It (1990 film)

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Stephen King's It
nhk;o pk l;k'j ihkbujkhie, Eddie, Stan, Beverly, Mike, Ben & Bill).
Artwork for the VHS and DVD release
Genre Horror, Fantasy, Thriller
Based on It
by Stephen King
Written by Lawrence D. Cohen
Tommy Lee Wallace
Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring Harry Anderson
Dennis Christopher
Richard Masur
Annette O'Toole
Tim Reid
John Ritter
Richard Thomas
Jonathan Brandis
Marlon Taylor
Seth Green
Adam Faraizl
Emily Perkins
Brandon Crane
Ben Heller
Tim Curry
Narrated by Tim Reid
Theme music composer Richard Bellis
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 2
Producer(s) Mark Basino
Allen S. Epstein
Jim Green
Editor(s) David Blangsted
Robert F. Shugrue
Cinematography Richard Leiterman
Running time 187 minutes
Production company(s) Lorimar Productions
DawnField Entertainment
The Konigsberg & Sanitsky Company
Greeb & Epstein Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Television
Original network ABC
Original release November 18, 1990 – November 20, 1990

It is a 1990 psychological horror/drama miniseries based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. The story revolves around an inter-dimensional predatory life-form, which has the ability to transform itself into its prey's worst fears, allowing it to exploit the phobias of its victims. It mostly takes the form of a sadistic, wisecracking clown called Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The protagonists are The Losers Club, a group of outcast kids who discover Pennywise and vow to destroy him by any means necessary. The series takes place over two different time periods, the first when the Losers first discover Pennywise as children, and the second when they're called back as adults to defeat Pennywise, who has resurfaced.

It aired as a two-part television film on November 18 and November 20, 1990 on ABC, and follows the plot of the novel. The miniseries was filmed in New Westminster, British Columbia in mid-1990.[1][2] The film's cast includes Dennis Christopher, Annette O'Toole, John Ritter, Harry Anderson, Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, Richard Masur, Michael Cole, and Tim Curry as Pennywise.

Since its initial television broadcast on ABC in November 1990, the miniseries has received positive reception, proving to have a large cult following in recent years. Critics praised Tim Curry's performance as Pennywise, the performances of the child actors, and Part 1 for being genuinely scary and very entertaining, but criticizing Part 2 for being too melodramatic and not as interesting or eerie as Part 1. For his work on the miniseries, Richard Bellis received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Miniseries or a Special (Dramatic Underscore).


Part I (1960)[edit]

In the town of Derry, Maine, six-year-old Georgie Denbrough is lured to a storm drain when his paper boat drops down into it. He encounters a seemingly friendly man sporting a clown costume who calls himself "Pennywise the Dancing Clown." Pennywise tempts Georgie closer with promises of candy and balloons, exclaiming that they all float down into the sewer. He says that Georgie can float, too, before revealing his true nature. Pennywise seizes his arm and his face becomes horrifyingly fanged.His older brother Bill is overwhelmed with guilt for inadvertently sending Georgie to his death and is terrorized when his picture comes to life, giving him a stutter from the trauma.

Bill becomes the leader of a group of outcasts, all of whom have their own issues and encounters with Pennywise. Those within this group are Ben Hanscom, who is new to the town. He is a loyal, determined, overweight and ingenious builder from a home broken after the death of his military father. He is terrorized by visions of his father trying to goad him into the sewer plant. Another is Eddie Kaspbrak, a hypochondriac, asthmatic boy who is frail and shy. Kaspbrak is taunted and harassed by Pennywise (who shows a strong dislike towards him for being "girly"), while attempting to shower at school.

The group later includes Beverly Marsh, a tomboy with an abusive father and a deadeye with a slingshot. She believes Bill's stories when her bathroom is destroyed by a geyser of blood (courtesy of Pennywise) that he helps clean up before her father gets home. Richie Tozier is a comedic redhead who isn't afraid to stand up to the school bully, Henry Bowers, and his friends. He is a movie buff, which prompts Pennywise to attack him as the Wolfman. Stan Uris, a Jewish boy scout and bird watcher, is the next to see It that summer when he is trapped by a mummy in an abandoned house. Mike Hanlon, an African American student facing a difficult time as a new student and resident of Derry, often finds himself in the crosshairs of the racist Henry Bowers as well. Mike is last to see It when his photography book comes to life, showing him and the others Pennywise's history as he threatens the group.

As each of them face their greatest fears (as well as Henry Bowers's harassment), they vow to avenge the deaths of George and every other child killed by "It." They reason that since Pennywise feeds off of the imagination of its victims that it may likewise be vulnerable to the weaknesses of the forms it assumes. Beverly trains with a slingshot using silver slugs made from a pair of earrings. The Losers travel into the sewers followed by Henry, Victor Criss, and Belch Huggins as payback for a rock fight a month ago. They enter in the main sewer hall and discover Stan is missing, as he had been pulled by Henry and Belch. Henry orders Victor to create an ambush on the remaining Losers but is killed by It. Meanwhile, just when Henry is about to kill Stan, a mysterious light bursts through a sewage pipe and both Stan and Henry watch in horror as Belch is dragged through the pipe and eaten. When the light returns, Stan escapes while Henry stands transfixed turning his hair white. Pennywise spares Henry's life and continues searching for Stan.

