Spy Kids

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This article is about the first film of the franchise. For the franchise, see Spy Kids (franchise).
Spy Kids
Spy kids.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Produced by
Written by Robert Rodriguez
Music by
Cinematography Guillermo Navarro
Edited by Robert Rodriguez
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • March 30, 2001 (2001-03-30)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English, Spanish
Budget $35 million[1]
Box office $147.9 million[1]

Spy Kids (stylized as SPY kids) is a 2001 American science fantasy family adventure comedy film written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, produced by Elizabeth Avellan and Robert Rodriguez with music by John Debney, Danny Elfman, Harry Gregson-Williams, Los Lobos and Robert Rodriguez and starring Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alan Cumming, Teri Hatcher, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Robert Patrick, Tony Shalhoub, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, and Mike Judge. It is the first installment in the Spy Kids film series. The film was released in the United States on March 30, 2001 by Miramax Films and on VHS and DVD on September 18, 2001 by Dimension Home Video. Upon release, Spy Kids grossed over $147 million worldwide.[1]


Ingrid and Gregorio Cortez are rival spies who fall in love with each other. They eventually retire and have two children, Carmen and Juni. They currently work for the Organization of Super Spies (OSS) doing desk work. Content with the safety of their family, the two still yearn for field work. Meanwhile, the children think their parents are boring and have no idea of their previous work. Eventually, Ingrid and Gregorio are called back into the field when several agents go missing. Gregorio thinks that a kids' TV show star Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming) has kidnapped the agents and mutated them into his "Fooglies", creatures on his show that speak in gibberish.

As the duo are beginning their first mission, they are almost immediately captured by Floop's "Thumb-thumbs" robots whose arms, legs, and head are made of thumbs, and are taken to Floop's castle. The children, meanwhile are left in the care of Uncle Felix Gumm. However, Felix is alerted to the parents' capture, and immediately activates the fail-safe and tells the children the truth, and that he is not their uncle. The house is then assaulted by thumb-thumbs and the children escape on a submarine that's set to auto-pilot to a safehouse. At the safehouse, Carmen unlocks the door using her full name and the children learn further of their parents' spy past and decide to rescue them.

Inside of Floop's castle, he introduces his latest creation to Mr. Lisp, small robots in the shape of children. He wishes to replace the world leaders' children with these super-strong robots to control the world. However, the robots are "dumb" and cannot function outside of their inherent programming (they garble when they attempt to speak). Lisp is furious, demanding usable robots to sell to his clients. Floop along with his second-in-command Alexander Minion (Tony Shalhoub) interrogate Gregorio and Ingrid. Floop demands the third brain, but Ingrid has no idea what he's talking about. Gregorio claims that he destroyed the brain years ago. Realizing the brain must be with the children, Floop sends his minions after them. Gregorio reveals to Ingrid the truth about the Third Brain. It was the codename of a project back when he worked in the science division of OSS. It was to house all of the skills of all of the world's best super spies. However, the project was deemed too dangerous and was scrapped and all the materials were to be destroyed, but Gregorio couldn't destroy the brain.

Back at the safehouse, the kids are visited by Ms. Gradenko. Gradenko says she works for OSS and is there to help the children. Carmen is easily swayed, but Juni is suspicious. Gradenko wants the third brain, but Carmen does not know anything. Gradenko orders the house destroyed, and Juni sees Thumb-thumbs outside destroying the submarine. Gradenko's intentions revealed, Juni accidentally reveals the third brain, and a chase ensues with Carmen and some henchmen with jetpacks for possession of the brain. Carmen eventually gets the brain, and she and Juni escape the thumbs. Minion, however, reveals that he made robots of the children and Floop agrees to send them to get the brain.

Carmen is attacked by the Juni-robot. She dismisses it until she sees her robot counterpart attack Juni. Although he tries, Juni cannot destroy the brain, and the robots get it and fly away. With the third brain, Floop can finally achieve his goal. But, he doesn't want to, he wishes to continue his children's show. Minion, however, has different plans and takes over, locking Floop into his "virtual room". The kids receive reluctant help from Gregorio's brother Isador "Machete" Cortez when they come to his spy shop, steal some of his gear, and take his plane to fly to Floop's castle. During the flight, Carmen again lectures Juni, only for Juni to fire back about her bedwetting. Gaining self-confidence, Juni crashes the plane into the water and the two swim into the castle. Minion takes Ingrid and Gregorio to the "fooglilizer". Gregorio reveals that Minion used to work for the OSS, but was fired when he attempted to steal the third brain.

Juni rescues Floop and the three of them head to the control room. Floop theorizes he can fix the robots. They trap Minion on the fooglilizer and confronting Lisp and Gradenko the family are then suddenly beset by 500 robots. Machete busts through the window and joins the family to fight. Floop resets the robots. With the robots on the side of good, the family along with Machete head home.

With advice from Juni, Floop introduces the robot children on his show. The family's breakfast is interrupted by Devlin who has a mission for Carmen and Juni, but Carmen refuses, saying they work as a family.


Other cast members include Shannon Shea, Norman Cabrera and Trant Batey as Floops Fooglies (Flower, Tall and Skinny, and Too Too, respectively). Additionally, Evan Sabara, Daryl's fraternal twin, played a brief role in the film.


