User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 195 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 195
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  1. ChuckM.
    Jul 9, 2004
    10
    Perfect. I put off renting this one for quite a while because the trailers made it look lame. I figured Terry Zwigoff finally sold out but I was wrong. This is as funny as any of his other films. I don't understand the half-wits who didn't think the movie was funny but, hey, it takes all kinds (I guess)...
  2. Spriggangirl
    Dec 3, 2003
    10
    Bad santa,Good film!!
  3. [Anonymous]
    Dec 3, 2003
    10
    What a great movie! Funny and sad at the same time.
  4. LeroyT.
    Jan 18, 2004
    10
    Billy Bob rocks!
  5. TylerC.
    Jun 26, 2004
    10
    This movie was just too funny for words. Anyone who appreciates the whole alcoholic/santa mystique will find this witty. I laughed too many times to count. This was a rarity in movies made in this era. This was no stupid "Old School" movie. This actually had a lot of talent in the chamber.
  6. CosmicStarGoat
    Jul 22, 2004
    10
    Thorton was perfect in this hilarious comedy. Buy the DVD uncut version!
  7. BrianG.
    Nov 29, 2003
    10
    This was the best anti-commericalized christmas movie of all time... A lot of people in the theatre were laughing ... If you don't care for holiday cheer and want to tell everyone what you really think about this stressful time of year... see this movie.
  8. RobertH.
    Dec 4, 2003
    10
    Went to see it on word of mouth. This is a dark, dark black comedy spoofing life and especially the Xmas season. Billy Bob Thorton as a down and out loser is superb. He stays in character throughout the movie which translates to silver screen very well. He is one bad dude, and despite all of his flaws and total disregard for humanity, you are drawn to him like a bee to honey. There are Went to see it on word of mouth. This is a dark, dark black comedy spoofing life and especially the Xmas season. Billy Bob Thorton as a down and out loser is superb. He stays in character throughout the movie which translates to silver screen very well. He is one bad dude, and despite all of his flaws and total disregard for humanity, you are drawn to him like a bee to honey. There are some fall off of a chair, pee in your pants bathroom humor; but despite that, one can only hope that Billy Bob can find himself that indeed life has a purpose. In doing so, although you laugh, you also feel his pain. In other words despite being a comedy it will evoke your emotions as you leave the theater having some emotion. Definitely a sleeper hit, but I caution it is not for children. Lots of bad language and sexual implications. Expand
  9. HarryH.
    Dec 4, 2003
    10
    Absolutely freaking hilarious laugh out loud black comedy. Not for children and destined to become a Holiday classic. Billy Bob Thorton is marvelous and the supporting cast surrounds him to perfection. Don't miss it.
  10. PaulaW.
    Dec 5, 2003
    10
    Bad Movie my eye! This is destined to reach cult status as did Animal House. It is the Anti-Xmas movie and thank God for that. It pokes fun at all of us for the way we have become so commercialized at this time of year. Billy Bob is simply outstanding and his supporting cast is hilarious in the way they play up to him. Without doubt the best movie out but a word of caution that you should Bad Movie my eye! This is destined to reach cult status as did Animal House. It is the Anti-Xmas movie and thank God for that. It pokes fun at all of us for the way we have become so commercialized at this time of year. Billy Bob is simply outstanding and his supporting cast is hilarious in the way they play up to him. Without doubt the best movie out but a word of caution that you should not bring your children or adults not possessing a grand sense of bathroom humor. Not 30 seconds go by without Billy Bob shouting another obscenity at someone (kids included.) Expand
  11. WarrenT.
    Dec 5, 2003
    10
    Drop dead funny that has you rolling in the aisle.
  12. DudleyR.
    Dec 6, 2003
    10
    There are no words to tell you how funny and insane this movie truly is. Go see it and enjoy.
  13. DenzelN.
    Jan 15, 2004
    10
    Too funny for words. And speaking of words, not two sentences go by before Billy Bob utters another curse word. Just hilarious and bound to become a cult classic.
