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This article is about the 2004 live-action movie. For the similarly-titled 2024 all-CGI movie, see The Garfield Movie.

Garfield: The Movie, also known on-screen as Garfield, is a 2004 live-action film based on the Garfield franchise. The 3D model for Garfield the cat was created using computer-generated imagery; all other animal roles were real. The film was originally going to be produced in 2D by 20th Century Fox Animation, but duties were transferred to Davis Entertainment and 20th Century Fox.[Citation needed]

The movie was directed by Peter Hewitt, produced by Davis Entertainment for 20th Century Fox, and stars Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Dr. Liz Wilson, and features Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield.

The movie was released in the United States on June 11, 2004. Reviews of the movie were generally negative, although Murray's voice work received some positive notices.

Baha Men performed the song "Holla" for the film and its soundtrack. The music video premiered in early summer 2004 and featured clips from the film and gags showing references to the Garfield franchise (such as lasagna jokes).

Due to the Disney buyout of 20th Century Fox, Garfield: The Movie is available on Disney+.[1]


Jon Arbuckle buys a second pet, a dog named Odie. However, Odie is then abducted and it is up to Jon's cat, Garfield, to find and rescue the canine.


Garfield, a fat couch potato cat who lives with Jon Arbuckle, wakes up from a good night's sleep and awaits a tasty breakfast. Jon is woken by the fat cat with a dogpile. After switching his liver-flavored cat food with Jon's corned beef hash, Garfield spots a pie outside on the neighbor's window. He tricks the Doberman Pinscher Luca to get the pie and tangle his leash around many bushes and ceramic ducks. He also tricks his dimwitted neighbor cat Nermal to tip over a milk bottle, activating a Rube Goldberg device which makes Nermal land into a bucket.

After walking the cul-de-sac, Jon spots a mouse (Louis) and asks Garfield to get it. Garfield refuses and Jon runs after the rodent. He then trips on one of Garfield's toys and says, "What good is it to have a cat, if it can't catch a mouse." Garfield then runs outside and catches up to the mouse. The mouse turns out to be Garfield's best friend Louis and he was warned by Garfield that he should not run around the house when Jon is home. Jon walks out after Garfield and sees Louis in his mouth. Jon is proud of the tabby cat and when he leaves Garfield spits him out and spares his life. He only did it so Jon would not hurt him.

At Telegraph Tower, Happy Chapman the star of a Saturday morning show is sick of cats (due to his allergies) and wishes for a dog star along with him, and to outdo his more successful twin brother Walter, a news anchor. After his show, Jon comes home with some food he bought at the store. Garfield pigs out on the lasagna trays and Jon is disappointed. Garfield is brought to the vet (Garfield previously thought he was going to Chuck E Cheese's, Wendy's, Taco Kitty or Olive Garden), with Jon and is checked out at the vet by Liz, a nice and attractive veterinarian who is also Jon's high school crush. She operates Garfield. Jon tries to ask her out when a dog is brought in. His name is Odie and Liz asks Jon to take care of Odie or he will not survive on his own. Garfield comes out of the vet and sees Odie in the car, and Liz ends up asking Jon out.

Garfield is not very happy now that a dog is running amok in the house, sitting in his chair, getting the paper, and sleeping beside Jon when Garfield is not allowed to. To make things worse, Liz shows up and Jon, with Odie, leaves to go to the town dog show, and Garfield chases after them. At the dog show (where Liz is a judge) and where Jon is in the audience with Odie, Garfield unwittingly walks right into the show, is spotted by the dogs competing in the show, and runs away with the dogs in hot pursuit. The music goes on and Odie leaps out of Jon's hands and attempts to dance (just as when Garfield was dancing back at the house). The judges are impressed as well as the audience. Garfield succeeds in escaping and Odie is rewarded by Happy Chapman (also a judge) He says Odie may have a future in television, but Jon turns it down. When a picture for the newspaper is taken, Happy looks greedily at Odie.

Garfield hangs on under Liz's truck on the way back, and Jon and Liz plan a dinner on Sunday. Garfield is very angry because Odie got all the attention. He smacks a ball that starts an unusual Rube Goldberg machine which causes the square shelves above the computer to fall, leaving the house in shambles. Garfield is forced to sleep outside as a punishment and he watches in the windows how much Jon loves Odie. He sleeps on the porch that night and Odie comes out to comfort him. Garfield is touched, but then hops inside and locks the doggy door, and locks Odie out. Odie runs away and ends up found by a sweet old lady, Garfield is rejected from his friends because of this, Arlene quotes to Nermal Garfield is a pig because he let Odie run away.

