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Little Nikita (1988)

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An F.B.I. Agent works to uncover an All-American family as Soviet sleeper Agents, and gets caught up in friendship with their unaware son.

Director:

Richard Benjamin

Writers:

John Hill (screenplay), Bo Goldman (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney Poitier ... Roy Parmenter
River Phoenix ... Jeff Grant
Richard Jenkins ... Richard Grant
Caroline Kava ... Elizabeth Grant
Richard Bradford ... Konstantin Karpov
Richard Lynch ... Scuba
Loretta Devine ... Verna McLaughlin
Lucy Deakins ... Barbara Kerry
Jerry Hardin ... Brewer
Albert Fortell ... Bunin
Robert Madrid ... Sgt. Leathers (as Robb Madrid)
Ronald Guttman ... Spessky
Jacob Vargas ... Miguel
Roberto Jiménez Roberto Jiménez ... Joaquin
Chez Lister Chez Lister ... Tom
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Storyline

Roy Parmenter is a veteran FBI agent who has spent the last 20 years trying to find the Russian agent who killed his partner whom he calls Scuba. When a couple of deep cover Russian agents are killed Parmenter thinks Scuba is the one doing it. The Russians who have received word from Scuba that if they want him to stop, they have to pay him. So they send a veteran Russian agent, Karpov to stop him. Parmenter was tasked with performing background checks on people applying for certain things requiring security clearance and when he comes across Jeffrey Grant who's applying to the Air Force Academy, he discovers that his parents' info is false. He also learns of Karpov coming into the country and suspects that he is here to stop Scuba and that Karpov went to the city where Jeffrey and his family live, so he decides to keep an eye on Jeffrey and his family. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He went to bed an all-American kid and woke up the son of Russian spies.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 March 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sleepers See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,733,070
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The theatre box scene was filmed in a San Diego local legitimate theatre while the "Nikita" company was in San Diego. The script required this scene of the family viewing a ballet. The New York "Ballet Theatre" company was performing "Sleeping Beauty" at the Shrine Auditorium, as part of their National Tour, in Los Angeles. Gene Callahan, Lee Poll, and Hub Braden attended a performance to view the scenery and time the sequence to be filmed. The producers arranged to film the ballet sequence when the Ballet Theatre Company was performing in San Diego. The producers had decided the expense of staging this sequence would be less spent by using an existing production, plus the name factor in advertisement. The Ballet Theatre company completed their performances of their "Sleeping Beauty" production. The following day, while the stage hands struck the sets, the set to be filmed was sent (trucked) over to the theatre (to be used for filming). Gene Callahan did not like the "fru-fru" drapery flourishes in the designers' bed chamber scenery. When the set was set up, Gene had the stage hands strip the set to bare bones, removing much of the drapery swags and jabots. The royalties paid, for the Ballet Theatre production's sets and costumes, the choreographer, the dancers, (just for this short filmed sequence), cost Columbia Pictures over five hundred thousand dollars. Gene Callahan was not going to argue the validity, nor of the budget, of staging the sequence as part of his production budget. The sequence cost (royalties) more than what it was worth as seen in the finished film. See more »

Goofs

Jeffrey says he need a new clutch for his truck, but in a scene before that he is driving and only makes one shift, after that the truck is heard making automatic transmission shifts and his arm does not move. See more »

Quotes

Elizabeth Grant: What time will you be home?
Jeff Grant: 5, 6... something like that.
Elizabeth Grant: Could you be a little more specific? I get tired of cooking dinner twice.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Masters: Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

'til The Next Time
Written, Produced and Performed by Charlie Mitchell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Angst Ridden Identity Crisis
21 April 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I would bet that of all the films young River Phoenix did in his short and sweet life, Little Nikita is probably the one where he played the most normal of kids. But it's that very normality that is the basis for the shock unfolding before him.

A rogue agent played by Richard Lynch who has specialized in playing really evil and loathsome types on the big and small screens is going around killing various sleeper agents that the Russians have planted over the years in America. Lynch is blackmailing the Soviets for big bucks to stop bumping off the deep cover spies. One of their top guys, Richard Bradford, is going to America to deal with the problem. As this is the time of Glasnost with Reagan and Gorbachev in some serious and far reaching negotiations, we don't want this to get public and blow up the summit.

At the same time while Sidney Poitier as an FBI agent is running routine background checks for armed service academy admissions, something really doesn't compute in young River Phoenix's background. It turns out that his parents are deep cover agents who've never been activated to do anything. And by an incredible coincidence I just really couldn't buy, Lynch is a guy who killed Poitier's partner many years ago and he wants him too.

You'd think that with this kind of problem a little below summit Glasnost would have been in order for the KGB and FBI. But no, they're both working at cross purposes for the same goal.

What Little Nikita does have going for it to give it as many stars as it does have is River Phoenix's angst ridden performance of an All American kid whose whole world comes crashing around about him. River's screen characters were usually quirky, but he could play a normal kid and well.

Phoenix's performance and the nice location shooting in and around the San Diego area are the only reason to watch this well meaning, but ultimately rather silly film.


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