Casper (film)

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This article is about the film. For the character, see Casper the Friendly Ghost. For the video game, see Casper (video game). For the medical school admissions test, see CASPer. For other uses, see Casper (disambiguation).
Casper poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brad Silberling
Produced by Colin Wilson
Written by Sherri Stoner
Deanna Oliver
Based on Casper the Friendly Ghost 
by Seymour Reit
Joe Oriolo
Starring Christina Ricci
Bill Pullman
Cathy Moriarty
Eric Idle
Music by James Horner
Cinematography Dean Cundey
Edited by Michael Kahn
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • May 26, 1995 (1995-05-26)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55 million[1]
Box office $287.9 million[1]

Casper is a 1995 American live-action family comedy fantasy feature film, directed by Brad Silberling. It is based on the cartoon and Harvey Comics character Casper the Friendly Ghost. The film stars Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Idle, and Amy Brenneman. The film also stars the voices of Malachi Pearson as the titular character as well as Joe Nipote, Joe Alaskey, and Brad Garrett. The film makes extensive use of computer-generated imagery to create the titular character and the other ghosts alongside him. It is much darker in tone in comparison to the sequels and spin offs.


A vindictive woman, Carrigan Crittenden, is upset upon the reading of her late father's will that she was given creepy Whipstaff Manor in Friendship, Maine instead of his fortune, but she changes her tune when she learns that there is a hidden treasure within the property. She and her assistant Dibs go to the house attempting to investigate, but discover that it is haunted by a friendly ghost named Casper and his obnoxious prankster uncles, the Ghostly Trio (Fatso, Stretch and Stinkie), who immediately frighten them off the property. Carrigan tries multiple methods to rid the house of ghosts, but fails time and time again. Meanwhile, Casper sees a report of a paranormal therapist, James Harvey, and is immediately smitten with his teenaged daughter Kat. He quickly inhabits the television in Carrigan's hotel room in order to convince her to have the Harveys come to the manor to investigate the haunting.

James and Kat's relationship is strained, after the death of her mother and his wife Amelia, he devotes all of his time into finding her, believing her to have unfinished business and having not moved on to the afterlife. As a result, Kat has had no chance to make friends as they are constantly moving across the country. Upon arriving in Maine, Casper's plan to befriend Kat and her father backfires when his chaotic uncles come home and try to force the Harveys out. James stands resolute and manages to successfully move in. Kat tries to fit in at school, inadvertently gaining popularity for staying at the popular Whipstaff manor and winning the students over for a Halloween party there instead of the popular Amber's boat house where it would have been less authentic.

Meanwhile, the trio tries to make peace with James and even say they will find Amelia for him, while Casper and Kat become friends. Kat learns that Casper does not remember the details of his life, so she takes him to remember it; eventually coming across an old abandoned toy room. Casper begins to remember details of his life, and when he comes across a sled he remembers that he died of an illness (likely pneumonia), when he stayed out late in the cold, playing with it, but he chose not to move on, in order to take care of his lonely father. He also remembers a machine his father created called the Lazarus, capable of bringing a ghost back to life. Carrigan and Dibs overhear this and contemplate one of them dying and coming back as a ghost in order to get into the vault supposedly containing the treasure they sought. Carrigan tries to kill Dibs, but accidentally falls from a cliff, killing herself instead.

James and the trio go out to several bars, as James becomes increasingly drunk, the trio decides they could always have fun if they make their trio a "quartet" by killing off James. However, they grow to like him too much and decide they can't kill him, especially after James tells them he's going to tell Carrigan to leave them alone. Instead, a drunken James falls to his death in an open manhole. Back at the manor, Carrigan as a ghost stops the Lazarus machine before it can resurrect Casper (having earlier learning there was only one dose of the potion to bring him to life) and steals the treasure. She also throws Dibs, who finally grows a spine and stands up to her, out the window, but Casper and Kat trick her into admitting that with her treasure and the potion to bring her back to life she has no unfinished business, and she is involuntarily ejected to the afterlife.

The treasure, revealed by Casper, is a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball signed by his favorite player Duke Snider. James returns home, now a ghost and does not recognize Kat until she shows him who she is with a pinky promise. Casper then gives up his chance at a new life in order to bring James back to life. The party starting downstairs, Kat goes down to greet the guests, while the trio scare off Amber and her boyfriend Vic who had arrived to sabotage the party. Amelia appears to Casper and for his sacrifice, she gives him until the stroke of 10 to be human. Casper approaches Kat, who does not recognize him until they start dancing while Amelia, who reveals the Ghostly Trio found her, tells James that she was so well taken care of during life that she has no "unfinished business", and pleads James not to make finding her become his own. At the chime of 10, just as Casper and Kat kiss, the spell breaks and he becomes a ghost again. He says "boo" to the guests, but they scream in terror and flee the manor. Not wanting to let a party go to waste, James leads the trio into starting a Halloween party all their own. Casper, Kat, and James dance as the Ghostly Trio play music for them.