Jon finds out Odie has gone and he feels terrible. After putting up posters around town, Liz arrives for the dinner, Jon cancels the dinner and tells Liz about Odie. Jon and Liz then work together to find Odie. Meanwhile, Happy Chapman finds a found poster by the old lady; recognizing Odie; Happy claims that Odie's name was his old family name. He acquires Odie and the dog performs on the Happy Chapman show. Garfield sees him and Happy announces that he and Odie are going to New York by train for a big performance. Garfield attempts to show Jon, but the show goes to a Wendy's commercial. Garfield then sets out on a mission to rescue the pup.

In the city, Garfield meets Louis again and the mouse guides the fat cat to the Telegraph Tower. Garfield cannot go in by the doors, so he climbs the vents and finds Odie in Happy's room. Happy comes in and puts on an inhumane mind-control electro-shock collar that with a press of a button, Odie gets a small shock and performs a backflip. Happy then head to the Train Station and Garfield follows behind. The tabby is caught by Animal Control and is thrown in the pound. Jon sees Liz at a clothing store and tells Liz that Garfield has run away too. The couple goes and investigates. Finding a found poster of Odie, the two find the old lady, who tells them that Odie is Happy Chapman's dog. The two drive to Telegraph Tower.

Garfield, at the pound, meets Persnikitty, Happy's last show cat that he threw inside the pound. A family arrives to take a cat home for a pet. Persnikitty, Garfield, and 3 other cats are taken and lined up behind a wall. The little girl picks Persnikitty. The old show cat tells Garfield that he will press the red button (which opens all the cages) to escape. All the caged up animals run like mad cows out in the city.

At the train station, Happy places Odie in the luggage cart and sit down for lunch. Garfield just misses the train by seconds. Jon and Liz arrive at the Train Station after being told that Happy was going to leave. Garfield sneaks into the control room and messes with the commands. The tracks get rearranged that all the trains are on the same tracks. Just when the trains are about to collide, Garfield stops all the trains with the press of a certain button. Garfield climbs in the luggage cart after the train returns to the station. He reunites with Odie.

Happy see Garfield and Odie walk out and is shocked. He runs out and chases them into the station's luggage halls, traps the two animals, and threatens Odie with the shock collar. Garfield jumps to the rescue and Happy throws the tabby on some luggage. Garfield gets up and is greeted by the pound animals. They have come to help. The animals corner Happy, and Garfield gives orders to attack and place the shock collar on Happy's neck. The pound animals leave and Garfield and Odie finish off Happy with two shocks of the collar. Jon and Liz arrive, and Jon furiously punches Chapman for stealing Garfield and Odie. Jon promises the cat and dog to never leave them out of his sight. Chapman gets arrested and Garfield earns his respect back from his friends and is now known as a hero.

Back home, Liz and Jon began a relationship, along with a passionate kiss, and then was watching An Affair to Remember and eating Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers together. Garfield learns friendship and love, and they live as a big happy family. But all that changes when he intentionally pushes Odie off his chair over and over again.

The film closes with Garfield singing and dancing to James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)." He does a split and is stuck on the floor. As the credits roll, with the pics from the movie scene, Garfield is heard in the background asking Odie for ice.


The movie gained largely negative reviews from critics. The movie received a 24% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and currently has 15% with an average rating of 3.5/10. On IMDb, the film has a 5/10 rating.

Yahoo! Movies critics' gave it a B-.

Roger Ebert gave Garfield: The Movie a "Thumbs Up", stating that he felt that the movie "is funny and charming". The Washington Post described it as "fun", and People magazine called it "clever."

Box office[]

First Week Gross US$ 31,787,681
Domestic US$ 135,789,689
Non-Domestic US$ 123,995,712
World-Wide US$ 200,965,971

Differences from comics, shows and specials[]

  • In the film Jon Arbuckle drives a green Volvo S60, as opposed to his red sedan in the comics, cartoons, and other media. This also changed in Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, where Jon drives a blue Volvo V50.
  • In the movie, Liz Wilson is portrayed as Jon's love interest, which is significantly different from her comic portrayal, who rejects Jon's advances and insists on keeping the relationship professional. In the comics, Jon's romantic life in the comics had been a series of canceled or failed dates, except for December 19, 1981, and July 26, 2006, in which Liz starts dating Jon. Conversely, in the movie, Liz is very interested, openly flirts with Jon, and she asks him out on a date.
  • Nermal is portrayed as an adult Siamese Cat instead of a gray tabby kitten, as in the comic strip. He is also a playmate of Garfield, whereas the comic strip shows him as a vain kitten that often visits Garfield to remind him of his old age, usually on or near his birthday. Nermal in the movie also seems to be slightly dim-witted, whereas his comic strip counterpart is not. In Garfield and Friends, Nermal sounds more feminine or like a typical cartoon version of a young boy, despite being male. In the movie, he sounds like a male teenager.
  • In the comic strip and animated series, Garfield is portrayed as an extremely lazy cat, seen mostly sleeping or eating. In the movie, Garfield can be seen dancing, running, jumping, and making a lot of other movements. This was also noted in Garfield and Friends.
  • Jon got Odie from Liz in the movie. In the strip, Lyman showed up with Odie in tow.
  • Odie in the film is a Dachshund. In the comic strip, Odie is a beagle with a black spot on his side.
  • Arlene's fur is dark gray instead of pink.
  • Arlene in the film appears to be more of Garfield's friend whereas, in the comic, she is his love interest (although a deleted scene shows him flirting with Arlene before being distracted by a pie).
  • In the comics and TV series, Jon is portrayed as a clumsy nerd with very little success in love. In the movie, he is no longer portrayed as a loser, simply a shy guy who has a good relationship with Liz and even knocks out Happy Chapman in one punch.
  • In the comics and TV series, Jon had a curly hair. In the movie, he had a straight hair.
  • In the film, its sequel, the DTV animated films, The Garfield Show, and The Garfield Movie, Garfield's mouth moves when he is talking. In contrast, the previous 2D versions of Garfield only talk through thought balloons and voice-over. Despite this, no humans can understand what he or any other animal is saying.


