Big is a 1988 American fantasy comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Adult Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" and is then aged to adulthood overnight. The film also stars Elizabeth Perkins, David Moscow as young Josh, John Heard and Robert Loggia, and was written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Penny Marshall|
|Music by||Howard Shore|
|Edited by||Barry Malkin|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$151.7 million|
Twelve-year-old Josh Baskin, who lives with his parents and infant sister Rachel in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, is told that he is too short for a carnival ride called the Super Loops, while attempting to impress Cynthia Benson, an older girl. He inserts a coin into an unusual antique arcade fortune teller machine called Zoltar, and makes a wish to be "big". It dispenses a card stating "Your wish is granted", but Josh is spooked to see that it was unplugged the entire time.
The next morning, Josh has immediately grown into a full-fledged adult. He tries to find the Zoltar machine, only to see an empty field, the carnival having moved on. Returning home, he tries to explain his predicament to his mother, who refuses to listen and then threatens him, thinking that he is a stranger who kidnapped her son. Fleeing from her, he then finds his best friend, Billy, and convinces him of his identity by singing a rap that only they know. With Billy's support, he learns that it will take a long time to find the machine, so Josh rents a flophouse room in New York City and gets a job as a data entry clerk at the MacMillan Toy Company. Billy and Josh discover that it will take a month to trace the new location of the Zoltar machine.
Josh meets the company's owner, Mr. MacMillan, at FAO Schwarz, and impresses him with his insight into current toys and his childlike enthusiasm. They play a duet on a foot-operated electronic keyboard, performing "Heart and Soul" and "Chopsticks". This earns Josh a promotion to a dream job: getting paid to test toys as Vice President in charge of Product Development. With his promotion, his larger salary enables him to move into a spacious luxury apartment, which he and Billy fill with toys, a rigged Pepsi vending machine dispensing free drinks, and a pinball machine. He soon attracts the attention of Susan Lawrence, a fellow MacMillan executive. A romance begins to develop, much to the dismay of her ruthless former boyfriend and coworker, Paul Davenport. Josh becomes increasingly entwined in his "adult" life by spending time with her, mingling with her friends, and being in a steady relationship. His ideas become valuable assets to MacMillan Toys; however, he begins to forget what it is like to be a child, and he never has time to hang out with his best friend Billy because of his tight schedule.
MacMillan asks Josh to come up with proposals for a new line of toys. He is intimidated by the need to formulate the business aspects of the proposal, but Susan says that she will handle the business end while he comes up with ideas. Nevertheless, he feels pressured and longs for his old life. When he expresses doubts to Susan and attempts to explain that he is really a child, she interprets this as fear of commitment on his part, and dismisses his explanation.
Josh learns from Billy that the Zoltar machine is now at Sea Point Park. He leaves in the middle of presenting their proposal to MacMillan and other executives. Susan also leaves and encounters Billy, who tells her where Josh went. At the park, Josh finds the machine, unplugs it, and makes a wish to become "a kid again". He is then confronted by Susan, who, seeing the machine and the fortune it gave him, realizes that he was telling the truth. She becomes despondent at realizing their relationship ending. He tells her that she was the one thing about his adult life he wishes would not end, and suggests her to use the machine to turn herself into a little girl. She declines, saying that being a child once was enough, and takes him home. After sharing an emotional goodbye with Susan, he becomes a child again. He says goodbye to Susan one last time before reuniting with his family. The film ends with Josh and Billy hanging out together, with the song "Heart and Soul" playing over the credits.
- Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin
- David Moscow as 12-year-old Josh Baskin
- Elizabeth Perkins as Susan Lawrence
- Robert Loggia as Mr. MacMillan
- John Heard as Paul Davenport
- Jared Rushton as Billy Kopecki
- Jon Lovitz as Scotty Brennen
- Mercedes Ruehl as Mrs. Baskin
- Josh Clark as Mr. Baskin
- Debra Jo Rupp as Miss Patterson
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 97% of 74 critics gave it a positive review, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Refreshingly sweet and undeniably funny, Big is a showcase for Tom Hanks, who dives into his role and infuses it with charm and surprising poignancy." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 73 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
The New York Times praised the performances of Moscow and Rushton, saying the film "features believable young teen-age mannerisms from the two real boys in its cast and this only makes Mr. Hanks's funny, flawless impression that much more adorable."
The film is number 23 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies. In 2000, it was ranked 42nd on the American Film Institute's "100 Years…100 Laughs" list. In June 2008, AFI named it as the tenth-best film in the fantasy genre. In 2008, it was selected by Empire Magazine as one of "The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time."
Big was part of a trend of age-changing comedies produced in the late 1980s, including Like Father Like Son (1987), 18 Again! (1988), Vice Versa (1988), and the Italian film Da grande (1987). The latter Italian film has been said to be the inspiration for Big.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
The film opened #2 with $8.2 million its first weekend. It would end up grossing over $151 million ($116 million USA, $36 million international). It was the first feature film directed by a woman to gross over $100 million.
In 1996, the film was made into a musical for the Broadway stage. It featured music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr., and a book by John Weidman. Directed by Mike Ockrent, and choreographed by Susan Stroman, it opened on April 28, 1996 and closed on October 13, 1996, after 193 performances.
On September 30, 2014, Fox announced that a TV remake, loosely based on the film, was planned. Written and executive produced by Kevin Biegel and Mike Royce, it dealt with what it means to be an adult and kid in present times.
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- "AFI's 10 Top 10: Top 10 Fantasy". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
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- Andreeva, Nellie. "'Big' Series In Works At Fox With 'Enlisted's Kevin Biegel & Mike Royce". Deadline.com. Retrieved 3 December 2015.