

This man is Willie, played by Billy Bob, as something of a loser, low-self esteem, boozing, cursing, and a thief, though only at Christmas time. In a sense he's a modern day pirate without a shave, though with a yearly plan to rob a large store in a given mall he's given a job at with his co-patriot Marcus (Tony Cox, whom you may recall from uproarious bit parts in Friday and Me, Myself, and Irene). In one season, however, he meets a Kid (Brent Kelly), who for some reason looks up to this con-man in a red suit, giving him a place to stay in turn (never asked for) for some advice and help with bullies and self-esteem. On the first viewing of Bad Santa, along with not knowing whether I was seeing a good or bad film, I didn't know whether Billy Bob was pushing the 'rotten-dude' envelope over the top or just right. This may be a problem for most viewers going to see it once and not thinking of seeing it again.

But I think Bad Santa is one of those movies that merits a repeat viewing- you may laugh less or harder at certain jokes and moments of outrageousness, some may fly over your head completely or make you go "eww". Yet I think the brilliant aspect about Bad Santa is it never takes itself a bit too seriously. Even in the denouement, when we are sort of assured things will turn out alright; it's like a denouement on a South Park episode. In fact, that's something that can be said about Bad Santa, is that it feels like a work in the vein of Parker and Stone, but since it's from the director of Ghost World it comes off a little fresher, with an appeal all its own.


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