Harry and the Hendersons

Movie review by
Ellen Dendy, Common Sense Media
Harry and the Hendersons Movie Poster Image
A big, Harry family adventure full of laughs.
  • PG
  • 1987
  • 110 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The Henderson family tries to save Harry from being killed by hunters or put on display. The story is set in an area where hunting is common/popular. The Henderson family bonds are strengthened in the end.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The father is at first an avid hunter and is resistant to befriending Harry. But with the help of his family he quickly realizes the error of his ways.

Violence & Scariness

Most action is cartoon-like; minor fighting but no blood. Some of the main characters are avid hunters, and there are plenty of scenes with guns and shooting, but no blood.

Sexy Stuff
Language

Littlest Henderson cusses ("holy s--t," and "sucks"); adults use "s--t-load," "s--tless," "bulls--t," "hell," "goddamn," "Christ's sake," and "bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the action scenes are kept cartoonish. The male Hendersons are avid hunters -- Grandpa Henderson owns a gun store and his son works there. Also, Mr. Henderson holds up a rabbit he's just killed as his son cheers; citizens arm themselves and go on hunting parties to kill Bigfoot. There's no blood and no one gets shot, but lots of guns and ammunition are shown. There are a few scuffles and minor fights. Some adults and one child swear, using many versions of "s--t."

User Reviews

Parent of a 4 and 10 year old Written byJ9800 March 22, 2010

Foul language out weighs viewing for younger children

The foul language seem superfluous and added nothing but distraction to our kids. I'm surprised the movie did not have a PG-13 rating.
Adult Written byEmangina June 12, 2013

Harry Come Live With Us

I cherish this movie from my childhood and don't recall the language or violence. That was until I watched it with my kids. I found myself running for the... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old April 9, 2008

Pretty Good Movie

I liked this movie. My sister and dad like it a lot, too. We have watched it about 5 times, and I think I will watch it again.
Teen, 17 years old Written byPeopleschamp1995 August 6, 2012

Classic in my mind

It teaches a good lesson

What's the story?

The Henderson household turns upside down with the arrival of humungous houseguest Harry family comedy. After accidentally mowing down a real live, really smelly Sasquatch, the Henderson family believes the strange creature is dead. In complete shock, they tie it to the top of their station wagon and head home. Tucked away in the Henderson's suburban home, the Sasquatch revives and goes on a mad hunt for anything that fits his vegetarian diet. When dad George Henderson (John Lithgow) comes face-to-face with the enormous, wild creature, his instincts kick in and at first he considers shooting the Bigfoot to save his family. But Harry, as the Hendersons end up naming him, proves to be an intelligent, gentle being. And once the family comes to love him, they realize they must save him from those who would do him harm.

Is it any good?

A comedy at heart, HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS offers some touching scenes and powerful messages in between rollicking action scenes, slapstick gags, and sharp one-liners. Harry bonds with each member of the Henderson family -- especially precocious (and occasionally foul-mouthed) 8-year-old Ernie (Joshua Rudroy) -- and the Hendersons unite in their mission to save their newfound friend.

Most of the action is cartoonish, but there is definitely some suspense when the hunters go after Harry. And for those against hunting, the story loses some of its enjoyment. Otherwise, this movie is pure family comedy wrapped up in a wild adventure story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the legend of Bigfoot, and the variations of Bigfoot from around the world. Do you think it's possible that such a remarkable creature could remain undiscovered? If Do you think what the Hendersons experienced could really happen?

  • undisputable proof of Bigfoot's existence was finally uncovered, what are some of the things we might learn?

  • Some of the characters schemed to make money by capturing and exhibiting Harry the Bigfoot. How do you feel about that, and how does it compare to zoos? The circus?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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