The Love Bug (1997 film)

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The Love Bug (1997 film)
Based on Screenplay by Bill Walsh & Don DaGradi
Story by Gordon Buford
Written by Ryan Rowe
Directed by Peyton Reed
Starring Bruce Campbell
John Hannah
Alexandra Wentworth
Kevin J. O'Connor
Dana Gould
Harold Gould
Dean Jones
Micky Dolenz
Clarence Williams III
Music by Shirley Walker
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) George Zaloom
Les Mayfield
Producer(s) Irwin Marcus
Joan Van Horn
Editor(s) Chip Masamitsu
Cinematography Russ Alsobrook
Running time 88 minutes
Distributor ABC
Buena Vista Television
Original network ABC
Original release November 30, 1997
Preceded by Herbie, the Love Bug
Followed by Herbie: Fully Loaded

The Love Bug is a 1997 made-for-television remake/sequel to Walt Disney Pictures' 1968 classic The Love Bug which premiered on ABC as part of The Wonderful World of Disney on November 30, 1997.[1] The sequel starred Bruce Campbell and included a cameo appearance by Dean Jones, star of the original Love Bug, tying it to the previous films; and introduced an evil black Volkswagen named Horace, "the Hate Bug", giving the film a much darker tone than the other "Herbie" films.[2]

The film is part remake and part sequel, in that the events of the original 1968 film are repeated while the storyline plots to follow 1980's Herbie Goes Bananas. It can also be thought a prototype of Herbie: Fully Loaded, in that both show a later racer finding Herbie in a junkyard and restoring him.

This 1997 version also marks the first new appearance of Herbie in more than 15 years, following the Bug's lone TV series Herbie, the Love Bug, which had ended after five episodes.


The narrator, Jim Douglas (Dean Jones), unfolds the story of Herbie the Volkswagen Beetle. Herbie was owned by an egotistic man named Simon Moore III (John Hannah). Due to his arrogance, he does not treat Herbie very well. During a race, Simon Moore III swears at Herbie, which caused Herbie to not want to listen to his owner. They end up in last place for the race. Simon was not pleased and he throws out Herbie to the garbage dump.

For the time being, a man named Hank Cooper, who works in a small mechanic garage, is persuaded to do a race and pick Herbie. He saw Herbie near his mechanic garage and is stunned to the little car. In the race, the judges are Donny Shotz (Micky Dolenz), who is obsessed with cars; Alex (Alexandra Wentworth), who Hank used to date; and Simon. At the race, Hank wins first place. Herbie is very fond of Hank, and approves of how he is being treated. After the race, Alex questions his car, and later he takes her out for a friend. However, Herbie does not seem fond of her and drives to an isolated area. While this is happening, Simon is searching for an engineer who invented Herbie. He eventually finds the owner: Dr. Gustav Stumpfel (Harold Gould). He asked Dr. Gustav to create another car, but he wants the car to be pure evil and black. He ended up naming the second car Horace.

Herbie created Hank a big job opportunity, but Hank would have to leave Herbie behind. Devastated, Herbie is looking for Hank, but is then followed by the black edition car Horace and Rupert. They cornered Herbie in a dark alley and continuously smashes Herbie until he is completely destroyed. Afterwards, Hank finds Herbie, saddened and believing that Herbie has died, gives him a funeral. However, Herbie's former owner, Jim Douglas, explains to Hank that he can be repaired. Hank then fixes Herbie and looks for Simon and makes plans for a race between Horace and Herbie.

At the race, Horace tracks down Herbie, and removes his tire, terrorizes Herbie with bombs and attempts to cut Herbie in half. However, that did not stop Herbie from competing in the race. Although he was not in the greatest condition, Herbie still won the race. Furious, Horace tries to destroy Herbie again, but he ends up killing himself. The car owner of Horace and his partner Rupert were then arrested.

The movie ends with Hank and Alex, being in love again, drive off in the car with Herbie.


Home video[edit]

This 1997 incarnation of The Love Bug is the only film in the Herbie franchise not available on DVD. As of 2014, it is only available in VHS format throughout the United States and Canada. This movie has since been seen in recent years on cable networks; most notably, Hallmark Channel (which usually airs the 1968 original and 1997 film back-to-back) and Disney Channel.


  1. ^ Ludington Daily News, retrieved June 19, 2015
  2. ^ The Love Bug (1997) -, retrieved June 19, 2015

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