The Polar Express offers a great message for everyone at Christmas time, with this festive movie bringing a lot of joy throughout, and the fantastic story and train journey being full of awesome whimsical moments. However, while it’s full of happiness and fun, there are also a lot of emotional moments and clear lessons for people to take away from the story.
A lot of that comes from the brilliant dialogue that the movie has. The characters bring some fantastic quotes to the forefront in The Polar Express, whether it’s something comedic or comment that will have audiences thinking and applying it to their everyday lives.
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Updated on December 25th, 2021 by Mark Birrell: The best Polar Express quotes are great all year round but they have an extra dose of power in the holiday season, not to mention around Christmas Eve and Christmas day. From songs to wise advice, The Polar Express is packed with unforgettable sayings that fans find themselves thinking about during the festive period.
The Narrator Sets The Mood Perfectly
“I was listening for a sound I was afraid I’d never hear. The ringing bells of Santa’s sleigh.”
Right at the beginning of the movie, Tom Hanks introduces the audience to the story through the first of his numerous roles as he voices the older Hero Boy, who narrates the story.
This line not only introduces the audience to Hero Boy and his state of mind but also sets up a crucial plot point which fully emerges toward the end of the movie when Hero Boy picks up a loose bell from Santa’s sleigh and has to believe in order to hear its ringing. It bookends the story perfectly.
The Kids Sing A Festive Tune
“‘Cause that’s the way things happen on the Polar Express.”
Once aboard the Polar Express, the Hero Boy hears the first song of the movie, which repeats later on, and it’s sung by the other kids on the train. It helps set up the train as a magical place where the normal rules don’t apply and it helps give the locomotive a magical and festive atmosphere.
The Polar Express is a place where things don’t always make perfect sense and they don’t need to. Both Hero Boy and the audience have to give in to its charm, it’s impossible not to.
The Elves Sing Their Christmas Song
“Whatever it is, you need to share it. It’s the spirit of the season.”
Once the children reach the North Pole, they quickly see that it’s populated mostly by elves who work with Santa Claus and they have their own Christmas song to sing.
There are many great lines throughout it but this sentiment about sharing ties most directly into the spirit of both the season and the movie.
The Conductor Drops An Important Lesson
“Now, young man, Christmas may not be important to some people but it is very important to the rest of us!”
Hero Boy is a bit of a skeptic when it comes to not only Santa but Christmas overall. There’s nothing so wrong with this but, as the Conductor rightly points out, Hero Boy’s disregard for the season spills out and impacts other people. The audience sees this at the beginning when it’s revealed that he’s been sowing seeds of doubt in the mind of his younger sister.
Just because a person doesn’t observe a particular holiday doesn’t give them the right to lessen it for others, and this is one of the film’s more lowkey–but important–lessons.
Nobody Should Feel Lonely At Christmas
“Look, I don’t know if Christmas is gonna work out for you or not, but it’s Christmas Eve. Don’t stay here by yourself.”
While talking to Billy about Christmas, Hero Boy and Hero Girl find out that the poor kid has his own issues of doubt when it comes to the season. Though the audience doesn’t know exactly why he doesn’t have a lot of faith in the holiday, they can see that Billy doesn’t come from a well-off family and can assume that it’s been pretty disappointing for him up to that point.
Hero Boy says this line not just to cheer Billy up but because he clearly means it. It’s a good sentiment that people shouldn’t be abandoned on Christmas, and his care for Billy’s well-being is perhaps his most truly heroic deed in the movie.
Santa Claus Explains The Spirit Of Christmas
“Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.”
This is a quote to which everyone who celebrates the holiday should relate. The Hero Boy struggles with his thoughts on if Christmas and Santa should be believed in all the way up until he meets Santa himself. When he does, Santa imparts this excellent piece of wisdom unto him.
Often at Christmas time, people get wrapped up in the worry of expensive gifts, Santa, and all the stress that can come with creating the “perfect” day. However ultimately, the Christmas spirit and the excitement of the time come from within.
The Conductor Introduces The Train
“Why, to the North Pole, of course! This is the Polar Express!”
This is one of the earliest quotes of the movie when the Hero Boy questions why he should get on the train and where it is going. The Conductor responds with this great line, setting the scene for the entire movie in just one sentence.
