The film spent four weeks as the number-one film in the United States. The Grinch is the highest-grossing holiday film of all time with $345,141,403 worldwide. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and was also nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.
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the entire movie.
The Grinch actually arrived in Whoville by mistake when he was a baby, and was adopted by two elderly sisters. Although he showed some sadistic tendencies as a child, he was rather timid and not the cruel, selfish person he would become; he was ridiculed by his classmates (particularly by Augustus May Who, the current Mayor of Whoville) because of his appearance, with the exception of Martha May Whovier, who was courted by both the Grinch and May Who. One Christmas season, he made a gift for Martha, but attempted to shave his face, cutting himself and when the school saw his face covered with shaving tape the next morning, they laughed at him. He lost his temper, went on a rampage and ran away to live on Mt. Crumpit.
Cindy Lou, touched by this story, decides to make the Grinch the main participant of the Whobilation, to the great displeasure of Mayor May Who, who reluctantly agrees after pressure from the townspeople, who have been warmed by Cindy Lou's generous spirit. When Cindy Lou goes to Mt. Crumpit and offers an invitation to the Grinch, he turns her down. He gradually changes his mind, however, due to the promise of an award, the presence of Martha at the celebration and the chance to upset the Mayor. Just as the Grinch is enjoying himself and is almost won over, May Who gives him an electric shaver as a present, reminding him of his humiliation at school. May Who then asks Martha to marry him, promising her a new car in return. This causes the Grinch to openly berate the Whos for thinking that Christmas is about gifts that they will just dispose of later, in the hopes of making them too ashamed to celebrate the holiday. He then goes on to ruin the party by burning the Christmas tree with a flamethrower.
When he discovers that his attack has not removed the spirit of Christmas from the Whos, the Grinch instead concocts a plan to steal all of their presents while they are sleeping. Creating a Santa suit and sleigh, the Grinch flies around Whoville, stealing all of the Whos' Christmas gifts. He is almost discovered by Cindy Lou, but concocts a lie that allows him to get away. The next day, the Whos discover the Grinch's scheme, and May Who denounces Cindy Lou as the root of this catastrophic disaster. However, her father, Lou Lou Who, finally stands up to him and reminds everyone that they still have the Christmas Spirit and that the principal meaning of Christmas is to spend it with family and friends. The people accept his speech and begin to sing. Hoping that the change of mood would inspire the Grinch, Cindy Lou goes to Mt. Crumpit to find him.
The Grinch reveals that he intends to push the stolen gifts off the top of the mountain after he hears the Whos crying. However, instead of crying, he hears the joyful singing of the Whos. Infuriated about the failure of his plan, the Grinch has an epiphany about what Christmas is really about: not material gifts, but spending time with loved ones, an insight that profoundly touches him and causes his heart to grow to three times its original size. When the sleigh full of stolen gifts begins to go over the edge of the cliff, the Grinch desperately tries to save them to no avail. However, when he realizes Cindy Lou has come to wish him a merry Christmas and is in danger of falling off the cliff with the sleigh, the Grinch finds enough strength to lift the sleigh, the gifts and Cindy Lou to safety. After a long descent down Mt. Crumpit, the Grinch returns to Whoville with Cindy and the gifts. He confesses to the burglary and apologizes for his actions towards the Whos, who reconcile with the Grinch. Martha turns down May Who's proposal and decides that she would rather stay with the Grinch instead. The redeemed Grinch starts a new life with the Whos, commemorating the Christmas feast with them in his cave.
- Jim Carrey as the Grinch, a green creature who hatefully despises Christmas and the Whos of Whoville. It is revealed in his origin story that he started to hate Christmas after his school classmates humiliated him when he tried to shave his face. Before Jim Carrey was cast to play the Grinch, Jack Nicholson and Eddie Murphy were briefly considered.
- Josh Ryan Evans as an 8-year-old Grinch; his humiliation at school by May Who is what drives him into a hatred of Christmas.
- Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who, a young Who who thinks the Christmas spirit in Whoville is lost. (In this version, she is six years old, whereas in the book in 1957 and TV special in 1966 by Chuck Jones she was "no more than two").
- Jeffrey Tambor as Mayor Augustus May Who, Whoville's rude, arrogant, and judgmental mayor. He is revealed to be a school bully who picked on the young Grinch over his shaved face, which is what motivated the Grinch to hate Christmas in the first place. He also denounces the Grinch every chance he gets and wants to have a Grinch-less Christmas.
- Ben Bookbinder as an 8-year-old Augustus May Who; he tormented the young Grinch, which then motivated the Grinch to hate Christmas.
- Christine Baranski as Martha May Whovier, the Grinch's lifelong crush and the romantic interest of May Who. She ultimately rejects the Mayor and chooses the Grinch.
- Landry Allbright as an 8-year-old Martha May Whovier. She shows compassion towards the young Grinch.
- Bill Irwin as Lou Lou Who, Cindy Lou's father and the postman of Whoville.
- Molly Shannon as Betty Lou Who, Cindy Lou's mother and a rival to Martha May in a house-lighting contest.
- Kelley as Max the Dog and Frank Welker as his voice, who is the Grinch's pet dog and only companion on Mt. Crumpit. It is unknown how or when The Grinch got him.
- Clint Howard as Whobris, the mayor's sycophantic aid.
- Reid Kirchenbauer as an 8-year-old Whobris.
- Mindy Sterling as Clarnella Who, one of the Grinch's childhood caretakers
- Jeremy Howard and T. J. Thyne as Drew Lou and Stu Lou Who, troublesome sons of Lou and Betty, and brothers to Cindy Lou.
- Jim Meskimen as Officer Wholihan, the chief of police.
- Anthony Hopkins as the Narrator.
- Bryce Dallas Howard as a surprised Who.