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Buddy Hobbs is the main protagonist of the 2003 New Line Cinema film Elf and its animated television special remake. He is portrayed by Will Ferrell in the original film and voiced by Jim Parsons in the animated special.



Buddy is an sweet and cheerful human that lives in the north pole since he was a baby. Despite his childlike personality and innocence, Buddy can get really upset when Walter yelled at him in frustration. Buddy is unable to perform the elf tasks and can fall behind quota, but he is a very good decorator and can build toys from other materials.

Physical appearance

Buddy is an slender and tall human that is twice the size of any elf, with fair skin, brown curly hair, and blue eyes.

When he is living at the North Pole for the rest of his life, he wore an green elf jacket with an white fur collar and cuffs, he wore a black belt with a gold rectangular buckle with it. He wore yellow tights and black elf shoes, and wore an green cone-shaped hat with an yellow band and a red feather.

Role in the film

One Christmas eve night at the orphanage, A nun places the infant baby to the crib, and leaves him to go to sleep. Then Santa Claus drops in through the chimney and whilst he delivers presents and eating cookies, the baby crawls out of his crib, captivated by the sight of a teddy bear, crawls into the sack and he is taken to the North Pole, without Santa aware of it. Once the baby is discovered, the elves guess his name is "Buddy" because of the brand on his diaper. Papa Elf volunteers to raise him, and names the baby "Buddy".

As the years pass, Buddy grew up at the North Pole, unaware of his humanity and he is bigger than the other elves. One day, When Buddy is an adult, Papa Elf makes him as his apprentice and shows him Santa's Sleigh and the jet engine "Kringle 3000, 500 Reindeer-Power" is placed on the sleigh, due to the powers decreasing as a result of many people disbelieving Santa Claus, and the engine is used to assist Santa. Whilst making toys, Buddy falls behind the quota of making toys and Ming Ming assures him that he is "special" and demotes him to a demeaning job testing toys. Whilst working, Buddy overhears an conversation between Ming Ming and an another elf, mentioning that Buddy is actually human, causing Buddy to have several flashbacks about his life at the North Pole and faints.

Running back to Papa's Elf cottage, he hides himself in the toilet stall. Papa Elf, asks Buddy that he is okay, and Buddy wants some alone time. Papa Elf then haves a little talk to Buddy about what has happened, and then reveals to Buddy that he worn born biologically to Walter Hobbs and Susan Wells. Buddy was given up for adaptation and Walter was unaware that he was born. Susan later passed away and Walter now works at the children's book publishing company in the Empire State Building at New York City. Leon the snowman convinces Buddy to set out and find his real father. Buddy makes his plan to travel to New York City, and Santa gives him some advice and reveals that Walter is on the naughty list, due to his selfishness and greed, much to Buddy's shock and dismay. Buddy then bids farewell to the other elves and Papa Elf, before setting off to find his father. Buddy also bids farewell to his North Pole friends before floating across the ocean on an ice flow.

The next morning, he traveled through seven levels of candy cane forest, past the sea of swirly-twirly gumdrops, climbed through the snow peaks of the mountain, through the forest where he encounters a raccoon, who attacks him after innocently asks him for a hug, and eventually made his way through Lincoln Tunnel to New York. Although after arriving, Buddy doesn't know much of the human world, that he unintentionally goes through the habitats of misunderstanding the aspects of the human world: Buddy crosses the street at the wrong time (although he is hit by a taxi, but he is unharmed), he takes the world's best cup of Coffee sign in the café window literally, he eats discarded gum from the subway banisters, using cologne/perfume as breath spray, ending up dizzy whilst riding through the revolving door prompting him to vomit in one of the street's litter bins, and getting leaflets from two guys who are constantly got annoyed by his continuous visit to them.

Buddy eventually finds the Empire State Building and takes the elevator up to the Greenway Publishing floor, where he befriends Deb, Walter's secretary, who thinks he is sent here as a Christmas gram, and calls Walter on the intercom, and Walter lets him in. Whilst meeting his father despite Walter still unaware of, Buddy sings him a little song, and then mentions Susan Wells. Incredulous, Walter calls security to throw him out. Whilst being escorted out of the building by two security guards, one of whom makes an sarcastic advice to Buddy to "go back to Gimbels". Buddy visits the mall, and fails at other aspects in the mall: he reacts childishly to the passion fruit spray, he rides up the escalator awkwardly, and comments about the toilets. Whilst looking at women's sensual nighties, advertised as "For that special someone", the store's manager, mistakes him for an employee, and sends him up to Santa Land where he tells to do his work. Buddy catches the attention of Jovie, an unenthusiastic Gimbels employee who tells him, that he she doesn't like singing in front of other people, Buddy demonstrates of how singing can be joyful, he does so, and the manager interrupts him, saying there is "No singing at the North Pole". Buddy also learns that Santa Claus will arrive the next day, so he secretly stays behinds, behind the security guards' backs, and spends the night, decorating Santa Land to perfection with merchandise around the store; He builds LEGO models of the New York City Skyscrapers, He uses toy and pillow stuffing for the snow, he wraps tinseling around the store's walls, and even makes a welcome sign out of Lite-brites.