Voice cast[]

Animal actors[]

  • Other animals from Worldwide Movie Animals
  • Odie and animals trained by American Humane Association


  • In addition to Garfield, both Bill Murray and Lorenzo Music have portrayed Peter Venkman from the Ghostbusters franchise.
  • The choice for Garfield's voice was based on the character's attitude, as opposed to mimicking Lorenzo Music's voice.[2]
  • Jack Nicholson was considered as the voice of Garfield; he was the only candidate besides Bill Murray for the role.[2]
  • Jim Carrey was considered for the role of Jon Arbuckle.[3]
  • The plot of the film shares similarities with that of Toy Story (which was co-written by Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow) and Here Comes Garfield.
  • Bill Murray and Stephen Tobolowsky previously starred in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day.
  • Pooky has a few cameo appearances at the beginning of the film.
  • Starting with this movie, Garfield would now move his lips whenever he had dialogue.
  • In the movie Zombieland, Garfield: The Movie is referenced when Bill Murray mentions the film as possibly his biggest regret.
    • In the sequel Zombieland: Double Tap, posters promoting the fictional film Garfield: Flabby Tabby are shown around the mall where Columbus finds Madison.
    • Bill Murray also makes an appearance in the sequel's mid credit scene where he claims he agreed to take part in the film so he could get money for drugs.

Cultural references[]

  • Garfield and Odie dance to "Hey Mama" by The Black Eyed Peas, with the music video shown on Jon's television. Odie later dances to it solo at the dog show. The song was also used in some of the advertisements for the film.
  • At one point during the "Hey Mama" sequence, Garfield does a Risky Business-style dance.
    • The teaser trailer for the film, released in late 2003, further parodied the scene by having Garfield wear sunglasses and playing the song "Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Seger.[4]
  • The song Garfield sings after being sent outside is "New Dog State of Mind", a parody of "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel.
  • When Garfield flips through TV stations, he encounters the 1950 version of Cheaper by the Dozen, Lassie, Old Yeller, Benji, Oh Heavenly Dog, Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog, The Simpsons episode "The Canine Mutiny" and a Wal-Mart commercial.
  • A Wendy's commercial is shown at the beginning of the commercial break after Happy Chapman announces his plans to travel to New York with Odie.
  • Garfield mentions various restaurants, including Chuck-E-Cheese and Olive Garden, when he and Jon go to the vet.
  • During his "carb-loading", Garfield watches The Best Damn Sports Show Period.
  • Jon, Liz, Garfield and Odie watch An Affair to Remember towards the end of the film.
  • Garfield sings and dances to James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)" during the final scene of the film.
  • Jon sings "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton in the shower.


Further information: Garfield: The Movie (soundtrack), Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties/Garfield: The Movie (Original Motion Picture Score)

The following songs are featured or referenced in the film:

  • "Holla" by Baha Men (featured in the opening and closing credits)
  • "9 to 5" (sung by Jon in the shower)
  • "Call Me Super Bad" by James Brown
  • "I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown (played after Garfield tricks Luca; also sung by Garfield in the final scene)
  • "I'll Be" by O S Xperience
  • "Hey Mama" by Black Eyed Peas (music video shown on television, with Garfield and Odie dancing to the music)
  • "New Dog State of Mind" (parody of "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel, with additional lyrics by Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow)
  • "I Feel Love"
  • "The Lassie Theme"
  • "Baked Beans"
  • "Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog"
  • "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
  • "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" (sung by Garfield in the pound)
  • "Hang 12" by Boomish
  • "An Affair to Remember (End Title)" (played as Jon, Liz, Garfield and Odie are shown watching the movie)
  • "Yakety Yak" by The Coasters


Main article: Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties

A sequel, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, was released in movie theaters on June 16, 2006, in North America.