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Little Sweetheart (1989)

A criminal couple, hiding out in a remote property become the unwitting victims of a plot to blackmail them by the most unlikely of conspirators.


Anthony Simmons


Arthur Wise (novel), Anthony Simmons (screenplay)

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Hurt ... Robert Burger
Karen Young ... Dorothea
Cassie Barasch Cassie Barasch ... Thelma
Ellie Raab Ellie Raab ... Elizabeth
Barbara Bosson ... Mrs. Davies
John McMartin ... Uncle David
James Waterston ... Richard
Guy Boyd ... The Sheriff
Jack Gilpin ... Mr. Harrison
Ann McDonough Ann McDonough ... Mrs. Harrison
Claude Brooks Claude Brooks ... Little Billy
Rose Parrah Rose Parrah ... Marissa
Gary Basaraba ... Barkeeper
Gene Densmore Gene Densmore ... Mr. Manny Drug Store Owner
Jessica Saunders Jessica Saunders ... Woman in Bar


Having embezzled a small fortune and attempting to lay low, Robert Burger and his mistress Dorothea choose a remote rental property which in unobtrusive. But they soon make the grave mistake of befriending two nine year old girls, Thelma and Elizabeth who live close by. Behind her seemingly cute and innocent façade, Thelma is a scheming, precocious brat who intrudes upon the couples life and photographs the pair and ultimately discovers their dark little secret. With Elizabeth's help they proceed to blackmail the bemused, unsuspecting twosome. But events eventually begin to unravel leading the pseudo-angelic brat to resort to twisted and evil crimes, meaning the lives of those associated with her gradually descend in to hell. Written by Robert McElwaine

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She's spying on two strangers, she's about to murder her best friend and she's only nine years old!




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

19 October 1989 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

Poison Candy See more »

Filming Locations:

Eastpoint, Florida, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


The empty lot, through which Little Billy flees and climbs a fence when being cornered by Robert, was located between 86 and 94 Market Street in Apalachicola, Florida 32320. By 2007, a building had been constructed on that empty lot with the address of 88 Market Street, which then housed the business Chez Funk for several years, but by 2012, that business was defunct. As of 2011, the wooden building, with the horizontal boards seen in the film on the right, housed Pam Nobles Studio at 86 Market Street, and the brick building, with the metal awning seen in the film on the left, housed Forgotten Coast Outfitters at 94 Market Street. Oddly, 94 Market Street is right next to The (Apalachicola Seafood) Grill at 100 Market Street, which is the point from where Robert started the chase down Market Street, which means Little Billy would have had to double back down 4th Street to return to same area of The Grill as depicted. See more »


Dorothea: If I were Thelma's age, I'd be jealous, too. Glad you belong to me.
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Features Dizzy Pilots (1943) See more »


Radio City
Performed by Colin Elswood (misspelled as "Colin Elsewood" in the end credits)
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User Reviews

TV child vs bad guys
6 April 1999 | by DomiMMHSSee all my reviews

"Little Sweetheart" is an extremely suspenseful and very odd movie, basically--- it's not handled that perfectly, that's some problem. As the third time I saw it, I noticed many things which didn't make sense to me, about the development of the plot, mainly. Also some of the suspense was gone, but I still enjoyed it much and I'm surely seeing it again.

The *little sweetheart* is called Thelma, is nine years old, and goes to a boarding school where *the others* don't like her, as we learn from herself. In the summer, she lives at some vacation place with her careless and rather stupid, widowed mother and her brother - rather a cartoon in a would-be mother-teenager-conflict, sorry film makers! She makes friends with another girl her age, Elizabeth. The both of them meet a pair of gangsters, played by John Hurt and Karen Young. Hurt seems to like Thelma, while his *mistress* Young sees her as a rival. She's so mad at the girl that it's only ridiculous. However, she seems to be kind of right, when Thelma decides that the two girls blackmail the pair. The blackmailing is no big deal and no big movie making - but it's only the prelude...

In some moments this movie is really chilling and eerie, because of its absurd and disturbing events and possibilities. I won't judge if the events in this movie are realistic enough, so that they could really take place, but the movie illustrates how kids are always underestimated in our society. Regarded as *cute*, *innocent*, *dull*, *can't do no harm*, they're not taken seriously. Therein lies the intelligence and the irony of the movie: To what point the kid may be *evil* and spoiled, she remains the good guy in a way, as she is just a little girl. And John Hurt is the bad guy, though he's probably the nicest character in the film.

There's one rather fake dialogue with Thelma speaking to Elizabeth. But as her brother tells us, the kid has been loafing around in front of the TV all her life, so that may explain much. The un-known young actress, Cassie Barasch, is very cute and smart in the film, so that you want to like her, on the other hand she acts her character spoiled enough that you want to hate her. Good job! Which part of you is likely to win?

Not a too caring piece of art, nor deeply psychologically analytic, but a convincing, entertaining, suspenseful film with an extraordinary story and a little ironical humor. 8 out of 10!

"Watch me!"

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