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The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper is a computer-animated short produced by DreamWorks Animation (with soundtrack by Media Ventures' young-gun James Dooley), released in movie theatres and on DVD in 2005. The 12-minute film showcases the adventures of four penguins, sometimes known as The Madagascar Penguins, who live in the Central Park Zoo and are trained as spies. It premiered in theaters on October 7, 2005 with the stop-motion film, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The short was directed by animation veteran Gary Trousdale, produced by Teresa Cheng, and written by Michael Lachance.


In the story, Private, the youngest penguin on the team, discovers the sorrow of Ted the Polar Bear and sets out of the zoo to find a present for him. While roaming the streets of Manhattan, he is captured by Nana (the mean old lady from the first film), who mistakes him for a chew toy for her vicious pet dog, Mr. Chew. Meanwhile, the other three penguins, Skipper, Kowalski, and Rico, discover Private's absence and remember the Penguin Credo, "Never swim alone." With that in mind, they set out to rescue him.

They have an intense fight against Mr. Chew which goes entirely unnoticed by Nana, who is busy watching a football game. When they are done, Skipper lets Rico blow up the door with dynamite, which is a running gag in the film, finally attracting Nana's attention and blames Mr. Chew for making the mess.

At the end of the film they invite Ted to their home. But he had already invited several other guests, resulting in a massive sing-a-long to a parody of Jingle Bells.

Voice cast

Skipper Tom McGrath
Kowalski Chris Miller
Private Christopher Knights
Rico John DiMaggio
Old Lady Elisa Gabrielli
Ted the Polar Bear Bill Fagerbakke
Doorman, TV Announcer Sean Bishop
Additional Voices
Mitch Crater Rif Hutton Richard Miro
Holly Dorff Hope Levy Lynnanne Zager


  • Rico is constantly regurgitating a piece of dynamite out of his stomach and asking Skipper's permission to use it three times. Finally, at the end, Skipper lets him use it.
  • Nobody except Skipper knows the "credo" - "never swim alone." – The other penguins also confuse the Walrus credo ("Ha-da-da, ha-da-da doo-da dee-da!") with the other Penguin credo - "never bathe in hot oil and Bisquick."
  • In an attempt to get a better view of Private while on the streets of New York, Skipper, Kowalski, and Rico try to blend in with passing Catholic nuns, possibly resembling the blending technique from Assassin's Creed by Ubisoft.
  • When trying to catch up with Private, the penguins attach a grappling hook to a taxi. The license plate of the taxi reads: "I8BIGAPEL," i.e. I ate big apple (New York).
  • During the battle, Skipper uses Rico as a machine gun for cover fire, using swallowed mints as bullets.
  • In a reference to the first film, Skipper makes several references to curse words: i.e. "Hoover Dam," "Grand Coulee Dam," "Shiitake mushrooms," "Holy Butterball."
  • When Private flies across the room and smashes into the kitchen, the sports announcer on TV yells, "What a hit! Ryan is down!", an allusion to Saving Private Ryan.
  • When Skipper tells Rico that Nana "didn't see anything", he makes a hand-motion similar to the Jedi mind trick.
  • When the penguins stop following the nuns and roll over, they very closely assemble most widely reproduced publicity images from Charlie's Angels.


  • In the original theatrical release, both PDI and DreamWorks logos are in print form, and the G rating appears. In the DVD release, the PDI print logo is by itself, and the on-screen static DreamWorks logo appears, so don't expect to see the same version twice.
  • This is the first Madagascar short to be rated G by the MPAA, unlike the Madagascar film which was rated PG.
  • Wallace and Gromit meet Ginger with a case of an astronaut suit in Nana's 2nd photo painting.
  • This is the first DreamWorks Animation's theatrical short film, followed by First Flight.
  • This is the first DreamWorks Animation's short film to be rated G by the MPAA, followed by Almost Home.