  14. WaltD.
    Jan 24, 2004
    10
    Without a doubt one of the funniest movies I have seen in some time. It's hilarious and will surely become a cult classic in time. Don't miss it.
  15. BubbaFresh
    Jan 7, 2004
    10
    Holds nothing back with regards to political correctness. That is why this movie is so great. Extremely funny if you despise annoying snot faced kids and love drinking.
  16. TimS.
    Jun 26, 2004
    10
    This is a super funny movie. If your a prude please don't watch this movie, It's not made for everyone. I wonder what the people that gave this movie a low score actually think funny is? Just step away from the movie before you get your feelings hurt. Gaa-gaa goo goo, baby wants thier bottle back?
  17. BrianH.
    Jul 16, 2004
    10
    Truly funny and compleatly unexpected. not for everybody, but if you like relentless dark, gritty comedy, don't let the wimps out there talk you out of seeing this one.
  18. TylerD.
    Aug 5, 2005
    10
    Genius. Total genius. Billy Bob Thorton shines in this movie. With Bad Santa, you get a laugh a minute. Brett Kelly is awesome!
  19. AndyA.
    Nov 27, 2003
    10
    Laughed out loud at lot!
  20. RobB.
    Nov 29, 2003
    10
    This movie is f..kin hilarious! Definitely on my top 10 list of all time! Not one minute without a profanity. There's gonna be a lot of pissed parents that brought little Johnny thinking it was the perfect family movie.
  21. PaulaD.
    Dec 13, 2003
    10
    Hilarious good fun.
  22. CedrickS.
    Dec 16, 2003
    10
    Bad Santa is brilliantly well written, like watching the archetypical American male's id given human form and set loose in all his ugly splendour. Yes, he drinks himself into a stupor, likes nasty loving with large women, and has a foul mouth. It's way over the top, but anything less wouldn't be as funny, and more importantly wouldn't do justice to the concept. This is Bad Santa is brilliantly well written, like watching the archetypical American male's id given human form and set loose in all his ugly splendour. Yes, he drinks himself into a stupor, likes nasty loving with large women, and has a foul mouth. It's way over the top, but anything less wouldn't be as funny, and more importantly wouldn't do justice to the concept. This is a crude movie, but people who say it lacks depth are just missing the point. Bad Santa's theme is about finding a purpose in life, and finding peace with yourself. It's a subtle play on the typical Christmas movie message of redemption. At the end, BB Thornton's character is still a loathsome scumbag, but he goes through some introspection and finds a purpose to it all. If nasty language offends you, stay away. Otherwise, this movie will not disappoint. I dare even say, my friends and I'll probably be giving this yearly viewings before Christmas. Expand
  23. JamalJ.
    Jan 15, 2004
    10
    Jamal liked Bad Santa. It was cool. Right on.
  24. SaraC.
    Jun 24, 2004
    10
    Billy Bob plays this character superbly. The swearing is what makes it funny, so you have to have an open mind about the language. I laughed my head off!
  25. RobB.
    Nov 29, 2003
    10
    This movie is f..kin hilarious! Definitely on my top 10 list of all time! Not one minute without a profanity. There's gonna be a lot of pissed parents that brought little Johnny thinking it was the perfect family movie.
  26. Harry
    Dec 14, 2003
    10
    Wako, no wonder you have no teeth. This movie was more funny than the novacaine you were on when you watched it. Bad Santa rocks.
  27. greasefire
    Nov 16, 2005
    10
    This movie is awesome!!!!
  28. Feb 20, 2014
    10
    Easily one of the best comedies ever made. It's not just the hilarious script and premise that make it stand out, but it has a lot of heart too. For me it's a feel good film and every time I watch it I come away slightly choked up, in a good way. Amazing performances all around, just pure perfection really. I wish Zwigoff would hurry up and make a new film.
  29. Dec 14, 2012
    10
    Dark but hilarious. Billy Bob at his finest. And please don't even get me started on Thurman Murman! They are one of my favorite comedy duos of the century.
  30. EarlJ.
    Jul 7, 2004
    9
    That guy down there said bernie mac isnt funny. some people!
