The Parent Trap (1998 film)

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The Parent Trap
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNancy Meyers
Screenplay by
Based onLottie and Lisa
by Erich Kästner
Produced byCharles Shyer
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited byStephen A. Rotter
Music byAlan Silvestri
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date
  • July 29, 1998 (1998-07-29) (United States)
Running time
128 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[2][3]
Budget$15 million[4]
Box office$92.1 million[5]

The Parent Trap is a 1998 American romantic comedy film directed and co-written by Nancy Meyers, and produced and co-written by Charles Shyer. It is a remake of the 1961 film of the same name and an adaptation of Erich Kästner's 1949 German novel Lisa and Lottie (Das doppelte Lottchen).

Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson star as a divorced couple who separated shortly after their identical twin daughters' birth; Lindsay Lohan stars (in her film debut) as both twins, Hallie Parker and Annie James, who are fortuitously reunited at summer camp after being separated at birth. David Swift wrote the screenplay for the original 1961 film based on Lottie and Lisa. The story is comparable to that of the 1936 film Three Smart Girls.[6] Swift is credited along with Meyers and Shyer as co-writers of the 1998 version.

The Parent Trap was theatrically released in the United States on July 29, 1998 and was a box-office hit, grossing $92.1 million against a $15 million budget. It received positive reviews from critics, with Lohan's performance in particular earning high praise.


In 1986, Nick Parker and Elizabeth James meet on the Queen Elizabeth 2, fall in love and get married. Soon, they give birth to twins named Hallie and Annie. Shortly after the twins' birth, Nick and Elizabeth divorce with Nick being given custody over Hallie and raising her in California where he owns his own vineyard. Meanwhile, Elizabeth raises Annie in London where she works as a wedding gown designer.

11 years and 9 months later in the year 1998, the twins are coincidentally sent to the same summer camp where they form an intense rivalry. When Hallie and her friends perform a dangerous prank on Annie's cabin, Hallie and Annie are sent to the isolation cabin where they begin to bond over some of their common interests. When they realize each has a divorced parent, they show one another a photograph of the parents with whom they have never met and discover they are twins who were separated at birth. They decide to switch places to get their parents to meet again and get back together; each girl trains the other to be like her.

In London, Hallie happily meets Elizabeth, the family butler Martin and her maternal grandfather. She learns that Elizabeth and Nick met on a cruise line and fell in love. Meanwhile, in California, Annie meets Nick and their family nanny, Chessy. Much to her dismay, she learns that Nick has fallen in love with a young woman named Meredith Blake who only has an interest in Nick's fortune. Annie phones Hallie and attempts to persuade her to bring their mother to California to try and break up Nick and Meredith but Hallie refuses.

Chessy, meanwhile, has noticed that "Hallie" has changed a lot; Annie reveals her identity, but Chessy keeps this a secret. Nick informs Annie that he is marrying Meredith, much to Annie's dismay. In a phone conversation, Annie informs Hallie of the upcoming wedding between Nick and Meredith. However, Hallie is discovered by her grandfather, who forces her to tell her mother that she is in fact Hallie, not Annie. Elizabeth and Hallie decide that they need to travel to California to agree on joint custody of the twins between each parent.

Annie and Hallie both arrange with Martin and Chessy for a meeting between Nick and Elizabeth at the Stafford Hotel in California, although only Elizabeth is aware of this. Elizabeth and Nick are reunited and Nick happily realizes that he has had Annie with him since the camp. Elizabeth also meets Meredith and learns that she and Nick will be getting married. Annie and Hallie attempt to recreate the night where their parents met by arranging dinner on a yacht. Nick and Elizabeth agree that Hallie will go to London over Christmas and Annie will spend Easter in California, but decide against resuming their relationship, with Elizabeth planning to fly back to London with Annie the next day. However, the two twins refuse to reveal which one is which unless the four of them go on a camping trip together. Elizabeth insists that Meredith go in her place, wanting her to get to know the girls before she marries Nick.

