Bad Santa is a 2003 American Christmas black comedy film directed by Terry Zwigoff and written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. It stars Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Lauren Graham, Brett Kelly, Lauren Tom, John Ritter, and Bernie Mac. It was Ritter's last live-action film appearance before his death on September 11, 2003 (his remaining final films, Clifford's Really Big Movie and Stanley's Dinosaur Round-Up, were animated films); the film was dedicated to his memory. The Coen brothers are credited as executive producers. The film was released in the United States on November 26, 2003, and was screened out of competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. It received generally positive reviews and was a commercial success.


Willie T. Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) and his dwarf assistant Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox) are professional thieves. Every year, Willie gets a job as a department store Santa Claus and Marcus as an elf to rob shopping malls at night, with Marcus' wife Lois (Lauren Tom) as their getaway driver. Marcus takes his elf duties seriously, but Willie, a sex-addicted alcoholic, is gradually unable to perform with children, also affecting his safe-cracking abilities, much to Marcus's displeasure. When they are hired at the Saguaro Square Mall in Phoenix, Willie's vulgarity shocks the prudish mall manager Bob Chipeska (John Ritter), who brings them to the attention of security chief Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac).