IMDb > Spellbound (2002)
Spellbound
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Spellbound (2002) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 6 | slideshow) Videos
Spellbound -- Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

Overview

User Rating:
7.7/10   10,494 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 20% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Contact:
View company contact information for Spellbound on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 October 2003 (UK) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
EVERYONE WANTS THE LAST WORD See more »
Plot:
Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 19 wins & 9 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(78 articles)
Two Boys Declared Co-Champions of Spelling Bee
 (From PEOPLE.com. 29 May 2014, 8:00 PM, PDT)

The Doc Option: Watch ‘Spellbound’ Instead of ‘Bad Words’
 (From FilmSchoolRejects. 22 March 2014, 7:00 AM, PDT)

Paul Feig Tunes Up A Musical
 (From EmpireOnline. 16 March 2014, 9:25 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Spelling counts See more (104 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
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 - Tes's Teacher
Dan Brigham ... Himself - Ted's Brother
Tim Brigham ... Himself - Ted's Brother (as Tim)
Earl Brigham ... Himself - Ted's Father (as Earl)
Dorothy Brigham ... Herself - Ted's Mother (as Dorothy)
Emily Stagg ... Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
David Stagg ... Himself - Emily's Father (as David)
Suzanne Stagg ... Herself - Emily's Mother (as Suzanne)
Ashley White ... Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
Angela White ... Herself - Ashley's Mother (as Angela)
Ms. Williams ... Herself - Ashley's Teacher
Sigourney White ... Herself - Ashley's Sister (as Sigourney)
Neil Kadakia ... Himself - Spelling Bee Participant
Rajesh Kadakia ... Himself - Neil's Father (as Rajesh)
Darshana Kadakia ... Herself - Neil's Mother (as Darshana)
Shivani Kadakia ... Herself - Neil's Sidter (as Shivani)
Samye Hill ... Herself - Neil's Spelling Coach
April DeGideo ... Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
Al DeGideo ... Himself - April's Father (as Al)
Gale DeGideo ... Herself - April's Mother (as Gale)
Mr. Miller ... Himself - April's Teacher
Harry Altman ... Himself - Spelling Bee Participant
Fay Sharit ... Herself - Harry's Mother (as Fay)
Paige Kimble ... Herself - National Spelling Bee Director and 1981 National Champion
Alex Cameron ... Himself - National Spelling Bee Pronouncer
Mona Goldstein ... Herself - Mother of Last Year's 4th Place Speller
Frank Neuhauser ... Himself - 1925 National Champion
Jonathan Knisely ... Himself - 1971 National Champion
Balu Natarajan ... Himself - 1985 National Champion
Janaky Natarajan ... Herself - Balu's Mother
George Thampy ... Himself - Spelling Bee Participant
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vinay Krupadev ... Boy Who Says Yenta
Jacques Bailly ... Himself (uncredited)
William Dolan ... Himself (uncredited)
Katie Kerwin McCrimmon ... Herself (uncredited)

Directed by
Jeffrey Blitz 
 
Produced by
Jeffrey Blitz .... producer
Ronnie Eisen .... additional producer
Sean Welch .... producer
 
Original Music by
Daniel Hulsizer 
 
Film Editing by
Yana Gorskaya 
 
Art Department
Adam Byrne .... graphics designer
Yana Gorskaya .... graphics designer
Nancy Lowry .... set dresser (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Greg Brazel .... additional sound recordist: Washington D.C.
Peter Brown .... sound re-recording mixer
Joe Dzuban .... sound effects editor
Sean Welch .... sound recordist
Peter Brown .... supervising sound editor (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Jeffrey Blitz .... camera operator
Greg Brazel .... additional camera: Washington DC
Mac Carter .... additional camera: Washington DC
David Gruenberg .... additional camera: Washington DC
Rob Lyall .... additional camera: Washington DC
Sheila Smith .... additional camera: Washington DC (as Shiela Smith)
 
Editorial Department
Chris Perkel .... editorial support
Mark Reaser .... audio layback
 
Other crew
Andy Blitz .... funding provided by
Erin Heidenreich .... sales agent
Sally Steele .... publicist
Winston Emano .... publicist (uncredited)
David Magdael .... publicist (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Kate Amend .... special thanks
Jacques Bailly .... special thanks
Diane West Blitz .... special thanks
Alex Cameron .... special thanks (as Alex J. Cameron)
Mac Carter .... special thanks
Melissa Simon Disharoon .... special thanks (as Melissa Disharoon)
Michael Donaldson .... special thanks
Breck Eisner .... special thanks
Arturo Everitt .... special thanks
Bradley Feldman .... special thanks
Hugh Flick .... special thanks
Ed Gildred .... special thanks
David Gruenberg .... special thanks
Mark J. Harris .... special thanks
Adrian Herrera .... special thanks
Claire Husted .... special thanks
Martin Hynes .... special thanks
Paige Kimble .... special thanks (as Paige P. Kimble)
Jonathan Knisely .... special thanks (as Jonathan Knisley)
Eve Lindeman .... special thanks
Linda Loeffler .... special thanks
Greg McCambridge .... special thanks
Frank Neuhauser .... special thanks
Jean-Michel Richaud .... special thanks
Maia Rossini .... special thanks
Harvard L. Weiss .... special thanks
Chad Wilson .... special thanks
Robyn Wilson .... special thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
97 min | Canada:95 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Goofs:
Boom mic visible: While interviewing Harry in his room the boom mic is deliberately shown after Harry asks "Is that thing edible?"See more »
Quotes:
Ted's Mom:I think Ted's got the advantage of parents, who think he's great irregardless.See more »
Movie Connections:
References The Mummy (1999)See more »

