The Polar Express

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The Polar Express is a 2004 film about a boy who learns the the true meaning of Christmas when he takes a train ride to the North Pole. It is based on the children's book of the same title by Chris Van Allsburg.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Written by Chris Van Allsburg and Robert Zemeckis.
This Holiday Season... Believe (taglines)

Theme Song

It’s a magic carpet on a rail
It never takes a rest
Flying through the mountains and the snow
You can ride for free and join the fun
If you just say yes
'Cause that’s the way things happen on the Polar Express
Whoo, whoo, the whistle blows
That’s the sound of her singing
Ding, ding, the bell will ring
Golly, look at her go
You wonder if you’ll get there soon
Anybody’s guess
'Cause that’s the way things happen on the Polar Express
When we get there
We’ll scream, "Yay!"
We’ll arrive with
A bang, bang, bang
Boom, boom, boom
Laughing all the way


  • Sounds to me like this is your crucial year. If I were you, I would think about climbing onboard.
  • Come on, come on, come on. I’ve got a schedule to keep.
  • Tickets, please.
  • That is a public-address microphone. It is not a toy.
  • Now, young man, Christmas may not be important to some people, but it is very important to the rest of us!
  • There can be no Christmas without the Polar Express arriving on time. Am I the only one who understands that?
  • Young man, are you bound and determined that this train never reaches the North Pole?
  • Caribou crossing?!
  • Problem solved. All ahead, slow.
  • Considering we’ve lost communications with the engineer, we are standing totally exposed on the front of the locomotive, the train appears to be accelerating uncontrollably, and we are rapidly approaching Glacier Gulch which happens to be the steepest downhill grade in the world, I suggest we all hold on tightly.
  • Sometimes seeing is believing. And sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.
  • The forsaken and the abandoned. Mind your step now. These poor toys have suffered enough being left to rust and decay in the back alleys and vacant lots of the world.
  • It’s a new concept the boss came up with. Instead of being thrown away, they’re collected. Refurbished. He calls it “rebicycling.” Something like that.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, you do not have to hold hands, but please remain in your columns while we are in transit.
  • I may be just an old railroader and know nothing about lighter-than-air craft but from my layman’s perspective, you need more altitude!
  • The flying elves. They are specialists. Do not try that at home, kids.
  • Show your tickets. Have your tickets ready. Thank you. Remember to eat the five basic food groups. Ticket, please. And please brush after every meal. Remember to duck and cover.
  • One thing about trains: It doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.

Hero Boy

  • On Christmas Eve, many years ago I lay quietly in my bed. I did not rustle the sheets. I breathed slowly and silently. I was listening for a sound I was afraid I’d never hear. The ringing bells of Santa’s sleigh. (Opening Lines)
  • Hey, that kid wants to get on the train.
  • Are you sure? (repeated line)
  • [pulls the whistle] I’ve wanted to do that my whole life.
  • At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell. But as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found, one Christmas, that she could no longer hear it’s sweet sound. Though I have grown old, the bell still rings for me. As it does for all who truly believe. (last lines)

Hero Girl

  • It’s so Christmassy and cozy and beautiful!
  • The best time of the year
When everyone comes home
With all this Christmas cheer
It’s hard to be alone
Putting up the Christmas tree
With friends who come around
It’s so much fun
When Christmas comes to town


  • Wow, look at all those presents. I want all of them.
  • Boy that guy sure likes to show off with his ticket punch. Look what that wise guy punched on my ticket. “L-E” What the heck does that mean?
  • You know, Montezuma, the king of the Aztecs would drink 50 quarts of hot chocolate every day. It was thick as mud and red. He put chili pepper in instead of sugar. Get it? Hot chocolate?
  • Hey, you missed it. We rode down some really sharp hills. And then we were on what looked like a frozen lake. But I know it was just an optical illusion caused by moonlight and atmosphere.
  • I’m checking on my Christmas presents. I wanna make sure I’m getting everything on my list. All I found was one present. And all it had was a bunch of stupid underwear.


  • This is an official, authentic, genuine ticket to ride.
  • I hop aboard this rattler any time I feels like it. It’s like I’m the king of this train. Yeah, the king of the Pol Ex. In fact, I am the king of the North Pole!
  • Seeing is believing.
  • One other thing. Do you believe in ghosts? [Hero boy shakes head no] Interesting.
  • There’s no sleepwalking on the Polar Express.
  • This will be interesting.


  • Billy: Christmas just doesn’t work out for me. Never has.
  • Elf General: A number-seven bow? When we’re this close to liftoff? What are they thinking down there? Are they meshuggener?
  • Father: An express train wouldn’t wake him up now.
  • Santa: This bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas as am I. Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.
  • Santa: Found this on the seat of my sleigh. Better fix that hole in your pocket.
  • Sarah: This is the most beautiful-est, most wonderful-est Christmas ever.
  • Steamer: Caribou?
  • On a sign: Danger 129° grade. Use low gear.