Live-action actors[edit]

  • Christina Ricci as Kathleen "Kat" Harvey, a teenage girl who lost her mother and wants to make a friend. She is also Casper's love interest.
  • Bill Pullman as Dr. James Harvey, Kat's father who is a ghost therapist interacting with the living impaired to cross into the next dimension while hoping to find his deceased wife.
  • Cathy Moriarty as Carrigan Crittenden, a spoiled, greedy woman who was angry about her late father's will to Whipstaff, until she discovers that the house contains treasure, and hires Dr. Harvey to get the ghosts out of the house in order to get it.
  • Eric Idle as Paul "Dibs" Plutzker, Carrigan's assistant.
  • Ben Stein as Rugg, Carrigan's lawyer.
  • Spencer Vrooman as Andreas
  • Chauncey Leopardi as Nicky
  • Wesley Thompson as Mr. Curtis
  • Amy Brenneman as Amelia Harvey, James' deceased wife, as well as Kat's deceased mother whom appears as an angel and came before Casper and gave him his dream of coming back to life only for one night after he saved James' life.
  • Devon Sawa as Casper McFadden (human form)
  • Garette Ratliff Henson as Vic DePhillippi, Kat's crush who he along with his girlfriend Amber plans to sabotage Kat's party until they were scared off by the Ghostly Trio.
  • Jessica Wesson as Amber Whitmire, Kat's rival and Vic's girlfriend whom she along with Vic plans to sabotage Kat's party until the Ghostly Trio scare them away.
  • Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci

Voice actors[edit]

  • Malachi Pearson as Casper McFadden, originally a 12-year-old boy who died from a pneumonia attack after a sled accident. He spends most of his afterlife in Whipstaff dealing with his ghouling uncles antics while hoping to find a friend. He becomes infatuated with Kathleen "Kat" Harvey.
  • Joe Nipote as Stretch, the leading member of the Ghostly Trio and one of Casper's obnoxious uncles who bonds with Dr. Harvey.
  • Joe Alaskey as Stinkie, the second member of the Ghostly Trio as well as one of Casper's obnoxious uncles who also bonds with Dr. Harvey.
  • Brad Garrett as Fatso, the third member of the Ghostly Trio and one of Casper's obnoxious uncles who bonds with Dr. Harvey.
  • John Kassir as the Crypt Keeper



In the mirror scene, Dr. Harvey was also supposed to transform into Steven Spielberg. According to director Brad Silberling, the cameo was filmed, but was cut for pacing reasons. Spielberg was relieved, feeling that he's not much of an actor himself and was quite nervous in front of the camera.[3] Casper is the first feature film to have a fully CGI character in a leading role.[4]


The soundtrack was composed by award-winning composer James Horner, who had worked on a number of previous movies for Amblin Entertainment, including An American Tail.

Soundtrack album by James Horner
Released April 29, 1995 (1995-04-29)
Recorded 1994–1995
Genre Soundtrack
Label MCA
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 1.5/5 stars
  1. "No Sign of Ghosts"
  2. "Carrigan and Dibbs"
  3. "Strangers in the House"
  4. "First Haunting/The Swordfight"
  5. "March of the Exorcists"
  6. "Lighthouse—Casper & Kat"
  7. "Casper Makes Breakfast"
  8. "Fond Memories"
  9. "'Dying' to Be a Ghost"
  10. "Casper's Lullaby"
  11. "Descent to Lazarus"
  12. "One Last Wish"
  13. "Remember Me This Way" – Jordan Hill
  14. "Casper the Friendly Ghost" – Little Richard
  15. "The Uncles Swing/End Credits"


Box office[edit]

Casper opened at #1 over the Memorial Day weekend, grossing $16,840,385 over its first three days from 2,714 theaters, averaging $6,205 per theater. Over four days it grossed $22,091,975, averaging $8,140 per theater. It stayed at #1 in its second weekend, grossing another $13,409,610, and boosting its 10-day cume to $38,921,225. It played solidly all through the summer, ending up with a final gross of $100,328,194 domestically, and an additional $187,600,000 internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $287,928,194, far exceeding its $55 million budget and becoming a commercial success.[1]


Casper received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 44%, based on 36 reviews, with the site's critical consensus reading, "A meandering, mindless family movie that frequently resorts to special effects and transparent sappiness."[5] Time Out London described it as "an intimate and likeable film".[6] Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, calling it a "technical achievement, it's impressive, and entertaining. And there is even a little winsome philosophy."[7] The CGI effects, which were considered cutting edge at the time, and the performances of Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci were praised, especially considering that, in the scenes where the Harveys interact with the ghosts, Pullman and Ricci were actually acting either with nothing or with stand-in maquettes used as animators' references. Cathy Moriarty's performance was criticized, with Variety saying she does "a poor woman's Cruella de Vil".[8] Many reviewers also felt that Eric Idle, being a venerable comedian, was underused in the role of Moriarty's obsequious henchman.


Cancelled sequel[edit]

In the mid-1990s, Simon Wells co-wrote a screenplay for Casper 2, which he was set to direct. Amblin cancelled the sequel because they did not believe there would be enough interest from moviegoers. Wells also credited the uncertainty of actress Christina Ricci returning and Fox's ill-received direct-to-video Casper films as contributing to the cancellation of Casper 2.[9]

Direct-to-video prequels[edit]

Two direct-to-video prequels to the movie were released by 20th Century Fox, Casper: A Spirited Beginning was released in 1997, and Casper Meets Wendy was released in 1998.

Video games[edit]

There were several video games based on or tied-in with the film released on the major consoles of the time, such as the 3DO, Super Nintendo, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Game Boy Color and original Game Boy. A LCD handheld game was released for Tiger Electronics in 1995.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Casper (1995)". Box Office Mojo. 1995-09-24. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  2. ^ Cheng, Cheryl (2015-07-30). "N. Brock Winkless IV, the Puppeteer of Chucky in 'Child's Play,' Dies at 56". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-08-23. 
  3. ^ Cindy Pearlman (1995-06-21). "Ghost Busters". Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  4. ^ "Visual and Special Effects Film Milestones". AMC Filmsite. Tim Dirks. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Casper Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  7. ^ "Casper :: :: Reviews". 1995-05-26. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  8. ^ Lowry, Brian (1995-05-21). "Variety Reviews - Casper - Film Reviews - - Review by Brian Lowry". Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  9. ^ Armstrong, Josh (2011-08-15). "Mars Needs Moms, but Earth needs Director Simon Wells!". Animated Views. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 

External links[edit]