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Holes (2003)

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A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason.



(novel), (screenplay)
1,960 ( 695)
3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Noah Poletiek ...
Steven Kozlowski ...
Lump (as Steve Kozlowski)
Bus Driver / Kissed Stage Coach Driver


"But if you forget to come back for Madame Zeroni, you and your family will be cursed for always and eternity." Those were the exact words spoken to young Elya Yelnats the day he forgot to repay Madame Zeroni. From then on his family was cursed with bad luck. One hundred years later Stanley Yelnats IV is accused of stealing a pair of cleats from a major league baseball player and sent to Camp Green Lake (a dry lake bed in the middle of the desert). It never rains at Camp Green Lake, it hasn't for one hundred years. The secretive and mysterious Warden has each inmate spend every day digging one hole to "build character." But when an artifact from the famous "Kissin' Kate" Barlow is found in a hole, the Warden forces the boys to work double time leading Stanley to deduce they're digging because the Warden is looking for something. But what? And how is the mystery of Camp Green Lake connected to Stanley's family curse? Written by O.G.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hole | camp | digging | bad luck | curse | See All (202) »


Some secrets are too big to keep hidden. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

18 April 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Geheimnis von Green Lake  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,300,155, 20 April 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the Warden's house, there is a framed newspaper cutting, with the words, "Kate Barlow Robs Chicago Pacific." Chicago Pacific is the name of director Andrew Davis's company. See more »


After Stanley digs his first hole, he shows severe blisters on his hands. When he is leaving the showers after he gets back, Mr. Sir tells Stanley not to move while he shoots a yellow-spotted lizard. When Mr. Sir tells Stanley not to move, Stanley holds his hands up, palms out, with no blisters or damage of any sort. Later, Stanley reveals his blisters from the first day. See more »


[first lines]
[Barfbag walks towards a rattlesnake]
X-Ray: Hey, Barfbag. What are you doing?
[Barfbag takes his shoe and sock off and steps on the snake, which bites him]
Barfbag: [yells] Aaaaaah!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the credits, Hector "Zero" Zeroni quotes the curse his great-great-great-grandmother made with her accent and speech patterns. See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Shia LaBeouf/My Morning Jacket (2008) See more »


Everybody Pass Me By
Written by Robert Johnson, Jari Salo & DJ Slow (as Vellu Maurola)
Performed by Pepe Deluxé (as Pepe Deluxe)
Courtesy of Emperor Norton Records and Sine Dance, a Division of
Sony Music Entertainment (U.K.) Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Lizards, snakes, plots and holes...
8 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

Ostensibly a film for adolescents, Holes is a film with too much plot and, at two hours long, not enough time to tell it in. Despite that, it is refreshingly original and offers some satisfying performances from both younger and older members of the cast.

Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf) is wrongly convicted of stealing a pair of trainers and sentenced to eighteen months at Camp Green Lake, a boy's detention centre deep in the desert where he and the other inmates spend each day digging 5ft deep by 5ft wide holes beneath the scorching sun. The camp's warden (Sigourney Weaver) aided by her henchmen Mr. Sir (Jon Voight) and Dr. Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson) claim such treatment is character building but, of course, have an ulterior motive.

Saddled with a sometimes intrusive and usually inappropriate soundtrack, Holes looks like a music video at times and, because of the wealth of information it has to fit into its running time, contains a convoluted structure featuring repeated flashbacks and, sometimes, even flashbacks within flashbacks. All this suggests a requirement for the viewer to be familiar with screenwriter Louis Sachar's novel on which it is based, but this isn't necessarily the case. The film's story can be followed by anyone who hasn't read the book, but there's a depth of characterisation that is sorely missing from the film that anyone who knows the novel would presumably be able to draw on to fill in the gaps.

Most of the real personalities belong to the adult characters. The triumvirate of Weaver, Voight and Nelson stray dangerously close to parody at times but manage somehow to avoid the obvious pitfalls and entertain while giving us reasonably hissable villains. Our young heroes, Stanley and Zero (Khleo Thomas), work well together and writer Sachar builds a largely adversarial relationship between the inmates that would be as recognisable on the school playground as it is in a detention camp.

Perhaps the story's main failing is the impression it gives of just being too clever. Every story has to tie up its loose ends, but the more strands the story has – and this one has many – the more contrived the ending appears when they are finally all neatly pulled together. But at least it's different from much of the media offered to teenagers today in that it offers a thoughtful and intelligent story, and it is obvious that both Sachar and director Andrew Davis have put a lot of care and attention to detail into the telling of this tale.

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