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 date(s)
  • 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 somewhat unpopular teenage boy who lives in an apartment with his entrepreneur father, mother and grandfather. The family, while rich in spirit, are luckless. They think that it was a curse caused many years ago, when their first ancestor Elya Yelnats tried to win the hand of the lovely Myra Menke. He is helped by the elderly Madame Zeroni, however she asks him as payment to remember to carry her up the mountain and sing to her as she drinks from a stream. If he fails however, he and his family will be cursed "for ever and eternity". When he tries to woo Myra, Elya becomes disgusted at her inability to make decisions and leaves for America - forgetting to fulfill his promise to Madame Zeroni. As a result, the family has been plagued by various forms of misfortune. One day Stanley is falsely accused of stealing a pair of sneakers that baseball star Clyde "Sweet feet" Livingston donated to an orphanage. When given the choice of going to federal prison or Camp Green Lake, he chooses the latter. He arrives to find the "camp" is a dried-up desert where the boys there must dig one hole every day to build character. The camp is run by the mysterious Warden, Mr. Sir, and counselor Mr. Pendanski.

This is not the first time that the Yelnats family is connected to Camp Green Lake. Many years ago, when the lake was still full of water, there was a small town built near it. The lake was owned by Charles "Trout" Walker, an arrogant man who tries to unsuccessfully court schoolteacher Kathryn Barlow. Instead, she begins to feel an attraction to Sam the "onion man", who is famous for using onions as a cure-all, as well as a repellant for the dangerous Yellow Spotted Lizards, which plague the area. Paying him with her famous spiced peaches, Kathryn gets Sam to fix up her schoolhouse so that he can be near her. When everything was fixed, she tells him that her heart is broken and he kisses her to fix it. Because he is African-American and she is Caucasian, the local laws decree that Sam must be killed, which happens. Kathryn kills the sheriff and becomes an outlaw called "Kissin' Kate Barlow". One of the people she robbed was the first Stanley Yelnats, who she left to die in the desert. Instead, he climbed a mountain and found water and food. Kate died when she was threatened by Charles and his wife, Linda, both of whom believed that she buried the money in the lake, which dried up when Sam was shot. She responds by letting a Yellow Spotted Lizard kill her and tells them to start digging.

Stanley slowly gains the respect of his fellow diggers. When he finds a gold lipstick tube and sees the fuss the Warden makes over it, he begins to suspect that they are digging holes to actually find something. Meanwhile, he begins to teach Hector Zeroni, a lonely boy at the camp, how to read and write. When the adults begin to insult his intelligence however, Hector runs off into the desert. Stanley follows to help him. The two climb the same mountain that Stanley's ancestor climbed. Along the way, Hector becomes ill from "Sploosh", a jarred food that he ate (most likely Kate's spiced peaches). Stanley carries him up the mountain, gives him water, and sings to him. At about that time, it is revealed that Stanley's father invents a cure for foot odor, using peaches and onions. Stanley and Hector decide to return to the camp to find whatever is hidden there. They dig throughout the night and find a suitcase. However, they are trapped by both the Warden and a nest of Yellow Spotted Lizards. The lizards do not attack however, as the boys lived off of onions on the mountain, and they are rescued by a lawyer that is hired for Stanley. She takes Stanley, Hector, and the suitcase home. The suitcase holds the valuables that Kate stole from the Yelnats family, and it is revealed that the Warden - Ms. Walker - is Charles's descendant. It is also revealed that it begins to rain again in Camp Green Lake. Using the money, the Yelnats family moves into a bigger house and Hector is able to find his mother.

Stanley assures the girls and the counselors that they won't have to worry about the yellow-spotted lizards as long as they consume lots of good onions. Stanley's father invents a new odor eliminator "Sploosh" based on peaches and onions, promoted by Clyde and his wife on TV commercial, with the Yelnats and the Zeroni family watching them, finding success at last.

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

Cast Background[edit]

Jon Voight and Shia LaBeouf worked together again in the 2007 action film Transformers.

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]


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