Tom Hanks pumps in all of his charisma and energy into this line, which makes it even greater, convincing the lead character to jump aboard to see what is going on. The casual way he acts like the entire thing is simple and normal is quite funny, but not questioning the magic becomes the norm.
Glacier Gulch Approaches
“I suggest we all hold on… TIGHTLY!”
Another great quote from the Conductor comes when the train is about to go flying down the icy hill, out of control. He’s normally incredibly in control of every situation, having an answer for everything that is happening throughout the movie.
Hearing the Conductor slightly more panicked makes it a memorable moment, but the way Tom Hanks delivers the line actually makes it very funny, rather than something that may have otherwise come across as nerve-wracking.
Hero Girl Sticks Up For Hero Boy
“He was just trying to stop the train, so that kid could get on!”
Billy is very quiet and shy at the start of the movie, and he almost doesn’t make it onto the train after being so nervous at the start. He initially decides to not get on, but, when the Hero Boy sees him starting to run towards it, he makes the decision to pull the emergency cord.
When the Conductor begins to show a little bit of disappointment toward him for doing it, Hero Girl quickly points out why he was doing it. This showcases the connection of friendship straight away, which sets up her character’s personality instantly.
The Conductor Imparts A Final Piece Of Wisdom
“One thing about trains: it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.”
At the end of the movie when the Hero Boy thanks the Conductor, he makes a very good point about trains, which can be linked to life in general. This is a clear metaphor for life, as nobody knows what is going to happen when they start one aspect of it, but the journey is the fun part.
The destination is mainly unknown, but it’s always important to try and experience things. The key idea behind it might go over the heads of younger viewers, but, for adults, this is a particularly meaningful quote.
The Polar Express Takes Hot Chocolate Very Seriously
“Here we only got one rule. Never, ever let it cool.”
There’s something perfectly fitting about a musical number within a Christmas movie, and one of the very best comes from The Polar Express. Tom Hanks singing a song about hot chocolate is something that could only happen in a Christmas movie, which is what makes this so special.
It’s just a really fun scene that brings the energy of the entire movie up a notch. While it’s not something that is overly serious or emotional, it’s just a bit of fun, which is what this movie is ultimately all about.
Dreaming Of Christmas
“It’s so much fun when Christmas comes to town.”
Another of the musical moments from this movie comes from Hero Girl, who sings a heartwarming song that is all about the love and joy that Christmas brings to people. The song touches on the difficulties some may face, but the ultimate love and happiness that it brings.
In a movie all about Christmas, this is the right type of message to bring across, as it’s something that everyone can believe in and sing along with, which makes it a lot of fun to listen to, and it is one of the greatest moments from the movie.
Hero Boy Sheds His Doubt
The Hero Boy is the true lead character of the movie, and the main plot of the entire story is whether or not he believes in Santa. At the start of the move, he is starting to cast doubt over everything he’s previously thought would be true, but this quote sums up how he feels at the end.
All great Christmas movies provide a happy ending, as that is what people are looking for at that time of year. Hearing him literally say the words these words out loud provides that heartwarming feeling which helps make this movie so special.
The Greatest Gift
“There’s no greater gift than friendship.”
While The Polar Express is all about Christmas, at its core, it’s a brilliant story about friendship. The young characters join together on the train and don’t know each other and really are all total opposites when it comes to their personalities.
While they have a great adventure throughout the night, the big thing that they take away from the experience is their friendship. It proves that it truly is the greatest gift, as having someone that cares about you can be a huge deal.
The Core Message
“Seeing is believing, but, sometimes, the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”
The main story throughout the movie is the fact that the lead character, Hero Boy, doesn’t believe in Father Christmas. He’s unsure about things and is beginning to question anything that he cannot see to be a fact, which is why this quote from the Conductor is so meaningful.
It’s something that everyone can learn from, as not everything needs to be seen to be believed. Sometimes, having a little magic and something to believe in isn’t a bad thing. The quote shows that the Conductor is well aware of that, and it is something that people will certainly have in the back of their minds.
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About The Author
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Matthew Wilkinson is a Senior Writer with Screen Rant and has been part of the team since 2019. In addition to his work as Screen Rant, Matthew is also a writer of pieces at The Sportster. Matthew has a major passion for movies and television, enjoying a variety of genres from animation and horror to fantasy and thrillers.
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