Bad Santa

Watch Bad Santa

"He doesn't care if you're naughty or nice."
  • R
  • 2003
  • 1 hr 31 min
  • 7.1  (154,707)
  • 70

Bad Santa is a 2003 dark comedy film directed by Terry Zwigoff and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, and Lauren Graham. The movie tells the story of Willie T. Soke, a bitter and cynical alcoholic who poses as a department store Santa Claus every Christmas to rob the stores on Christmas Eve with his partner, Marcus. Willie Soke is a con man who doesn't know how to take care of himself, let alone anyone else. He spends most of his days drunk, belligerent, and constantly on the verge of getting fired from his job as a mall Santa. But despite his utter lack of social graces, Willie manages to ingratiate himself with a local boy named Thurman Merman, whom he meets while working as Santa.

In his own twisted way, Willie develops a protective relationship with Thurman, who is the son of an abusive father and a delusional mother. As their bond deepens, Willie begins to feel like he has something to live for, and starts to question whether he really wants to go through with the heist that Marcus has planned.

Along the way, Willie and Marcus run afoul of a security chief named Gin (played by Bernie Mac), who sees them as nothing but troublemakers. Gin is convinced that Willie is up to no good, and his suspicions lead to a tense confrontation that threatens to derail the entire plan.

Despite the dark subject matter, Bad Santa manages to be both hilarious and poignant. Billy Bob Thornton delivers a brilliant performance as Willie Soke, perfectly conveying the character's mix of cynicism and vulnerability. Thornton plays Willie as a man who is so damaged by life that he has given up on anything resembling morality or ethics. But even as he steals from stores and belittles children, there is a sadness and weariness in his eyes that make you want to root for him.

The supporting cast is equally strong, with Bernie Mac bringing his trademark snarl to the role of Gin. Lauren Graham is also great as Sue, a bartender who becomes Willie's love interest. Graham plays Sue as a woman who is attracted to Willie's bad-boy demeanor but also recognizes his underlying decency.

But perhaps the most surprising thing about Bad Santa is how it manages to be a Christmas movie without being sentimental or sappy. While it may not be appropriate for young children, Bad Santa is definitely a holiday movie for adults. Its irreverent humor and unconventional storytelling make it a refreshing alternative to the usual saccharine fare.

Overall, Bad Santa is a darkly funny and deeply human movie that will make you laugh, cringe, and maybe even shed a tear or two. It's not for everyone, but for those who appreciate dark humor and complex characters, it's a holiday treat that shouldn't be missed.

Bad Santa is a 2003 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 70.

Bad Santa
Where to Watch Bad Santa
Bad Santa is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Paramount+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Bad Santa for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 31 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (154,707)
  • Metascore