Spy Kids

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Spy Kids
Spy kids.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Rodriguez
Produced by
Written byRobert Rodriguez
Music by
CinematographyGuillermo Navarro
Edited byRobert Rodriguez
Distributed byDimension Films[1]
Release date
  • March 30, 2001 (2001-03-30)
Running time
88 minutes[2]
91 minutes (Special Edition)
CountryUnited States
  • English
Budget$35 million[3]
Box office$147.9 million[3]

Spy Kids (stylised as SPY kids) is a 2001 American spy action comedy film written, edited, directed and produced by Robert Rodriguez, co-produced by Elizabeth Avellán, 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. The first installment in the Spy Kids film series, the film was theatrically released in the United States on March 30, 2001, by Dimension Films.[1] It grossed $147 million worldwide[3] and holds a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[4]

Three sequels were released: The Island of Lost Dreams in 2002, Game Over in 2003, and All the Time in the World in 2011. An animated reboot series, Spy Kids: Mission Critical, premiered in 2018.

The film was nominated for Best Fantasy Film at the 28th Saturn Awards, but lost to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.


Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez are rival spies who fall in love. They retire and have two children, 12-year-old Carmen and 9-year-old Juni. They work for the Organization of Super Spies (OSS) doing desk work. The children have no idea of their parents' previous career. Gregorio and Ingrid are called back into the field when agents go missing. The children are left in the care of their uncle, Felix. Gregorio suspects that children's television host Fegan Floop has kidnapped the agents and mutated them into his "Fooglies", creatures on his show.

They are captured by Floop's "Thumb-Thumbs", robots whose arms, legs, and heads resemble oversized thumbs, and taken to Floop's castle. Felix is alerted to the parents’ capture, activates the fail-safe, and tells the children the truth about their parents, and that he is not their uncle but an agent sent to watch over them. The house is assaulted by Thumb-Thumbs, and Felix is captured while the children escape alone on a submarine set to auto-pilot to a safe house. At the safe house, Carmen unlocks the door using her full name, and the children learn of their parents' past as they decide to rescue them.

Inside of his castle, Floop 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. The androids are "dumb", and cannot function outside of their inherent programming. Lisp is furious, demanding usable androids. Floop, along with his second-in-command Minion, interrogates Gregorio and Ingrid about 'The Third Brain'. Ingrid knows nothing of the subject, while Gregorio claims that he destroyed the brain years ago. After Floop leaves, Gregorio reveals to Ingrid that the Third Brain was a secret OSS project he once worked on: an AI brain with all the skills of the entire OSS. The project was scrapped as being too dangerous, but Gregorio couldn't bring himself to destroy the final prototype.

Back at the safe house, Carmen and Juni are visited by Ms. Gradenko, who claims she works for the OSS and gives Carmen a bracelet as a sign of trust. Gradenko says she wants the Third Brain, but Carmen does not know anything about it. Gradenko orders the house to be dismantled, and Juni sees Thumb-Thumbs outside destroying the submarine. Gradenko's intentions revealed, Juni accidentally exposes the Third Brain and a jetpack chase ensues. Carmen eventually gets the brain, and she and Juni escape.

Carmen realizes too late that the bracelet Gradenko gave her was a tracking device, and she and Juni are attacked by their robot counterparts. Though Juni tries to destroy it, he is unable and the androids fly off with the Third Brain. With it, Floop can achieve his goal, but he wishes to continue his children's show. Minion has different plans and takes over, locking Floop into his "virtual room," the chamber where he films his television series. The siblings receive reluctant help from Gregorio's estranged brother Isador "Machete" Cortez when they come into his spy shop. When Machete refuses to accompany them, they steal some of his gear and take his spy plane to fly to Floop's castle. After a few mishaps, Juni crashes the plane into the castle, and the two swim inside the underwater entrance.

While their children storm the castle, Gregorio reveals to Ingrid that Minion used to work for the OSS but was fired after Gregorio reported him tampering with the Third Brain project. Juni rescues Floop who helps him and Carmen release their parents. Together they trap Minion and, confronting Lisp and Gradenko, the family is beset by all 500 robot children. Machete busts through the window, reconciling with Gregorio and joining the family to fight. However, at the last moment, Floop is able to reprogram the robots to change sides. The 500 super-strong robots quickly overpower Minion, Lisp, and Gradenko.

With advice from Juni, Floop introduces the robot versions of Carmen and Juni on his show. The family's breakfast is interrupted by Devlin, the director of the OSS, who has a mission for Carmen and Juni. They both accept on one condition: that the Cortezes work together as a family.



Spy Kids: Music from the Dimension Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedApril 10, 2001 (2001-04-10)
GenreSoundtrack, rock, pop
LabelHollywood Records
Robert Rodriguez film soundtrack chronology
The Faculty
Spy Kids: Music from the Dimension Motion Picture
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Professional ratings
Review scores
Filmtracks3/5 stars
Music from the Movies3.5/5 stars
SoundtrackNet4/5 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 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.[6]

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

  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


In March 2001, Spy Kids screened for exhibitors at the ShoWest in Las Vegas.[7] It opened theatrically in 3,104 venues on March 30, 2001, earning $26.5 million in its first weekend and ranking first in the North American box office.[8] It held the number one spot for three weeks before being toppled by the second weekend earnings of Bridget Jones's Diary, which was also released by Miramax.[9] The film ultimately grossed $112.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $35.2 million overseas for a worldwide total of $147.9 million.[3]


On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 93% approval score based on 127 reviews and an average rating of 7.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "A kinetic and fun movie that's sure to thrill children of all ages."[4] Metacritic reports a 71 out of 100 score based on 27 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times 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."[11] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "It's entertaining and inoffensive, a rare combination in kids' films, which are usually neither."[12] 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."[13]

Extended version[edit]

A special edition with a deleted scene 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.[14] However, that version is available on the film's Blu-ray rerelease, which was released on August 2, 2011 for both the series' tenth anniversary and to coincide with the fourth film.[15]


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. ^ Robert Rodriguez stated on a Reddit AmA that the Spy Kids movies and the Machete movies are alternate universes.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Spy Kids (2001)". American Film Institute. American Film Institute. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "SPY KIDS (U)". British Board of Film Classification. March 28, 2001. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "Spy Kids (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  5. ^ "I am director Robert Rodriguez, here again with El Rey. Let's play". Reddit. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  6. ^ "Spy Kids OST". Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  7. ^ Macor, Alison (2010). Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids. University of Texas Press. p. 284. ISBN 9780292778290.
  8. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for March 30-April 1, 2001". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  9. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for April 20-22, 2001". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. April 23, 2001. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  10. ^ "Spy Kids Reviews - Metacritic". Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  11. ^ "Review by Roger Ebert". Chicago Sun-Times. March 30, 2001. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Review (Variety)". Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  14. ^ "Interview with Robert Rodriguez from LatinoReview". Archived from the original on November 23, 2005. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  15. ^ "Spy Kids Blu-ray Review". Retrieved October 14, 2018.

External links[edit]