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
Music by Joel McNeely
Cinematography Stephen St. John
Edited by
  • Thomas J. Nordberg
  • Jeffrey Wolf
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 $71.4 million[1]

Holes is a 2003 American adventure comedy-drama film directed by Andrew Davis, produced by Lowell D. Blank, Mike Medavoy and Teresa Tucker-Davies with music by Joel McNeely and based on the 1998 eponymous novel 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 co-produced by Walden Media and Walt Disney Pictures and distributed in many markets by Disney's distribution company Buena Vista. The film was released theatrically on April 18, 2003 by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution and was released on DVD and VHS on September 23, 2003 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Walt Disney Home Entertainment.


Stanley Yelnats IV is a teenager born to a family who have been cursed with bad luck since his great-great grandfather didn't carry a sorceress, Madame Zeroni, up a mountaintop. He is sent to Camp Green Lake when he is falsely accused of theft. He arrives to find that the camp is a dried-up lake run by the warden, her assistant, Mr. Sir, and the counselor, Dr. Pendanski. Prisoners spend each day digging holes in the desert to "build character." After finding a golden lipstick tube initialed K.B., he begins to suspect the hole-digging isn't for just building character.

In a series of flashbacks the history of Camp Green Lake is revealed. It was thriving with water and life until Katherine Barlow, a local teacher, was involved in a love triangle with a black onion salesman named Sam, much to the dismay of another man. Sam would regularly traverse his boat across the lake to tend to his secret onion field. One day she ended up kissing Sam. After much turmoil the schoolhouse is destroyed and Sam is killed while boating on the lake. Out of revenge she kills the sheriff and becomes known as an outlaw. Some time later when the lake dried up, Katherine Barlow robbed Stanley Yelnats the first and left him for dead. He wandered the desert and only survived due to a mysterious oasis that was described as being on a mountain beneath God's Thumb. Years later, to preserve the secret of where Katherine kept some treasure, she kills herself by allowing a yellow-spotted lizard to bite her. She dies within minutes, and since then, nobody has found the loot.

The descendant of Madame Zeroni, Hector (Also known as Zero), runs off from the camp after hitting Dr. Pendanski with a shovel. Stanley finds him and when they are on the verge of giving up and returning to camp he sees a stone cropping that looks like a thumb. Stanely remembers the stories that his father has told him, about how is great grandfather only survived in the desert due to the oasis beneath God's Thumb and then carries Zero up the mountain, where they find a wild field of onions and a spring. Destiny reveals its workings in that the onion field that Sam tended to was the same field that saved Stanley Yelnats the firsts life. When Stanley carried Zero up the mountain he unknowingly fulfilled his great grandfathers original promise to the sorceress and broke the curse.

Stanley and Zero decide to return to the camp and find the treasure, but they are discovered by the warden and Mr. Sir. It is revealed the Warden was also looking for Kate Barlow's loot since she was just a little girl. The next morning, the Texas attorney general frees Stanley and Zero from the Warden, who tries to steal the chest, but can't when it turns out to be from Stanley's great-great grandfather. The Warden, Pendanski, and Mr. Sir are all arrested for several different counts of crime while Stanley and Zero are released from the camp.

The Yelnats family claims ownership of the chest, which contains many things worth much money. Stanley and Zero decide to split the earnings, and they each lead better lives for themselves while the camp is closed and is rumored to one day reopen as a girl scout camp.



In 2003, Walt Disney Pictures released a film version of Holes, which was directed by Andrew Davis and written by Louis Sachar.


Theatrical and home media[edit]

The film was released theatrically on April 18, 2003 by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution and was released on DVD and VHS on September 23, 2003 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Walt Disney Home Entertainment.



The film's music which included the Grammy winning single "Just Like You" by Keb Mo', and "Dig It" by The D Tent Boys (the actors portraying the D Tent group inmates), which 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 score was written by Joel McNeely.

Holes (Original Soundtrack)
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


Critical reception and box office[edit]

Holes grossed US$16,300,155 in its opening weekend, making #2 at the box office, behind Anger Management‍ '​s second weekend.[2] The film would go on to gross a domestic total of $67,406,173 and an additional $4 million in international revenue, totaling $71,406,573 at the box office against a $20 million budget, making the film a moderate financial success.[1] The film received positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 77% based on 133 reviews, with the site's consensus: "Faithful to its literary source, this is imaginative, intelligent family entertainment."[3] On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film has a 71/100 rating based on 28 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[4] 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."[5]


Award Year Category Nominee Result
Critics Choice Award 2004 Best Family Film - Live Action Nominated
COLA 2003 Location Professional of the Year - Features Mark Benton Johnson For S.W.A.T. Won
COLA 2002 Production Company of the Year - Features Green Lake Productions Won
Artios 2003 Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy Amanda Mackey Johnson and Cathy Sandrich Nominated
Sierra Award 2004 Best Family Film Won
MTV Movie Award 2004 Breakthrough Male Performance Shia LaBeouf Nominated
PFCS Award 2004 Best Live Action Family Film and Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role - Male Shia LaBeouf Nominated
Young Artist Award 2004 Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading and Supporting Young Actor and Best Family Feature Film - Drama Shia LaBeouf, Noah Poletiek and Khleo Thomas Nominated


External links[edit]