The Big Kahuna (1999)

R  |   |  Drama, Comedy  |  19 May 2000 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.7/10 from 11,766 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 157 user | 56 critic | 27 from

Two veteran salesman dissect a sales pitch to a particular client, through their young protege.



(play), (screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Brilliant, flamboyant master criminal Michael Lynch is more interested in his image and his posterity than the actual profit from his ill-gotten gains.

Director: Thaddeus O'Sullivan
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Linda Fiorentino, Peter Mullan
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young, naive Hollywood studio assistant finally turns the tables on his incredibly abusive producer boss.

Director: George Huang
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Frank Whaley, Michelle Forbes
Hurlyburly (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Hollywood movers and shakers dissect their own personal lives when everything seems to clash together.

Director: Anthony Drazan
Stars: Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A swooning study of "Mack the Knife" singer Bobby Darin (Spacey) specifically, and his relationship with his wife Sandra Dee (Bosworth).

Director: Kevin Spacey
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

After 8 years in prison, inventor Robert Axle struggles to win over his estranged family and catch up on current technology as he works to once again become the king of the infomercial.

Director: Trent Cooper
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Camilla Belle, Heather Graham
Inseparable (2011)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A troubled young man, Li faces pressure at work and problems at home with his moody wife. Chuck, rescues Li from the brink of despair and becomes an unlikely mentor. But who is Chuck really?

Director: Dayyan Eng
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Daniel Wu, Beibi Gong
Shrink (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Unable to cope with a recent personal tragedy, LA's top celebrity shrink turns into a pothead with no concern for his appearance and a creeping sense of his inability to help his patients.

Director: Jonas Pate
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Mark Webber, Keke Palmer
The Ref (1994)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A cat burglar is forced to take a bickering, dysfunctional family hostage on Christmas Eve.

Director: Ted Demme
Stars: Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A visiting city reporter's assignment suddenly revolves around the murder trial of a local millionaire, whom he befriends.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, Jack Thompson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An emotionally-beaten man with his young daughter moves to his ancestral home in Newfoundland to reclaim his life.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Judi Dench
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.

Director: F. Gary Gray
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, David Morse
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Leonardo Da Vinci and his muse the Mona Lisa must stand up to the interrogation of their worth in our modern world.

Director: Hamish Jenkinson
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Elliot Cowan, Thandie Newton


Complete credited cast:
Phil Cooper (as Danny Devito)


On the last evening of a convention two seen-it-all industrial lubricant salesmen and a youngster from the research department gather in the hotel's hospitality suite to host a delegates party. The main aim is to get the business of one particular big fish. When it becomes apparent that it is the lad who has developed a direct line to the guy, his strong religious beliefs bring him into sharp conflict with his older and more cynical colleagues. Written by Jeremy Perkins <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every sale begins with a smile.


Drama | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 May 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hospitality Suite  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$80,957 (USA) (28 April 2000)


$3,150,107 (USA) (21 July 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First (and as of 2014) and only film directed by John Swanbeck. See more »


When Bob leaves the room to find the Kahuna at the other party, he has his name tag on, when he is outside walking there, it is off. It reappears when he is at the party, speaking to the Kahuna. See more »


[first lines]
Phil Cooper: [voice-over] No answer.
Bob Walker: [voice-over] She must be out shopping.
Phil Cooper: [voice-over] God forbid.
See more »


Featured in Honest Trailers: Fight Club (2014) See more »


Two Please
Written by Danny Pelfrey, Linda Lawley & Rick Rhodes
Performed by The Mighty Turbans
Published by Amusicom Publishing and Tonalvision Music
Courtesy of Amusicom Records by arrangement with Bully Music Associates
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A bang-on, unbelievably good script executed by some of the finest actors around
21 September 1999 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

"The Big Kahuna" proved to be one of the finest offerings that I was privy to at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. The expression "saving the best for last" applies strongly to this film. We were fortunate to have a Q&A after the film with Roger Rueff, the screenwriter of this eloquently written piece, John Swanbeck, the director enjoying all that a first timer could hope for from his debut, and the gifted actor Kevin Spacey, who starred in and produced the film.

This marvellous examination of three men of different age groups at a convention in Wichita also features the talents of Danny DeVito who apparently came to the production in the proverbial last minute. This film was shot in a very short sixteen days which comes as a surprise, despite it's one central location, as the dialogue is so strong. The best way to describe it is as almost poetic.

The script was adapted from the play "Hospitality Suite", also written by Rueff, who revealed in the Q&A that the story was based upon his own experiences at a sales convention long ago. But he assured us that his character of the young, impressionable, bible thumping "Bob" was not based on himself. Rueff also noted that with this being his first screenplay, he had worried about the horror stories he heard where scripts are butchered and transformed into things the writer never intended in many Hollywood productions. But in this case, he trusted the director and cast implicitly and was not disappointed in any way.

Kevin Spacey shines in this sneak peak behind the scenes of a sales convention where the future of a company lies squarely on the shoulders of three men in the pursuit of a big client. The president of another company represents the biggest potential account they will ever have. They exchange stories, accounts and personal philosophies and find how different they are from one another based on what they've been through.

The interaction between the three actors is mesmerizing. They take the audience into what feels like a true life account documented verbatim. To say more would spoil the outcome for those who've not yet had a chance to enjoy this film. It is my strong recommendation that all of those who have not, do so at their first available opportunity.

43 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why does no one get that Phil is sleeping with Larry's wife? CaptThorpe
any suggestions about movies like this one? plentyofkb
Best written and delivered dialog ever? brucedgo
6.5 out of 10 ? Why? plentyofkb
Does anyone understand the Ending? flynn o' thick
What's the point??? spin-fu
Discuss The Big Kahuna (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page