The girls play a series of pranks on Meredith, including putting a lizard on her head and filling her insect repellant with sugar and water. When the girls place her mattress on a lake, Meredith is furious and vows to ship them off to Switzerland, demanding that Nick chooses between her and them. Finally seeing Meredith's true nature, Nick chooses the girls over her, causing dismayed Meredith to break off the engagement and call off the wedding. On returning home, Nick is somewhat relieved to be free of Meredith. He shows Elizabeth his wine collection which includes wine they drank at their wedding. The two realize they are still in love, but decide to go their separate ways with the twin they have custody of.

Elizabeth and Annie arrive back in London. They are stunned to find Nick and Hallie, who flew to London via Concorde. Nick reveals he feels bad about not going after Elizabeth the first time. The two finally kiss, signifying their intention to resume their marriage. The end credits show photographs from their wedding which also takes place on the QE2 with Hallie and Annie as bridesmaids and Chessy and Martin getting engaged.

Cast and characters[edit]

  • Lindsay Lohan as Hallie Parker and Annie James, eleven-year-old twin sisters who were separated after birth. Following their parents' divorce, they were raised separately with no knowledge of each other's existence — until they meet at summer camp by chance. Erin Mackey was Lohan's acting double for the scenes where the twins appear together.
  • Dennis Quaid as Nicholas "Nick" Parker, Annie and Hallie's father, a wealthy American vineyard owner.
  • Natasha Richardson as Elizabeth "Liz" James, Annie and Hallie's mother, a famous British wedding gown designer.
  • Elaine Hendrix as Meredith Blake, a 26-year-old publicist who is planning to marry Nick for his money.
  • Lisa Ann Walter as Chessy, Nick's housekeeper and Hallie's nanny. She has long considered herself rather awkward and thus not overly desirable to eligible bachelors, but then she meets Martin, and the two are mutually smitten. She also discovers that "Hallie" is actually Annie after noticing her strange behavior.
  • Simon Kunz as Martin, the James family's butler, who falls in love with Chessy.
  • Polly Holliday as Marva Kulp Sr., the owner and director of Camp Walden.
  • Maggie Wheeler as Marva Kulp Jr., Marva Sr.'s daughter and assistant.
  • Ronnie Stevens as Charles James, Elizabeth's wealthy father and Annie and Hallie's maternal grandfather. After he catches Hallie on the phone with Annie, she tells him about switching places.
  • Joanna Barnes as Vicki Blake, Meredith's mother.
  • Hallie Meyers-Shyer as Lindsay
  • J. Patrick McCormack as Les Blake, Meredith's father.

Kat Graham played Jackie, a friend of Annie at Camp Walden. Vendela Kirsebom appears as a model during a photoshoot sequence at Elizabeth James' studio. Meyers and Shyer's daughters Hallie Meyers-Shyer and Annie Meyers-Shyer make appearances in the film, credited as Lindsay and Towel Girl, respectively. Lohan's brother Michael (credited as Lost Boy At Camp) plays a boy at Camp Walden who did not realize he was going to an all-girls camp. Lohan's mother, Dina, and other siblings Aliana and Cody, all appear in uncredited cameos at the airport in London. The film's cinematographer Dean Cundey appears in an uncredited cameo as the captain of the Queen Elizabeth 2, who marries Nick and Elizabeth at the beginning of the film. Jeannette Charles portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in a deleted scene in which she and Hallie meet.



More than 1,500 young actresses submitted audition tapes for the dual roles of Hallie and Annie.[7] Director Nancy Meyers was looking for "a little Diane Keaton" to play the parts.[8] Before Lohan was cast in the roles, actresses Scarlett Johansson, Mara Wilson, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Jena Malone all either auditioned or were considered for the roles, with Malone turning the roles down multiple times.[9]


Principal photography started on July 15, 1997, in London, United Kingdom, and continued in Napa Valley AVA, San Francisco, Lake Arrowhead, and Los Angeles, California to December 17, 1997.[10] Camp Walden was filmed on location at Camp Seely in Crestline, California.[11] Parker Knoll, the vineyard and residence of the Parker family in the film, was shot on location in Rutherford, California at Staglin Family Vineyard.[12] The exterior of the fictional Stafford Hotel was shot at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California and the Administration Building, Treasure Island in San Francisco,[13] while the interior and pool scenes were shot at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey, California.[14]

