20 Best Quotes From The Polar Express


  • “I Was Listening For A Sound I Was Afraid I’d Never Hear. The Ringing Bells Of Santa’s Sleigh.” –
    The Polar Express
    beautifully captures the magic and belief of Christmas through the protagonist’s longing to hear Santa’s sleigh bells.
  • “Whatever It Is, You Need To Share It. It’s The Spirit Of The Season.” –
    The Polar Express
    emphasizes the importance of sharing and spreading goodwill during the holiday season.
  • “The True Spirit Of Christmas Lies In Your Heart.” –
    The Polar Express
    reminds viewers that the true meaning of Christmas is not found in material gifts, but in the love and joy that resides within each individual.



The best quotes from The Polar Express show why the 2004 CGI Tom Hanks Christmas movie has become a beloved holiday season classic despite its lukewarm response when first released. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, The Polar Express takes place during the 1950s on Christmas Eve and focuses on an unnamed protagonist known as “Hero Boy”. Hero Boy’s belief in Santa Claus has waned — prompting the magical Polar Express to stop outside his house.

From there, Hero Boy goes on an epic journey to learn the meaning of Christmas, chaperoned by the Conductor of the fantastical train, played by none other than Tom Hanks. The Polar Express received mixed reviews on release, with many critics at the time unable to look past some of the visual elements of the early 00s CGI. However, the movie has gone on to be considered a Christmas classic by many who were younger when it was released and saw it in theaters with a child’s eyes, and a key reason is the many heartwarming The Polar Express quotes.


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20 “I Was Listening For A Sound I Was Afraid I’d Never Hear. The Ringing Bells Of Santa’s Sleigh.”

The Narrator

Right at the beginning of The Polar Express, Tom Hanks introduces the audience to the story through the first of his numerous roles as he voices the older Hero Boy, who narrate the tale. This quote from the opening 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 when Hero Boy picks up a loose bell from Santa’s sleigh and has to rekindle his belief to hear it ringing. The way that the bells bookend the story is a great detail in The Polar Express that viewers may have missed.

19 “‘Cause That’s The Way Things Happen On The Polar Express.”

The Kids Singing “The Polar Express”

Once aboard the Polar Express, the Hero Boy hears the first song of the movie, sung by the other child passengers on the train. It helps set up the train in The Polar Express as a magical place where the normal rules don’t apply and establishes the movie’s festive atmosphere too. 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.

18 “Whatever It Is, You Need To Share It. It’s The Spirit Of The Season.”

Santa’s Elves Singing “Spirit Of The Season”

The elves carrying Santa's sleigh bells in The Polar Express

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 quotes throughout The Polar Express, but this sentiment about sharing ties most directly into the spirit of both the season and the movie. It’s one of several moments in the movie that, while clearly Christmassy in its visuals, also delivers a heartfelt and seasonal message of goodwill.

17 “Now, Young Man, Christmas May Not Be Important To Some People, But It Is Very Important To The Rest Of Us!”

The Conductor

Hero Boy is a bit of a skeptic when it comes to not only Santa Claus, but Christmas overall. There’s nothing 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 of The Polar Express when it’s revealed that Hero Boy’s been sowing seeds of doubt in the mind of his younger sister. The Conductor gently but firmly scalds him for this, leading to one of the many great Tom Hanks quotes in The Polar Express.


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16 “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.”

Hero Boy

Hero Boy, Hero Girl, and Billy in The Polar Express

While talking to Billy about Christmas, Hero Boy and Hero Girl find out that he has his own doubts 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, Billy is established as living on “the other side of the tracks” and it can be assumed that Christmas has been pretty tough for him up to that point. Hero Boy says this line not just to cheer Billy up but because he means it. It’s a heartwarming sentiment that people shouldn’t be abandoned at Christmas, and his care for Billy’s well-being is perhaps his most truly heroic deed in The Polar Express.

15 “Just Remember, The True Spirit Of Christmas Lies In Your Heart.”

Santa Claus

Hero Boy in The Polar Express struggles with his belief in Santa Claus and Christmas — until he meets Santa himself, that is. When he does, the wisdom Santa imparts unto him also makes one of the most memorable Polar Express quotes. Often during the holiday season, people get wrapped up in the worry of expensive gifts, and all the stress that can come with creating the perfect day. However, ultimately, the Christmas spirit and the joy of the festive period come from within.

