6.9/10
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Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

PG | | Comedy | 27 August 2004 (USA)
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.

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749 ( 140)

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10 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Kip
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Rex
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Deb
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Trevor Snarr ...
Don
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Bracken Johnson ...
Carmen Brady ...
...
J.C. Cunningham ...
Jock #1
Jimmy Stevens ...
Jock #2 (as James Smooth)
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Storyline

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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Same planet...different flippin' world. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 August 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bus otoko  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$116,666 (USA) (13 June 2004)

Gross:

$44,540,956 (USA) (6 February 2005)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jon Heder credits Tina Majorino (Deb) with helping to choreograph the dance scene. He also states that some of the dance moves were "borrowed" from Michael Jackson, Backstreet Boys, John Travolta, Soul Train (1971), as well as some of his own moves. See more »

Goofs

After Napoleon drops off the picture at Trisha's house, he runs onto the lawn. But when Trisha's mom closes the glass door, his reflection can be seen still on the porch. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

All the items, food or otherwise, used in the credits appear at some point in the movie, e.g. Napoleon's chap-stick, Uncle Rico's steak, etc. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Danville 2nd Ward Young Men: Big Sur 2013 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Forever Young
Written by Marian Gold, Bernhard Lloyd, Frank Mertens
Performed by Alphaville
Courtesy of Warner Music Germany GmbH
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Funny and unique!
30 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) is the typical sad-sack, luckless loser that has permeated high schools for seemingly centuries. He has no friends, he's picked on by bullies, he has a somewhat-odd home life ... but through it all, he's sure things will be just plain okay in the end.

Napoleon and his older brother Kip (Aaron Ruell) live with their grandmother, but at the beginning of the film she tells them she needs to take off for a couple days. Enter their Uncle Rico (Jon Gries), a self-starter who's living in 1982 (when the coach of his high school football team declined to put him in as quarterback, thus altering Rico's life forever). Some of the funniest scenes in the film involve Napoleon's often-combative relationship with Uncle Rico; Rico is also bound and determined to return to those halcyon days of his youth via a time machine he's seen advertised on the Internet, and he enlists Kip to help him raise the funds.

Napoleon befriends the new kid in school, Pedro (Efren Ramirez), who has a sweet bike, can talk to girls, and has an actual mustache. But like Napoleon, Pedro is a misfit. Both sometimes hang out with yet another taciturn student, Deb (Tina Majorino, all grown up from Waterworld), who secretly (it seems) likes Napoleon. But there isn't a lot of focus on their relationship, because Napoleon himself is fairly oblivious to how people perceive him. This isn't a story about young love or lust, it's a story about a misfit refusing to fit - while fitting in with others like him.

Jon Heder is perfectly cast as the gawky, dorky Napoleon; he resembles Butt-Head in countenance, although certainly not in temperament or intelligence. Mouth agape and with an awkward gait, Napoleon is about as odd a duck as you'd find in high school, and yet he still manages to survive with his dignity intact. He's a good egg, although he seems to overreact at times: "What are you gonna do today, Napoleon? Napoleon: Whatever I feel like I wanna do.....GOSH!" Still, his delivery is perfect. You can readily picture a Napoleon in any high school.

I think where the film ultimately succeeds, aside from the casting of Heder, is that it doesn't fall into the traps of predictability and stereotyping. Sure, it's a high school movie, and there are snobby pretty girls and arrogant jocks, but not much time is devoted to them. Sure, there's a big dance, but it doesn't necessarily turn out the way you'd expect it to. What you're left with, then, isn't a typical coming-of-age story, but rather a unique take on a rather mundane - albeit life-altering - time in a boy's life.


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