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Bad Santa [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, John Ritter, Tony Cox
  • Directors: Terry Zwigoff
  • Writers: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
  • Producers: Bob Weinstein, Brad Weston, David Crockett, Ethan Coen, Harvey Weinstein
  • Format: Anamorphic, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Dimension
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Jun 2004
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001I55MO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,974 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Instantly qualifying as a perennial cult favorite, Bad Santa is as nasty as it wants to be, and there's something to be said for comedy without compromise. The Coen brothers conceived the basic idea and served as executive producers, but it's director Terry Zwigoff who brings his unique affinity for losers and outcasts to the twisted tale of Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton), a hard-drinking, chain-smoking, foul-mouthed sexaholic safe-cracker who targets a different department store every holiday season, playing Santa while he cases the joint with his dwarf elf-partner Marcus (Tony Cox). With comedic support from Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, Cloris Leachman, and John Ritter in his final film, Thornton milks the lowbrow laughs with a slovenly lack of sentiment, warming Bad Santa's pickled heart just enough to please a chubby misfit (Brett Kelly, hilariously deadpan) who may or may not be mentally challenged. As dry as an arid martini and blacker than morning-after coffee, Bad Santa is an instant cure for yuletide schmaltz, and if you think this appropriately R-rated comedy is suitable for kids, your parenting skills are no better than Willie's. --Jeff Shannon,


Billy Bob Thornton is terrific as Willie T. Stokes; a lowlife department store Santa in Terry Zwigoff's outrageous comedic follow-up to his offbeat hit Ghost World. Every year, Stokes takes a job as Santa in a different place in order to rob the store he's working in. The diminutive Tony Cox plays his horny sidekick, Marcus, the real mastermind, who is even more foulmouthed than Stokes. Brett Kelly is Thurman Merman, an eight-year-old who desperately needs to believe in the real Santa Claus - and just might have a good enough heart to change Stokes's evil ways. Or maybe not. And Lauren Graham plays Sue, a young sexpot who wants to get a different kind of gift from Santa. Providing excellent comic relief in this black comedy is John Ritter, in his last film role, as the mousy mall manager, and Bernie Mac as Gin, the mall security guard who suspects something is not right. Be warned - Bad Santa is not a family holiday movie. It is lewd, crude, and very funny, but it is most definitely not for children. Joel and Ethan Coen, the brothers behind such quirky hits as Raising Arizona and Barton Fink, are the executive producers who came up with the idea in the first place, influenced by the likes of The Bad News Bears and South Park.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By H. Neilson on 24 July 2004
Format: DVD
I have to strongly disagree with the reviewer who found no redeeming qualities in this magnificent, hard-edged comedy. Sure, it's not for everyone - if you can't get past some well-constructed profanity, then you're not going to enjoy it - but if it's not for you, why not simply accept that fact, and let others enjoy it, rather than run it down?
But enough live-and-let-live. The movie deals with the sort of weird, real-life comedy that actually happens ... not contrived Hollywood cutesiness. Story may seem to meander a little, but that's more to do with the realistic tone of the movie than any lack of plotting; au contraire, Blackadder, it's superbly scripted. The acting throughout is faultless, and the comic timing is spot-on. It couldn't have been better made. But the bottom line ... it's very, very, very funny, in a realistic, bitter way that will strike chords with anyone who lives outside of a coccoon. It's a million miles from the smug, safe, self-aware gloop of most Hollywood comedies; more Amelie than American Pie. A wonderful breath of not-politically-correct fresh air.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Ray Cyrus on 7 Aug 2008
Format: UMD Mini for PSP
For those of us who can't quite get into the Christmas spirit, "Bad Santa" is a massive preemptive strike against all of the insufferable sentimentality we're going to be subjected to a few months from now. This movie is every bit as entertaining and funny as "School Of Rock," but where "School Of Rock" succeeded through the overwhelming weight of its good intentions, "Bad Santa" (its moderately heartwarming ending notwithstanding) is all about bad intentions. This movie, especially in its powerhouse first half, displays such a commitment to mean-spiritedness that you can't help but love it.
Billy Bob Thornton's safe-cracking department-store Santa Willie is the epitome of ugliness, all the more so because he commits much of his mayhem in his work outfit. Early on we see him getting drunk and throwing up in an alley, and from there he remains in the gutter for much of the movie. He chain smokes, he wets himself in his chair, he fornicates in a dressing room, and above all, he swears. I don't find profanity inherently funny, but Thornton's acid tongue manages to turn four-letter words into weapons of unimaginable destructive power. More than anything I've seen since the "South Park" movie, "Bad Santa" manages to elevate nasty language into an art form.
Even in its moments of humanity, the movie doesn't aim too high. Willie does have a love interest, but not quite in the conventional sense: intead, it's a young bar waitress with a Santa fetish who demands that Willie wear his stocking cap during coupling. Willie also finds some meaning in his life by striking up an offbeat friendship with a fat, bullied kid named Thurman, a bond that manifests itself in one unforgettable scene when Willie beats the living hell out of the teen skateboarder who gave Thurman a black eye.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr Baz #1 REVIEWER#1 HALL OF FAME on 24 Nov 2014
Format: DVD
The concept of making a Christmas film that flies in the face of the "normal family Christmas film" was a slightly risky plan, but this has become a firm favourite for many viewers keen to depart from the usual proceedings.

