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Harriet the Spy (Widescreen Collection) (1996)

Michelle Trachtenberg , Rosie O'Donnell , Bronwen Hughes  |  PG |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michelle Trachtenberg, Rosie O'Donnell, Gregory Smith, Vanessa Lee Chester, J. Smith-Cameron
  • Directors: Bronwen Hughes
  • Writers: Douglas Petrie, Greg Taylor, Julie Talen, Louise Fitzhugh, Theresa Rebeck
  • Producers: Debby Beece, Julia Pistor
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: May 27, 2003
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008OM8T
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,001 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Harriet the Spy (Widescreen Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The first feature film from the Nickelodeon cable channel, Harriet the Spy is an updated version of Louise Fitzhugh's best-selling 1964 children's novel. Sixth grade outcast Harriet (Michelle Trachtenberg) is an only child who has mostly been raised by her nanny, Golly (Rosie O'Donnell), rather than her materialistic parents. Harriet wants to be a writer when she grows up, and only Golly encourages her creative pursuits. Meanwhile, Harriet dons a yellow raincoat and a belt full of gadgets to spy on everyone around her, including her eccentric neighbor with a lot of cats and the other kids at school. Carefully taking notes in her private notebook, Harriet makes clever and cruel observations about her subjects, including her best friends, would-be scientist Janie (Vanessa Lee Chester) and overburdened Sport (Gregory Smith). Harriet's world begins to change when Golly leaves, signaling that it is time for her to grow up. Then a snobby girl a school, Marion, gets her hands on Harriet's special notebook and makes its contents known to the whole school. Soon everyone is against Harriet, and she must concoct a plan to get even.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outside in the Cold... December 29, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Harriet M. Welsch (Michelle Trachtenberg) is an 11-year-old-spy who dreams of being a writer. She explains her obsession with writing by saying: "I want to remember everything, I want to know everything."

In her PRIVATE notebook, she writes down her secret thoughts. Sometimes her comments are all too honest and not that nice. Harriet doesn't yet understand the power of words, but soon she learns, when all her friends become her worst enemies.

Rosie O'Donnell plays the perfect nanny. Her advice to Harriet is that while she might want to know everything, it won't do her a bit of good unless she uses her knowledge to put beauty into the world.

Harriet goes through a great learning experience where she finally realizes she should participate more in life and learns to let go of her writing obsession in order to embrace life. After all, true friends are what makes life wonderful and worth living.

This is a funky, modern story that teaches a wonderful lesson. It is about learning to forgive and being vulnerable enough to be able to say you are sorry.

A great lesson for all ages!

~The Rebecca Review
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fun movie January 8, 2006
After reading some of the negative reviews about this movie, I am inspired to write my views!

I saw Harriet the Spy when it came out in theaters in 1996. I was 16 then, and I had read the book a few times. Quite frankly, I didn't like the book that much. I thought it ended badly and Harriet was a bit too mean in the book. But when I saw the movie, I fell in love with Harriet as played by Michelle Trachtenberg. She was positively wonderful in the role, and made Harriet likable and believable.

Harriet learns some important lessons about friendship and the power of words. She also learns to deal with growing up and living with parents who love her but are often absent. I think many kids can relate to this movie. Harriet's classmates are real kids and we see Harriet having to decide whether to cater to the popular kids or stay true to herself. We also see her take responsibility for her actions and win back her true friends.

I think Harriet is a positive role model in many instances. Of course, some could take issue with her spying on people, but she usually does not do so in an illegal manner! After all, this isn't a totally real story! The only thing I didn't like about the movie is when Harriet's nanny tells her she has to lie in order to win back her friends. Because really, she does not, she simply has to not be so harsh with the truth. But this is a minor point.

The music in this movie is great, and I have tried for years to find a soundtrack without success. If anyone knows where the soundtrack is, please let me know!