Stan reunites with the others and tells them the "deadlights" are far worse than Pennywise, and the losers agree not to stare into the lights. Pennywise catches the Losers and grabs Stan. Pennywise says he is eternal, and eats children. He then says to Stan he is next. Just as Pennywise is about to bite into Stan, Eddie wounds Pennywise by spraying him with his inhaler which he imagines to be filled with battery acid and Beverly cracks open the monster's head with her slingshot, revealing the deadlights. Pennywise somersaults in the air and vanishes into the ground. Before he is completely gone, Bill pulls Pennywise's glove and the glove slips off It's hand revealing a three-fingered claw and then It disappears in the drain. With their job done, the seven vow to return some day if ever It returns. Meanwhile, Henry escapes the sewers, is arrested and sentenced to life in an asylum for confessing to the murder of all the children and his gang of friends.

Part II (1990)[edit]

Mike had become the only member of the Losers Club to remain in Derry after the events of the early 1960s. His memory of the events are still completely intact, and when he hears of the mysterious, unexplained death of a little girl who is murdered in her back garden (shown in the film's prologue), he begins to suspect It (Pennywise) has returned. He calls up each of his friends, who have all become successful in their own right. Bill has become a horror novelist married to a beautiful actress named Audra; Ben has become a famous architect as he'd always wanted; Beverly has become a fashion designer, in an abusive relationship with a man who shows similarities to her abusive father; Richie has become a late night TV comedian; Eddie owns a successful limousine service; and Stan has become a real estate broker. Having moved on to comfortable lives and having barely a glimmer of the memories of that summer, they are all traumatized by the memories awakened by Mike's phone calls. While they agreed to return as promised, Stan is unable to cope with the fear and kills himself, writing the word "IT" on the bathroom wall with his blood.

Upon the return to Derry, their reunion is lighthearted until terrifying events unfold that test their resolve. Beverly encounters a kindly old woman in her old home who tells her that her father is gone, but the woman is a manifestation of IT. Pennywise locates Bill at the cemetery where he is paying a visit to Georgie's grave. There, the clown taunts Bill but the latter makes it known that he remembers him and does not fear him anymore. Ben sees the skeleton of his father, which is still trying to get him to return to the sewers; later, the group's reunion dinner comes to life and tries to attack them. Pennywise, unable to kill them because his influence over them as adults is limited, pretends to be Belch's ghost and sends Henry to do the job (after killing the asylum night guard). Henry manages to attack Mike and wound him, which forces Bill and others to consider another direct confrontation with the clown. Eddie and Ben manage to kill Henry in a struggle.

With Henry dead, It is prompted with the task of killing the Losers on its own. Meanwhile, Audra follows Bill to Derry but falls under the influence of It's deadlights and becomes catatonic. As the five remaining "Losers" find their way to It's cave they are confronted by his closest representation of his true form; a massive, hideous spider-like creature that mortally wounds Eddie when he steps forward to save Ben and Bill's lives. Once again, Beverly is able to use her slingshot on the creature; this time the strike rings true and mortally wounds It. In their rage, Ben, Richie, Bill and Beverly slaughter and disembowel It. They are able to leave, taking Eddie's body and the catatonic Audra with them. They later bury Eddie in the Derry Cemetery.

In the aftermath, Mike marks his own fading memories of the past as a sign that It was truly destroyed that time, and the adult Losers Club can return to their lives as the memory of the traumatic events fades entirely, Richie gets a part in a movie and he partners up with a man that's exactly like Eddie, Beverly and Ben get married and one week later Beverly is pregnant, Audra, still catatonic from her encounter, is coaxed back to life aboard Bill's old bicycle "Silver" when he takes her to outrun It's fading influence the same way he did when the bike helped Bill while trying to save a young Stan who was frozen with fear. All as it was, they realize that they can now move on with their lives. As they leave Derry behind, Pennywise's evil laugh is heard one last time.


Supporting cast

Broadcast history[edit]

It originally aired on ABC as a two-part television movie in 1990 on the nights of November 18[3] and November 20.[4] Part 1 was the fifth highest rated program on Sunday nights with an 18.5 rating and watched in 17.5 million households.[3] Part 2 was the second highest rated program on Tuesday nights with an 20.6 rating and watched in 19.2 million households.[4]


Stephen King's It received generally positive reviews from critics and television viewers. Tim Curry's performance as "Pennywise" received praise for capturing the novel's interpretation of the character. The film has a 67% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 12 reviews.[5] The film was also praised for the performances of the child actors.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS in early 1991 after the film's initial broadcast. The original VHS release had two separate tapes, one with Part 1 and the other with Part 2. A later VHS release, (circa 1997-1998) part of the now-defunct "Warner Bros. Hits" line, contains the entire film on one tape.

