Napoleon Dynamite (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)



Critic Consensus: A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.

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, Rovimore
Rating: PG (for thematic elements and language)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 21, 2004
Box Office: $44.5M
Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site


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
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Napoleon Dynamite

Critic Reviews for Napoleon Dynamite

All Critics (170) | Top Critics (40)

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

Full Review… | July 24, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's a cast of brilliant caricatures, and as such recalls the films of Wes Anderson.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | July 21, 2005
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

The approach has all the lasting charm of a train derailment, but at least the train is going somewhere before it is brought to disaster.

Full Review… | March 24, 2014

For all its charm and its impeccable leads, Napoleon Dynamite is a modish exercise in anti-cool. Still, a strong debut for all its young talents.

Full Review… | November 8, 2011

One-of-a-kind high school comedy for the family.

Full Review… | December 26, 2010
Common Sense Media

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

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!

Market Man
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

Napoleon Dynamite Quotes

Napoleon Dynamite: Heck yes! I'd vote for you.
– Submitted by Carolina E (9 months ago)
Napoleon Dynamite: Tina you fat lard.
– Submitted by Daisy B (2 years ago)
Deb: Is there anyone else here? I'm trying to save money for college.
Kip: Your mom goes to college!
– Submitted by Cody H (3 years ago)
Napoleon Dynamite: I don't even have any skills.
Pedro: What do you mean?
Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchuck skills, bo hunting skills, computer hacking skills. Girls only like guys who have great skills.
– Submitted by Cody H (3 years ago)

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