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Harry and the Hendersons (1987)

The Henderson family adopt a friendly Sasquatch but have a hard time trying to keep the legend of 'Bigfoot' a secret.

Director:

William Dear

Writers:

William Dear, Bill Martin (as William E. Martin) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
3,750 ( 295)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Lithgow ... George Henderson
Melinda Dillon ... Nancy Henderson
Margaret Langrick Margaret Langrick ... Sarah Henderson
Joshua Rudoy ... Ernie Henderson
Kevin Peter Hall ... Harry
David Suchet ... Jacques Lafleur
Lainie Kazan ... Irene Moffitt
Don Ameche ... Dr. Wallace Wrightwood
M. Emmet Walsh ... George Henderson Sr.
William Ontiveros William Ontiveros ... Sgt. Mancini (as Bill Ontiverous)
David Richardt David Richardt ... Dirty Harry Officer
Jacqueline Moscou Jacqueline Moscou ... DMV Clerk
Laura Kenny Laura Kenny ... 'Mouse' Woman
Richard Arnold Richard Arnold ... 'Mouse' Spouse (as Richard E. Arnold)
Sean Morgan Sean Morgan ... Jerry Seville
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Storyline

Returning from a hunting trip in the forest, the Henderson family's car hits an animal in the road. At first they fear it was a man, but when they examine the "body" they find it's a "bigfoot". They think it's dead so they decide to take it home (there could be some money in this..). As you guessed, "it" isn't dead. Far from being the ferocious monster they fear "Harry" to be, he's a friendly giant. In their attempts to keep Harry a secret, the Henderson's have to hide him from the authorities and a man, who has made it his goal in life, to catch a "bigfoot". Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When You Can't Believe Your Eyes, Trust Your Heart. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Family | Fantasy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 June 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Harry and the Hendersons See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,154,740, 7 June 1987

Gross USA:

$29,760,613

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$49,998,613
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Foley and Dana Middleton, the two news anchors listed in the credits, were real-life news anchors and talk-show co-hosts at Seattle's KOMO TV. Their brief appearance in the movie was from the set of their nightly local news magazine "Weeknight" which aired from 1983 to 1985, when it was replaced by the syndicated version of Jeopardy! (1984) when it moved from KIRO TV to KOMO TV. Another reporter is seen in the movie reporting from the actual newsroom of KOMO 4 News. Middleton and Foley also hosted "Northwest Afternoon," an afternoon daily talk show. Middleton left KOMO TV in 1993, and Foley followed suit in 1995. See more »

Goofs

Harry copies the police car's siren on the freeway to get traffic to move out of their way so they can escape LaFleur. When George realizes what he's doing and sticks his head out of the window along with Harry to check where LaFleur is, the cars behind him are all stopped a long way behind him neatly and not surrounding their van as shown in all other shots of the traffic jam. See more »

Quotes

George Henderson: Nan, don't you like roughing it in the wild?
Nancy Henderson: Roughing it? George, the only thing rough about it was when the generator went out in the middle of Masterpiece Theatre.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the the thank you section of the credits, there is a thank you to Bigfoot. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Dogs (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Lives On
Music by Barry Mann and Bruce Broughton
Lyrics by Cynthia Weil and Will Jennings
Performed by Joe Cocker
Produced by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight
Joe Cocker appears courtesy of Capitol Records
Coordinator for Mann/Weill Steve Tyrell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Better than E.T.
26 April 2006 | by CuriosityKilledShawnSee all my reviews

Harry and the Hendersons is one of the first films I remember seeing in the cinema as a kid. It was 1987 and my uncle had just passed his driving test so he was well into driving places and the cinema just happened to be one of them.

Even though the film is only 110 minutes long, they still had an intermission halfway through, for some reason. And I swear, they actually had ushers coming round selling stuff before it started back up again. I believe that is the first and only time I have seen such old-fashioned picturehouse practices. But it makes my original memory of this film so much more nostalgic.

The Hendersons consist of wannabe artist/gun salesman dad George (that always brilliant John Lithgow), loving mum Melinda Dillon, a bratty daughter and a hyperactive son. On returning from a camping trip in the Pacific Northwest, they accidentally run into some sort of large furry creature on the forest road. Originally believing it to be a bear, George steps out of the car to prod it with his gun a few times. But the bear has man-like hands and George suddenly asks his family 'What if it's...HIM'.

Bigfoot! Think of how much he's worth! So they tie him to the roof of the car and drive him home, while George thinks of the best way of selling him. Later that night, he is curious as to how big his feet really are. So he sneaks down to the garage with a measuring tape only to find that he's no longer strapped to the roof of the car, but poking around in the kitchen fridge.

The Hendersons stand back as bigfoot (or Harry as he is later renamed) stomps around the house and garden investigating all their strange belongings. Though he doesn't care much for all the animal trophies hanging around everywhere. Freaking out, George tries to snipe Harry from through the bedroom window, but has a change of heart when he realises that Harry is just big, harmless oaf.

The best scenes of the film involve Harry making himself at home in the Henderson house. His mannerisms and body language are similar to a child warned to be on their best behavior while visiting old relatives. He constantly looks a bit nervous and uncomfortable but is always ready to grab you for a big hug.

Rick Baker deservedly took home an Academy Award for Best Make-Up Effects back in 1988 for this movie. Harry Henderson is an amazing character with a wonderfully wide range of expressions and emotions. All E.T. ever did was sit there looking bug-eyed. Not Harry though, you can't help loving him. I so want my own Bigfoot.

Even now as an adult I think this movie is still great. As a kid I remember feeling the panic and excitement when Harry got lost in Seattle and the half-crazed Bigfoot hunter Jacques LaFleur (David Suchet) doing lots of sleaziness in order to have him shot, gutted and sold to science. Forgive the repeated comparison, but to me it was more involving and fun than the man with the keys in E.T.

You just don't get family movies like this anymore. Back in the 80's Steven Spielberg's Amblin production company made loads of great family movies like Gremlins, Goonies, the Back to the Future Trilogy, Young Sherlock Holmes and Innerspace. They all had some kind high-concept spin that crud such as Like Mike and Crapper by the Dozen don't.

It was a great time to be a kid back in those days. We weren't cynical and jaded and hooked on Playstation like modern children. We still had a sense of adventure, a longing for the outdoors. Anything could be out there. Maybe Harry is actually bumbling around in the woods as I write this.

Like the Patterson/Gimlin film that inspired it, Harry and the Hendersons is one movie that will be timeless forever.


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