I also loved the scenes where Harriet does some crazy and fun things like going with her friends to the lady's garden made out of found objects, or fencing with Golly's boyfriend at the movie theater.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thoughtful and Evocative Children's Film... January 2, 2004
By A Customer
Harriet the Spy is a wonderfully textured little movie, displaying a welcome amount of emotional depth. Though made for children, its virtues transcend age groups - it deftly touches on some very relatable and universal themes. And unlike other children's fare, it dares to venture into some rather somber and affecting territory.
In the title role of Harriet, Michelle Trachtenberg is a delight. She infuses the role with a wide and impressive range of emotion and displays remarkable talent for her age. The character of Harriet is realistically and refreshingly portrayed - like any 11 year-old she has a wealth of charms as well as her share of foibles. Somewhat of an outsider, Harriet turns inward when trouble ensues - due to her self-imposed isolationism, Harriet has a hard time when she falls out of favor with her friends. She makes mistakes along the way - but ultimately, she overcomes her flaws, reaches out to her friends, and takes a more active role in the world. Seeing this honest portrayal of an 11 year-old makes for a rather satisfying journey.
Young Michelle Trachtenberg deftly captures a sense of innocence, curiosity, and angst. Her performance often tugs at the heartstrings due to its subtle delivery. She very much captures a sense of wide-eyed adorability - yet she's often quite haunting when serving as the film's narrator. In the role of Ole Golly, Rosie O'Donnell puts in a decent, if understated performance. And the actors playing Harriet's friends do a nice job of portraying the camaraderie between the three.
Visually, the film is shot in bright colors and an eclectic style. Yet for all the cheery stylistic content, the film touches on some fairly serious emotional territory.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love, I love, I love. October 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I really loved this movie. Michelle Trachtenberg is absolutely brilliant. I saw her in this and thought, wow, she's going to be huge. What do you know, now she's in Buffy. Michelle's wonderful as Harriet, the girl who wants to be a writer and writes down things about the others in her class in her journal. Then the journal is found, and she has to deal with the rest of her class not being too happy at the uncomplimentary things she's jotted down about them. Rosie O'Donnell is also excellent as the nanny. (Don't ask me who else starred in this, I can't remember!) :)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as an adult
I was thinking about how much I loved this movie as a kid and decided I had to rent it. It was still pretty good, but it's really for elementary aged kids.
Published 2 days ago by Lauren
5.0 out of 5 stars oldie but goodie
What can i say ? I loved this movie as a kid and still love it as an adult. My son walked around acting like a spy for weeks after we watched this
Published 16 days ago by Krystal
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Kid's Movie
I loved this movie when it first came out and I was able to get it for such a great price on here that I was happy so relive my childhood. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Ashley
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my ALL TIME FAVORITES
There is simply nothing not to love about this film. I loved it as a kid, and unlike many childhood things, it was just as good as I remembered.
Published 29 days ago by Breanna D
5.0 out of 5 stars A review from an almost seven year old
I think it was funny, and it gives people important information about life. Like if you have someone you really love and they go away it doesn't mean it is the end of the world. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ann D. Thornton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
I remember watching this movie as a child. So I felt it necessary to order this for my daughter she was thrilled when it came in the mail today.. Thanks
Published 1 month ago by NaTasha
5.0 out of 5 stars I've loved this movie since I was a kid
I absolutely love this movie because I think it sets a good example for kids. I especially like Rosie O' Donnell's character Golly.
Published 2 months ago by Eleni
1.0 out of 5 stars Had to order twice to get it.
My daughter was excited to watch it then got bored. It did not have very good viewing quality. Overall not a good rental.Plus had to pay twice in order to watch it.
Published 3 months ago by kim
5.0 out of 5 stars Long time family favorite
My now 24 year old daughter loved this movie as a young girl. We previously owned it on VHS and were happy to find it on DVD for the younger siblings.
Published 3 months ago by Brenda Antonacci
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Love this movie! Glad that it's in dvd. The music in this movie is great. I enjoyed this when I was little and now my girls love it too!
Published 3 months ago by amazon customer
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