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Matilda (1996)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy  |  2 August 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 81,535 users  
Reviews: 157 user | 40 critic

Story of a wonderful little girl, who happens to be a genius, and her wonderful teacher vs. the worst parents ever and the worst school principal imaginable.



(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
FBI Agent
FBI Agent
Brian Levinson ...
Sara Magdalin ...
Gregory R. Goliath ...
Luther (as Goliath Gregory)
Fred Parnes ...
Leor Livneh Hackel ...
Julius Rottwinkle


A grouchy couple are parents to a very sweet girl, Matilda. Unlike her bratty brother and mean parents, Matilda becomes a very sweet and extremely intelligent 6 year old girl, who is very keen to go to school and read books. After a while, her parents send her to school with the worst principal in the world, a very sweet teacher, and good friends. While trying to put up with her parents' and principal's cruelty, she starts to unwittingly unleash telekinetic powers, destroying a television and making a newt fly onto the principal. With enough practice, Matilda starts to learn to control her telekinetic powers and soon using them on her principal so she can drive her away from the school. Written by anonomys

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A little magic goes a long way. See more »


Comedy | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for elements of exaggeRated meanness and ridicule, and for some mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

2 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Roald Dahl's Matilda  »

Box Office


$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,209,000 (USA) (2 August 1996)


£16,461,008 (UK) (11 April 1997)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (8 channels)|



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Richard Donner was considered to direct the film. See more »


The "X" Matilda writes on the blackboard in chalk with her powers soon changes to a straight line. See more »


Zinnia Wormwood: [Matilda comes home from school, excitedly. Zinnia's on the phone, talking about her kids] Mine are driving me crazy. I'll tell ya, six hours a day of school IS NOT enough.
Matilda: [walking out of the room excitedly] I'll say!
See more »

Crazy Credits

  • Mr. Speaker

  • Sir Isaac

  • Wayne

See more »


Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »


Send Me On My Way
Written by Michael Glabicki, Liz Berlin, John Buynak, James Dispirito (as James DiSpirito), Jim Donovan (as James Donovan), Patrick Norman, and Jenn Wertz
Performed by Rusted Root
Courtesy of Mercury Records
By Arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Quirky and Wonderful Slice of Magic & Youth
28 September 2004 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

Hi hi!

Danny DeVito touches on the viewpoint of children - and their imaginations - in this fantasy come to life: MATILDA.

Who of us as children didn't see the world in the powerful images of youthful, innocent eyes? The horrific Agatha Trunchbull, the kindly librarian, Mrs. Phelps? The annoying big brother 'Mikey', or the wondrous, perfect teacher, Miss Honey? Who of us as children didn't see that some things in life were wrong and wanted to put them right - if only we had magic powers!

Life as a child is fantastic and happy and exciting and scary. And in MATILDA we see all elements of childhood shine through by the intentionally ridiculous, over-the-top performances of Danny DeVito (Matilda's Dad), Rhea Perlman (Mom), and Pam Ferris (Ms. Trunchbull, the principal).

And yes, there is a scary element to the movie: The chase in Ms. Trunchbull's house; the "Chokey"; the spooky scene of Matilda taking back "Lizzie Doll" from Ms. Trunchbull while "haunting" her house. But this is the scariness of youth; shown from a safe distance for even the young audience. And despite the scariness - which kids KNOW exists - Matilda and Miss Honey and all their friends are victorious. Danny DeVito has demonstrated a lesson well-learned from the Disney animated films of yesteryear: The more evil the villain, the more noble and victorious the heroine.

To miss seeing MATILDA is to miss a heart-warming, hand-clapping, magical trip back to your childhood fantasies and ideals.

36 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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