14 “Why, To The North Pole, Of Course! This Is The Polar Express!”

The Conductor

A boy standing in front of a train in The Polar Express.

This iconic Polar Express quote comes right at the beginning of the adventure when the Hero Boy approaches the train for the first time and the Conductor asks him if he’s coming. When the Hero Boy asks where they’re going, the Conductor bellows this memorable line, setting the merry tone of the entire movie in just one sentence. Tom Hanks pumps all of his charisma and energy into this line, which makes it even greater, convincing the lead character–and the audience–to jump aboard. His amazing performance is a part of what makes the Conductor one of the best Christmas movie characters of all time.

13 “I Suggest We All Hold On… TIGHTLY!”

The Conductor

The Conductor in The Polar Express

Another great Polar Express quote from the Conductor comes when the train is about to go flying out of control down into Glacier Gulch, which he describes as the steepest downhill grade in the world. 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 makes it very funny, rather than something that may have otherwise come across as nerve-wracking.


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12 “And Do You See Those Lights In The Distance? They Look Like The Lights Of A Strange Ocean Liner Sailing On A Frozen Sea. There Is The North Pole!”

The Conductor

The train approaching The North Pole in The Polar Express

There are so many magical depictions and descriptions of Christmas staples in The Polar Express and this introduction to The North Pole given by the Conductor makes for one of the movie’s best quotes. The North Pole in the movie is indeed that wondrous to behold, with a heavenly glow all around it and though the movie’s visuals are stunning, it’s the Conductor’s description that really allows the audience to see it through the kids’ eyes.

11 “I Believe.”

Hero Boy

Hero Boy in The Polar Express

The Hero Boy is the lead character of The Polar Express, and the only real conflict in the entire story is his internal conflict regarding his belief in Santa. The big moment of resolution comes when Santa arrives to give the first gift of Christmas. The other kids can hear the sound of the bells on Santa’s sleigh while the Hero Boy cannot.

All of Hero Boy’s skepticism throughout The Polar Express is tinged with the hope that Santa might be real. He finally makes his decision about choosing to believe when one of the bells falls to his feet. After he says that he believes out loud, he rings the bell again, and he can hear it. It’s such a simple statement, but it creates one of the most powerful moments in the movie.

10 “Found This On The Seat Of My Sleigh. Better Get That Hole In Your Pocket Fixed. Mr. C.”

Santa Claus

The bell at the end of The Polar Express

Hero Boy tears a hole in the pocket of his robe at the beginning of the movie when he rushes to see the Polar Express for the first time. This tear causes him some trouble later on when Santa’s gift to him slips right out and gets left at the North Pole. Awaking on Christmas morning, and tearing the same hole again in the same robe as he did at the beginning of the movie, Hero Boy once again doubts the truth of what he saw the previous night, as does the audience.

However, when he goes to open his presents, he finds that Santa has left the bell for him as a gift with this message. The personal touch to the note makes this such a heartwarming scene to take the film out on, offering one last memorably suspenseful moment for the audience with a payoff that’s fully in the Christmas spirit.

9 “Though I’ve Grown Old, The Bell Still Rings For Me. As It Does For All Those Who Truly Believe.”

The Narrator

Hero Boy with the bell in The Polar Express

The final words of The Polar Express are its most poignant, but also its most uplifting as Hero Boy tells the audience about how all of his friends and even his little sister grew to become like their parents and unable to hear the sound of Santa’s bell, while his belief remained unwavering. It’s a beautifully bittersweet ending that reminds the audience that the feeling of the holidays can be kept alive in the hearts of children and adults alike. This Polar Express quote is elegant as it sums up the film’s message very succinctly while letting the audience know that Hero Boy’s happy ending lasted for the rest of his life.


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8 “We Are In Some Serious Jelly.”