  31. parmss
    Nov 6, 2004
    9
    This movie is class. So enjoyable.
  32. WaltH.
    Mar 5, 2004
    9
    It made a Billy Bob Thornton fan out of me. I went to "Slingblade next... He's great ! !
  33. MichaelC.
    Jul 7, 2004
    9
    Hilarious! I really can't begin to describe how funny this movie is. Billy Bob delivers an awesome performance as one of the best anti-heroes of all time. If you're easily offended, this is not the movie for you. However, if you're ready for a great laugh, leave your morals at the door and pop this one in.
  34. MikeM.
    Nov 30, 2003
    9
    Raw, rauncy, outrageous and daresay, nearly perfectly criminal when it comes down to it. To hear everything coming out of Billy Bob's mouth will become increasingly harder as the movie goes on (from lauging out loud). There is symbolizism with Bernie Mac and the cigerettes and oranges that gives depth to his character. Great performances all around especially the late John Ritter and Raw, rauncy, outrageous and daresay, nearly perfectly criminal when it comes down to it. To hear everything coming out of Billy Bob's mouth will become increasingly harder as the movie goes on (from lauging out loud). There is symbolizism with Bernie Mac and the cigerettes and oranges that gives depth to his character. Great performances all around especially the late John Ritter and Tony Cox. There's also a few great scenes with Cloris Leachman. The Coen Brothers wrote a masterpiece here that could go down as a cult favorite a few years from now. Expand
  35. RussellL-H
    Jan 5, 2004
    9
    I was surprised (and a bit ashamed) at how much I laughed. This will be one of those movies that people rent year after year as the perfect antedote for the holiday season. I still find myself repeating some of the crudest lines to my friends. The worse the Santa - the better the movie.
  36. MikeI.
    Nov 29, 2003
    9
    Hilarious. My eyes watered and my nose ran all the way through.
  37. PeytonW.
    Dec 6, 2003
    9
    Extremely good comedy. Crude humor, but funny crude humor. I was laughing throughout the movie, and there was essentially never a dull moment. A great Christmas film!
  38. AlphaMale
    Dec 9, 2003
    9
    This movie is seriously funny. If you share the directors cynical worldview and you are slightly depressed by the X-mas holilday which is grossly over- commercialized, this foul mouthed diabolical film will give you a nice release.
  39. JohnD.
    Dec 11, 2004
    9
    This is definately the best comedy i've seen in 15 years or so. I had tears in my eyes laughing a couple of times and last time I had that was watching "the moneypit". You can feel the hands of the Coen brothers in this movie and if you like any of their work this is a must see !!.
  40. BlancoA.
    Nov 28, 2003
    9
    Absolutely freakin' hilarious! Best casting of a kid since Engleberg in "Bad News Bears". Billy Bob's nuanced performance is on the money. Even Mac, Ritter, and Graham are phenomenal in their supporting roles. An absolute must-see.
  41. RobertN.
    Feb 25, 2004
    8
    So bad, its good.
  42. KevinR.
    Nov 26, 2003
    8
    Falling down funny...because it doesn't succumb to Hollywood conventions of what comedy should be but takes its own sort of risks and truly makes you laugh.
  43. GregA.
    Dec 19, 2004
    8
    When a friend of mine said I had to go and see this movie I usually don't expect to find it as good as they say. However, Bad Santa was a gem of a movie, it was funny from start to finish and actually had a story that contained the essence of what Christmas is all about despite the constant swearing and crudeness!!
  44. MarcH.
    Oct 24, 2004
    8
    Very enjoyable. Yes it was offensive, but you just can't help liking old billy-bob. the late john ritter was very amusing too.
