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Little Nikita (1988)

PG  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  18 March 1988 (USA)
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Reviews: 19 user | 11 critic

An FBI agent works to uncover an All-American family as Soviet sleeper agents and gets caught up in friendship with their unaware son.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Little Nikita (1988)

Little Nikita (1988) on IMDb 6/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Roy Parmenter
Jeff Grant
Richard Grant
Elizabeth Grant
Konstantin Karpov
Verna McLaughlin
Barbara Kerry
Sgt. Leathers (as Robb Madrid)
Roberto Jiménez ...
Chez Lister ...


Roy Parmenter is a veteran FBI agent who has spent the last 20 years trying to find the Russian agent who killed his partner whom he calls Scuba. When a couple of deep cover Russian agents are killed Parmenter thinks Scuba is the one doing it. The Russians who have received word from Scuba that if they want him to stop, they have to pay him. So they send a veteran Russian agent, Karpov to stop him. Parmenter was tasked with performing background checks on people applying for certain things requiring security clearance and when he comes across Jeffrey Grant who's applying to the Air Force Academy, he discovers that his parents' info is false. He also learns of Karpov coming into the country and suspects that he is here to stop Scuba and that Karpov went to the city where Jeffrey and his family live, so he decides to keep an eye on Jeffrey and his family. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He went to bed an all-American kid and woke up the son of Russian spies.


Drama | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 March 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Sleepers  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$1,733,070 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Reportedly, actor River Phoenix thought director Richard Benjamin treated him like a child. See more »


Karpov says to Grant when he first meets him: "Call me 'tovarishch', which means 'friend'." Tovarishch is the Russian word for comrade, while Droog is the word for friend. See more »


Jeff Grant: Look Mr. F.B.I man, if you're so sure and if you're so right, why don't you just arrest them?
Roy Parmenter: Well, because... they haven't done anything yet.
Jeff Grant: You manipulating son of a bitch!
See more »


Referenced in American Masters: Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light (2000) See more »


Sleeping Beauty
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

With the Benefit of Hindsight
3 January 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It's easy to look back now at this film as a very average Cold War thriller, but that is with the benefit of hindsight. It's difficult for today's generation, those of the age that the Phoenix character plays, to appreciate that the world really was living with a possible Nuclear destruction if there had been an accident or serious misunderstanding.

The action and drama is really primarily psychological, with the heart of the film hinging on the Poitier and Phoenix performances. It's easy now to pass off the whole thing as a trivial character piece, but, then, the stakes were sky high and the Cold War themes were progressive and unusual. In our post Cold War world where Gorbachev and Reagan slowly recede into the mists of history it would be a shame to write of this movie without understanding the atmosphere it was made in.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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