706 user 217 critic

Elephant (2003)

2:06 | Trailer
Several ordinary high school students go through their daily routine as two others prepare for something more malevolent.


Gus Van Sant


Gus Van Sant
4,772 ( 68)
8 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Alex Frost ... Alex
Eric Deulen ... Eric
John Robinson ... John McFarland
Elias McConnell ... Elias
Jordan Taylor Jordan Taylor ... Jordan
Carrie Finklea ... Carrie
Nicole George Nicole George ... Nicole
Brittany Mountain Brittany Mountain ... Brittany
Alicia Miles Alicia Miles ... Acadia
Kristen Hicks ... Michelle
Bennie Dixon Bennie Dixon ... Benny
Nathan Tyson ... Nathan
Timothy Bottoms ... Mr. McFarland
Matt Malloy ... Mr. Luce
Ellis Williams Ellis Williams ... GSA Teacher (as Ellis E. Williams)


A day in the lives of a group of average teenage high school students. The film follows every character and shows their daily routines. However two of the students plan to do something that the student body won't forget. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An ordinary high school day. Except that it's not.


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, language, brief sexuality and drug use - all involving teens | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The school this was filmed at (Whitaker Middle School, formerly Adams High School in Portland, OR) was torn down in 2007 due to asbestos and black mold. The school had already been shut down when the film was shot. See more »


When John is going out from the school (first scene, the dog one) Alex and Eric are coming to the school with the bags of weapons, they all are walking in the concrete path. In the second scene (which is supposed to be the same) they all are on the grass section, but when the camera returns to John, magically he's on the concrete path again. See more »


[first lines]
Mr. McFarland: What? Hey! Where are you going? Come here.
John McFarland: Oh, my God, Dad.
Mr. McFarland: Get in the car. You're gonna be late for school. Come on.
John McFarland: Mom's gonna kill you.
See more »


Referenced in From Gerry to Elephant (2004) See more »


Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, No. 2 Moonlight - Adagio Sostenuto
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Courtesy of FirstCom Music, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews


Elephant is one of those rare movies that really captures the essence of its subject. Van Sant made an incredible decision to cast high school students instead of 'real' actors because it adds, with a positive effect, to the overall feel of the film. This decision actually made the film even more shocking towards the climactic scenes. The movie, as realistic as it may seem, also had elements of fantasy. Some of it didn't seem quite real (by some of the students' reactions, or some of the dialogue), but that added to the effect of the film. It made it seem like what we're all thinking: "This could never happen to me." With those elements of fantasy, we picture this situation as something that will never actually happen to us, but it does, all over the place. It isn't something that we can ignore, or push aside. This is real. This is stuff, not just the shootings, but all of the conflicts, that we face each and every day. It's not a dream, it's reality. I also liked the decision for the name "Elephant". It kind of acted as a social commentary on the ways that we view the school system, and the lack of protection that people were putting on it; the lack of supervision, or the lack of caring for the people. It all seemed to come together, in one very important, and realistic, horrifying film. It shocked me at the end, even though you know what's going to happen, just watching it gave me the creeps because when you're watching the shooter, he actually seems like a person I know. Excellent film, must be watched by all! 4 out of 4.

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English | German

Release Date:

14 November 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Elephant See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$93,356, 26 October 2003

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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