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Harriet the Spy (1996)

PG | | Comedy, Drama, Family | 10 July 1996 (USA)
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Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. But when Harriet's friends find her secret notebook the tables are turned on her. Can she win her friends back and still keep on going with the spy business?

Director:

Bronwen Hughes

Writers:

Louise Fitzhugh (novel), Greg Taylor (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michelle Trachtenberg ... Harriet M. Welsch
Gregory Smith ... Sport
Vanessa Chester ... Janie Gibbs (as Vanessa Lee Chester)
Rosie O'Donnell ... Ole Golly
J. Smith-Cameron ... Mrs. Welsch
Robert Joy ... Ben Welsch
Eartha Kitt ... Agatha K. Plummer
Charlotte Sullivan ... Marion Hawthorne
Teisha Kim Teisha Kim ... Rachel Hennessy
Cecilley Carroll Cecilley Carroll ... Beth Ellen Hansen
Dov Tiefenbach ... Boy with Purple Socks
Nina Shock Nina Shock ... Carrie Andrews
Conor Devitt Conor Devitt ... Pinky Whitehead
Alisha Morrison Alisha Morrison ... Laura Peters
Nancy Beatty Nancy Beatty ... Miss Elson
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Storyline

Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. But when Harriet's friends find her secret notebook the tables are turned on her. Can she win her friends back and still keep on going with the spy business?

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

On your case!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 July 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Harriet the Spy See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,580,000, 14 July 1996, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$26,539,321, 10 November 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many theatrical versions included the pilot episode of Hey Arnold! As a short before the start of the film. See more »

Goofs

Position of items on the counter when Sport buys them at Hong Fats grocery. See more »

Quotes

Janie's Mom: JANIE! I am sick to death of this mad scientist baloney! Look at this! Look at this!
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, items from Harriet's spy kit (i.e. magnifying glass, flashlight, and compass) are seen interacting with the credits as they appear. See more »


Soundtracks

Sous Le Soleil De Bodega
(Extended)
Written by Noel Rota (as N. Rota) and Stefane Mellino (as S. Mellino)
Performed by Les Négresses Vertes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Film that never talks down to kids
16 December 2005 | by BeyondRosebudSee all my reviews

I saw Harriet the Spy when it first came out and bought the video about a year ago. I had read the book back in the early eighties in the fifth grade and had never forgotten it. I always thought that it would make a good film (along with the Narnia tales and A Wrinkle in Time). The book was very engrossing and seemed a lot smarter and less condescending than some of the other books that wound up on school library 'recommended' lists.

The movie contains the same wit and utter lack of condescension, making it a rarity in the world of tweenage cinema.

Michelle Trachtenberg is very good. Her innate charisma and complete chemistry with Rosie o'Donnell make for perfect casting. Ms. O'Donnell herself shows once again how well she can carry off playing these quiet nurturing roles. (for another good performance by Rosie, see also Wide Awake)

Harriet seems like a typical albeit intelligent kid. Her friends are like real friends: they can be there for you and they can turn on you if they themselves feel under attack. This defense/offense posture is typical in a child's world. and that's what's great about Harriet the Spy. You never feel that the film is talking down to its audience or trying to present the child world in such a sweetened watered-down way so as to placate adults. Harriet and her friends have their little quirks. there's also the other kids who have wierdnesses about them that if we try hard we can all relate to. For instance, there exists in every classroom a perfect Teacher's Pet like Marion Hawthorne. There is also a Pinky Whitehead and a boy with purple socks. (probably me back then haha) the important thing is that the movie accepts their world without whitewashing or judging them for it. Those posters who felt that the movie was juvenile must understand that it WAS written for children. That doesn't however mean that adults should avoid it. It contains several themes that can be discussed and understood by anyone: Coping with school, Coping with Growing Up, Trouble with peers and miscommunication and isolation with parents and peers alike.

As i said earlier, The character of Harriet was well thought-out. They could've done a little better fleshing out the character of Janie. If i remember correctly, she had a somewhat larger role in the book. But they actually improved on Sport's role.

Some people have complained that the movie is disjointed and at times unrealistic. Well, try and think back to when you were eleven. wasn't the world somewhat surreal and disjointed? The movie is from The subjective lens of Harriet's minds-eye, an eye that see things with more than a little wit and imagination. Think back...then you'll get it.


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