Spy Kids: Music from the Dimension Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released April 10, 2001
Genre Soundtrack, rock, pop
Length 31:03
Label Hollywood Records
Robert Rodriguez film soundtrack chronology
The Faculty
Spy Kids
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Filmtracks 3/5 stars
Music from the Movies 3.5/5 stars
SoundtrackNet 4/5 stars

The film score is written by John Debney and Danny Elfman, with contributions from a variety of others, including director Robert Rodriguez and Marcel Rodriguez. Among Elfman's contributions is "Floop's Song (Cruel World)", which is performed by Alan Cumming. Los Lobos covers the Tito Puente song, "Oye Como Va" (adapted as "Oye Como Spy" by David Garza and Robert Rodriguez). The song was nominated for "Outstanding Song in a Motion Picture Soundtrack" at the 2002 ALMA Awards. The closing theme, "Spy Kids (Save the World)", is performed by the Los Angeles indie pop band, Fonda.[2]

The score won an award at the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards.

Track listing
  1. "Cortez Family" (Gavin Greenaway, Heitor Teixeira Pereira, Harry Gregson-Williams) – 1:39
  2. "My Parents Are Spies" (Danny Elfman) – 2:09
  3. "Spy Wedding" (Los Lobos, Robert Rodriguez) – 2:11
  4. "Spy Kids Demonstration" (John Debney, R. Rodriguez, Marcel Rodriguez) – 1:06
  5. "Parents on Mission" (Debney, Elfman, Greenaway, Pereira) – 1:17
  6. "Kids Escape House" (Greenaway, Pereira) – 3:14
  7. "Pod Chase" (Debney, Elfman, Gregson-Williams) – 1:38
  8. "The Safehouse" (Debney, Elfman) – 0:47
  9. "The Third Brain" (Debney, R. Rodriguez, M. Rodriguez) – 1:00
  10. "Buddy Pack Escape" (Elfman) – 1:39
  11. "Oye Como Spy" (Davíd Garza, Tito Puente, R. Rodriguez) – 2:59
    • Performed by Los Lobos
  12. "Floop's Song (Cruel World)" (Elfman) – 0:59
    • Performed by Alan Cumming
  13. "Spy Go Round" (Greenaway, Pereira, M. Rodriguez) – 2:11
  14. "Minion" (Chris Boardman, Greenaway, Pereira, R. Rodriguez) – 1:03
  15. "Sneaking Around Machetes" (Elfman) – 0:35
  16. "The Spy Plane" (Debney, Elfman) – 1:29
  17. "Floop's Castle" (Boardman) – 1:29
  18. "Final Family Theme" (Gregson-Williams) – 1:44
  19. "Spy Kids (Save the World)" Emily Cook, David Klotz, Dave Newton – 2:20
    • Performed by Fonda

Release and reception[edit]

Spy Kids received a 93% approval rating on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 7.2 out of 10. The site's critical consensus reads: "A kinetic and fun movie that's sure to thrill children of all ages."[3] It has a score of 71 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 27 reviews indicating "generally favorable reviews".[4]

Roger Ebert gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars and called it "a treasure". He wrote, "Movies like "Spy Kids" are so rare. Families are often reduced to attending scatological dumber-and-dumbest movies like "See Spot Run"--movies that teach vulgarity as a value. "Spy Kids" is an intelligent, upbeat, happy movie that is not about the comedy of embarrassment, that does not have anybody rolling around in dog poop, that would rather find out what it can accomplish than what it can get away with."[5] Mick LaSelle of San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "It's entertaining and inoffensive, a rare combination in kids' films, which are usually neither."[6] Lael Loewenstein of Variety observed, "A full-blown fantasy-action adventure that also strenuously underscores the importance of family, "Spy Kids" is determined to take no prisoners in the under-12 demographic, a goal it sometimes dazzlingly achieves. Robert Rodriguez's film, in which two kids become real spies to save the world from a mad genius, fulfills kids' empowerment fantasies and features enough techno-wizardry and cool f/x to satisfy those weaned on videogames."[7] Spy Kids grossed over $112.7 million domestically and $35.2 million overseas for a worldwide total of $147.9 million.[1]

A special edition with deleted scenes was released to theaters on August 8, 2001. It also was released with Kellogg's products. There were plans to release the special edition to DVD but it never materialized, despite the fact that a director's commentary and interviews were already recorded for it.[8] However, that version is available on the film's US Blu-ray, which was released on August 2, 2011.


Award Result Category Recipient
ALMA Award Won Outstanding Director in a Motion Picture Robert Rodriguez
Nominated Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Antonio Banderas
Outstanding Motion Picture Spy Kids
Outstanding Screenplay (Original or Adapted) Robert Rodriguez
Outstanding Song in a Motion Picture Soundtrack Los Lobos
For the song "Oye Como Spy"
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Won Top Box Office Films John Debney
Saturn Award Nominated Best Fantasy Film Spy Kids
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Nominated Best Family Film - Live Action Spy Kids
Kid's Choice Awards, USA Nominated Favorite Male Action Hero Antonio Banderas
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Nominated Best Family Film Spy Kids
Young Artist Awards Nominated Best Family Feature Film - Comedy Spy Kids
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress Alexa Vega



  1. ^ a b c d "Spy Kids (2001) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Spy Kids OST". Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Spy Kids Reviews - Metacritic". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Review by Roger Ebert". Chicago Sun-Times. March 30, 2001. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  6. ^ Lasalle, Mick (March 30, 2001). "THE 'KIDS' ARE ALL RIGHT / Rodriguez makes delightful, imaginative action film a family affair". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Review (Variety)". Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Interview with Robert Rodriguez from LatinoReview". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 

External links[edit]