  45. ChadS.
    Nov 27, 2003
    8
    Santa's self-loathing and misanthropy can be interpeted as deadpan comedy, or the real deal. However, you'll have a better time if you find Billy Bob Thorton funny. His dubious mentoring of the chubby, little kid is hysterical instead of cruel because his obnoxiousness and vacousness makes him unsympathetic. I think he's channeling Cindy Brady. Even though "Bad Santa" Santa's self-loathing and misanthropy can be interpeted as deadpan comedy, or the real deal. However, you'll have a better time if you find Billy Bob Thorton funny. His dubious mentoring of the chubby, little kid is hysterical instead of cruel because his obnoxiousness and vacousness makes him unsympathetic. I think he's channeling Cindy Brady. Even though "Bad Santa" resorts to a car chase, Santa has a goal, which gives this automatic pilot device some kick. The funniest thing about this movie is that it's in wide release. What's not funny, unfortunately, are the scenes between the late John Ritter and Bernie Mac. Expand
  46. ErinK.
    Nov 27, 2003
    8
    This movie had a lot of laughs. The only problem I had with it was the tying up of loose ends in the last few minutes that was just a little too precious.
  47. JohnnyBlaze
    Nov 29, 2003
    8
    Just a straight-up funny movie. To it's core, it's a classic "in you face" laugh-out-loud riot. It takes all the annoying aspects of the holidays and exploits them on screen in a raw and funny fashion. Billy Bob's performance was dead-on and shared great chemistry with Tony Cox, playing his sidekick elf...
  48. ErwinK.
    Dec 19, 2005
    8
    Very funny film and policitally incorrect film. What is so surreal about it is that the film ends with a sense of good will, without it being a tacky happy ending. It's hard to describe, but at the end of this offensive movie, i felt strangely uplifted.
  49. GerrickC.
    Nov 6, 2006
    8
    Billy Bob Thorton is absolutely hilarious and serves up a Christmas festival with vular language and an uproarious Black midget.
  50. BuzzD.
    Nov 27, 2003
    8
    It's Miracle on 34th Street meets Jackass, with a little Pink Flamingos mixed in. Being a heathen who dreads the "Holidays." I welcome this anti-Santa romp. An anagram of Santa is "Satan." HOOhah-!
  51. ArkadiyO.
    Nov 29, 2003
    8
    As soon as I saw the names of the Coen brothers in the credits, i knew that this is gonna be great. A very clever way of saying $$$$ you to all the anal parents who can't wait to spend all their savings on "spreading Christmas cheer". This was especially fun after seeing "The Elf" a day before.
  52. Nov 19, 2011
    8
    While it may not be interesting to some people, Bad Santa is a funny comedy that will keep you laughing from start to finish. It can be rather vulger at times but hey, Its still hilarious.
  53. May 11, 2011
    8
    Ah classic! Just the movie I need when the super crazy commercial nature of Chrismas starts driving me up a wall. When I just can't stand to year an 800 horrifyingly awful version of Frosty the snowman, this is where I turn for relief. Hysterical, and yet meaningful cause in the end it points out how Christmas should be rather than how it is often treated.
  54. Jul 10, 2014
    8
    This film had me spitting out my drink. The timing of the actors was so on cue I'm amazed this movie gets so few awards. Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox are both the funniest and ridiculous duo that I can name off the top of my head. The kid and the bartender had me in stitches. Bernie Mac and John Ritter also gave funny performances. So sad to see them both go, so young. 'Bad Santa' maybeThis film had me spitting out my drink. The timing of the actors was so on cue I'm amazed this movie gets so few awards. Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox are both the funniest and ridiculous duo that I can name off the top of my head. The kid and the bartender had me in stitches. Bernie Mac and John Ritter also gave funny performances. So sad to see them both go, so young. 'Bad Santa' maybe too vulgar for some, but dark comedies are an art form; to take a serious topic, and generate laughs from it takes skill and quality. It shows itself here, if you can get past the language and hedonism. Expand
  55. Jan 25, 2014
    8
    Bad Santa is a holiday treat. With all the feel-good sentimental flicks out there, this movie is a refreshing counterpart to those movies, with its foul-mouthed, alcoholic protagonist and his also foul-mouthed, temperamental little elf. The movie is better than you think, and laugh out loud funny.
