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Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  28 April 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 14,693 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 169 user | 95 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

A young girl from South Los Angeles tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee.



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12 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Javier (as JR Villarreal)
Georgia (as Sahara Garey)
Steve (as Jeris Lee Poindexter)


Eleven year-old Akeelah Anderson's life is not easy: her father is dead, her mom ignores her, her brother runs with the local gangbangers. She's smart, but her environment threatens to strangle her aspirations. Responding to a threat by her school's principal, Akeelah participates in a spelling bee to avoid detention for her many absences. Much to her surprise and embarrassment, she wins. Her principal asks her to seek coaching from an English professor named Dr. Larabee for the more prestigious regional bee. As the possibility of making it all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee looms, Akeelah could provide her community with someone to rally around and be proud of -- but only if she can overcome her insecurities and her distracting home life. She also must get past Dr. Larabee's demons, and a field of more experienced and privileged fellow spellers. Written by Shannon Patrick Sullivan <shannon@mun.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Changing the world... one word at a time.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 April 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A som i Akeelah  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,011,585 (USA) (28 April 2006)


$18,811,135 (USA) (14 July 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The quote that Dr. Larabee has Akeelah read from a plaque on his wall is an excerpt from "A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles" by Marianne Williamson. See more »


During the Crenshaw Middle School spelling bee they say Akeelah is in 8th grade, but after Akeelah wins the regional spelling bee the reporter says she is in 7th grade. See more »


Akeelah: [Javier has just kissed her] Why'd you do that?
Javier: I had an impulse. Are you gonna sue me for sexual harassment?
[pause, then they both laugh]
See more »


Referenced in Tales from the Script (2009) See more »


Written by Heather Small and Peter John Vettese (as Peter Vettese)
Performed by Heather Small
Courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment (U.K.) Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Among the best, without a doubt
29 April 2006 | by (Dallas, TX) – See all my reviews

Akeelah and the Bee is an excellent movie, and it deserves universal recognition for the unbelievably powerful message, storyline, and theme evident throughout. First of all, Starbucks's co-operation with Laurence Fishburne to produce the movie was a great move on everybody's part. And though many critics may say that Akeelah and the Bee was just another "inspirational film," lacking the originality and pungency necessary for good cinema, the people with such a belief just don't get it. Like Rudy (1993), Akeelah and the Bee is most certainly original in that the story is plausible, meaningful, and very emotional. The only real difference between the two films is that whereas Rudy is based on a true story, Akeelah and the Bee is completely fictional. Also, the fact that all of the real protagonists in the film are minorities brings an incredible new level to the silver screen. Very few recently released movies feature an African-American female--a youth, no less--in the role of the main character. And for viewers to see Akeelah--as well as her mother, her siblings, her best friend, her coach, and her other two spelling-bee companions: all of whom are minorities--achieve such great heights is most definitely "inspirational," and in the right sense. Even for the movie-viewer whose favorites are full of action, violence, and gore, Akeelah and the Bee strikes the heart directly. And for those who like the tear-jerkers, no better movie exists than this one. Without question, this film is one of the best I have seen in a long time, and many will agree that it is an exceptional piece of work. I would honestly be shocked if someone really believed in his or her mind that Akeelah and the Bee "was a waste of time."

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