Holes (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andrew Davis
Produced by Andrew Davis
Lowell D. Blank
Mike Medavoy
Teresa Tucker-Davies
Screenplay by Louis Sachar
Based on Holes 
by Louis Sachar
Starring Sigourney Weaver
Jon Voight
Patricia Arquette
Tim Blake Nelson
and Shia LaBeouf
Music by Joel McNeely
Cinematography Stephen St. John
Edited by Thomas J. Nordberg
Jeffrey Wolf
Walt Disney Pictures
Walden Media
Phoenix Pictures
Chicago Pacific Entertainment
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution (US)
Release dates
  • April 18, 2003 (2003-04-18) (US)
Running time 117 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Box office $71,406,573[1]

Holes is a 2003 American comedy-drama adventure film based on the 1998 novel of the same title by Louis Sachar (who also wrote the screenplay), with Shia LaBeouf as the lead role of Stanley Yelnats IV and also starring Khleo Thomas, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson, Eartha Kitt, Patricia Arquette, Dulé Hill, Rick Fox, and Henry Winkler. The film was produced by Walden Media and distributed on many markets by Disney's distribution company Buena Vista.

Holes was Scott Plank's final film; he died October 24, 2002.


Stanley Yelnats IV is a good-hearted teenager born to a luckless family who have been cursed for hundreds of years. The luckiest of the Yelnats ancestors, Stanley Yelnats I, lost his fortune when outlaw Kate Barlow steals his chest. The Yelnats blame their ancestor, Elya Yelnats, from Latvia, who was cursed after breaking a promise to Madame Zeroni to carry her up a mountain to a fortifying river in exchange for marrying Myra Menke. One day, Stanley is arrested and tried for falsely stealing a pair of sneakers that Clyde "Sweetfeet" Livingston (Rick Fox), a famous Baseball player had donated to charity. Stanley decides to attend Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention camp, instead of being incarcerated for his crime. He arrives to find that the "camp" is a dried-up lake run by Warden Walker, her assistant Mr. Sir and camp counselor Dr. Pendanski. Each day, the detainees must dig a five-foot round hole in the desert to "build character", despite the danger of the sun, rattlesnakes, and yellow-spotted lizards, which kill with a single bite. The inmates are told that if they find anything interesting, they may earn a day off. The inmates are known by their nicknames, and include Zero (who refuses to speak to anyone, but likes to dig holes), Armpit (for his stink), Zig-Zag (for walking back and forth), Squid (for his sqinty eyes), X-Ray (for his large glasses as well as it being his name, Rex, in pig Latin), and Magnet (being able to shoplift just about anything). Stanley is slowly accepted into the group, especially after allowing X-Ray to take credit for his discovery of a gold tube with the initials "KB", and is given the name of "Caveman" after finding a fossil. He soon creates a friendship with Zero, (later revealed to be Hector Zeroni) while teaching him to read. One day Stanley sees Magnet steal Mr. Sir's sunflower seeds and after Mr. Sir comes back Stanley takes blame for stealing it. Mr. Sir takes Stanley to the Warden who makes Nailpolish from Rattelesnake Venom and she hits Mr. Sir after he says Stanley is probably covering for Magnet, injuring him. In revenge and humiliation, Mr. Sir denies Stanley any water.

In a parallel flashback story, the history of Camp Green Lake is revealed. The town was once a thriving lake town with plenty of water and life. Kate Barlow, a local school teacher, is accosted by rich landowner, Trout Walker, who proposes to her, but she rejects him. Kate is in love with the local onion seller Sam (Dulé Hill), an African American, who helps repair her schoolhouse in exchange for Kate's renowned spiced peaches. When Sam kisses Kate, the townspeople burn the school. Sam attempts to escape on his boat, the 'Mary Lou', but Trout kills Sam. In retaliation, Kate kills the local sheriff (Eric Pierpoint) and leaves a lipstick mark on his face, thereby beginning her career as an outlaw named "Kissin' Kate" who infamously kisses the men she kills.

After Dr. Pendanski insults Hector, he retaliates by hitting him with his shovel and runs away. After some deliberation, Stanley sets out to help him and finds him taking shelter under the remains of Sam's boat, the 'Mary Lou'. Zero, now stranded in the desert, offers him some "sploosh", old cans of Kate Barlow's spiced peaches which had been left on the boat. The sploosh helped Hector survive (even though it made him sick), and out of desperation Stanley heads over to a mountain, called "God's Thumb", remembering that Stanley Yelnats I had survived many days in the dryness by seeking refuge on the mountain. Meanwhile, Walker decides to presume Hector dead by deleting his files. Stanley carries Hector up the mountain where they find an apparently wild field of onions and a source of water, helping them regain strength for several days. Unknowingly, Stanley breaks the family curse because Hector happens to be a descendant of Madame Zeroni. When he carries Hector to the top of the mountain, sings to him, and lets him drink from the stream that runs uphill, he fulfils the promise made by Elya centuries earlier. Moments later, after Hector has woken up, he reveals he is the reason Stanley was sent to Camp Green Lake. He reveals that since he is homeless, he had been at the homeless shelter where many things, including Sweetfeet's shoes, had been donated. Because he did not know the shoes were famous, he took the shoes and walked off with them. He then heard sirens coming; thinking they were after him, he took off the shoes and tossed them over the bridge, thus leading to the incident which got Stanley sent to Camp Greenlake, as the shoes had fallen on Stanley's head, which was the beginning of the movie. Stanley thinks it is destiny that they met. Then a flashback comes to the screen: Kate Barlow, now older, is found in the middle of the now dried-up lake by one of her former students along with Trout Walker (whom the student has married). They order Kate to hand over the treasure, but she tells them that they "can dig for a hundred years, and you will never find it." Kate dies thanks to a yellow-spotted lizard.

