29 Memorable Quotes From 'Elf'

"Elf" movie poster showing Will Ferrell in costume in front of a snowflake background.

Photo from Amazon

Since it was released in 2003, the movie "Elf" has become a Christmas classic. Directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Berenbaum, the film tells the story of Buddy (Will Ferrell), an orphan who is adopted and raised by elves at the North Pole. Believing himself to be an elf, Buddy begins to encounter trouble as he gets older and becomes too large to use the toy-making machines. He eventually learns that he is human and sets out for New York City in search of his birth father. Of course, hilarity ensues as Buddy's childlike innocence meets the cynicism of the big city.

"Elf" was a box-office hit, winning praise from critics and audiences for its quotable lines and Ferrell's high-energy performance. Its refreshing take on innocence, goodness, and Christmas cheer still resonates with audiences.

The quotes below include Buddy's most famous lines.

Swirly Twirly Gumdrops

Buddy's journey from the North Pole to Manhattan is one of the most famous scenes in "Elf." The sequence places live-action Ferrell within the stop-motion animated world of the classic Rankin/Bass Christmas specials. Buddy's description of his trip is one of the most famous quotes in the movie:

"I passed through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly-twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel."

Encountering the Human World

Much of the comedy comes from the contrast between Buddy's boundless cheer and the gritty realities of New York. Buddy has no experience in the human world. All he knows are ice skating and reindeer, candy canes and toys. He's not prepared for the Big Apple.

[On seeing a sign that says "World's Best Cup of Coffee"] "You did it! Congratulations! World's best cup of coffee! Great job, everybody! It's great to be here."

"Good news! I saw a dog today!"

"I'm a cotton-headed ninny-muggins."

[To a doctor performing a paternity test] "Can I listen to your necklace?"

[To a man on the elevator] "Oh, I forgot to give you a hug."

"It's just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture."

"Francisco! That's fun to say! Francisco. Frannncisco. Franciscooo."

[Answering the phone] "Buddy the Elf! What's your favorite color?"

"Have you seen these toilets? They're GINORMOUS!"

[On cabs] "Watch out, the yellow ones don't stop!"

[On the mail room] "It's just like Santa's workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms...and everyone looks like they wanna hurt me."

[After chasing half-brother Michael] "Wow, you're fast. I'm glad I caught up to you. I waited five hours for you. Why is your coat so big? So, good news — I saw a dog today. Have you seen a dog? You probably have. How was school? Was it fun? Did you get a lot of homework? Huh? Do you have any friends? Do you have a best friend? Does he have a big coat, too?"

[From a note on an Etch A Sketch] "I'm sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR."

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."

"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup."

"Does somebody need a hug?"

"I just like to smile! Smiling's my favorite."

"Son of a nutcracker!"

Falling in Love

"Elf" wouldn't be a Christmas classic if it didn't have a love story. After moving to Manhattan, Buddy begins hanging around the department store Gimbels, where he meets Jovie (Zooey Deschanel), one of the store's employees. At first, Jovie doesn't know what to make of Buddy, but she soon falls in love with his Christmas spirit.

"First, we'll make snow angels for two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie-dough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle."

"I think you're really beautiful and I feel really warm when I'm around you and my tongue swells up."

"I thought maybe we could make gingerbread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands."

Fake Santa at Gimbels

Buddy is a kind, good-natured man. The only time we see him get angry in the movie is when a "Santa" comes to Gimbels and Buddy takes him to be an imposter, loudly insulting him. Buddy doesn't treat Santa's "elf" much better.

[Seeing a sign that Santa is coming to the toy store] "Santa! Oh my god! Santa's coming! I know him! I know him!"

[To the fake Santa] "You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don't smell like Santa."

"What about Santa's cookies? I suppose parents eat those, too?"

"You sit on a throne of lies."

"I'm in a store and I'm singing!"

"He's an angry elf."

[After getting beaten up by a little person, played by Peter Dinklage] "He must be a South Pole elf."

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Khurana, Simran. "29 Memorable Quotes From 'Elf'." ThoughtCo, Sep. 8, 2021, thoughtco.com/elf-the-movie-quotes-2832278. Khurana, Simran. (2021, September 8). 29 Memorable Quotes From 'Elf'. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/elf-the-movie-quotes-2832278 Khurana, Simran. "29 Memorable Quotes From 'Elf'." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/elf-the-movie-quotes-2832278 (accessed June 7, 2023).