"Bad Santa" is just that, the film opens with a rendition of Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.2 a very well known song and you'd think out of place for a film like this, but the opening scene showing a camera slowly panning down to a bar..moving through the happy customers we see a half drunk Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) drinking shorts in his Santa outfit on his own away from the festive fun and others. What follows is a "commentary" by Billy he's been to prison, had his eye socket punched out. The film title comes up just after Thornton "throws up" outside the bar, it's a fantastic opening sequence and sets the pace for the entire film.

The story is a bit more interesting than some might think Willie isn't just a Santa for fun or for a bit of extra money it's a cover for a well organised "safe breaking" operation. Willie is joined by his "elf" partner Marcus (Tony Cox) both begrudgingly do their "Santa" act only to get to know the layout of the store (and security codes) a short period of work at a few places and they've made enough money to last them for the year with their "heists"

Cast wise we also have Sue played by Lauren Graham (Billy's bartender girlfriend whom he meets one night complete with a hilarious in the car Santa sex scene) The late John Ritter who plays Bob Chipeska the store manager. Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac) is onto the duo and is the security manager for the shopping centre.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Michael Crane on 13 July 2004
Format: DVD
If you were ever curious to find out how unapologetic and raw a movie can be, then you won't have to wonder much longer. Because, here comes "Bad Santa." No, this isn't your cute and cuddly Christmas movie that'll make you feel good inside. This is a movie that is so vulgar and relentless that you can't help but laugh all the way through it. There is not a single second where this movie is tamed or surrendering, and that alone is something to admire.
Willie T. Stokes isn't your ordinary mall Santa. He's a foulmouthed alcoholic who loathes his own life more than anything else in the world. He's also a successful thief and uses the "Santa" guise in order to help him rip off the department stores, but all of the abuse of booze has taken its toll on him. Things are a little different this year, as a kid who absolutely believes that he is the real Santa takes a liking to him, giving Willie a great hide-out at his own house. Not to mention he meets a beautiful bartender who has a sick "Santa" fetish that's uncontrollable, but he doesn't mind that one bit. Yes, it is shaping up to be a year full of profanity, booze and depression for Willie, and isn't that what Christmas is all about?
I don't think even Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino combined can match up to the usage of profanity in this pleasantly dark and off-the-wall comedy. Did it bother me? Of course not, but then again it never really bothers me. I knew exactly what to expect from this movie, so I was very well prepared for what I would witness. I have no problem telling you that I thought this movie was downright funny. Billy Bob Thornton is hilarious as a bitter and depressed Santa. Call me demented, but I thought it was pretty funny when he swears at all of the little kids.
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