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Bad Santa

Bad Santa

4.2 16
Director: Terry Zwigoff

Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly


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The Christmas season just got a lot less joyous in this very dark comedy. Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) is a con man and a thief who teams up with his friend Marcus (Tony Cox), a midget, for a very special scam each year during the holiday season. Willie gets a job as Santa Claus at a shopping mall, his pal tags along as an elf, and they use their employee


The Christmas season just got a lot less joyous in this very dark comedy. Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) is a con man and a thief who teams up with his friend Marcus (Tony Cox), a midget, for a very special scam each year during the holiday season. Willie gets a job as Santa Claus at a shopping mall, his pal tags along as an elf, and they use their employee status to crack mall security and rob stores blind just before Christmas. However, there's one flaw to this plan -- Willie is a bitter, foul-mouthed and perpetually grouchy alcoholic who doesn't care for kids, and it's all he can do to keep himself from getting fired while on the job. The mall's manager (John Ritter, in his last film appearance) is certain something's wrong with the Santa he's hired, so he asks the mall's chief of security (Bernie Mac) to do some research on Willie. Meanwhile, one of the kids Willie is forced to talk to becomes a regular customer; overweight, awkward, and the frequent target of bullies, the boy manages to arouse something like sympathy from Willie, who tries to give him some advice and develops something vaguely resembling Christmas sprit along the way. Bad Santa was directed by Terry Zwigoff, who enjoyed previous success with Crumb and Ghost World.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Here's a Christmas story that old Scrooge himself would have loved; prior to his reformation, that is. It's a scabrously funny, sublimely mean-spirited, and unabashedly tasteless yarn that pokes a sharp stick in the eye of Yuletide tradition. It is also a tour de force for Billy Bob Thornton, absolutely hilarious as the self-loathing safecracker who every year works as a shopping-mall Santa Claus, just prior to ripping the place off when last-minute holiday sales have swollen the cash registers with money. An unreliable drunk barely held in check by his diminutive accomplice (Tony Cox), Thornton's character moves in with a friendless, dull-witted, obese young boy (Brett Kelly) while enduring what is to him the seemingly endless stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. What's terrific about Bad Santa is that director Terry Zwigoff steadfastly refuses to soften the characters or situations; even the relatively benign leading lady (Lauren Graham) is portrayed as a boozing nymphomaniac. The screenplay shows no mercy toward Kelly's character, who seems at every point to deserve the indignities routinely inflicted upon him. John Ritter, in his final feature-film appearance, excels as a squeamish store manager who deplores his new Santa but can't bring himself to fire the miscreant. And Bernie Mac makes the most of his supporting role as a corrupt security chief who figures out the scam being worked by Thornton and Cox. This is not a movie for the vulgarity averse. Sequence after sequence seems designed to make the viewer say, "I can't believe they said that in front of a kid!" All in all, Bad Santa is the blackest of black comedies and the guiltiest of guilty pleasures, an unrelentingly savage lampooning of Christmas-movie conventions that revels in its own coarseness. And if this sounds like your sort of thing, the Badder Santa DVD edition promises a longer cut (by five minutes) of the film and a "Badder Santa gag reel."
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Terry Zwigoff's fearlessly vulgar Bad Santa produces big laughs from some of the most repulsive behavior ever put on screen. At the center of it all is Billy Bob Thornton as alcoholic thief and department-store Santa Willie T. Stokes, giving a performance so lacking in vanity that his every gesture, glance, and remark are foul, wretched, and toxic. Arguably the funniest performance of his career, Thornton is matched by a game cast that never shrinks from his undiluted misanthropy and self-hatred. Lauren Graham gives such an open, self-knowing performance that she not only makes her character's attraction to Stokes believable, but actually makes him more attractive to the audience as well. Tony Cox and Bernie Mac match Willie's self-interest and provide a worthy partner and adversary for him. The script, which originated with Joel and Ethan Coen, sets out to offend and succeeds -- but like with all great vulgar comedies, the audience laughs as it is repulsed because the behavior is rooted in the characters. Some may be turned off when Willie delivers a profanity laced tirade at (not in front of but "at") the young boy who simply wants to be friends with Santa, but many in the audience will recognize that Thornton is simply (if shockingly) bringing the spirit of W.C. Fields into the 21st century.
New York Times - Elvis Mitchell
Takes all the Christmas season's bad vibes and converts them into an achingly funny and corrupt dark comedy.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
A demented, twisted, unreasonably funny work of comic kamikaze style, starring Billy Bob Thornton as Santa in a performance that's defiantly uncouth.
Boston Globe - Ty Burr
Without question, not for the children. It is, however, just the cup of rancid black-comedy eggnog for anyone fed up with holiday cheer in all its manifestations.
Daily News - Jack Matthews
Ghost World director Terry Zwigoff, working with a depraved script by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, has fashioned the sickest -- and funniest -- black comedy in years.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Commentary by director Terry Zwigoff and editor Robert Hoffman for "The Director's Cut"; Interview with director Terry Zwigoff and editor Robert Hoffman by Roger Ebert; Behind-the-scenes special; Badder Santa gag reel; Outtakes; Deleted & alternate scenes: Santa trainer scene, Willie leaves department store, Screaming baby; Movie showcase; Seamless menus

