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A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

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When a massive fire kills their parents, three children are delivered to the custody of cousin and stage actor Count Olaf, who is secretly plotting to steal their parents' vast fortune.



(screenplay), (books) (as Lemony Snicket)
550 ( 19)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lemony Snicket (voice)
Bald Man (as Luis Guzman)


Three children - Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire - are left orphaned when their house burns down, with their parents in it, in mysterious circumstances. They are left in the custody of a distant relative, Count Olaf (played by Jim Carrey). It is soon apparent that Count Olaf only cares about the children for their large inheritance. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


We're very concerned See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, scary situations and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

17 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Series of Unfortunate Events  »

Box Office


$140,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,210,979 (UK) (17 December 2004)


$118,627,117 (USA) (22 April 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some of the chores seen on the list of chores given to the Baudelaires by Count Olaf: 1. Fix the rear porch so it is back to code, 2. Dust and clean all the very important pictures of myself, 3. Clean the staircase, 4. Reupholster the living room sofa, 5. Dust and polish the wood furniture throughout the house, 6. Do all the laundry and make sure you separate the whites, the colors, and the polyesters (make sure to take special care with my costumes and delicate), 7. Iron all the clothes, 8. Sew buttons on clothes that are missing them, 9. Clean mirrors above my makeup table taking care that there are no streaks, 10. Wash the steps on the porch, 11. Prune trees in the front yard, and not to mention, 12. Prepare a delicious dinner for myself and my troupe. See more »


When Count Olaf is saying goodbye to the kids his hand is on the car's door handle. Then we cut to a shot from inside the car and Count Olaf's hands are on the windowsill. See more »


[first lines]
Lemony Snicket: [the Littlest Elf has just come to an abrupt halt] I'm sorry to say that this is not the movie you will be watching. The movie you are about to see is extremely unpleasant. If you wish to see a film about a happy little elf, I'm sure there is still plenty of seating in theatre number two. However, if you like stories about clever and reasonably attractive orphans, suspicious fires, carnivorous leeches, Italian food and secret organizations, then stay, as I retrace each and every one...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Nickelodeon Movies logo is shown depicted on planets in outer space, the camera then pans down to reveal the fictitious "The Littlest Elf" movie. See more »


Loverly Spring
By Thomas Newman and Bill Bernstein
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A frightfully frenetic and beautifully tragic children's film
17 December 2004 | by (WASHINGTON DC) – See all my reviews

First, let it be declared that in the media of movie, it is a downright shock that Nickelodeon's monicker appears in this film. It is by far, the best film they have ever made. Second, it is probably the only movie you will see made for children (supposedly) and containing a claymation elf holding a rifle.

Second, let it be known that this movie is the most visually pleasing children's (live-action) film any of us will see for years. The costume design is amazing, from the strap-laden sunny to the neo-Gothic formality of Violet, and especially in the under-appreciated and subtle '60s formal-casual of Klaus, who looks like a miniature Harold from "Harold and Maude". The sets are equally beautiful, a spree of Burtonesque Gothic-Modern Post-Industrial Asymmetry, from the half formed carnage of The burnt Baudelaire Mansion to the perfectly executed closing credits, animated to perfection. Cinematography also plays an amazing roll on the parts of Violet and Klaus, where ingenious images are used to insert the audience into the minds of the genius Baudelaires.

Last, the performances, only two that everyone has't heard; Jude Law's perfect narration, and The Hoffman Twins astonishing performance as Sunny. Law's performance is so on target that it never occurs that this voice is not the elusive and enigmatic pseudonym himself. He is the perfect compliment to the often exciting or disturbing actions being inflicted upon the accurately charming and intelligent Baudelaires. as for Sunny, they have performed the impossible in giving a perfect performance to an infant from an infant, in both the physical acting and the ingenious form of translation. The sequels are sure to be the greatest of series, even if the events be unfortunate as they have been.

As an artist, this reviewer cannot help but give this movie a 10/10. It is his deep desire that you appreciate it as much as he, if not, well... ... that is rather... ... unfortunate.

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