I've watched these Monster films with my kids many times as it's their fav, and something had always bothered me about the characters. It wasn't until today that I spotted it. None of the monsters have any noses. Some have horns but no noses.

Except Sulley, he's the only character to have a full featured face.

There is the little pig in the poster that has a nose, but it could be argued that it's not a monster (more of a pet). This noseless trait exists in the original Monsters Inc film as well.

I'm wondering why Pixar separated the facial features so that only Sulley has a nose. What was the motivation behind this decision?

Once you notice it. It becomes clear that Pixar did this for a reason, but I can't figure out why.

enter image description here

  • 4
    Don't know about you, but I see several Characters there with noses. Yes, there is a distinct lack of noses, but not completely devoid. I'd suggest their reason for doing such was to emphasize these characters as being monsters so as to make them different looking from humans ... But just my opinion. Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 4:42
  • Agreed with @Paulster2, even there are some nose-horn monster too.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 6:25
  • @Paulster2 Which ones do you think have noses, apart from the Fear Teach mascot (which is more of a weird animal than a (sentient) monster)? Sure, some have horns where their noses should be (for example, Don Carlton and Chip Goff), and some (like Brock Pearson) have nostrils on their beak... but a nose, like Sully has? I don't think there is anything deep in there, but I do agree with the OP's basic claim. Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 13:06
  • 5
    @VedranŠego ... As usual, over the top analysis of something trivial. Noses, horns ... Does it matter? The effect is quite the same. Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 15:35
  • 1
    @Paulster2 - Agreed. I mean, seriously?
    – JohnP
    Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 18:28

2 Answers 2


Regardless of whether Sully is the only one that has a real nose, Pixar did minimize noses for a reason, as discussed in the question comments. The monsters are meant to look inhuman and unfamiliar. Taking off noses makes them distinctly non-mammalian, and makes the world monstrous instead of just populated with animals. Sully, however, has to walk the line between a teddy bear and a blue Sasquatch so that Boo can both be terrified of him and grow to love him. The nose and the shaggy fur make him look approachable to both Boo and little kids in the audience.


He isn't.

enter image description here

Second from the left has a big red nose (Monsters Inc). After looking over many images from both Monsters movies, this is the only other character I have found that comes even close to have a nose excluding horns, beaks, or bends in the face above the lips (to hold glasses).

Clearly a design choice was made to make the monsters less human and more monsterly, except for Sulley (and that one other guy).

  • I seriously don't understand the downvote this received..... that character is fairly prominent in the first movie is a perfectly good answer.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 15:27
  • @iandotkelly While the question title might not have reflected this (before it was adapted recently), the question body has always asked a much more interesting question than just "is Sulley the only one with a nose" (and we're answering question bodies instead of titles, of course). While this answer might have the potential to go into the completely valid direction of "I think your premise is wrong in the first place", it currently doesn't, apart from just showing a picture and saying "here look, in the corner there's another one with a nose", completely ignoring the actual question.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 15:06
  • @NapoleonWilson - I do agree, and analysis is always more interesting than yes/no/true/false answers. I did "um and ahh" about that before leaving the comment. It is a fair point made in this answer - that the premise of the question is perhaps incorrect. I tend to reserve downvotes for poor, or poorly researched or just incorrect answers.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 15:27
  • @iandotkelly "It is a fair point made in this answer - that the premise of the question is perhaps incorrect." - That is indeed a fair point, but it isn't really made in this answer, it isn't much more elaborate than a link-only answer. While it may sometimes seem overly verbose to spoon-feed everything to the readers, we still have to address the actual question (and answers that don't are incomplete). Otherwise we could easily answer each question by an IMDb link saying "watch the movie, the answer is obvious to infer from that". "poor" - fits for me here, but to each his own.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 15:34
  • But I agree that I should have posted a comment right after the downvote instead of letting it stand unexplained and seemingly arbitrary.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 15:36

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