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Billy Bob Thornton Willie T. Stokes
Tony Cox Marcus
Brett Kelly Thurman Merman
Lauren Graham Sue
Lauren Tom Lois
Bernie Mac Gin Slagel
John Ritter Bob Chipeska
Ajay Naidu Hindustani Troublemaker
Alex Borstein Milwaukee Mom W/Photo
Cloris Leachman Grandma
Joe Bucaro Sgt. Mick
Ethan Phillips Roger Merman
Ryan Pinkston Shoplifter
Lorna Scott Milwaukee Mother
Harrison Bieker Milwaukee Boy
Dylan Charles Milwaukee Bratty Kid
Billy Gardell Milwaukee Security Guard
Lisa Ross Milwaukee Bartender
Bryan Callen Miami Bartender
Tom McGowan Harrison
Grace Calderon Woman In Tight Pants
Christine Pichardo Photo Elf
Max Van Ville Skateboard Bully
Bucky Dominick Deer Hunter 3 Boy
Georgia Eskew Barbie Girl
Hayden Bromberg Fraggle-Stick Boy
Briana Norton Pinball Girl
Octavia L. Spencer Opal
Hallie Singleton Woman In Food Court
Matt Walsh Herb
Natsuko Ohama Pedicurist
Dave Adams Prison Guard
Joey Saravia Pokemon Child
Cody Strauch Watching Boy
Curtis Taylor Phoenix Security Guard
Sheriff John Bunnell Police Chief
Chloe Colville Crying Girl
Alexandra Korhan Girl On Santa's Lap
Tonya Renee Banks Stand In For Marcus
Peter Quartaroli Stand In For Willie
Michael Dansk Stand In For Willie
David Kitay Conductor

Technical Credits
Terry Zwigoff Director,Screenwriter
Mike Adams Stunts
Sarah Aubrey Producer
Tonya Renee Banks Stunts
Randy Beckman Stunts
Peter Borck Art Director
Greg Ten Bosch Sound Editor
Bradley J. Bovee Stunts
Tony Brubaker Stunts
John Cameron Producer
Mike Caradonna Stunts
Lynn Christopher Set Decoration/Design
Wendy Chuck Costumes/Costume Designer
Carl Ciarfalio Stunts
Billy Clevenger Camera Operator
Ethan Coen Executive Producer,Original Story
Joel Coen Executive Producer,Original Story
David Crockett Co-producer
David Crokett Co-producer
Jennifer Elizabeth Davis Stunts
Lynne Eagan Makeup
Rick Edwards Stunts
Felicia Fasano Casting
Glenn Ficarra Screenwriter
Allan Graf Stunts
Jim Hensz Asst. Director
Jim Henz Asst. Director
Robert Hoffman Editor
Jamie Anderson Cinematographer
Gary Jay Camera Operator
Jason W. Jennings Sound Editor
Craig Jensen Stunts
David Kitay Score Composer
Rick Kresse Stunts
Erin Lenk Costumes/Costume Designer
Rachel Levy Musical Direction/Supervision
Michael Marshall Stunts
Cliff McGlaughlin Stunts
Rick Miller Stunts
Annie Miller Costumes/Costume Designer
Hugh A. O'Brien Stunts
Luma Pictures Special Effects
John Requa Screenwriter
Natalie Richards Set Decoration/Design
Natalie Richardson Set Decoration/Design
Jimmy N. Roberts Stunts
Scott Rogers Stunts
Kerry Rossall Stunts
Kathie Rowe Stunts
Anthony Schmidt Stunts
Ben R. Scott Stunts
Sharon Seymour Production Designer
Susan Strubel Costumes/Costume Designer
Linda Thayer Costumes/Costume Designer
Cindi Reece Thorne Makeup
Mary Vernieu Casting
Bob Weinstein Producer
Peter D. Weirter Stunts
Jim Wilkey Stunts


