The Polar Express Wiki

"Hey! Hey, you! Yeah, you! Do you know what kind of train this is?"
— Know-It-All first meeting Hero Boy.

The Know-It-All, is one of the children onboard the Polar Express. He is talkative and he seems smart at first, but it is soon apparent that he only wants to be smart and needs to learn more.

Role in the film

Journey to the North Pole

Hero Boy first meets Know-It-All on the train right after he takes a seat. Know-It-All asks Hero Boy about what kind of train they are on, leaving him confused. Hero Girl joins in saying it is a magic train that goes to the North Pole. Know-It-All proceeds to give a detailed description of the locomotive before noticing Herpolsheimer's outside and calls out to the other children to come and see it. The store features a Christmas display with a pile of presents, to which Know-It-All exclaims, "I want all of them!"

When the Conductor punches the children's tickets, he puts "LE" on the one from Know-It-All, who claims the Conductor is a show-off with how he punches tickets and wonders what the letters mean. Hero Girl would later get the same letters. He is surprised when they stop at Billy's house, as he thought Hero Boy was the last passenger. Billy turns the trip down, but changes his mind and runs after the train as it leaves. However, since he has trouble getting on, Know-It-All suggests Hero Boy should pull the emergency brake, which stops the train and allows Billy on board. When an angry Conductor storms in, Know-It-All tattles on Hero Boy, even though it was his idea.

When Hero Girl goes to give Billy hot chocolate, Know-It-All and Hero Boy try to persuade her out of it with the former saying it is against railroad regulations for children to cross moving cars without an adult, but the Conductor shows up to assist her. Know-It-All then warns Hero Boy when he leaves to give Hero Girl her ticket back. Later, the Conductor comes to punch Hero Girl's ticket, but when she cannot find it, he takes her to the back of the train. Know-It-All says she might get thrown off the train and they might slow down for her, but not fully stop, giving Hero Boy the idea to stop the train again. However, before doing so, he finds the ticket on the air vent above the brake, so he grabs it and goes after Hero Girl and the Conductor.

After the train passes through Glacier Gulch and the Ice Lake, Hero Boy, Hero Girl, and the Conductor return to the passenger cars. Know-It-All tries explaining the events to Hero Boy, claiming the train could not have been on the ice and it appearing that way was just an optical illusion. An uninterested Hero Boy heads to the observation car without saying anything.

At the North Pole

The train arrives at the North Pole and the Conductor tells the children about the first gift of Christmas, to which Know-It-All asks who will receive it. At the North Pole Square, the Conductor mentions it being five minutes to midnight and Know-It-All says it has been so for the past four minutes. He watches Hero Boy and Hero Girl going back to get Billy.

In the bag of gifts, the other children find Know-It-All in the bag with them after he pulls on Billy's leg, likely thinking it was a present. He says he wanted make sure he is getting everything on his list, but only found one present with "a bunch of stupid underwear." Soon, they arrive at the Square and Hero Girl notices the time is still 11:55. Know-It-All claims they will not be late since the time has not changed for the past hour. The bag is landed on Santa's sleigh and the elves go to rescue the children. Know-It-All tries to appear innocent by saying he was only following the others.

When Santa Claus arrives at the Square and speaks to the children, Know-It-All impatiently asks Santa to pick him as the one to receive the first gift with Hero Girl trying to make him behave, but he does not stop until Santa tells him to be patient and show a bit of humility. Know-It-All also watches Hero Boy receiving the first gift and Santa Claus flying away in his sleigh.

Return trip

Before boarding the train for the ride home, his ticket is punched again. He looks at it and reads "LEAN," though is unaware that his fingers is covering a letter and that it really says "LEARN." The Conductor tries explaining Know-It-All's mistake, which makes him angry at him for supposedly making him look dumb, but when he takes a second look and sees the R, he apologizes and gets on the train. Like the other children, he asks to see Hero Boy's silver bell and feels sorry for him for losing it.

Know-It-All sits next to Billy during the trip. Before Billy gets off the train, Know-It-All asks where he is going and Billy explains that the train has stopped at his house. He also says goodbye to Hero Boy before he gets off the train, still feeling sorry about the bell. He points out, "It's the thought that counts."

Other appearances

The Polar Express: The Video Game

Know-It-All is one of the children whom Hero Boy helps find their ticket, which was stolen by Scrooge. Beforehand, he brags about how he never loses his ticket before realizing it is gone. His ticket was in the dining car and Hero Boy had to win a food fight against Scrooge's friends to get it back. When Know-It-All sees the mess, he tells Hero Boy it is against railroad regulations to throw objects inside train cars, but happily thanks him for finding his ticket anyway and advises him to leave before the cook sees the mess. When Hero Boy returns from helping the children, he advises everyone to take their seats since regulations forbid blocking fire exits, which annoys Hero Girl. Next, he is one of the children cheering Hero Boy during the final battle with Scrooge.

Later, he appears on board the zeppelin with Hero Boy, Hero Girl, and Billy. Like in the film, he tries to act innocent by telling the captain he was only following the others. When the captain asks for their help, Know-It-All asks if it will make him the first to see Santa, which annoys the other children. After Hero Boy returns from driving the zeppelin, Know-It-All complains about how bumpy the ride was.

