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The Quirky World of Napoleon Dynamite Trivia

Do you feel like science was your favorite subject until you realized the only part of science that interested you was the material covered in Napoleon Dynamite? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This cult classic has captured the hearts of audiences since its release in 2004. Today, we’re diving into the weird and wonderful world of Napoleon Dynamite trivia to unearth some fun facts you may not know about the movie.

The Making of Napoleon Dynamite

Did you know that the movie was shot in just 22 days on a budget of around $400,000? Or that the director and writer, Jared Hess, attended Preston High School in Idaho before he moved on to Brigham Young University? These fun tidbits are just the beginning of the interesting anecdotes that surround the creation of this beloved movie.

The Real-Life Inspiration for Napoleon

Many people don’t realize that Hess created the character of Napoleon Dynamite based on a mix of people he grew up around in Preston, Idaho. In fact, some of the iconic one-liners from the movie are things Hess had heard in real life. For example, the line “Gosh!” came from one of Hess’s high school friends, who said it all the time.

The John Heder Connection

The man behind the beloved character of Napoleon Dynamite is John Heder, who auditioned for the role after being spotted by Hess’s wife. Prior to landing this iconic role, Heder had only acted in one other movie and was studying animation. Interestingly enough, Heder’s younger twin brothers also made appearances in the movie, playing the roles of the school bullies.

The Legacy of Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite may have been a low-budget indie film, but it has had a massive impact on pop culture and has spawned a variety of memorable spin-offs and references. Here are a few examples:

The Napoleon Dynamite Animated Series

The popularity of the movie led to an animated series that aired on Fox from 2012 to 2014. The show followed the same characters from the movie, with the original cast providing their voices.

Vote for Pedro

The “Vote for Pedro” t-shirt that Napoleon wears in the movie became a huge phenomenon after the film’s release. The shirt has since been sold in stores all over the world and even spawned its own line of merchandise.

Napoleon Dynamite Dance Scene

In one of the most memorable scenes in the movie, Napoleon performs a wildly choreographed dance in front of his entire school. The dance, which was improvised by Heder, has since been performed by fans all over the world, including a group of nearly 2,000 people in Wiltshire, England.

The Cultural Impact of Napoleon Dynamite

While Napoleon Dynamite may be just a silly movie on the surface, it has had a much wider impact on pop culture and society as a whole. Here are a few examples:

The “Napoleon Dynamite” Effect

In 2005, the American Dialect Society identified the “Napoleon Dynamite” effect as the trend of younger people speaking in a drawling, somewhat monotone voice, mimicking the way Napoleon speaks in the movie.

The Jared Hess Effect

Jared Hess, the writer and director of the movie, became an overnight sensation after the film’s success. He has since gone on to direct several other films and is considered a prominent figure in the world of independent cinema.

The Cultural References

The movie has been referenced in countless other films, TV shows, and even political campaigns. For example, President Obama referred to himself as the “Barack Obama of the Democratic Party” during the 2008 campaign, a nod to one of Napoleon’s memorable lines in the movie.


Napoleon Dynamite may have been a low-budget, quirky film, but it has certainly left its mark on pop culture and society as a whole. From the “Vote for Pedro” t-shirts to the Napoleon Dynamite dance, this movie has spawned countless imitations and references. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the movie or just appreciate a good bit of trivia, we hope this article has helped you appreciate the weird and wonderful world of Napoleon Dynamite just a little bit more.