Customer Reviews

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Bad Santa 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was vulgar, dirty, and ugly. Oh, and it was hilarious too. I laughed almost continuously throughout. I thought every character pulled his weight, even the kid who played Thurman Merman. This is easily Thornton's best performance since Sling Blade. John Ritter also provides a great turn as the uptight manager, a great note to end a career early. It's unfortunate that he passed away because he really got to showcase his potential as a comedic actor, this was far funnier than he ever got to be on television.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this movie was hilarious, the only reason i gave it 4 instead of 5 stars is because some of the vulgarity was a bit too much. overall the movie was great and i recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Laugh out loud comedy. Not for for children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Comedy is difficult to do on the big screen. Most comedy movies are just not funny. This however is a gut buster. Could not stop laughing. The dialouge is clever and comic, and marvelously delivered in beliveable and comedic preformances. Great writing, great acting and great direction the three elements that make a great picture are all present here.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I literally peed in my pants! This movie is hilarious!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a different type of Christmas spirit. Billy Bob Thorton is great as a self-loathing Santa and then screwing every woman he meets while drinking his liver to oblivion. John Ritter, RIP, deserves his props for playing a wonderfully subdued character of a tight-ass businessman. This movie does not pull any punches, it stabs everybody. Enjoy, and Happy Christmas to All!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is absolutely hilarious. I could watch it over and over and over!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wasn't overjoyed to see this movie at first, but a friend talked me into to going and I am glad I did, I couldn't stop laughing. I totally agree that this film is not for everyone. It is intended for those who can look at things, even serious things, humorously. The movie has some vulgar moments but truth be told most things do. Just please take some advice and keep in mind it is a movie, meant to make a person laugh and not think about reality. I personally enjoyed it and will be purchasing it when it comes out tomorrow 06/22/04.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You know how Christmas is normally filled with joy and cheer? NOT ANYMORE. This dark comedy will make you howl with laughter and make you laugh so hard and often, your stomach will hurt after the credits roll. This is definitely one of those movies that should not be viewed by kids. There is scene after scene after scene of vulgar and comedic outrageousness that you can't help but love it. This movie is so outrageous that I literally rolled on the floor in the movie theater. I didn't care who was looking. After viewing this movie, you then will agree that not much matches the humor of a drunk con-artist in a Santa Claus outfit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This movie is the Director's Cut and it is horrible! There were so many scenes that were eliminated! There is no Advent Calendar with Chocolates. There is no longer the scene where John Ritter tries to fire them and they tell him he can't because of the Elf being black and a midget. Also eliminated is the scene where he eats the chocolates and then "fixes" the box later. Now I have to go back and order the unedited version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG, this is a classic. This is the movie where I really discovered BBT. His portrail of Santa is extreme and ever so clever. I loved it. John Ritter was fantastic. The kid was a hoot. Tony and Bernie were the best. This has become part of our family Christmas movie roster, slid in between Charlie Brown, The Grinch, and The Christmas Story. The language and content is not for kids or the faint of heart, but that is the beauty of it all. It is perfectly placed and the timing was perfect. I laugh out loud every time. My copy is well worn!
Sellbits More than 1 year ago
This movie is hilarious! Must see it! You might be able to find it cheaper though on sellbits.com or ebay
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
What can I say about the language in this film? As entertainment the F word is used so often it flys in the face of all sensibility. The character is so improbable and unlikeable that my hat goes of to Mr Thornton. Dont buy this movie..unless your totally bored..
Guest More than 1 year ago