Little Nikita (1988)

PG | 99 mins | Drama | 18 March 1988

Director:

Richard Benjamin

Producer:

Harry Gittes

Cinematographer:

Laszlo Kovacs

Production Designer:

Gene Callahan

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures
Full page view
HISTORY

Production notes in AMPAS library files state that producer Harry Gittes spent four years developing the project. Former Columbia Pictures chairman David Puttnam was credited with suggesting actor Sidney Poitier as a casting choice. An 8 Apr 1987 HR article reported that Poitier ended a nine-year hiatus from feature films by joining the cast. According to production notes, Poitier had read more than 200 scripts over a ten-year period, none of which held his interest prior to Little Nikita.
       A 13 Jan 1987 HR production chart reported the start of principal photography on 29 Dec 1986 in San Diego and Los Angeles, CA. The 8 Apr 1987 HR noted that director Richard Benjamin exceeded the fifty-nine day schedule by two days. A 13 May 1987 Var brief announced the recent completion of photography.
       The 13 Mar 1987 NYT stated that Benjamin needed footage of the ballet Sleeping Beauty, and approached the American Ballet Theater (ABT), which was, coincidentally, performing the ballet in San Diego at the time of production. The four-minute sequence was filmed at the Spreckels Theatre and the San Diego Performing Arts Center. Other San Diego locations included the Harbor Excursion Line’s Marietta cruise ship, Mission Bay, and Sea World theme park. A trolley car travelling between the city and Tijuana, Mexico, nicknamed the “Tijuana Trolley,” was used in the hostage exchange scene. The shoot-out sequence, involving the characters “Scuba” and “Roy,” began filming along the Torrey Pines coastline and concluded on San Diego Bay’s G Street Pier. The towns of Monrovia and La Mesa, CA, stood in for ... More Less