Connections to the 1961 film[edit]

There are several connections between this film and the original 1961 version:

  • The characters Marva Kulp Sr. and Marva Kulp Jr. are named after Nancy Kulp, the actress who played a camp counsellor in the 1961 film, Miss Grunecker.
  • Both versions of the film feature product placement by Nabisco. In the 1998 film, Oreos are featured, while in the 1961 film, Fig Newtons are featured.
  • During the poolside scene where Annie and Meredith meet for the first time, Meredith speaks on the phone with someone named Reverend Mosby, who was a character in the 1961 film played by Leo G. Carroll.
  • Joanna Barnes appears in both films, playing Vicky Robinson in the 1961 film, and Vicki Blake in the 1998 version.
  • The Stafford Hotel is named after a boy in the 1961 film that accepts the boy's camp invitation to the dance at the beginning of film.
  • Right before Hallie meets Meredith for the first time, she can be heard singing a few bars of "Let's Get Together", a song from the 1961 version originally sung by Hayley Mills.
  • There are bunk houses named Arapahoe in both films.


The song used in the opening sequence in which glimpses of Nick and Elizabeth's first wedding are seen is Nat King Cole's "L-O-V-E". The song used in the end credits, in which photos of Nick and Elizabeth's second wedding are seen, is his daughter Natalie Cole's "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)".

The instrumental music featured prominently in the hotel scene where the girls and their parents cross paths serendipitously is "In the Mood", which was previously made famous by the Glenn Miller band. The song "Let's Get Together" is also quoted over the Walt Disney Pictures logo, and at the end of Alan Silvestri's closing credits suite.

When Hallie shows up at Annie's poker game at Camp Walden, the music used is "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

The tune playing as Hallie and Annie are making their way up to the Isolation Cabin is the main theme from "The Great Escape" by Elmer Bernstein.

The song coming from the radio in Meredith's car as she pulls up to the Parker's home is "Parents Just Don't Understand" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

The background song heard in the campfire scene is "How Bizarre" by the music group OMC.

The song playing as Annie, Elizabeth, and Martin say goodbye to Hallie, Nick and Chessy toward the end of the film is "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye", performed by Ray Charles & Betty Carter.


The Parent Trap
Cover art of the film's soundtrack, depicting Lindsay Lohan as the twins and Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson as their parents.
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedJuly 28, 1998
The Parent Trap (Original Soundtrack)
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording artistLength
1."L-O-V-E"Bert Kaempfert; Milt GablerNat King Cole2:32
2."Do You Believe in Magic"John SebastianThe Lovin' Spoonful2:05
3."There She Goes"Lee MaversThe La's2:43
4."Top of the World"Fred Busby; John BettisShonen Knife3:56
5."Here Comes the Sun"George HarrisonBob Khaleel3:08
6."(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons"Deek Watson; William BestLinda Ronstadt3:44
7."Soulful Strut"Eugene Record; Sonny SandersYoung-Holt Unlimited3:00
8."Never Let You Go"Christian Berman; Frank Berman; Gabriel Gilbert; Jeff Coplan; Matthias Hass; Nick Laird-ClowesJakaranda3:07
9."Bad to the Bone"George ThorogoodGeorge Thorogood & The Destroyers4:49
10."The Happy Club"Bob Geldof; Karl WallingerBob Geldof4:05
11."Suite from The Parent Trap"Alan Silvestri 7:13
12."This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)"Chuck Jackson; Marvin YancyNatalie Cole2:49
13."Dream Come True[1]"Milton DavisTa-Gana3:50
14."Groovin'[2]"Eddie Brigati; Felix CavalierePato Banton & The Reggae Revolution3:50
15."Let's Get Together[3]"Richard M. Sherman; Robert B. ShermanNobody's Angel3:08
Total length:54:08

Film score[edit]

The Parent Trap
Film score by
ReleasedSeptember 1, 1998
Alan Silvestri chronology
The Odd Couple II
''The Parent Trap
Practical Magic

All tracks are written by Alan Silvestri.

