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Harry and the Hendersons is a 1987 American fantasy comedy film directed and produced by William Dear and starring John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon, Don Ameche, David Suchet, Margaret Langrick, Joshua Rudoy, Lainie Kazan and Kevin Peter Hall. Steven Spielberg served as its uncredited executive producer, while Rick Baker provided the makeup and the creature designs for Harry. It is the story of a Seattle family's encounter with the cryptozoological creature Bigfoot, partially inspired by the numerous claims of sightings in the Pacific Northwest, California, and other parts of both the United States and Canada since the late 1960s. The film won an Oscar for Best Makeup, and inspired a follow-up TV series of the same name.[4] In the United Kingdom, the film was originally released as Bigfoot and the Hendersons, though the television series retained the American title. The DVD and all current showings of the movie in the United Kingdom now refer to the movie by its original title.

Harry and the Hendersons
Harry and the hendersons.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Dear
Produced byWilliam Dear
Richard Vane
Written byWilliam Dear
William E. Martin
Ezra D. Rappaport
Music byBruce Broughton
CinematographyAllen Daviau
Edited byDonn Cambern
Distributed byUniversal Pictures[1]
Release date
  • June 5, 1987 (1987-06-05) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million[2]
Box office$50 million[3]

In conjunction with the film's setting, shooting took place at several locations in the Cascade Range of Washington state near I-90 and the town of Index near US 2 as well as Seattle's Wallingford, Ballard and Beacon Hill neighborhoods and other locations in or around Seattle's I-405 corridor. The film grossed $50 million worldwide.



George Henderson (John Lithgow) is returning to his suburban Seattle home with his family from a camping trip in the nearby Cascade mountains when they hit something with the family Ford Country Squire. George investigates, and discovers to his horror and awe, that they have hit a Sasquatch. Thinking they have killed it, they decide to take the creature home, strapping it to the roof of their car. Meanwhile, a mysterious hunter has been tracking the creature and discovers the Hendersons' license plate, which fell off when they hit the creature.

Later that night, George goes out to the garage to examine the creature and discovers that it is not dead, and has escaped. He hears noises from his kitchen and sees the creature, which has knocked over the fridge looking for food. The family realizes that the creature is friendly and kind. George has a change of heart; at first he wished to make money from the creature, but now decides to take him back to the wild. Naming the creature "Harry", George tries to lure him into the station wagon, but Harry believes that the Hendersons mean him harm and instead he disappears.

Saddened, the family resume their normal lives, but sightings of Harry become more frequent and the media fervor heightens. George tries to find Harry in order to keep him safe. George visits the "North American Museum of Anthropology" to speak with Dr. Wallace Wrightwood, an expert on Bigfoot, but is disheartened when he realizes its ramshackle state. Giving his number to the clerk (Don Ameche) inside the museum, George resumes his search for Harry. The hunter from the woods is Jacques LaFleur (David Suchet), a legendary hunter who became obsessed with Bigfoot and has hunted for one ever since, becoming a laughingstock. LaFleur tracks down the Hendersons and is closer to finding Harry.

After a Harry sighting, George goes into the city to search for him. Meanwhile, the police are dealing with the "Bigfoot mania" by apprehending multiple Bigfoot hunters, chalking up the sightings of Bigfoot as some joker in a costume. Following a car chase, George is able to save Harry from LaFleur, who himself is arrested by police officers. At work, George's father asks George to make a poster of a violent Sasquatch in order to drum up gun sales. George works on such a picture, but throws it away, replacing it with a proper depiction of Harry.

The next day, George calls Dr. Wrightwood from the museum and invites him to dinner to speak about Bigfoot. The museum clerk shows up at the Hendersons, revealing he is Dr. Wrightwood. He tells George and the family to give up on Bigfoot, as it has destroyed his life and will destroy theirs, but then he meets Harry, restoring his enthusiasm. By this time, LaFleur has been bailed out of jail and heads to the Henderson house. George and Harry escape the house with Dr. Wrightwood in his old truck. LaFleur gives chase and eventually catches up with the Henderson family.