Behind the scenes

Know-It-All is one of many characters from the film whom did not come from the book. The design on his pajamas was meant to reflect space exploration from the 1950's.[1]

Like most human characters, Know-It-All's animation was done through motion-capture, which was mostly provided by Eddie Deezen with additional motion-capture done by Jimmy Pinchak, though some keyframe animation was done to perfect his movements.[2] For example, whenever he ran, Deezen's adult-sized motion-capture turned out too slow for a child and was sped up by about 12%.[3]

In other languages

Language Name Voice actor(s)
Chinese 萬事通 劉傑
Finnish Tietä-sen-kaikki Petri Hanttu
French Je-Sais-Tout Laurent Lévy
German Der Besserwisser Hannes Maurer
Hebrew הידען Ido Mosseri
Hungarian Okoska Balázs Sánta
Italian Saputello Leonardo Graziano
Japanese 知ったかぶりっ子 Tanaka Kyohei
Korean 잘난 척하는 아이 Um Sang-hyun
Polish Mądrala Rafał Kołsut
Portuguese Rapaz Sabe-Tudo André Maia (Portugal)
Romanian Know-it-All Paul Zurbău
Russian Mal’čik v Žëltom Kostjume i Očkah Dmitriy Cherevatenko
Spanish Niño Sabiondo Héctor Emmanuel Gómez (Latin America)
Masumi Mutsuda (Spain)
Swedish Besserwisser Adam Giertz


  • While Know-It-All does not appear in the book, one illustration shows a similar-looking boy with glasses and a yellow shirt. Also, Know-It-All quotes a line from the book originally said by the children collectively asking the Conductor who receives the first gift of Christmas.
  • Know-It-All says the train is a Baldwin 2-8-4 S3-class Berkshire type steam locomotive built at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1931 and weighs 456,100 pounds. The Baldwin Locomotive Works built 35 locomotives of the S3-class for the Erie Railroad, but they were built in 1928 and weighed 457,500 pounds.
    • In comparison to Pere Marquette 1225, the train's basis for both the book and the film, the wheel arrangement is the same, but it weighs 442,500 and is a member of the N1 class built at the Lima Locomotive Works in 1941.[4][5]
  • The Know-It-All's shirt could date the film to 1958 or 1959, as it says "Jupiter-Explorer". This refers to NASA's Explorer program, and the rocket that launched the early Explorer satellites, Jupiter-C.
  • Know-It-All is the only main child character in the film to not have their name revealed in any known Polar Express media.


  • "Yeah, I know it's a magic train. Actually, it's a Baldwin 2-8-4 S3-class Berkshire type steam locomotive built in 1931 at the Baldwin Locomotive Works. It weighs 456,100 pounds and has a tractive force of 3,450 pounds. Its top speed is..."
  • "Hey, look, everybody! Herpolsheimer's! Herpolsheimer's!"
  • Wow! Look at all those presents. I want all of them.
  • "Boy, that guy sure likes to show off with his ticket punch. Look what that wise guy punched on my ticket. 'L-E.' What the heck does that mean?"
  • "Ah, it's just another pick-up. That's weird. I thought you were supposed to be the last one."
  • "He did!"
  • "You know, Montezuma, the king of the Aztecs would drink 50 quarts of hot chocolate every day. It was thick as mud and red. He put chili pepper in instead of sugar. Get it? Hot chocolate?"
  • "Yeah it's against railroad violation to cross moving cars without a grown up."
  • "Hey where are you going? You're goanna get us all in trouble!"
  • "You know what's goanna happen now don't ya, he's goanna throw her off the train! Yeah he's probably goanna throw her right off the rear platform. It's standard procedure, that way she won't get sucked down under the wheels. They may slow the train down a little bit but they're never goanna stop it."
  • "No please don't do that again!"
  • "Hey, you missed it. We rode down some really sharp hills. And then, we were on what looked like a frozen lake. But I know it was just an optical illusion caused by moonlight atmosphere. He said the train was actually on the ice, but I said it was impossible because you can't put a train track... Hey, where you going now?"
  • "Who gets the first gift of Christmas?"
  • "Hey, what gives? It was five minutes to midnight four minutes ago!"
  • "Same as you, I'm checking out my Christmas presents. I want to make sure I've got everything on my list. All I got was one present and all I had was a bunch of stupid underwear!"
  • "I was just following them."
  • "Hey! Ow!"
  • "Pick me! Pick me! I want the first gift! I want the first gift!"
  • "'LEAN'? Whatever that's supposed to mean?"
  • "Hey, are you saying I don't know how to...?! Oh. I'm sorry. It says 'LEARN'. My mistake."
  • "Yeah let's see the bell."
  • "Gee that's really too bad. Really."
  • "Hey where you going?"
  • "Well you know what they say, it's a thought that counts."
  • "Well, see ya."



  1. Cotta Vaz, Mark. Starkey, Steve. (November 4, 2004) The Art of the Polar Express, Chronicle Books. p. 35. ISBN 978-0811846592.
  2. Schaub, David (November 23, 2004). "'The Polar Express' Diary: Part 1 -- Testing and Prepping". Animation World Network.
  3. Schaub, David (February 22, 2005). "'The Polar Express' Diary: Part 3 -- The MoCap/Anim Process". Animation World Network.
  4. "Erie 2-8-4 "Berkshire" Locomotives of the USA". Steam Locomotive dot Com. Archived from the original on March 15, 2016.
  5. "2-8-4 "Berkshire" Locomotives in the USA". Steam Locomotive dot Com. Archive from the original on June 8, 2017.
Children Hero Boy (Chris) Hero Girl (Holly) Know-It-All Billy the Lonely Boy Sister Sarah Gus the Toothless Boy Boy on Train Blonde Girl (Heather) Little Boy Young Boy Steven Unnamed Kids
Adults Conductor Hobo Smokey and Steamer Santa Claus Pastry Chefs Waiters Hero Boy's parents
Elves Elves Acrobatic Elves Elf General Elf Lieutenant Elf Singer
Animals Caribou Santa Claus' reindeer Wolves Other animals
Toys Ebenezer Scrooge puppet Scrooge's friends