The Parent Trap (Original Score)
1."The Disney Logo"0:16
2."Suite from The Parent Trap"7:12
3."Annie and Martin"1:00
4."Shake Hands, Girls"0:34
5."Like Twins"3:39
7."Hallie Meets Mom"3:43
8."Annie Meets Dad"2:11
9."Vineyard Suite"1:38
10."I Am Annie"1:17
11."Dad's Getting Married"1:01
12."Hallie Breaks the News"1:49
13."You'll Kill in It"0:53
14."Table for Two"1:51
15."She's Gone"2:05
16."Where Dreams Have No End"2:18
17."We Actually Did It"1:38
Total length:39:46


1.^ Not featured in the motion picture.


Box office[edit]

The film premiered in Los Angeles on July 20, 1998.[15] In its opening weekend, the film grossed $11,148,497 in 2,247 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #2 at the box office, behind Saving Private Ryan. By the end of its run, The Parent Trap grossed $66,308,518 domestically and $25,800,000 internationally, totaling $92,108,518 worldwide.[5] The film was released in the United Kingdom on December 11, 1998, and opened on #3, behind Rush Hour and The Mask of Zorro.[16]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 86% approval rating with an average rating of 6.8/10 based on 51 reviews. The website's consensus states: "Writer-director Nancy Meyers takes the winning formula of the 1961 original and gives it an amiable modern spin, while young star Lindsay Lohan shines in her breakout role."[17] Metacritic gave the film a score of 64/100, based on reviews from 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[18]

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert each gave the film three stars.[19] Critic Kenneth Turan called Lohan "the soul of this film as much as Hayley Mills was of the original", going on to say that "she is more adept than her predecessor at creating two distinct personalities".[20] Lohan won a Young Artist Award for best performance in a feature film.[21][22]

In a 2021 interview, star of the original film Hayley Mills said, "It was so like the one I did, and yet not. But I thought it was really good." She also praised Lohan's performance, calling her "excellent".[23]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
1999 Artios Awards Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy[24] Ilene Starger Nominated
1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Female Newcomer[25] Lindsay Lohan Nominated
1998 International Film Music Critics Association Best Original Score for a Comedy Film[26] Alan Silvestri Nominated
1999 Online Film & Television Association Best Breakthrough Performance: Female[27] Lindsay Lohan Won
Best Youth Performance[27] Lindsay Lohan Nominated
Best Family Actress[27] Lindsay Lohan Nominated
1999 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress[28] Lindsay Lohan Won
Best Family Feature - Comedy[28] The Parent Trap Nominated
1998 YoungStar Awards Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film[29] Lindsay Lohan Nominated

Home media[edit]

The Parent Trap was originally released on video in the United States on December 8, 1998.[30] A 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray was released as a Disney Movie Club Exclusive on April 24, 2018.[31] The film was also available as a launch title on Disney+.[32]


  • On February 21, 2018, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that remakes of several films are in development as exclusive content for The Walt Disney Company's streaming service Disney+ with one of those projects named in the announcement as The Parent Trap.[33]
  • Malayalam TV series Kasthooriman Season 2 is a loose adaptation of the movie.


On July 20, 2020, Katie Couric moderated a virtual cast reunion through her Instagram account for the film's 22nd anniversary.[34] Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Elaine Hendrix, Lisa Ann Walter, Simon Kunz, Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer all participated in the video chat.[35] A charity fundraising effort during the COVID-19 pandemic, the reunion special helped raise money for chef José Andrés' non-profit organization World Central Kitchen.[36][37] Quaid then released an extended version of the reunion on his podcast The Dennissance on the following day.[38]