Fleeing back to the mountains, George tries to make Harry leave, going so far as to hit Harry. Confused and upset, Harry does not leave. LaFleur catches up to them and throws the Hendersons dog. Harry captures LaFleur, but George intervenes when LaFleur escapes. Through Harry's kindness and George's faith, LaFleur changes his mind and decides that Harry deserves to live peacefully. As the family says goodbye, George thanks Harry (who gives George an affectionate hug) for all he has done for the family and tells him to take care of himself, to which Harry replies "Okay" - his first spoken word. As Harry leaves, several other Sasquatches appear from their hiding places and also disappear into the wilderness with him, to the amazement of the Hendersons. When Dr. Wrightwood asks LaFleur what he is going to do next, LaFleur replies, "I don't know. There's always Loch Ness." As the two of them laugh at that comment, the Hendersons keep waving goodbye to Harry.



Box officeEdit

Harry and the Hendersons opened third behind Beverly Hills Cop II and The Untouchables.[5] It went on to gross $29.8 million at the North American box office and $20.2 million internationally for a total of $50 million worldwide.[3]

Critical responseEdit

Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 42% based on reviews from 19 critics.[6][7][8]



Bruce Broughton composed the film's original score, and co-wrote "Love Lives On" with Barry Mann (music), Cynthia Weil (lyrics) and Will Jennings (lyrics), performed by Joe Cocker over the end credits (in place of Broughton's planned end title cue); the soundtrack version of "Love Lives On" has a saxophone solo on a single and was later released as a single. MCA Records released a soundtrack album on record and cassette; in 2007, Intrada Records issued an expanded album, marking the music's premiere CD release.

1987 MCA soundtrack albumEdit

Side 1:

  1. Love Lives On - Joe Cocker [3:49]
  2. Main Title [3:05]
  3. Some Dumb Thing [2:28]
  4. Irene! [1:26]
  5. Harry in the House [4:20]
  6. Harry Takes Off [3:20]

Side 2:

  1. Your Feet's Too Big - Jimmy Walker; arr. Chris Boardman [3:15]
  2. Drawing Harry [1:49]
  3. Taking Harry Home [2:57]
  4. Foot Prints [4:19]
  5. Goodbyes [4:07]
  6. "Harry and the Hendersons" [3:28]

2007 Intrada albumEdit

The album begins with the film version of "Love Lives On", which has a flute solo, rather than the guitar heard on the single and on the 1987 soundtrack album.

  1. Love Lives On - Joe Cocker [3:51]
  2. Main Title [5:41]
  3. Taking Harry Home [4:33]
  4. Harry in the House [6:22]
  5. Night Prowler [1:01]
  6. Some Dumb Thing [3:16]
  7. Irene! [1:26]
  8. Eye to Eye [0:54]
  9. Our Little Pet [1:36]
  10. Tracking Harry [1:37]
  11. Harry Takes Off [3:19]
  12. Big Freeway [1:39]
  13. Sasquatch [1:01]
  14. The Great Outdoors [1:55]
  15. Bigfoot Museum [0:59]
  16. Planning the Hunt [2:03]
  17. Drawing Harry [1:48]
  18. Night Pursuit [9:52]
  19. First Things First [1:41]
  20. Wrightwood Meets Harry [1:29]
  21. Bed Pals [0:43]
  22. Traffic Jam! [7:14]
  23. Footprints [4:19]
  24. Goodbyes [4:06]
  25. Harry and the Hendersons [3:27]


Home mediaEdit

The film was released in January 2011 on DVD entitled Harry and the Hendersons Special Edition.[10] A single-disc Blu-ray of the film was released on March 4, 2014.

Television spin-offEdit

The film had a television series spin-off, also called Harry and the Hendersons. Kevin Peter Hall reprised Harry until his death in 1991. After that, Harry was performed by Dawan Scott in 1991-1992 and by Brian Steele in 1992-1993. Harry's vocal effects were provided by Patrick Pinney. it used a Leon Redbone's version of "Your Feet's Too Big." was used as its theme song.


  1. ^ a b c "Harry and the Hendersons (1987)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Harry and the Hendersons". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  4. ^ "Harry` Spinoff Is `Alf` For The `90s". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  5. ^ "Cop II Is First Again In Box Office Sales". New York Times. 1987-06-11. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  6. ^ "Harry and the Hendersons". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
  7. ^ Wilmington, Michael (1987-06-05). "MOVIE REVIEW BIGFOOT `HARRY' TRAVELS A FAMILIAR, GOOEY TRAIL". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
  8. ^ Kehr, Dave (1987-06-05). "Harry And The Hendersons Takes Familiar Turns". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  9. ^ "Academy Awards, USA: 1998". Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2009-02-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ "Harry and the Hendersons". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2012-03-29.

External linksEdit