The film was released on DVD in 2002 on a double-sided disc with Part One on the front and Part Two on the back. The "To be continued..." and the 1st set of closing credits at the end of Part One and the 2nd set of opening credits at the beginning of Part Two (unlike the VHS release) were removed. The DVD version of It also features an audio commentary by the director and cast members. The film's aspect ratio has been cropped to give it a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.

In 2013, Warner Home Video released a DVD set called "Triple Terror Collection" that contains It as well as two other Stephen King productions: Salem's Lot, and The Shining.

A Blu-ray release has yet to be announced.

Music score[edit]

2-CDs release of complete score by Richard Bellis released November 15, 2011 in two parts.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Disc 1
  1. "Main Title I" – 1:52
  2. "Enter the Clown" – 3:04
  3. "Georgie Dies" – 4:17
  4. "Ben Gets The News" – 0:51
  5. "Punks" – 2:18
  6. "I Hate It Here" – 1:53
  7. "Bedroom Jazz Source" – 2:24
  8. "The Slap" – 1:45
  9. "Die If You Try" – 4:02
  10. "Richie's Talk Show Play-Off" – 0:34
  11. "The Beast - First Encounter" – 2:05
  12. "Mike Remembers" – 0:58
  13. "Mike Joins the Group" – 5:07
  14. "Pennywise" – 0:39
  15. "Circus Source" – 1:10
  16. "Target Practice" – 2:51
  17. "The Sewer Hole" – 3:13
  18. "Stan Gets Nabbed" – 4:27
  19. "The Fog" – 3:25
  20. "The Pact" – 1:43
  21. "Stan's Suicide" – 0:50
  22. "End Credits I" – 1:00
Disc 2
  1. "Main Title Part II" – 1:51
  2. "The Graves" – 1:48
  3. "Library Balloons" – 2:53
  4. "Ben's Flashback" – 0:35
  5. "Skeleton On the Pond" – 0:40
  6. "Guillory's Muzak" – 1:27
  7. "Hydrox" – 2:49
  8. "Audra" – 1:45
  9. "Fortune Cookie" – 1:54
  10. "Silver Flyer" – 2:22
  11. "Leftover Stan" – 1:52
  12. "Henry and Belch" – 2:20
  13. "Every Thirty Years" – 1:56
  14. "Audra Arrives" – 2:02
  15. "This Time It's For Real" – 4:26
  16. "The Smell of Death" – 1:59
  17. "Something's Coming" – 4:00
  18. "The Spider's Web" – 5:11
  19. "Hi Ho Silver" – 4:33
  20. "End Credits Part II" – 1:00


On March 12, 2009, Warner Bros. announced that a remake of Stephen King's novel had started. Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison were set to produce. The screenplay was then written by Dave Kajganich. On June 7, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter announced that the novel would be adapted into a two-part film, and It would be directed by Cary Fukunaga, with David Kajganich and Chase Palmer as screenwriter, Jon Silk, David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith as producers, and John Powers Middleton as executive producer.[7] The names and timeline were to be changed, hinting that the remake would take place in the mid-1980s and 2010s as opposed to the late-1950s and mid-1980s like in the novel and early 1960s and 1990s like in the original TV miniseries. The cast had not been announced yet. In March 2015, Cary Fukunaga confirmed the start of the shooting was to start in June 2015 in the New York area with a budget of $32 million.[8][9] As of May 2015, Will Poulter was in negotiations to play Pennywise.[10] However, over Memorial Day weekend 2015 director Cary Fukunaga dropped out of the project due to "clashes" with the studio over his "artistic vision".[11] Although reports indicated that the director actually left over budgetary concerns, he has maintained his claims that this was not the case, stating he had had bigger disagreements with the studio over the direction of the story. "I was trying to make an unconventional horror film. It didn't fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience. Our budget was perfectly fine. We were always hovering at the $32 million mark, which was their budget. It was the creative that we were really battling. It was two movies. They didn't care about that. In the first movie, what I was trying to do was an elevated horror film with actual characters. They didn't want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares. I wrote the script. They wanted me to make a much more inoffensive, conventional script. But I don't think you can do proper Stephen King and make it inoffensive."[12]


  1. ^ "Archive for Statesman -". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  2. ^ ""It" (1990) - Box office / business". IMDb. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Hastings, Deborah (November 21, 1990). "TV movies score big in Nielsen ratings". The Times-News. p. 12. Retrieved 2010-07-03. 
  4. ^ a b Hastings, Deborah (November 23, 1990). "ABC posts first ratings win of the season". The Times-News. p. 10. Retrieved 2010-07-03. 
  5. ^ "It". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Stephen King's It". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "'It' Director Cary Fukunaga Seeks "Perfect Pennywise" Clown". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Cary Fukunaga Offers New Details on Why ‘It’ Remake Fell Apart". Variety. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  9. ^ "'It' Clown Pennywise Will Terrorize New York This June! -". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "Will Poulter to Play the Evil Clown in ‘It’ Remake (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Cary Fukunaga Out as Director of Stephen King’s ‘It’ at New Line (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Cary Fukunaga Offers New Details on Why ‘It’ Remake Fell Apart". Variety. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 

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