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Matilda [1996] (1 disc)

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Director:Danny DeVito
Writer:Nicholas Kazan
Robin Swicord
Composer:David Newman
Length:102 minutes
(1 hour 42 minutes)
MPAA Rating:PG
Sorting Category:Family
IMDB Rating:6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:90%
Amazon Rating:5.0/5 stars
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Classifications:
  • Fantasy
  • Kids
  • Comedy
  • Family
Available Formats:
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Synopsis: This film adaptation of a Roald Dahl work tells the story of Matilda Wormwood, a gifted girl forced to put up with a crude, distant father and mother.


Personal Rating: 7/10

Danny DeVito => Director / Mr. Wormwood / Narrator
Nicholas Kazan => Writer
Robin Swicord => Writer
David Newman => Composer
Roald Dahl => Book
Embeth Davidtz => Miss Honey
Jean Speegle Howard => Miss Phelps
Jon Lovitz => Million $ Sticky Host (uncredited)
Jonathan Feyer => Child in Classroom
Mara Wilson => Matilda
Pam Ferris => Trunchbull
Paul Reubens => FBI Agent
R.D. Robb => Roy
Rhea Perlman => Mrs. Wormwood
Simon Jones => Shellhammer (uncredited)
Tracey Walter => FBI Agent

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • Michelle Trachtenberg auditioned for the role of Matilda.
  • The three newts used in filming are credited--Mr. Speaker, Sir Isaac, and Wayne. (i.e. Newt Gingrich, [?] Isaac Newton, and Wayne Newton.)
  • Towards the end of the film, Matilda's parents tell her that they are moving to Guam to escape the FBI. It is actually a small island in the Pacific, but is a U.S. territory.
  • Richard Dreyfuss was considered for the role of Harry Wormwood.
  • Catherine O'Hara was considered for the role of Zinnia Wormwood.
  • Miriam Margolyes, Kathy Bates, and Magda Szubanski were all considered for the role of Miss Trunchbull.
  • Mara Wilson's mother [?] Suzie Shapiro Wilson died of breast cancer while the movie was being filmed. Mara honored her mother by bravely finishing "Matilda", which was dedicated to her mother's memory. She had thought for years that her mother had never gotten to see the completed film. But years later, Danny DeVito revealed he had shown her a rough cut of what they had filmed shortly before she died.
  • The picture of Miss Honey's father, Magnus, is actually a portrait of Roald Dahl, the author of the book "Matilda," upon which the film is based.
  • In stark contrast to their characters, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman became very close to Mara Wilson during production. According to Wilson, DeVito and Perlman would often let her stay at their home and keep her entertained while her father was working and her mother was in the hospital receiving cancer treatments.
  • Pam Ferris would often stay in character when the director called cut in an attempt to scare the children on set so that their fear of Miss Trunchbull would be genuine when the camera was rolling.
  • During her teenage years, Mara Wilson was diagnosed with severe OCD and anxiety. She discovered this while reading a book called Kissing Doorknobs, noting the similarities between herself and the lead character. Years later, she found out that the book was written by the mother of her co-star - [?] Kira Spencer Hesser, who played Hortensia.
  • Mara Wilson was so self-conscious about dancing for the "Little Bitty Pretty One" sequence that Danny DeVito had the entire cast and crew dance along with her on set.
  • In the movie (not the book) Miss Honey, as a child, had a doll named Liccy Doll. One of the producers of the film is author Roald Dahl's widow, [?] Liccy Dahl.
  • Matilda, when describing her love of Charles Dickens to Miss Honey, accidentally mispronounces his name as "Darles Chickens." This is a nod to another novel by Roald Dahl, "The BFG," in which the title character continuously mispronounces Charles Dickens' name.
  • Near the end of the film as well as the book, Matilda tells Miss Honey about the speed of a mouse's beating heart. This is a subtle reference to another book by Roald Dahl, The Witches, in which the protagonist and his grandmother have the same discussion. It's also a direct quote from the original text.
  • Mara Wilson had been a fan of the book ever since the age of four, when she had overheard her mother reading it to other children. After the success of Miracle on 34th Street (1994), Matilda was among many scripts she was offered. She chose it immediately.
  • Mara Wilson designed the homemade doll that Matilda has in the film. Her name is Wanda.
  • Mara Wilson later gave her stamp of approval to the musical adaptation.
  • The song playing in the car with the FBI agents as Matilda passes by is featured in Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985). One of the FBI agents is played by Paul Reubens who also plays Pee-wee Herman.
  • Mariska Hargitay turned down the role of Miss Honey.
  • [?] Bette Midler was considered for the role of Zinnia Wormwood.
  • Bob Hoskins, Tim Allen, Joe Pesci, John Goodman, Robert De Niro and Bill Murray were considered for the role of Harry Wormwood.
  • Director Danny DeVito originally wanted [?] Mary-Kate Olsen and [?] Ashley Olsen for the title role of Matilda as his children were big fans of them from [Full House (1987)] and his wife Rhea Perlman worked with them on To Grandmother's House We Go (1992). But they were unavailable as they were busy working on It Takes Two (1995).
  • Helen Hunt and [?] Tori Amos were considered for the role of Miss Honey.
  • Miss Trunchbull's mansion was later used as the Omega Beta Zeta sorority house in Scream 2 (1997).
  • Rosie O'Donnell was considered to play Miss Honey, but declined due to scheduling conflicts with Harriet the Spy (1996).
  • Winona Ryder was considered for the role of Miss Honey after Danny DeVito had worked with her on Reality Bites (1994) (which he produced). But she turned it down due to scheduling conflicts with The Crucible (1996).
  • The role of one of the FBI Agents was originally intended as a cameo role for Danny DeVito's friend Arnold Schwarzenegger as the two had previously worked on Twins (1988), Last Action Hero (1993) and Junior (1994). But he turned it down as he was busy working on Eraser (1996)
  • [?] Kylie Tyndall and [?] Keaton Tyndall were originally cast as Young Matilda, but had to be replaced last minute due to high fevers and the flu.
  • When Matilda is stealing the doll back, and she is hiding outside the window, Miss Trunchbull puts her face to the window and steams up the window with her nose. This is a nod to the Velociraptors hunting the children in Jurassic Park which came out 3 years prior
  • Chevy Chase was considered for the role of Harry Wormwood.
  • Richard Donner and Robert Zemeckis were considered to direct the film.
  • [?] Maggie Kirkpatrick was considered for Miss Trunchbull, but she wasn't authorized to work in the United States.