Harry and the Hendersons Movie Poster Image

Harry and the Hendersons

A big, Harry family adventure full of laughs.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 110 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable

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

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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."

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:April 26, 1987
DVD/Streaming release date:April 24, 2007
Cast:John Lithgow, Joshua Rudroy, Melinda Dillon
Director:William Dear
Studio:Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:110 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

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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.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Educator and Parent 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 tv as the little boy started cussing 5 minutes into the film. Now did those things stick with me into my adulthood, probably not. All I recalled was how funny it was and how sad it was at the end. I wish I had waited to share this one with my kids. They were 3 and 4 at the time. These 80's movies will catch you off guard! Be cautious.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
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.