6.9/10
207,228
496 user 171 critic

Elf (2003)

Trailer
1:34 | Trailer
After discovering he is a human, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole decides to travel to New York City to locate his real father.

Director:

Jon Favreau

Writer:

David Berenbaum
Reviews
Popularity
3,491 ( 19)

Who Was Almost Buddy the Elf?

Jim Carrey as Buddy the Elf? It almost happened! Check out who else almost starred in your favorite Christmas movies.

Find out

2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Home Alone (1990)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An eight-year-old troublemaker must protect his house from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.

Director: Chris Columbus
Stars: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
Comedy | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

On the outskirts of Whoville lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch who plans to ruin Christmas for all of the citizens of the town.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Kelley
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

One year after Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself stranded in New York City - and the same criminals are not far behind.

Director: Chris Columbus
Stars: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When a man inadvertently makes Santa fall off of his roof on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.

Director: John Pasquin
Stars: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Tom Hanks, Chris Coppola, Michael Jeter
Animation | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A grumpy Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville.

Directors: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones
Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After a bitter divorce, an actor disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend time with his children held in custody by his former wife.

Directors: Chris Columbus, Chuck Jones
Stars: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan
Jumanji (1995)
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped in it for decades--and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.

Director: Joe Johnston
Stars: Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt
Comedy | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Scott Calvin has been a humble Santa Claus for nearly ten years, but it might come to an end if he doesn't find a Mrs. Claus.

Director: Michael Lembeck
Stars: Tim Allen, Spencer Breslin, Elizabeth Mitchell
Hook (1991)
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When Captain James Hook kidnaps his children, an adult Peter Pan must return to Neverland and reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Will Ferrell ... Buddy
James Caan ... Walter
Bob Newhart ... Papa Elf
Edward Asner ... Santa
Mary Steenburgen ... Emily
Zooey Deschanel ... Jovie
Daniel Tay Daniel Tay ... Michael
Faizon Love ... Gimbel's Manager
Peter Dinklage ... Miles Finch
Amy Sedaris ... Deb
Michael Lerner ... Fulton
Andy Richter ... Morris
Kyle Gass ... Eugene
Artie Lange ... Gimbel's Santa
Leon Redbone ... Leon the Snowman (voice)
Edit

Storyline

Buddy was a baby in an orphanage who stowed away in Santa's sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs. Hobbs, on Santa's naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy, meanwhile, experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can. When Walter's relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities. Written by Ken Miller <wkmiller704@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This holiday, discover your inner elf.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 November 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Elf See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,100,000, 9 November 2003

Gross USA:

$174,626,840

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$221,671,773
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The elf Ming Ming, who appears briefly in the beginning of the film, is played by Peter Billingsley, who starred as Ralphie Parker in the classic holiday film A Christmas Story (1983). See more »

Goofs

When Buddy received the finger prick at the doctor's office, there's no blood on his finger, neither is there any blood on the cotton ball placed on his finger. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Papa Elf: Oh, hello. You're, uh, you're probably here about the story.
[the pages flip to show Papa Elf talking to the camera]
Papa Elf: Elves love to tell stories. I-I'll bet you didn't know that about elves. There's, uh, probably a lot of things you didn't know about elves. Another, another interesting, uh, elfism, uh, there are only three jobs available to an elf. The first is making shoes at night while, you know, while the old cobbler sleeps.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Snowman closes out the movie by saluting and winking at the camera See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Cast of Characters (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Santa Claus Party
Written by Eddie Pola and George Wyle
Performed by Les Baxter
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
This will play on television every year for the rest of our lives
22 December 2003 | by rosscinemaSee all my reviews

This is a good natured holiday comedy that definitely is in the same realm as "The Santa Clause" and (Dare I say?) "Miracle on 34th Street". Story is about a human that has been raised by Santa's elves at the North Pole and as he gets older he figures out that he's very different from the other elves. Years earlier Santa (Ed Asner) was delivering at an orphanage and a human baby accidentally crawled into his sack and was taken back to the North Pole where he was raised by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart). He is called Buddy (Will Ferrell) and he grows to six foot three and one day he is told the truth about his situation and told by Santa who his real father is. Buddy travels to New York City to meet his father and he heads to the Empire State Building where he works. He finds his father Walter (James Caan) who runs a publishing business and works all the time much to the chagrin of his family. Walter is unable to get away from Buddy and after a blood test proves he is his son he takes him home with him to stay with his family. He meets Walter's wife Emily (Mary Steenburgen) and their son and Walter thinks Buddy is just someone reverting to his childhood after a shock. Buddy starts to work in a department store and he meets a woman named Jovie (Zooey Deschanel) and is smitten by her. Buddy tries to fit in with the others but finds it difficult although he becomes friends with Walter's son and starts dating Jovie.

This film is directed by Jon Favreau who has made his mark as a director of low budget films like "Made" and also as a character actor but this is his first effort at directing a mainstream Hollywood movie. He does a commendable job and as I watched this film I kept having the feeling that he purposely made the most commercial film that he could. Favreau as an actor has mostly appeared in small roles. As a director his small films are lucky to play at art house theaters and I seriously doubt he's getting rich hosting "Dinner For 5" on the Independent Film Channel. It looks as though he wanted to make a crowd pleasing film that will ultimately be playing on some cable channel for the rest of our lives. I'm not knocking this decision at all, it's a smart move and he's become a major Hollywood player with the success of this film. Even the script was carefully written to insure that WHEN this plays on television there will be nothing to edit out. The closest thing to a bad word is uttered by Caan when he says "Hell" once towards the end of the film. This is a fun film that does have undeniable charm and its heart is definitely in the right place. It's sentimental and corny but thats part of the appeal. The script doesn't try to hard and the energy and flow of the film keeps at a constant pace, it doesn't try to go over the top which is refreshing. Ferrell is a natural performer and his dopey wide eyed expressions never grow old. This film must be doing something right because tough guy James Caan is believable as a caring husband and father. Very old fashioned story that never raises itself above lightweight status is nonetheless funny and charming. Like I said earlier, this film will be playing on television every year for the rest of our lives!


80 of 118 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 496 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed