Hero Boy (Chris)
Character information
BornSometime between 1949 to 1950
Primary wardrobeGolden yellow pyjamas, dark navy blue robe
OccupationPolar Express passenger
HomeHis house in Grand Rapids, Michigan
RelativesSarah (sister), His Parents
Background information
Motion captureTom Hanks (primary)
Josh Hutcherson (additional)
VoiceDaryl Sabara (as a child)
Tom Hanks (as an adult)
Appeared inThe Book and the Film
The Hero Boy is the main character in the 1985 book, The Polar Express and the 2004 film of the same name. The narrator is him as a grown-up. He narrates the story of his experience on the Polar Express.

Role of film

At first, Hero Boy did not want to come aboard the train as he found it too crazy to believe that a train would stop in front of his house for him. He ends up running aboard the train before it picks up too much speed.

On the train he encounters multiple events with the Hero Girl, a Hobo and the Conductor. Throughout the whole ride to the North Pole, he questions whether any of this was real or if it was just a dream. That theme occurs throughout the whole film and it is eventually left up to the audience to decide if it was a dream or not.

At the North Pole he, the Hero Girl and Billy end up accidentally exploring most of the area, including Santa's Workshop, after Hero Boy accidentally presses a lever that uncouples the observation car from the rest of the train, causing it to become a runaway. After he and Hero Girl chase Billy and his new found gift in the workshop, they end up in Santa's Bag with Know-It-All, who had followed them around that whole time.

After they arrive at the center of the city and get rescued from the bag, Santa Claus arrives, but the Hero Boy has trouble seeing him, nor can hear "the most beautiful sounding bells in the world," according to the Hero Girl, but when a bell falls off a reindeer and lands at his feet, he still can not hear it until after he whispers to himself, "I believe." Later, Santa chooses Hero Boy to be the one to receive the first gift of Christmas: which is the sleigh bell that landed at his feet just then. When everyone gets back on the train, he discovers that the sleigh bell fell out of the hole in his pocket.

However, the next Christmas morning, Sarah finds a box in which contains the sleigh bell and a note from Santa Claus himself, telling the Hero Boy he had dropped it on his sleigh the night before. Hero Boy rang the bell and he and Sarah enjoyed the sound it made, but Hero Boy's parents could not hear it when they rang it themselves.

Hero Boy, as a grown-up, narrates the end saying even though he has grown up, he can still hear the bell, unlike most of his friends and Sarah. This ending leads the audience to believe the whole story was not a dream, but it is up to them to decide.


  • In contrast, the character was named "Chris" after the author, Chris Van Allsburg. He based the book on his life as a very young boy (Possibly 9 to 10 years of age) during Christmas Eve when he was having a dream about riding on a magical train from his hometown Grand Rapids, Michigan, all the way to the North Pole to meet a "real-life" Santa Claus, up close and personal. He told Santa that he wanted a bell for Christmas, which was later granted as the first gift of Christmas. Sadly, what Chris didn't really know was that he had a small hole in one of his pockets which caused his "first gift" to slip out and drop onto Santa's sleigh. The following morning on Christmas day, it was time to open up the presents, but one of them was a special present that he did not know was his "first gift" from last night. He also reads the letter Santa wrote, whom luckily found it and the elves grabbed a special spare "left over" gift box, along with the ribbon to keep it safe and put the present with the rest in Santa's sack.


  • "Are we really going to the North Pole?"
  • "She didn't lose her ticket. I did. I was trying to return it to her, but the wind blew it out of my hand. You can have my ticket."
  • "I've wanted to do that my whole life."
  • "What about this red one?! It looks like a brake!"
  • "Are you sure?!"
  • "I believe."
  • "It says..."
Children: Hero Boy (Chris) Hero Girl Know-It-All Billy the Lonely Boy Sarah Gus the Toothless Boy Boy on Train Red Head Girl Little Boy Young Boy
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
Toys: Ebenezer Scrooge Puppet Jack-in-the-Boxes

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