Harry and the Hendersons
|Harry and the Hendersons|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William Dear|
|Produced by||William Dear
|Written by||William Dear
William E. Martin
Ezra D. Rappaport
Kevin Peter Hall
M. Emmet Walsh
|Music by||Bruce Broughton|
|Editing by||Donn Cambern|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||110 mins.|
|Box office||$49,998,613 (worldwide)|
Harry and the Hendersons is a 1987 American fantasy comedy film directed and produced by William Dear, and starring John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon, Lainie Kazan and Don Ameche. It is the story of a family's encounter with the cryptozoological creature Bigfoot. The film won an Academy Award for Best Makeup, and inspired a follow-up TV series of the same name.
The film was originally released as Bigfoot and the Hendersons in the United Kingdom, though the TV series retained the American title. The DVD and all current showings of the movie in the UK now refer to the movie by its original title.
Bruce Broughton composed the music throughout the entire film, and Joe Cocker performs "Love Lives On" (later released in 1989) during the end credits. The film earned mostly mixed reviews and was a modest success at the box office during its release, but has since gone on to earn a cult following amongst fans.
George Henderson (John Lithgow) is returning home with his family from a camping trip when they hit something with the family station wagon. George investigates, and discovers to his horror and awe, that they had hit a sasquatch. Deciding to take the creature home, George does so, strapping it to the roof of the car. Meanwhile, a mysterious hunter has been tracking the creature and discovers the Hendersons' license plate, which fell off when they hit the creature. At home, curiosity gets the best of George, and he goes out to the garage to examine the creature. Much to his shock, the creature was not dead and has since disappeared. He hears noises from his kitchen and sees the creature, it has knocked over the fridge in its attempt to find food. After waking the whole house, the family realizes that the creature is friendly and kind. George has a change of heart, at first he wished to make money from the creature, but now decides to take him back to the wild. Naming the creature "Harry", George tries to lure him into the station wagon, but Harry realizes that the Hendersons mean him no harm and instead he disappears.
Saddened, the family resume their normal lives, but as the sightings of Harry become more frequent and the media fervor heightens, George decides he needs to find Harry in order to keep him safe. George visits the "North American Museum of Anthropology" to speak with Dr. Wallace Wrightwood an expert on bigfoot, but is disheartened when he realizes its ramshackle state. Giving his number to the clerk inside the Museum (Don Ameche), George resumes his search of Harry. The hunter from the woods is revealed to be Jacques LaFleur (David Suchet), once a legendary hunter, he became obsessed with bigfoot and has hunted for one ever since becoming a laughing stock. LaFleur tracks down the Hendersons, and begins to get closer to finding Harry. After a local sighting, George goes into the city and searches for Harry. As the police, local crazies caught up in "Bigfoot Mania" and LaFleur get closer and closer to Harry, George finds him saves him while LaFleur is arrested. George calls Dr. Wallace Wrightwood from the museum and asks to have dinner to speak about big foot.
At the Henderson house, George is met by the same museum clerk who is revealed to be Dr. Wrightwood himself, having also become a laughing stock. Dr. Wrightwood tries to tell George and the rest of the family to give up on bigfoot as it has destroyed his life and will do so to theirs. His faith is rejuvenated when he meets Harry, and instantly he agrees to take him to safety away from the city. By this time LaFleur has gotten out of jail and heads to the Henderson house. George and co escape the house with Dr. Wrightwood and his old truck. LaFleur gives chase when his truck is disabled, and eventually catches up with the Henderson family. Fleeing to the mountains of Washington state, George tries to make Harry leave, going so far to hit him. But LaFleur catches them and tries to hunt Harry. Through George's faith and Harry's kindness, LaFleur changes his mind and decides that Harry deserves to live peacefully. As the family says goodbye, George tells him to be safe, to which Harry replies, "Okay," (his first spoken words). As Harry leaves, several other Big Feet appear and also disappear in the wilderness with him, much to the amazement of the Hendersons.
- John Lithgow as George Henderson
- Melinda Dillon as Nancy Henderson
- Margaret Langrick as Sarah Henderson
- Joshua Rudoy as Ernie Henderson
- Kevin Peter Hall as Harry
- Lainie Kazan as Irene Moffat
- Don Ameche as Dr. Wallace Wrightwood
- M. Emmet Walsh as George Henderson Sr.
- David Suchet as Jacques LaFleur
Harry and the Hendersons opened third behind Beverly Hills Cop II and The Untouchables. It went on to gross $29.7 million domestically and $20.2 million abroad to a total of $49.9 million worldwide.
The film was released in January 2011 in DVD entitled Harry and The Hendersons Special Edition.
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