The Conductor

A caribou on the tracks in The Polar Express

When the Polar Express gets stuck at caribou crossing, the main characters look like they’ll never get through the massive obstacle ahead, which the Conductor so eloquently points out with this line. The Conductor is a character with a generally amusing temperament and vocabulary, often voicing his dissatisfaction with events but doing so in a way that still makes the audience laugh. This is about as genuinely concerned and annoyed as the Conductor becomes in the entire film, and he still finds a way to make his frustration sound funny.

7 “In Fact, I Am The King Of The North Pole!”

The Hobo

The hobo in The Polar Express

The most mysterious character in The Polar Express is a man that the Hero Boy meets atop the train referred to only as the Hobo. He’s a caricature of the image of a person who would ride trains across the United States looking for work during the Great Depression, but serves a much more ambiguous role in the story, and a very important one too.

The Hobo in The Polar Express isn’t a villain, but he appears to encourage Hero Boy’s doubt in Santa, whilst also appearing to be magical himself. As he yells this into the night when he introduces himself, it’s a reference to the distinct culture of transient workers in popular culture, but has the booming confidence of some alternate version of Santa himself.

6 “He Was Just Trying To Stop The Train, So That Kid Could Get On!”

Hero Girl

Hero Girl and Billy in The Polar Express

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. He initially decides to not get on, but, when the Hero Boy sees him starting to run toward the train, he decides 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 it was necessary. This shows the strength of their connection straight away, while establishing her brave personality.

5 “One Thing About Trains: It Doesn’t Matter Where They’re Going. What Matters Is Deciding To Get On.”

The Conductor

The Believe Ticket in the boy's hand from The Polar Express

At the end of The Polar Express 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, but the journey is the fun part. The destination is often unknown, but it’s always important to try and experience things. The key idea behind this Polar Express quote might go over the heads of younger viewers, but, for adults, this is a particularly meaningful sentiment.


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4 “Here We Only Got One Rule. Never, Ever Let It Cool.”

The Conductor Singing “Hot Chocolate”

The Conductor singing Hot Chocolate in The Polar Express

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. The enthusiasm that the Polar Express team gives to serving hot chocolate is infectious and helps to give the movie a safe and cozy feeling at the same time.

3 “It’s So Much Fun When Christmas Comes To Town.”

The Kids Singing “When Christmas Comes To Town”

Hero Girl and Billy singing in The Polar Express

Another of the musical moments from The Polar Express 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. The best Polar Express quotes create a very warm and fuzzy Christmas feeling, and this main chorus line from the kids is the most unequivocally festive of them all.

2 “There’s No Greater Gift Than Friendship.”

Santa Claus

While The Polar Express is mostly about Christmas, at its core, a story about friendship too. The young characters join together on the train without knowing each other and have very different personalities. When the kids all finally see Santa, he gives them each some wise words, and he tells Billy that friendship is the greatest gift, and it’s hard not to see Santa’s point. Billy seemed to have so little when the night began but ended it with the most valuable thing of all: new friends.

1 “Seeing Is Believing, But, Sometimes, The Most Real Things In The World Are The Things We Can’t See.”

The Conductor

Though the Hero Boy is the only character in The Polar Express who sees or interacts with the Hobo, the Conductor tells a very interesting story about how he slipped and almost fell off of the train one Christmas Eve, but some mysterious force saved him. This sounds similar to how the Hobo had held onto the Hero Boy moments earlier to save him from falling off the edge of the train, and when the Conductor talks about his miraculous incident more, he uses some of the same words that the Hobo said to Hero Boy.

Adding onto the Hobo’s quote about seeing being believing, the Conductor reminds the Hero Boy about the importance of things that can’t be seen. The connection to Santa is clear, but the whole conversation is one of the most subtle in the film, further delving into the Hero Boy’s questions about faith and belief. This is an unusual moment, but one that leads to the best quote in The Polar Express.

  • The Polar Express Movie Poster

    The Polar Express

    Release Date:

    Robert Zemeckis

    Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, Eddie Deezen, Peter Scolari, Michael Jeter


    100 Minutes

    Animation, Adventure, Fantasy, Holiday

    Robert Zemeckis, William Broyles Jr.

    Creator :
    Chris Van Allsburg

    $165 Million

    Castle Rock Entertainment, Shangri-La Entertainment, Playtone, ImageMovers, Golden Mean

    Warner Bros. Pictures


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