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The Most Famous Mail Room Scenes in the Movies

In movies, mailrooms are a perfect set to establish a launchpad for a character’s rocket-like blast to success or to provide a funny take on bureaucracy and corporate red tape. 

Unlike real-life mailrooms, outfitted with modern mailing equipment, film mailrooms are dimly lit and filled with tables towering with letters and documents as well as unhappy workers.

Mailrooms instantly add pathos or a grim backdrop that can explode into hilarious chaos at any moment. So here’s a selection of the most famous mailroom scenes in the movies and what makes them so memorable.

The Most Famous Mail Room Scenes in the Movies

Elf
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Leon Redbone, Will Ferrell, James Caan (Actors)

Elf (2003)

In this modern Christmas classic, Buddy discovers he’s a human adopted by Santa and raised as a toy-making elf. He leaves for New York to find his real father, a nasty children’s book publisher who’s made Santa’s naughty list, who gets him a job in the mailroom.

Buddy describes this place as resembling Santa’s workshop, “Except it smells like mushrooms, and everyone looks like they wanna hurt me.”

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Irrepressible and optimistic, he wins over his fellow mailroom proles, performing a squat-kick dance to Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is).”

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Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn (Actors)

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Another Christmas entry, Miracle on 34th Street still charms with a fable of belief, faith, and realizing that “proof” can surprise you.

It’s a tale of a sweet but dotty old man named Kris Kringle, who believes he’s the real Santa. A pivotal mailroom scene occurs when Kris is brought to trial to determine his competency.

An employee in the dead letter office declutters his work area by forwarding all the letters to Santa to Kris. The judge, fearing for re-election, rules that Kris is indeed the man himself.

His justification is that if the US Postal Service recognizes Kris Kringle as Santa Claus, so too must he.

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Hudsucker Proxy
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman (Actors)

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

The Hudsucker Proxy features one of the most famous mailroom scenes in the movies because it parodies so many other mailroom scenes.

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Sweet Norville Barnes shows up at Hudsucker Industries in search of a job and gets a gig in the mailroom, a dark, unfriendly hive of grumpy workers.

As Norville pushes a cart, he’s instructed about green, yellow, and maroon vouchers; office mail codes; and his employee number (6787049A/6), which will not be repeated. Each new rule is punctuated with a warning that if he screws up, “They dock you!”

The Secret of My Success
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Michael J. Fox, Helen Slater, Richard Jordan (Actors)

The Secret of My Success (1987)

A 1980s corporate time capsule, The Secret of My Success is a Michael J. Fox vehicle—he plays another capitalism-obsessed young adult-like his Family Ties character Alex P. Keaton.

Getting a gig in the mailroom of his distant uncle’s company, Fox’s character discovers how the place really works and knows he could do better.

Not so much working his way up the corporate ladder as inserting himself into the upper tiers as a fictional executive named Carlton Whitfield, Fox’s successful secret is duplicity.

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