Production notes in AMPAS library files state that producer Harry Gittes spent four years developing the project. Former Columbia Pictures chairman David Puttnam was credited with suggesting actor Sidney Poitier as a casting choice. An 8 Apr 1987 HR article reported that Poitier ended a nine-year hiatus from feature films by joining the cast. According to production notes, Poitier had read more than 200 scripts over a ten-year period, none of which held his interest prior to Little Nikita.
       A 13 Jan 1987 HR production chart reported the start of principal photography on 29 Dec 1986 in San Diego and Los Angeles, CA. The 8 Apr 1987 HR noted that director Richard Benjamin exceeded the fifty-nine day schedule by two days. A 13 May 1987 Var brief announced the recent completion of photography.
       The 13 Mar 1987 NYT stated that Benjamin needed footage of the ballet Sleeping Beauty, and approached the American Ballet Theater (ABT), which was, coincidentally, performing the ballet in San Diego at the time of production. The four-minute sequence was filmed at the Spreckels Theatre and the San Diego Performing Arts Center. Other San Diego locations included the Harbor Excursion Line’s Marietta cruise ship, Mission Bay, and Sea World theme park. A trolley car travelling between the city and Tijuana, Mexico, nicknamed the “Tijuana Trolley,” was used in the hostage exchange scene. The shoot-out sequence, involving the characters “Scuba” and “Roy,” began filming along the Torrey Pines coastline and concluded on San Diego Bay’s G Street Pier. The towns of Monrovia and La Mesa, CA, stood in for the fictional neighborhood of “Fountain Grove,” where Roy’s house and the “Grant” nursery were located. Interior scenes of the Grant home and its neighboring greenhouse were shot on Stage 12 at The Burbank Studios.
       An invitation in AMPAS library files states that a preview screening was held 8:00 p.m., on 4 Mar 1988 at AMC Century14 Theatres in Century City, CA. The picture opened two weeks later to mixed reviews.
       Little Nikita marked the theatrical film debut of actress Loretta Devine.
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special Thanks To: Greater San Diego Motion Picture and Television Bureau; Chamber of Commerce and People of La Mesa, California, Sea World of California.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 1987
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 1987
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 1988
p. 3, 10.
Los Angeles Times
18 Mar 1988
p. 4.
New York Times
13 Mar 1987
---
New York Times
18 Mar 1988
p. 26.
Variety
13 May 1987
---
Variety
16 Mar 1988
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures Presents
A Harry Gittes Production
A Richard Benjamin Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Elec best boy
Key grip
Dolly grip
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
"Sleeping Beauty" lighting des
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Swing person
Set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Standby painter
"Sleeping Beauty" scenery by
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
"Sleeping Beauty" cost by
MUSIC
Mus ed
Orch
Addl mus by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Foley by
ADR ed
Voice casting
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title and opt des
DANCE
"Sleeping Beauty" choreography by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Unit pub
Loc mgr
Prod auditor
Asst prod auditor
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Prod coord
Asst to Mr. Benjamin
Asst to Mr. Gittes
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Casting asst
Extras casting
Extras casting, Loc
Studio teacher
Craft services
Scr supv, 2d unit
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Shattered,” written and produced by Mike Slamer
“Fountainbleu,” written by Grace Lane
“Along The Way,” written and produced by David Kurtz and Jack Allocco
+
SONGS
“Shattered,” written and produced by Mike Slamer
“Fountainbleu,” written by Grace Lane
“Along The Way,” written and produced by David Kurtz and Jack Allocco
“Paradise,” written by Charlie Mitchell and Kaylee Adams, produced by Charlie Mitchell, performed by Kaylee Adams
“You’ll Know Love (When You Feel It),” written by Mark Mangold and Al Fritsch, produced by Mark Mangold, performed by Sandra St. Victor
“'Til The Next Time,” written, produced and performed by Charlie Mitchell.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 March 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 March 1988
Production Date:
29 December 1986--Spring 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Bright Star Film Enterprises
Copyright Date:
11 April 1988
Copyright Number:
PA367853
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Lenses and Panaflex® Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
99
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28938
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Fountain Grove, California, high school student Jeff Grant decides to enter the Air Force Academy upon graduation. At the Russian embassy in Mexico City, Mexico, officials order secret agent Konstantin Karpov to San Diego, California, to capture a rogue agent known as “Scuba.” He has already killed an important Russian agent working at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and will continue to kill KGB operatives until the agency pays him. At the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) San Diego office, agent Roy Parmenter does a background check on Jeff Grant to vet his Air Force application. The computer reveals that Jeff’s parents, Richard and Elizabeth Grant, died in 1891 but opened a plant nursery in 1968. The contradictory information causes Roy to investigate further, and he personally interviews the boy, claiming it is for his admission to the academy. When Karpov arrives in Fountain Grove, Roy is notified that the agent has entered the country in search of Scuba. Although the FBI has chosen not to interfere with Karpov, Roy intends to avenge his partner, who was killed by Scuba twenty years earlier. Meanwhile, Jeff’s driver’s license is suspended after he receives several speeding tickets, but Roy arranges to have it reinstated in order to further interrogate the youth. Roy drives Jeff home, and requests that the boy not discuss the nature of their meetings. The following day, Roy questions Verna McLaughlin, Jeff’s guidance counselor, who claims Jeff is close to his civic-minded parents. Later, Jeff’s mother, Elizabeth, cleans a fish caught by her husband, Richard, and finds a suspicious plastic cylinder hidden inside. Late that night, the couple opens the cylinder and finds a coded message, ... +


