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FAQ for
Holes (2003) More at IMDbPro »

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FAQ Contents


The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Holes can be found here.

Wrongfully convicted of stealing, young Stanley "Caveman" Yelnats IV (Shia LaBeouf) is sent to Camp Green Lake, where Warden Walker (Sigourney Weaver) and her two henchmen, Mr Sir (Jon Voight) and Dr Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson), force the campmates to dig hole after hole in the desert. For what purpose? Stanley tries to find out.

Holes is a 1998 novel by Louis Sachar, American author of children's books. Sachar also wrote the screenplay for the movie. Sachar published a companion novel, Small Steps (2006) about Armpit, one of the characters in Holes.

When Stanley first arrives at Camp Greenlake, the boys say that he looks like a Neanderthal. When Stanley finds a fossil while digging his hole, Armpit says that it looks like a cave drawing, and someone else adds "Stanley looks like he belongs in a cave." However, when one of the boys from another cabin picks a fight with Stanley, his cabin mates rally around him. "Nobody picks a fight with the Caveman," they say. From there, the name simply stuck.

Besides Stanley, there's Theodore "Armpit" (Byron Cotton), Rex "X-Ray" (Brenden Jefferson), Alan "Squid" (Jake M. Smith), Jos "Magnet" (Miguel Castro), Ricky "Zigzag" (Max Kasch), Brian "Twitch" (Noah Poletiek), and Hector "Zero" Zeroni (Khleo Thomas). The boy that Stanley is replacing, who got himself bitten by a rattlesnake, is Lewis "Barfbag" (Zane Holtz).

They are told that digging holes all day in the hot desert sun builds character, but the real reason is that Warden Walker is hoping to find the treasure that Kissin' Kate stole from Stanley Yelnats I.

There were four Stanley Yelnatses, all descendants of Elya Yelnats (Damien Luvara), who was responsible for starting the curse back in Latvia when he sought out the advice of fortune teller Madame Zeroni (Eartha Kitt) on how to win the hand of the beautiful (but dumb) Myra Menke (Sanya Mateyas) and then moved to America and forgot to pay Madame Zeroni by carrying her up the mountain so that she could drink the magical waters. Stanley Yelnats I (Allan Kolman) was born in Texas and was the Yelnats left in the desert by Kissin' Kate Barlow (Patricia Arquette) after she robbed him. Stanley Yelnats II (Nathan Davis) is his son and the grandfather who lives with the Yelnats family in their apartment and who is constantly reminding everyone that their bad luck is because of that "no good dirty rotten pig stealin' Elya. Stanley Yelnats III (Henry Winkler) is the entrepreneur and father of Stanley Yelnats IV, who gets hit on the head by a pair of shoes, is arrested for stealing them, and gets sent to Camp Greenlake.

Because "Yelnats" is "Stanley" backwards.

Yes. Yellow Spotted Lizards, of which there are several species, are non-poisonous denizens who can be found from the deserts of southwestern United States to the tropics of South America. The Yellow Spotted Lizards in the movie were actually played by brightly-painted Bearded Dragons. CGI images of the lizards were also used in some of the scenes, e.g., when the "Yellow Spotted Lizard" reared up on its hind legs, displayed its neck frill (Bearded Dragons don't have neck frills), and ran across the floor.

Yes. Annabel Lee is a poem by American mystery writer Edgar Allan Poe [1809-1849]. It was written in 1849 and published posthumously (after his death) that same year. Annabel Lee is in the public domain and can be read on several websites around the internet, one of them being The Literature Network.

God's Thumb is the Texas mountain where Onion Sam (Dulé Hill) got his onions, the mountain where Stanley Yelnats I sought refuge after Kissin' Kate robbed him and left him in the desert to die, and the mountain on which Stanley carried Zero. The mountain in Latvia was a local mountain that Madame Zeroni told Elya Yelnats to carry his pig each day and allow it to drink the water there. The name of the mountain in Latvia was never revealed.

Stanley goes after Zero, and they both get stranded in the desert without water. Stanley remembers his grandfather's tale about how Stanley I survived on God's Thumb Mountain. They look around and see what looks like a thumb sticking out of a mountain, so they head for it. Climbing the mountain isn't easy, and Stanley ends up carrying Zero part of the way. When they reach the top of the mountain, their luck suddenly starts to change. They find water to drink and onions to eat. When they come down from God's Thumb, Stanley decides to try digging in his hole one last time. This time his shovel hits a chest. Just as they're about to lift the chest from the hole, Warden Walker, Mr Sir, and Dr Pendanski appear. Yellow Spotted Lizards swarm the hole but, miraculously, do not bite the boys even when they spend the entire night in the hole (which the adults make them do in the hopes that the lizards will kill them in keeping with their lie about the boys running away), nor even when the boys climb out of the hole. Stanley's attorney (Roma Maffia) drives up with his release papers. Warden Walker tries to claim that the chest is hers, and that Stanley stole it from her cabin, but Zero reveals that the chest has Stanley's name on it—"Stanley Yelnats", as it is his great-grandfather's stolen riches. Everyone returns to the camp, but Stanley refuses to go home unless Zero can go with him. When the Warden can't produce Zero's records, the attorney gets suspicious, one of the policemen recognizes that Mr Sir is really ex-con Marion Sevillo violating his parole by carrying a gun, and the attorney shuts down the camp pending an investigation. When Warden Walker asks Stanley if she could just see what's in the chest, Stanley replies, "Excuse me?" Stanley and Zero go back to Stanley's apartment where his father has finally found a cure for stinky feet, using peaches and onions. They open the chest and find jewelry, gold, and bank bonds worth millions of dollars. Zero uses his share to hire a private investigator who locates his mother, who was also looking for him. All of the boys are released from the camp, the Yelnats and Zeronis buy mansions next door to each other, and Stanley's father strikes it rich selling Sploosh, the cure for stinky feet.

Apparently, the curse that Madame Zeroni placed on the Yelnats family was not specific to Elya carrying her up the mountain in Latvia. As it worked out, any Yelnats could carry any Zeroni up a mountain to drink in the mountain water. In this case, Stanley Yelnats IV carried Hector Zeroni to the top of God's Thumb, so the curse was lifted and the bad luck of the Yelnats family reversed itself into good luck.

Yes, after the credits Zero appears and says the line of Madame Zeroni, "But if you forget to come back for Madame Zeroni, you and your family will be cursed for always and eternity."

Those who have both seen the movie and read the novel say that the storylines are similar with just some minor differences, considering that author Louis Sacher wrote both the novel and the screenplay. The biggest difference is that the Stanley Yelnats IV of the novel is portrayed as an overweight teenager who loses weight during his stay at Camp Greenlake, whereas the Stanley Yelnats of the movie is the same weight from start to finish. Stanley's weight issues were changed for the movie because the filming schedule jumped around too much, e.g., one week filming scenes at the start of the movie, the next week filming scenes at the end. It would have been impossible for LaBeouf to put on and take off weight that quickly, so the overweight issue was dropped entirely.

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