  1. ^ "The Parent Trap: 128 minutes (Starz 01/2010 Schedule, Page 4)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 26, 2015. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "The Parent Trap". AFI Catalog. American Film Institute. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ "The Parent Trap (1998)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  4. ^ Knott, Matthew Hammett (May 29, 2014). "Heroines of Cinema: These 10 Female Filmmakers Prove Why Hollywood Studios Should Change Their Tune | IndieWire". IndieWire. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "The Parent Trap (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  6. ^ Kawano, Kelley (June 26, 2012). "Let's Get Together: An In-Depth Look at the Ongoing Appeal of Hayley Mills' 'The Parent Trap'". Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Brown, Lauren (2004). Lindsay Lohan: The "It" Girl Next Door. Simon and Schuster. p. 15. ISBN 9780689878886.
  8. ^ "Lindsay Lohan, Rehab and Oscar". Newsweek. 28 May 2007. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  9. ^ "20 Things You Never Knew About The Parent Trap". E Online. 29 July 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  10. ^ "The Parent Trap - Production Notes - About the locations". Archived from the original on October 6, 2018. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  11. ^ "Parent Trap, The (film, 1998)". D23. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  12. ^ "Staglin Family Vineyard - The Napa Wine Project". The Napa Wine Project. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  13. ^ Grant Marek (September 26, 2019). "How Treasure Island found its way into the most iconic Indiana Jones film". Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  14. ^ "Luxurious, Wonderfully Dated Hotels From TV and Movies". Curbed. 24 March 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  15. ^ "Young Lindsay Lohan: Looking Back at 'The Parent Trap' Premiere". The Hollywood Reporter. 5 May 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  16. ^ "Weekend box office 11th December 1998 - 13th December 1998". Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  17. ^ "The Parent Trap (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  18. ^ "The Parent Trap (1998) Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  19. ^ Siskel, Gene (July 31, 1998). "Parent Trap Repeat a Worthy Trip". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
       Ebert, Roger (July 29, 1998). "The Parent Trap". Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  20. ^ "Kenneth Turan: The Parent Trap". Los Angeles Times. July 29, 1998. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Alt URL
  21. ^ "Celebrity Central: Lindsay Lohan". Archived from the original on July 29, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  22. ^ "Lindsay Lohan: Biography: Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 27, 2009. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  23. ^ Clements, Erin (September 28, 2021). "Hayley Mills reveals biggest challenge of playing twins in 'Parent Trap'". TODAY. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  24. ^ "1999 Artios Awards". Casting Society of America. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  25. ^ "Lindsay Lohan - Awards, Honors". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  26. ^ IFMCA (18 October 2009). "1998 FMCJ Awards". IFMCA. IFMCA. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  27. ^ a b c "3rd Annual Film Awards (1998)". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  28. ^ a b "20th Annual Awards". The Young Artist Foundation. Archived from the original on October 21, 2015.
  29. ^ "Nominations for the 3rd Annual Hollywood Reporter YoungStar Awards". Gale Group. Business Wire. September 17, 1998. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014.
  30. ^ "PARENT TRAP, THE (1998) - Misc Notes -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  31. ^ "The Parent Trap Blu-ray Release Date April 24, 2018 (Disney Movie Club Exclusive)". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  32. ^ Disney+ [@disneyplus] (October 14, 2019). "The Parent Trap (1998)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  33. ^ "Disney Planning Another 'Muppets' Reboot for Its Streaming Service (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. February 21, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  34. ^ "Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid and other stars from 'The Parent Trap' are reuniting for the film's 22nd anniversary". CNN. July 19, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  35. ^ "Katie Couric Reunites Lindsay Lohan and 'Parent Trap' Cast for Film's Anniversary". The Hollywood Reporter. July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  36. ^ "Lindsay Lohan and Parent Trap Cast Remember Late Natasha Richardson as 'So Giving' During Reunion". People. July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  37. ^ "The 'Parent Trap' cast reunion praises Lindsay Lohan's starmaking role". Los Angeles Times. July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  38. ^ "Dennis Quaid on Instagram: "Can't believe we actually pulled it off, but here it is folks - the Parent Trap Reunion you've all been waiting for. Listen to the FULL reunion right now on the season two premiere of my podcast The Dennissance on all other streaming platforms."". Instagram. July 21, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.

External links[edit]