Stanley's father, meanwhile, finally finds the solution to an odor-eliminating mixture that he has been trying all his life to create - the addition of peaches and onions. Stanley and Zero decide to go back to Camp Green Lake to investigate the hole in which Stanley had found the tube of lipstick, feeling lucky all of a sudden. They dig deeper into the hole and uncover a chest. Walker, Mr. Sir, and Pendanski discover them and attempt to take the chest away from Stanley and Zero until they notice that yellow-spotted lizards have climbed onto the boys. When the group is discovered the next morning by the Attorney General and Stanley's lawyer, Walker attempts to explain that the chest was hers, at which point Stanley jumps out of the hole to confront her with Hector behind him. (They are still alive due to the fact that yellow-spotted lizards are averse to the onions they had been eating.) Hector reveals that "Stanley Yelnats" is written on the front of the chest. The lawyer finds out that there is no file of Hector and Mr. Sir's possession of a gun. Mr. Sir (revealed to be a criminal named Marion Sevillo), Walker, and Dr. Pendanski (revealed to be no doctor at all) are arrested. As Stanley leaves, the rain falls on Camp Green Lake. The Yelnats family claim rightful ownership of the chest and the contents inside - banknotes, money, and other items, all of whose value has increased over time. Stanley decides that half the money should go to Hector. Later, Stanley's family gains this grandfather's riches from both the contents of the chest and his father's new odor-eliminating invention, Sploosh, and they help Hector find his mother by hiring private detectives. Camp Green Lake has been converted into a girl scout camp as well. An advertisement of Sploosh by Clyde closes the film. In the post-credits scene, Hector appears re-enacting the "You and your family will be cursed" quote from Madame Zeroni.


Camp Green Lake

Yelnats' Home


Old Green Lake

Musical Soundtrack[edit]

One of the most appealing facets to the movie (particularly to the kid audiences) was the film's music which included the Grammy winning single " by Keb Mo', and "Dig It" by The D Tent Boys (the actors portraying the D Tent group inmates), which was exceptionally popular with child viewers and had a music video which played regularly on Disney Channel. The soundtrack also included contributions by Eels, Devin Thompson, Dr. John, Eagle Eye Cherry, Fiction Plane, Little Axe, Moby, North Mississippi Allstars, Pepe Deluxé, Shaggy, Stephanie Bentley, and Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps.

The movie's score was written by the famous Hollywood composer, Joel McNeely.

Soundtrack album by Various
Released April 15, 2003
Label Walt Disney Records
  1. "Dig It" - D-Tent Boys
  2. "Keep'n It Real" - Shaggy
  3. "Mighty Fine Blues" - Eels
  4. "Honey" - Moby
  5. "I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday" - Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps
  6. "Just Like You" - Keb' Mo'
  7. "Everybody Pass Me By" - Pepe Deluxé
  8. "I Will Survive" - Stephanie Bentley
  9. "Shake 'Em On Down" - North Mississippi Allstars
  10. "Don't Give Up" - Eagle Eye Cherry
  11. "Happy Dayz" - Devin Thompson
  12. "Let's Make A Better World" - Dr. John
  13. "If Only" - Fiction Plane
  14. "Eyes Down" - Eels
  15. "Down To The Valley" - Little Axe


The movie made a modest US$ 67 million at the box office. However, it was consistently lauded as an excellent movie, because of its strong plot, deep characters, and family friendliness.

The film received generally positive reviews; it currently holds a 77% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus: "Faithful to its literary source, this is imaginative, intelligent family entertainment."[2] On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film has a 71/100 rating, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[3]

Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote "Davis has always been a director with a strong visual sense, and the look of "Holes" has a noble, dusty loneliness. We feel we are actually in a limitless desert. The cinematographer, Stephen St. John, thinks big, and frames his shots for an epic feel that adds weight to the story. I walked in expecting a movie for thirteensomethings, and walked out feeling challenged and satisfied. Curious, how much more grown up and sophisticated "Holes" is than "Anger Management."[4]


External links[edit]