20 Crazy, Interesting Facts You Never Knew About Elf

It’s really rare that a recent holiday movie becomes an instant classic. Think about it: the majority of the Christmas movies we all love and make part of our holiday traditions are older. You’ve got Miracle on 34th Street, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman – these are all classics that have been around forever. Even Home Alone is from a different decade.

Christmas movies now are always just… I don’t know. They just miss the mark. They’re too corny, they’re too silly, they don’t make any sense, or they’re just boring. But Elf was one of those rare movies that everyone loved, and will continue to love for a long time. Elf is hilarious, it’s sweet, and it’s entertaining. It’s the perfect holiday movie! Want to know more? Here are 20 crazy, interesting facts you never knew about Elf. Enjoy!


1. Elf paid tribute to other classic holiday movies, especially the stop-motion film Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer from 1964. The elf uniforms are almost completely identical to the elf uniforms in the special, and most of the animals look the same as well. 

rudolph gif


2. The elf workshops were also modeled after Rudolph, and Elf even used the signature snowman from the movie. 

frosty gif


3. The elf Ming Ming from the beginning of the film is played by Peter Billingsley, who stared as Ralphie in A Christmas Story



4. The outside of Gimbels is a digitally altered view of the Macy’s on 34th street, which is a reference to Miracle On 34th Street.



5. Lastly, the scene where Buddy is on the bridge in the snow references a similar scene in It’s A Wonderful Life.



6. There was never a sequel, because Will Ferrell didn’t want to do one. He turned down 29 million dollars! 

smiling elf


7. Jim Carrey almost starred as Buddy the Elf before Will Ferrell got the role. 

buddy excited


8. Will Ferrell’s brother, Patrick, plays one of the security guards at the Empire State Building. 

elevator elf gif


9. You know those scenes of Buddy walking around Manhattan when he first gets there? Those were shot on the last day of filming. The director, Will Ferrell and a camera man drove around the scity asking random people if they wanted to be extras for cash while Will acted like Buddy. Imagine!

elf coffee


10. Most of the movie was filmed in a sound stage in Canada, but the big New York scenes were actually filmed in New York – like the scenes from Rockefeller Center, Central Park and Central Park West. 

buddy yelling


11. In fact, Will Ferrell even caused a bunch of traffic accidents while walking through the Lincoln Tunnel in his costume. 

buddy car


12. Will Ferrell may have been born for the role. He worked as a mall Santa before he made it big acting – and Chris Kattan was his elf! 

buddy jumping


13. Will Ferrell really did have to eat all those sweets that Buddy ate, which made him feel sick with headaches. 

buddy eating


14. You know those “cotton balls” Buddy eats in the doctors office? Those are pieces of cotton candy that hadn’t been dyed. 

cotton balls


15. The jack-in-the-box scene below is totally genuine and not scripted. 

16. Those jack-in-the-boxes actually make the same sound as the laughing hyenas at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. 



17. In the first draft of the script, Buddy was bullied by his fellow elves, which is why he went to look for his dad. But the director pushed to change this because he wanted to keep the North Pole characters warm and sweet. 

buddy the elf

He said: “It explained why Buddy was doing all these good things in New York if he grew up in a world where everybody was so sweet even when he’s obviously screwing everything up and doesn’t fit in at all.”


18. Buddy’s gross 12-second burp was actually done by the same person who voiced The Brain from Pinky and the Brain

buddy burp


19. When Buddy says, “What’s your favorite color? Mine’s Ocatrine,” he’s referencing Terry Pratchett’s Discworld book series The Colour of Magic. 

whats your favorite color


20. The football jersey Michael wears in the film is of #80 Wayne Chrebet of the New York Jets.

elf movie


Is Elf one of your favorite Christmas movies? Which of these facts surprised you the most? Which did you already know? What did I forget? Tell me in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

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