Little Nikita (1988)

PG  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  18 March 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 3,689 users  
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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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?


First of two collaborations of actors River Phoenix and Sidney Poitier. The second and final film would be Sneakers (1992). See more »


When Karpov gets into the cab after crossing the border, the camera, crew, lights and a bounce board are reflected in the window. See more »


Jeff Grant: What's my name? Come on dad, what could the head of the grandfamily have to hide from his first and oldest and only son?
Richard Grant: [pause] Nika.
Jeff Grant: J. Nicholas Grant. Nick.
Richard Grant: [shakes head] Nikita.
See more »


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


Written by Grace Lane
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User Reviews

average despite Poitier and Phoenix's combined efforts to make it better
13 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Roy Parmenter (Sidney Poitier), having a great mistrust for anything Russian, arguably understandably so as his FBI partner had been killed by a Soviet spy codenamed Scuba decades earlier, has to ascertain if Jeff Grant (River Phoenix), a recent Air Force applicant, is in fact a Soviet spy just as his 'sleeper' parents are, while at the same time protecting them from the aforementioned spy who killed his partner all those years ago and whom is now has turned rouge and is killing Soviet agents in an effort to extort money from Russia.

This film is would be a strictly average 'espionage' thriller if not for Poitier and Phoenix who give some excellent acting in a vain attempt to propel this film above it's source material. They're not entirely successful, as the movie is still pretty of the cut and paste variety. But at the same time I do appreciate their combined efforts.

My Grade: C

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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