FAQ

Recognising the spellers
Chapter Headings, a semi-official version
See more »
8 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
Spelling counts, 14 October 2003
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California



Doesn't it matter what the words mean more than the letters in them? Wouldn't it do a precocious kid more good to pour over Shakespeare or Jane Austen or Hemingway or even Harry Potter than to turn the pages of a dictionary or be drilled by a parent on how to spell obscure words like "lycanthrope" and "cephalalgia" (or the supremely ironic last word in the final shown here, "logorrhea") which the parents themselves can't even pronounce? When little showoff Harry Altman stumbles and comically grimaces over the word "banns," it seems to me he might be doing better – not in the contest, perhaps, but in life – to read more books, so he'd become familiar with the custom of "posting the banns," which isn't so obscure as the film and Harry make out, if you've gathered a wide acquaintance with marital customs through reading.

But there is after all a higher significance in all this. America is a self-made country and English in some queer sense is a self-made language, and these general points play into the significance of this surprisingly moving and thought-provoking little film. It's not only the suspense and emotion Spellbound evokes or its fairly tight documentary organization but such more general themes as social mobility and the accessibility of certain sports that make this otherwise conventional movie rise above the ordinary and explain why it's worthy of theatrical distribution and not just a slot on PBS. What would this be like in Italian? That's a language, like some others, whose spellings are so phonetic that a contest like this wouldn't make much sense. But English spellings really don't make much sense. English poses unique problems. The Italian columnist Beppe Severgnini is wrong to have written that it's because we're terrible spellers that spelling bees excite us. An Italian just can't understand. If you say an Italian word, ninety-eight percent of the time (if you're Italian) you know how to spell it. In English, we've got all those tiny vowel differences and remnants of Germanic gutturals and all those endless words from Arabic and Persian and Greek and a hundred other languages that we've transliterated by a hundred different unrelated systems. Why should `Darjeeling,' which so ironically almost stumps the Indian-American Neil Kadakia, be spelled that way and not darjiling or dardjeeling, or who knows what? It's because English spelling had no strict rules till the late nineteenth century; English went through so many growing pains from Chaucer to Shakespeare to Dryden to Jane Austen; because we still have no consistent phonetic system; and because our language has all those endless half-assimilated loan words from other cultures and tongues, that spelling in English is a nightmare and a kind of art, and a truly expert young speller is a real entity worth the chimerical task of seeking him or her out each year.

Spelling bees are a matter of rote knowledge, but success in them can sometimes involve some inspired guessing, and this is shown by the fine tuning contestants are allowed in the DC competition when they ask what language or culture the word comes from. Despite the strong element of memorization, the event attracts and finds ambitious, bright, even rather intellectual kids: lots of hard work maybe, but also some kind of raw brainy talent we don't by any means all have: inspiration and perspiration, the old combination.

The new immigrants in Spellbound are a major force. There are not one but two Indian-Americans in the eight the filmmaker has carefully singled out for special focus, and one of those wins. There's the Mexican girl whose father (so movingly) feels fulfilled, his whole life's journey made worthwhile, just because she has qualified; and he can't even speak English. And there's Ashley, the Black girl from the DC projects who didn't get a trophy or much recognition but dreams, nay prays, to be the winner. And even the boy from rural Tennessee who says there are hardly any other smart kids in his school qualifies as some kind of outsider who magically comes home, and gets put in his place in a complex way, like an Oklahoma valedictorian in the freshman class at Harvard, when he gets to compete in the national spelling bee. .Spellbound itself isn't a profound movie, but it has heart. Like the German WWII film Die Brucke (The Bridge) it shows a group of kids up close and personal and then follows them into battle where one by one they fall, till the last remains, and gets "logorrhea" right (I didn't -- I had to use Spell Check again even though I guessed it right the first time), and becomes champion. And in the emotion of trying so hard and then getting knocked out by one wrong letter, Spellbound illustrates sportsmanship and being all you can be and the joy of competiton and the agony of defeat. It's about poise and maturity and just being a kid. And it's a close, intense analysis of an event – a phenomenon, really – with more ramifications than we ever realized, till we see it. Spellbound is pretty universal in its appeal and by any accounts it's a wonderful little documentary.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (104 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Spellbound (2002)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Neil's Dad's Profession. metalgearorchid
The black girl from DC hsehunt03
How Did They Know Who To Follow? Jeope!
Facebook elizabizzzle
What is Angela up to??? j_arenivar
How did the director manage to pick the winner? clive-ihd
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Bee Season Giant An Education Jesus Camp Little Miss Sunshine
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Documentary section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.