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Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  28 April 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 14,525 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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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 first film to be produced by Starbucks Coffee. 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 »


Mr. Welch: So whoever wins the school bee today, gets to represent Crenshaw at the district bee next month.
Akeelah: Why would anybody want to represent a school where they can't even put doors on the toilet stalls?
Mr. Welch: Akeelah, if we can't show students can perform were not going to have money for books let alone bathroom doors.
Mr. Welch: Now I want you to do the bee today, okay?
Akeelah: So everyone can call me a freak and a brainiac? No I ain't down for no spelling bee.
Mr. Welch: Well, maybe you'd be down for spending the rest...
See more »


References Shazam! (1974) See more »


Let Your Baby Go
Written by Jamey Jazz (as Jamey Jaz) and Rhona Bennett
Performed by 'Erica Rivera'
Courtesy of Music Line/Atlantic Recording Corporation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

I would compare it to 'The Karate Kid' meets 'Finding Forrester'.
10 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 'Akeelah and the Bee' Keke Palmer plays Akeelah Anderson, a bright 11 year old who just wants to fit in. Despite her intelligence, she is not a good student. She is unmotivated and often misses class. Since the death of her father five years ago, she only seems content when she imagines playing Scrabble with him. Nevertheless, her talent for spelling gives her an opportunity to shine.

This is on of the better movies I have seen this year. This heart-warming and inspirational story is about a girl who, despite all the hardships at home, finds a way to utilize her skill at Scrabble. With a little help from her coach (Laurence Fishburne) she not only learns a lot about language, but she learns how to appreciate the environment around her. She finds out that she is rich in ways she did not realize.

It is very difficult to find fault with this movie, there is something in it for everyone (even a few surprises). Both Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne are awesome. I was particularly impressed with Keke Palmer. I would compare it to 'The Karate Kid' meets 'Finding Forrester'.

55 of 73 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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