In Fountain Grove, California, high school student Jeff Grant decides to enter the Air Force Academy upon graduation. At the Russian embassy in Mexico City, Mexico, officials order secret agent Konstantin Karpov to San Diego, California, to capture a rogue agent known as “Scuba.” He has already killed an important Russian agent working at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and will continue to kill KGB operatives until the agency pays him. At the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) San Diego office, agent Roy Parmenter does a background check on Jeff Grant to vet his Air Force application. The computer reveals that Jeff’s parents, Richard and Elizabeth Grant, died in 1891 but opened a plant nursery in 1968. The contradictory information causes Roy to investigate further, and he personally interviews the boy, claiming it is for his admission to the academy. When Karpov arrives in Fountain Grove, Roy is notified that the agent has entered the country in search of Scuba. Although the FBI has chosen not to interfere with Karpov, Roy intends to avenge his partner, who was killed by Scuba twenty years earlier. Meanwhile, Jeff’s driver’s license is suspended after he receives several speeding tickets, but Roy arranges to have it reinstated in order to further interrogate the youth. Roy drives Jeff home, and requests that the boy not discuss the nature of their meetings. The following day, Roy questions Verna McLaughlin, Jeff’s guidance counselor, who claims Jeff is close to his civic-minded parents. Later, Jeff’s mother, Elizabeth, cleans a fish caught by her husband, Richard, and finds a suspicious plastic cylinder hidden inside. Late that night, the couple opens the cylinder and finds a coded message, which reads, “Kirov opening.” The next day, a Russian sailor’s body washes up at Sea World theme park, and Jeff learns that Roy is residing a house across the street from the Grant home. Scuba surprises Karpov in his motel shower, threatening to kill two more Russian spies unless he receives payment. Following a friendly game of basketball, Roy reveals that Jeff’s parents are Russian sleeper agents, who took their names from headstones in a cemetery. When Roy offers more details about their past, Jeff refuses to comment and returns home. Aboard a sightseeing boat, Karpov sends an associate to inform Scuba that his money is stored in a locker at the wharf. At the end of the tour, the boat captain finds the associate dead. Later, Roy shows Jeff photographs of all the sleeper agents Scuba has recently killed. Although Jeff’s parents are in danger, Jeff refuses to spy on them, believing that Roy is more interested in Scuba than his parents’ welfare. Later, Karpov surprises Elizabeth and Richard Grant at a Kirov Ballet performance. Despite protests that they are no longer useful to the KGB, Karpov believes otherwise, and orders them to deliver a bundle of money to Scuba. At home, Jeff searches for evidence of his parents’ true identities, and discovers their Russian passports in the greenhouse. Richard and Elizabeth return home and debate whether or not to tell Jeff the truth. Jeff confronts his parents with the Russian passports, but as Richard reveals his son’s Russian name, Karpov telephones, ordering the agents into action. While Richard begs for more time, Jeff runs to Roy’s house for help, and discovers Karpov on the telephone with his parents. Holding Jeff hostage, Karpov orders the Grants to deliver the money to the G Street pier. Roy returns home to find a Russian cigarette in the bathroom soap dish, which Jeff left as a clue. Roy runs to the Grant house, informing Richard and Elizabeth that Scuba intends to kill them. Regardless, the couple keeps their appointment with Scuba, carrying the money in a picnic cooler. Roy follows after learning their destination from a recording of the phone call. At the pier, Scuba’s meeting with Richard and Elizabeth is interrupted as Jeff attempts to escape from Karpov’s car. Roy wounds Scuba, and a mother and child steal the cooler. Scuba regains his footing and climbs aboard a docked boat, where he fights Roy. Meanwhile, Karpov and Jeff head for the border, with Richard and Elizabeth in pursuit. They board a trolley, and Richard pleads with Karpov to kidnap him instead of his son. At the next stop, Roy boards while holding Scuba at gunpoint. As Roy aims the barrel at Scuba’s ear, Karpov points his gun at Jeff’s head. Roy orders Jeff to his feet and a tense exchange of hostages is made. At the border station, the group disembarks and crosses a bridge. A pedestrian jostles Scuba, who breaks free and tries to throw Jeff over the guardrail. Richard rescues his son, but when Scuba kicks him to the ground, both Roy and Karpov fire shots at the agent. Roy and Karpov deliver the unconscious Scuba to a pair of Russian agents, who escort him across the border. Through the fence, Karpov tells Jeff he will miss him and invites the youth to visit him in Russia. As Jeff reunites with his parents, Karpov reminds Roy to be vigilant, and to remember that Russians do not shoot their children. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.