7.6/10
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Spellbound (2002)

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Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Arenivar ...
Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
Ubaldo Arenivar ...
Himself - Angela's Father (as Ubaldo)
Jorge Arenivar ...
Himself - Angela's Brother (as Jorge)
Scott McGarraugh ...
Himself - Ranch Owner (as Mr. McGarraugh)
Lindy McGarraugh ...
Herself - Ranch Owner (as Mrs. McGarraugh)
Concepción Arenivar ...
Herself - Angela's Mother (as Concepción)
Mrs. Slaughter ...
Herself - Angela's Teacher
Neelima Marupudi ...
Herself - Potter County Champion (as Neelima)
Nupur Lala ...
Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
Ms. Whitehurst ...
Herself - Nupur's Teacher
Parag Lala ...
Himself - Nupur's Father (as Parag)
Meena Lala ...
Herself - Nupur's Mother (as Meena)
Kuna Lala ...
Himself - Nupur's Brother (as Kuna)
Ted Brigham ...
Himself - Spelling Bee Participant
Ms. Blair ...
Herself - Ted's Teacher
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Storyline

This documentary follows 8 teens and pre-teens as they work their way toward the finals of the Scripps Howard national spelling bee championship in Washington D.C. All work quite hard and practice daily, first having to win their regional championship before they can move on. Interviews include the parents and teachers who are working with them. The competitors not only work hard to get to the finals but face tremendous pressure as the original group of over 250 competitors is whittled down and the words they must spell get ever more difficult. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

EVERYONE WANTS THE LAST WORD See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

27 June 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agonisma orthografias  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,508, 4 May 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,728,431, 7 December 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 2007, it was added to "IDA's Top 25 Documentaries" of all-time by the International Documentary Association ranked #4. See more »

Goofs

While interviewing Harry in his room the boom mic is deliberately shown after Harry asks "Is that thing edible?" See more »

Quotes

April DeGideo - Spelling Bee Participant: In summer I kind of worked around 8 to 9 hours a day, but as school began I just worked about 5 to 6 hours a day.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no cast list; a cast member is considered credited if a subtitle or an item in the film prints the name (or partial name). See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 50 Greatest Documentaries (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Jon Monsarrat review: flawless
20 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

Spellbound is a surprisingly moving film, because it is not really about spelling, but about hopes and dreams. There's a lot of love in the film, and it's interesting how different families have different approaches... all the way from hands-off parents to parents hiring drill coaches. The film does a good job of showing the backgrounds of the kids and presenting their personalities. I found myself trying to spell right along with them (unsuccessfully).

Spelling bees promote the worst kind of rote learning, especially when the kids are faced with words they will never use in real life. That's thousands of hours either totally wasted or to be less critical, hours that could have been put to better use, for example, learning creative writing or public speaking. Even so, as one parent says, this is practice to form a habit of perseverance for the future.

The pacing and music were perfect, the way the challenge was presented was clear and straightforward. Excellent film.

Who should see this film:

-- Kids of all ages

-- Everyone else. It's not at all boring.

I'll give Spellbound a perfect 10 out of 10.


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