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.

Director:

Jared Hess
Popularity
355 ( 132)
10 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Bracken Johnson ... Randy
Carmen Brady Carmen Brady ... Starla
Ellen Dubin ... Ilene
J.C. Cunningham J.C. Cunningham ... Jock #1
Jimmy Stevens 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:

It's Gonna Be a Dynamite Summer See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie featured one of the longest credited cast lists in movie history; all 181 student extras' names are listed in the closing credits. See more »

Goofs

Kip puts a green bowl under the van's wheel and when he goes to get into the van, the bowl is blue. 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!
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Crazy Credits

There is a 5 minute scene with Kip and LaFawnduh's wedding after the end credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

For wide release and all showings after the limited release, a scene was filmed featuring an additional five-minutes after the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Suburgatory: About a Boy-Yoi-Yoing (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Music for a Found Harmonium
Written by Simon Jeffes (as Simon Harry Jeffes)
Performed by Patrick Street (miscredited by production as Penguin Café Orchestra)
Courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd.
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
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User Reviews

 
Funny and unique!
30 December 2004 | by dfranzen70See 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 August 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Napoleon Dynamite See more »

Filming Locations:

Sykesville, Pennsylvania, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$116,666, 13 June 2004

Gross USA:

$44,540,956

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$46,138,887
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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