  56. CedricB.
    Dec 14, 2003
    7
    I really didn't think this movie was funny...but it wasn't exactly unfunny either. After seeing multiple trailers of this flick, I thought it was going to be nothing more than badly timed jokes centered around a holiday theme. I didn't laugh much, but more importantly, I didn't cringe, and I enjoyed the subtlety which was not at all apparent in the trailer. It was I really didn't think this movie was funny...but it wasn't exactly unfunny either. After seeing multiple trailers of this flick, I thought it was going to be nothing more than badly timed jokes centered around a holiday theme. I didn't laugh much, but more importantly, I didn't cringe, and I enjoyed the subtlety which was not at all apparent in the trailer. It was interesting to see the same jokes which fell flat in the trailer work so well in context to the film. The acting and timing is actually good. So, basically I'd recommend the film with only slight reservations. There really aren't many belly laughs, but the comedy aspect is pretty painless to sit through, and it's much more interesting and rewarding to watch the more subtle themes about life and our sense of worth play out. Expand
  57. NormanZ.
    Dec 2, 2003
    7
    I loved Billy Bob's sarcasm.
  58. ScottE.
    Dec 20, 2003
    7
    This movie quite possibly ranks as the most crude, vulgar, cynical take on the nation's obsession with Christmas cheer. And for that distinction alone, it is destined to become an instant "Scrooge" classic. Billy Bob Thornton's nasty, drunken Mall-Santa sloughs through his day in such a foul, putred existence that we can't help but feel empathy for his fatalistic persona. This movie quite possibly ranks as the most crude, vulgar, cynical take on the nation's obsession with Christmas cheer. And for that distinction alone, it is destined to become an instant "Scrooge" classic. Billy Bob Thornton's nasty, drunken Mall-Santa sloughs through his day in such a foul, putred existence that we can't help but feel empathy for his fatalistic persona. Most moviegoers who aren't too thin-skinned to appreciate this movie's subversive dark humor will laugh hysterically at some of the hijinks that Thornton and his "elf," played by Tony Cox, manage to pull off. John Ritter portrays the spineless mall manager appropriately, while Bernie Mac appears as the mall's security chief who's gotten wise to Santa's scheme. Along the way, we're introduced to an 8-year-old who pries his way into Thornton's heart by topping his own self-loathing. The ending might seem too predictable, but it seems to fit this dysfunctional tale. Even though the humor ranks even darker than "Heathers," I still left the theater feeling like I'd watched this generation's version of "Christmas Story." I'm still chuckling at the some of the clever banter offered up from this script by the Coen brothers (Thornton: "What is it with you and sandwiches?!?"). While I acknowledge that this isn't a break-through performance by Thornton, I can still appreciate his character's existentialist quest for something (anything) that is larger than himself. One final caveat to prospective viewers: Do NOT bring your children to see this film! The humor is vulgar and explicit (way past "South Park" humor), and it just isn't appropriate for young, impressionable kids. Expand
  59. ChineseBoy
    Mar 29, 2004
    7
    Oh boy, there were parts where i couldn't stop laughing. The movie could have done without Bernie Mac, he just isn't funny.
  60. GaborA.
    Nov 26, 2003
    7
    The best thing about this movie is that its being funny is such a surprise. Thornton says the F word about 100 times but somehow the context makes each rendition hilarious. Atop every obsenity being funny, which is already most of the movie, the mood is funny as well. So even the rare moments without obscene humor feel fun.
  61. Feb 14, 2014
    7
    Funny. Really funny and sweet. Several words can be used to describe Bad Santa, but only "Good" actually stands out. Because it was good. Good enough for me to hope for a sequel.
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 38
  2. Negative: 4 out of 38
  1. Isn't up to much of anything besides pretending that swearwords and snot-nosed insults, served up by Santa with an almost institutional monotony, aren't just naughty. They're -- big joke! -- incorrect.
  2. Happens to be extremely funny -- at times sidesplittingly so -- thanks to Zwigoff's way with raw irreverence and Thornton's perfectly pitched, ready-for-anything performance.
  3. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    70
    First-rate talent and a uniquely dyspeptic mood separate this effort from more routine, populist stabs at tasteless yukkage.