The next morning, Buddy finishes decorating Santa Land, and hears someone singing, and it turns out to be Jovie, singing in a shower, Buddy joins in without Jovie hearing him clearing, but finally does when he sings too loud at the final verse, she tells him to get out of the bathroom, Buddy runs out, covering his eyes, before crashing into lockers. Whilst getting some sleep, Buddy sees his biological father walking pass the store, and plans to give the nightie to him personally, but the security spot him, take the gift up to Walter for him and again eject Buddy from the building. Buddy returns to Gimbels, where Jovie complains to Buddy about singing in the women's bathroom, and Buddy asks her why is she here so early, Jovie responds that her shower has been cut off, prompting her to use Gimbels' showers temporarily, and then Buddy answers Jovie's question by telling her that he builds the fancy decorations in Santa Land, which Jovie is likely impressed. The manager, who had saw the decorations, fears that someone is taking over his job, and asks Buddy and Jovie to keep an eye out, before going back to work. Buddy sees Santa, and when Santa makes his appearance to the children, Buddy welcomes him, and when he gets a closer look at him, Buddy is appalled at the fact that the Santa is not the Genuine Santa he knows causing the two to argue. When Buddy removes the fake beard, the store's Santa fights with him where the fighting wrecks most of the decorations accidentally. The manager pins down the enraged store Santa, and shortly Buddy is then arrested and is given a restraining order from the store.

After being jailed with the other criminals, Buddy makes a call from the police, to Walter in request to bail him out. Walter reluctantly leaves work to bail Buddy out of jail, and since Walter doesn't believe that Buddy is his son, he takes him to his family's pediatrician for an DNA test, via finger prick which Buddy finds painful. Whilst treating his wound, he befriends a little girl called Carolyn, who wants a Suzy-talks-a-lot for Christmas. Buddy is then proven to Walter that he is actually Walter's biological son. Now convinced, but still incredulous that Buddy thinks he's a elf, the Doctor informs Walter that Buddy will move on with his life once he gets to know his family. Although Buddy does tend to drink few liter bottles of Coca-Cola which causes him to burp for 12 seconds, Walter and his son Michael find him irritating due to his childlike behavior, but Emily insists to Walter that he must take care of him until he "recovers". At night, Buddy calls Walter over to tuck him in, Walter refuses at first, but reluctantly does so.

The next morning, Buddy constructs a rocking horse out of the TV cupboard, and made fancy decorations around the house, which Walter finds annoying to him. Walter tells Buddy to get rid of the costume, but Buddy declines saying he wore this whilst living in the North Pole, until Walter points out that he is not living in the North Pole anymore, but finally and reluctantly agrees to allow Buddy to "lose the tights", Buddy tries to take them off, but it only horrifies Emily and Buddy himself. Later, Buddy makes a emergency phone call that there is a strange noise in the house, until he sees it's coming from a heater, Walter then tells to not to make more phone calls to him while he's at work. Buddy tries to keep up with Michael, when the boy is leaving school, but Michael ignores him and finally tells him to go away. However, bullies in Central Park throw snowballs at them, so Michael makes snowballs, allowing Buddy to throw them at the bullies, in a fast speed, Buddy soon befriends Michael after that, and they spend some time in Gimbels, and Buddy meets Jovie again. Michael encourages Buddy to ask her out on the date on Christmas Eve, Jovie agrees.

One day, after some coaxing from Emily, Walter reluctantly takes Buddy to work with him, dressed in work clothes. In the office, after asking some questions and causing Walter to miss a phone call, Walter decides to send Buddy to the mailroom in order to keep him out of the way. Buddy befriends a work placement colleague in the mailroom, and compares the mailroom to Santa's workshop. Then, Buddy mistakes whiskey for syrup, and becomes drunk, eventually leading to an outrageous dance part in the mailroom, and all the other employees join in with him, this causes the mailroom supervisor to phone Walter about this, interrupting a phone call with Miles Finch who Walter wants to hire in a chance to save Greenway Publishing when the company is failing.