Sarah: He said Santa would have to fly faster than the speed of light to get to everyone’s house in one night. And to hold everyone’s presents his sled would have to be bigger than an ocean liner.
Father: Your brother said that? He was just kidding you. He knows there’s a Santa.
Sarah: He said he wasn’t sure. He wasn’t sure if Santa was for real.

Conductor: Well? You coming?
Hero Boy: Where?
Conductor: Why, to the North Pole, of course! This is the Polar Express!

Know-It-All: Do you know what kind of train this is?
Hero Girl: Of Course. It’s a magic train.
Know-It-All: I know it’s a magic train. Actually, it’s a Baldwin 2-8-4 S3-class steam locomotive built in 1931 at the Baldwin Locomotive Works. It weighs 456,100 pounds and...

Conductor: Who in the blazes applied that emergency brake?!
Know-It-All: [Pointing at the Hero Boy] He did.

Conductor: Are there any Polar Express passengers in need of refreshment?
Kids: Me! Me! Me!
Conductor: I thought so.

Hero Boy: I don’t think we’re supposed to leave our seats.
Know-It-All: Yeah, it’s a violation of railroad safety regulations for a kid to cross moving cars without a grown-up.
Hero Girl: I think I’ll be okay.

Hero Boy: Well, the wind blew it out of my hand. (Shows hero girl his ticket) You can have my ticket!
Conductor: (Shocks himself) These tickets are not transferable! (Gives back the hero boy his ticket) Young lady, you're just gonna have to come along with me!
Know-It-All: You know what’s gonna happen now? He’s gonna throw her off the train. He’s gonna probably throw her right off the rear platform. It’s standard procedure. That way, she won’t get sucked down under the wheels. They may slow the train down a little bit, but they’re never gonna stop it.
Hero Boy: Stop it? That’s it! I have to stop the train again.
Know-It-All: No, please, don’t do that again.

Hobo: Is there something I can do for you?
Hero Boy: I’m looking for a girl.
Hobo: A gir...? [Starts laughing] Ain’t we all?

Hobo: What exactly is your persuasion on the big man? Since you brought him up.
Hero Boy: Well, I... I want to believe. But...
Hobo: But you don’t wanna be bamboozled. You don’t wanna be led down the primrose path. You don’t wanna be conned or duped, have the wool pulled over your eyes. Hoodwinked. You don’t wanna be taken for a ride, railroaded.

Hobo: We gotta make the engine before we hit Flat Top Tunnel.
Hero Boy: How come?
Hobo: So many questions. There is but one inch of clearance between the roof of this rattler and the roof of Flat Top Tunnel. Savvy?

Steamer: I make that herd to be at least a hundred thousand, maybe even a million. It’s gonna be hours before they clear this track.
Smokey: A tough nut to crack.
Conductor: We are in some serious jelly.
Steamer: And a jam.
Smokey: Tight spot.
Steamer: Up a creek.
Smokey: Up a tree.
Steamer: in the grass.

Conductor: It's five minutes to midnight.
Know-It-All: Hey, what gives? It was five minutes 'till midnight four minutes ago.
Conductor: Exactly.

Elf: Hey, boss, are we taking the pneumatic?
Elf General: Of course we’re taking the pneumatic. It’s the only way to get to the square on time. And time is money.

Elf: nobody gets hurt, here’s how we’re gonna get you guys down.
Know-It-All: This is simple. Why, I know...
Elf: What do you know? You’re not supposed to be here in the first place. But since it’s Christmas, I’m gonna let you slide.

Santa: What was that you said?
Hero Boy: - I believe. I believe that this is yours. [hands bell to Santa]

Santa: I see you’ve made some new friends.
Billy: Yes, sir. I sure have.
Santa: That’s a lucky lad. There’s no greater gift than friendship.

Hero Girl: It’s everything I dreamed it would be.
Billy: Could all this be nothing but a dream?
Hero Boy: No.

Know-It-All: "Lean." Whatever that’s supposed to mean.
Conductor: "Lean" is spelled with four letters. I believe I punched five.
Know-It-All: Hey, are you saying I don’t know how to...? Oh, I’m sorry. It says "learn." My mistake.
Conductor: Lesson learned.

Hero Girl: It says "lead." Like "lead balloon."
Conductor: I believe it also is pronounced "lead." As in "leader," "leadership." "Lead the way." Follow you anywhere, ma’am.

Hero Boy: It says...
Conductor: It’s nothing I need to know.


  • This Holiday Season... Believe
  • Journey Beyond Your Imagination
  • Don't miss the holiday film of the season


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