Napoleon Dynamite

August 27th, 2004

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Napoleon Dynamite

Still of Aaron Ruell and Jon Heder in Napoleon DynamiteStill of Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell and Jon Heder in Napoleon DynamiteAaron Ruell at event of Napoleon DynamiteStill of Jon Heder in Napoleon DynamiteStill of Haylie Duff and Emily Dunn in Napoleon DynamiteStill of Tina Majorino and Jon Heder in Napoleon Dynamite

A listless and alienated teenager decides to help his new friend win the class presidency in their small western high school, while he must deal with his bizarre family life back home.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 6.8/10 (94,635 voted)

Critic's Score: 64/100

Director: Jared Hess

Stars: Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries

Preston, Idaho's most curious resident, Napoleon Dynamite, lives with his grandma and his 32-year-old brother (who cruises chat rooms for ladies) and works to help his best friend, Pedro, snatch the Student Body President title from mean teen Summer Wheatley.

Writers: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess

Jon Heder - Napoleon Dynamite
Jon Gries - Uncle Rico
Aaron Ruell - Kip
Efren Ramirez - Pedro
Diedrich Bader - Rex
Tina Majorino - Deb
Sandy Martin - Grandma
Haylie Duff - Summer Wheatly
Trevor Snarr - Don
Shondrella Avery - Lafawnduh
Bracken Johnson - Randy
Carmen Brady - Starla
Ellen Dubin - Ilene
J.C. Cunningham - Jock #1
James Stevens - Jock #2 (as James Smooth)

Taglines: Same planet...different flippin' world.


Official Website: Fox Searchlight [United States] |

Release Date: 27 August 2004

Filming Locations: Franklin, Idaho, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $116,666 (USA) (13 June 2004) (6 Screens)

Gross: $46,117,460 (Worldwide) (June 2006)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | USA: (Sundance Film Festival)  | Canada:

Did You Know?

The odd items and foods used in the opening credits:A plate of tater totsA plate with a burrito and riceA plate with sliced hard-boiled eggsA "U.F.O. Abduction Insurance" cardA Preston High student ID cardA plate with a steak (au jus)A plate of nachosA foil tray with a corn dog, peach slices and peasA banana and peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a paper bagA homemade foil-covered ninja starThe checkout card for a library book titled "Bigfoot and Me"The checkout card for a library book titled "Science and Centaurs"The carton for a LemonHeads-like candyA tube of Chap StickA drawing of a warrior holding a flagA drawing of a female centaur fighting an eagleA binder pocket containing 3 toy cars and a drawing of a spaceshipA protractor, eraser and three pencilsA plate with a burger and fries

Revealing mistakes: When Uncle Rico is eating steak on the porch and talking with Kip, it is obvious that he spits out the steak that he had been chewing into the paper towel tucked into his shirt.

[first lines]
Kid on Bus: What are you gonna do today, Napoleon?
Napoleon Dynamite: Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!

User Review



It seems based on many of the comments on this site that certain folks may be expecting a bit too much from a movie such as 'Napoleon Dynamite.'

This ain't art cinema, folks. It's absurdist comedy. Don't go to see this film looking for deep meaning or well-constructed plot--the vague semblance of a plot is as artificial as they come, and seems inserted mostly to give the film structure and to permit the audience a somewhat 'happy' ending.

NO, Napoleon Dynamite isn't about changing the world--it's live action 'South Park' (Preston, Idaho, where the film is set, actually bears a strong resemblance to the real South Park, Colorado). It's a highly ironic, self-mocking, merciless run of sight gags and one liners with no apparent purpose other than to get laughs at the expense of its main characters, especially the eponymous Napoleon, a fit stand-in for everyone who's ever felt like a socially inept outcast trapped in the hell of high school.

This movie isn't for everybody, but if you don't see glimpses of your own childhood in the various awkwardnesses and failures of the main characters, you're in denial. Don't see Napoleon Dynamite if you're expecting sensitivity--go see it if you're pissed off at the world and just need to laugh. I saw it for the first time last night, and I'm still busting into spontaneous laughter whenever one of Napoleon's silly one-liners or blank-faced dead-pan non-sequitirs comes to mind.

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