Harriet the Spy is the very first theatrical film released by Nickelodeon Movies, based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Louise Fitzhugh, and starring Michelle Trachtenberg as the title character. This film was directed by Bronwen Hughes, produced by Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies and Rastar.
Despite being Nickelodeon's first theatrical movie, and being heavily promoted by the channel on its theatrical release, Harriet the Spy did not air on any of the Nickelodeon networks until October 11, 2020, over 24 years after it was originally released.
A second film adaptation of the Harriet the Spy books, titled Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars, was produced by 9 Story Entertainment in 2010 and aired as a Disney Channel Original Movie; therefore, it is not covered on this wiki.
Harriet (Michelle Trachtenberg) is an 11-year-old sixth grader and a spy/writer who is best friends with Simon Rocque (Gregory Smith) and Janie Gibbs (Vanessa Chester). She lives a privileged life with her parents and her nanny, Golly (Rosie O'Donnell) who's the only person who knows all the things that Harriet has been snooping on. Harriet and her friends are enemies with mainly Marion Hawthorne (Charlotte Sullivan). For awhile, Harriet lives life very well with being a spy and having fun with Golly.
One night, Golly invites a friend over and Harriet, Golly and Golly's friend go to dinner and a movie, where things turn into a disaster. Mrs. Welch fires Golly for letting Harriet stay out late and then begs her to stay. Golly tells her that Harriet is old enough to take care of herself, much to everyone's protests. After Harriet bids Golly goodbye, she becomes depressed and withdrawn. She even gets caught when investigating the nether regions of Agatha Plummer (Eartha Kitt).
The next morning, she plays with her friends at the park and disaster strikes. Marion Hawthorne finds Harriet's private notebook and begins reading out all of Harriet's vindictive comments on her friends, such as how she suspects Janie will grow up to be a nutcase and mocking Sport's father for barely earning any money. Everyone finds that they're all cruel and hurtful and even Sport and Janie turn their backs on Harriet. The kids create a Spy-Catcher club and torment Harriet on her spy routes.
After running into a police officer and getting zeros on her schoolwork, Harriet gets her notebook taken away by her parents. Her parents tell Harriet's teacher Mrs. Elson (Nancy Beatty) to search Harriet everyday for notebooks much to Harriet's embarrassment. One day, during art, a Marion Hawthorne "accidentally" pours blue paint all over Harriet and she does things to get back at everyone individually.
Harriet's parents find out what she has done to her classmates and send her to be evaluated by a psychologist, who assures them that Harriet is fine. Harriet then tries to apologize to Sport and Janie and soon gets appointed as the editor of the sixth grade paper by her classmates. She apologizes to everyone and all is well. On opening night of the 6th Grade pageant, Janie and Harriet light off a stinkbomb as revenge on Marion and closes the film with the song "Get Up Offa That Thing" by James Brown and dance.
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Harriet Welsch
- Gregory Smith as Simon Rocque
- Vanessa Chester as Janie Gibbs
- Rosie O'Donnell as Golly Catherine
- J. Smith-Cameron as Mrs. Welsch
- Robert Joy as Mr. Welsch
- Eartha Kitt as Agatha Plummer
- Charlotte Sullivan as Marion Hawthorne
- Teisha Kim as Rachel Hennessy
- Cecilley Carroll as Beth Hansen
- Dov Tiefenbach as Boy with Purple Socks
- Nina Shock as Carrie Andrews
- Connor Devitt as Pinky Whitehead
- Alisha Morrison as Laura Peters
- Nancy Beatty as Miss Elson
- James Gilfillan as Archie Simmons
- Gerry Quigley as Sport's Dad
- Jackie Richardson as Janie's Mother
- Roger Clown as Dr. Wagner
The film was shot in the Florida cities of Fort Lauderdale and Miami, plus Toronto, Ontario.
Box office and release
The film was released in US theaters on March 1, 1995, and the film grossed $6,601,651 on its opening weekend, averaging about $3,615 per each of the 1,826 screens it was shown on. The film went on to gross a total of $26,570,048 by July 1, 1995, and was considered a box office success, earning back double its $13,000,000 budget.
Home video releases
|VHS||February 25, 1996|
|Bonus feature: "Rugrats Rap" and "Rugrats Rock" music videos|
|DVD||May 27, 2002|
|The movie is presented in widescreen.
Bonus feature: "Rugrats Rap" and "Rugrats Rock" music videos
The film met with mixed reviews and received a 48% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.