On Christmas Eve, Buddy does go out on the date with Jovie, and after spending some time with her and knowing about her. Buddy wins her over, although, she doesn't mind his childlike personality. Feeling overjoyed and happy, Buddy bursts in the conference room to tell Walter about his newfound love, disturbing a meeting with Miles Finch. Buddy mistakes Finch for an elf, due to the fact he has dwarfism, and after asking him questions about how he left the North Pole and if Santa knows he's left the North Pole, this enrages and offends Finch to the tipping point, when Buddy calls him an "angry elf". Finch, loses his temper and attacks Buddy, before he storms out of the conference room, without continuing the meeting and ignoring Walter's pleas to stay. Buddy thinks he's a south pole elf. Having enough and furious that his chance of saving the company is ruined, Walter finally disowns Buddy harshly, screaming at him to get out of his life. Buddy leaves, feeling deeply hurt, he writes a apology message to Walter's family for ruining their lives, as well as cramming eleven cookies in the VCR, and leaves Walter's apartment.

Buddy walks alone in the streets on New York City, lamenting over his situation and feeling hurt and upset. Just as he is seemingly considering jumping off the Manhattan bridge, he spots Santa's Sleigh crashing into Central Park, he finds Santa, who informs him to the sleigh has lost all of its Christmas spirit, and Buddy goes on the task to find the engine that has broken off. Whilst looking, Walter and Michael arrive to find him. Walter, who had quit his job after been convinced by Michael about his family and the fact that Buddy ran away, apologizes for Buddy for what he has said to him, and accepts him as his son. Buddy takes them to meet Santa, learning that the sleigh will only fly if there's enough Christmas spirit and hearing that the Central Park Rangers are coming, Buddy formulates a plan; Michael takes Santa's list to read in front of the NYC News Cameras, and Walter to distract the Central Park Rangers, but to no avail, while Buddy tries to reattach the engine, as Santa tries to ride away from the rangers who never forgave Santa for putting them on the Naughty List.

Buddy has the hard time, reattaching the engine, until Santa bumps into a statue, losing the engine, but the sleigh soon flies with enough Christmas spirit, as Jovie (who had saw the events on TV) leads the crowd of people to sing "Santa Claus is coming to town", overcoming her shyness of singing, remembering what Buddy said to her "the best way to spread Christmas is singing loud for all to hear". The sleigh's flight is restored and back to flying high again, despite the sleigh is not captured by Cameras, meaning that the world's Christmas spirit is safe.

Next Christmas, Buddy writes and illustrates the first best selling book called "Elf" an account of Buddy's adventures, which Walter, who has now became a more caring, kinder and less greedy father, publishes in his independent publishing company. Sometime later, Buddy and Jovie got married and have a baby girl called "Susie", named after Buddy's late biological mother and visit Papa Elf at the North Pole.

The Animated Remake

Buddy appears in the animated remake, voiced by Jim Parsons, his role in the remake is the same from the original film, except he is raised by Santa Claus, meets Jovie in a diner and fights off the naughty children whilst Santa attempts to make his sleigh fly again. Buddy decides to make a book based on his adventures called "Buddy the Elf" which his son Buddy Jr. likes.


Papa Elf

Papa Elf was Buddy's adoptive father and has raised him all of his life. He has kept the truth from Buddy until one of the elves unintentionally spills the beans about Buddy who is a human being. Although he revealed Buddy's true origins to him, he is still viewed as Buddy's adoptive father.

Walter Hobbs

Walter Hobbs was Buddy's only biological parent after the passing of Susan Wells. Walter refuses to acknowledge that Buddy is his son and after disowning him (due to Buddy causing Hobbs to miss a deal with Miles Finch) which strains their relationship. It isn't until Walter realizes his error of his ways by apologizing to Buddy and finally accepts as his son.


Jovie is a unenthusiastic Gimbels employee and soon becomes Buddy's love interest. During Buddy's time in New York City, she becomes more open to Buddy (although she doesn't mind Buddy's childlike personality) and overcoming her shyness of singing in front of people.


  • His name "Buddy" means "Friend".
  • He is 6' 3", the same height as Will Ferrell, the actor that he is portrayed by.
  • He has had a beard since he was fifteen-years-old.

v - e - d
Elf 2003 Logo.png
Elf | Video | Soundtrack | Buddy's Musical Christmas
Buddy Hobbs | Walter Hobbs | Jovie | Emily Hobbs | Michael Hobbs | Santa Claus | Papa Elf | Santa's Elves | Mailroom Employee | Deb | Leon the Snowman | Ming Ming | North Pole Creatures | Central Park Rangers | Fulton Greenway | Miles Finch | The Naughty Children | Gimbel's Santa | Susan Wells | Eugene and Morris
North Pole | New York City | Empire State Building | Greenway Publishing | Gimbel's | New York Police Department | Walter's Apartment | Central Park
See also