Napoleon Dynamite


Napoleon Dynamite

Critics Consensus

A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.



Reviews Counted: 172

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 789,728


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

The directorial debut of filmmaker Jared Hess, who also co-wrote the screenplay, Napoleon Dynamite is a quirky, offbeat comedy set in the small Idaho town of Preston. Jon Heder stars in the titular role, a carrot-topped oddball with a decidedly eccentric family that includes his llama-loving, dune-buggy enthusiast grandmother. The story centers on the local high school's race for class president. Using some nontraditional means, Napoleon is determined to help his pal Pedro (Efrem Ramirez) run a winning campaign and defeat popular girl Summer (Haylie Duff). Also starring The Drew Carey Show's Diedrich Bader, Napoleon Dynamite premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

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Jon Heder
as Napoleon Dynamite
Jon Gries
as Uncle Rico
Sandy Martin
as Grandma
J.C. Cunningham
as Jock No.1
James Smooth
as Jock No. 2
Tom Lefler
as Principal Svadean
Scott Thomas
as Sheldon
Walter Platz
as Cashier
Nano De Silva
as Cholo No. 1
Arturo De Silva
as Cholo No. 2
Tom Adams
as FFA Judge No. 1
Eldean Holliday
as FFA Judge No. 2
Arlando Larsen
as FFA Judge No. 3
Mary Heers
as Teacher
T.J. Adams
as Farm Boy No. 1
Jake Visser
as Farm Boy No. 2
Brady Stokes
as Farm Boy No. 3
Thedora Peeterborg
as Secretary No. 1
Becky Demke
as Secretary No. 2
Julia Y. Ruell
as Girl on Bike
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News & Interviews for Napoleon Dynamite

Critic Reviews for Napoleon Dynamite

All Critics (172) | Top Critics (42)

  • For most of its length this delivers a steady stream of uncomfortable gut laughs.

    Jul 24, 2007 | Full Review…
  • It's a cast of brilliant caricatures, and as such recalls the films of Wes Anderson.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • I began to appreciate the neat reversals of expectations, slow pace and serene non sequiturs of the plot, the film's smart approach towards teen alienation, ludicrous ambition and impossible dreams.

    Jan 17, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Napoleon Dynamite may be forcefully weird and intermittently humorous, and you might not know what the heck to make of it, but there's nothing shocking about its screenplay.

    Jul 21, 2005 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • Revels in its own kookiness and is the most engaging teen movie to emerge from the States for many a year.

    Nov 16, 2004 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The funniest film of the summer.

    Jul 16, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite is based on a series of skits that were showcased on MTV and feature a buck-toothed, slack-jawed high school nerd who lives in a fantasy world of his own construction. It's an affectionate parody of small town America in the "triumph of the geek" tradition in which the social outcasts find happiness and acceptance in the face of abuse and derision by their more popular peers. It's more gently amusing than laugh out loud funny as it's just a series of surreal skits revolving around Napoleon and his family's social awkwardness but it's a lot more likeable than most American comedies of this type because it avoids the usual formula of hateful middle class yobs and their bodily secretions amidst vile misogyny that has become the staple of the genre since American Pie sullied our screens. Quirky, silly, inoffensive fun.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


There was a time when I couldn't go a day without seeing a few 'Vote For Pedro' shirts. Not only is this film so quotable, it's also hilarious and offers many memorable characters. Although, it is very bizarre and the humor may not appeal to everyone. But the originality of it makes it stand out over many other comedies. "Napoleon Dynamite" is destined to be remembered as a comedy classic and rightly so!

Eric Shankle
Eric Shankle

Super Reviewer

Strange, funny and rare comedy, Napoleon Dynamite present a deadpan humor with a very good screenplay and direction by Jared and Jerusha Hess, just like the acting of the cast, especially by Jon Heder in the title role and Aaron Ruell as Kip. Napoleon Dynamite it's the kind of film that you want see more, but a sequel gonna be just worse. Charming and delighful. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer


By no means perfect but not without it's charm. It's a very weird indie comedy that deserves it's cult status and doesn't beg the audience for laughs or resort to using gross humour. It's consistent enough with the comedy enough but Jon Heder's remarkable performance is what's pretty entertaining.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

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