Little Giants Movie Poster Image

Little Giants

Underdog comedy with potty humor and positive messages.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 106 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Themes include teamwork, inclusion, and integrity. Instead of playing to win at all costs, athletics for kids should be fun, with positive experiences for everyone who takes part. Good sportsmanship and playing fair are shown and discussed during the movie -- when the assistant coach of the rival football team encourages his son to make an illegal play resulting in injury, the coach of the team gets angry and tells him that if it happens again, they're both off the team. 

Positive role models

After being in the shadow of his legendary football player brother his whole life, Danny O'Shea proves to his brother and to everyone around him that sports can and should be fun for all who want to play.


Football action. Lots of grunting and vowing to tear opponents to bits. Comedic pratfall violence, including a coach who falls out of a second-story window and has his fall broken by landing crotch-first on a large tree branch. During a football game, the placeholder is kicked in the crotch by the kicker. A car chase; some peril. Police draw their guns on a man they suspect of being a "peeping Tom." Some bullying -- bigger kids give a smaller boy a "wedgie." A girl chases these bullies with her go-cart, causing the bullies to crash their bikes or wreck and get muddy in a creek.


Tweens are shown displaying their first feelings of attraction for the opposite sex. Kissing. 


Occasional profanity: "pissed," "crap," "damn," "hell," "for Christ's sake." Name-calling from kids on the order of "dork" and "losers." Lots of potty humor.


One of the lead characters owns a Chevrolet dealership -- dialogue is devoted to him talking about the greatness of Chevy vehicles. Nabisco products prominently featured. The two rival teams, the Giants and the Cowboys, are franchises in the National Football League. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Little Giants is a 1994 football-themed movie in which Rick Moranis decides to stand up to his arrogant brother, a football legend in their town (played by Ed O'Neill), and field a Pee Wee League team of his own when his daughter, who's better at football than any of the other kids, isn't picked by O'Neill because she's a girl. There's some iffy and puerile humor throughout the movie, including a recurring joke revolving around a heavier-set boy's tendency to pass loud and stinky gas at timely and untimely moments, another boy who blows bubbles of mucous out of his nostrils, and some childish name-calling on the order of "dork" and "losers." There's also some bullying -- bigger kids give a smaller boy a "wedgie," and the daughter chases these bullies with her go-cart, causing them to lose control of their bikes and fall into a creek. Adults occasionally use profanity on the order of "pissed," "crap," and "for Christ's sake." On two occasions, crotch injuries are comedic punch lines. The movie also shows the first stirrings of tween attraction between the daughter and the heroic quarterback. Overall, despite the detours into immature humor, the movie upholds some positive messages -- namely that playing sports for fun, doing your best, and working as a team take precedence over winning at nearly all costs and excluding everyone (even talented girls who express an interest in sports) but the very best from playing.

What's the story?

In LITTLE GIANTS, two adult brothers living in a small town -- returning football star Kevin (Ed O'Neill) and diminutive nerd Danny (Rick Moranis) -- coach opposing Pee Wee football teams. Danny's team may be filled with outcasts, but they still give Kevin's team a run for their money and teach the brothers a thing or two about family and sportsmanship.

Is it any good?


This is a formulaic yet good-natured football yarn for those who haven't seen the story of nerds triumphing over jocks many times before. The predictable big-game showdown, the bumbling practice antics, the coach falling for one of the team moms -- these are just some of the elements lifted directly from The Mighty Ducks franchise. Inconceivably, this project required the efforts of four writers. What could they have been doing? Watching and stealing from every movie in the genre? Of course, the reason we see this formula over and over again is it seems to work -- audiences eat it up.

To be fair, there are some humorous bits in Little Giants. The no-neck Neanderthal Spike, who only refers to himself in the third person, is fun to watch, saying things such as, "Spike is going to tear you apart!" The go-cart scene one-ups the rollerblading chase from D2. And Ed O'Neill's Kevin is just nasty enough to make you really dislike him. The movie's message, even if recited by rote, is a good one: Teamwork and inclusion are important.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the outcome of the big game in Little Giants. What character traits did the players develop as a result of working together?

  • What are some other examples of sports movies in which "scrappy underdogs" improve at a sport, learn teamwork and good sportsmanship, and find a way to beat the team everyone thinks is going to win? What do you think is the appeal of these movies? 

  • How are the movie's messages of good sportsmanship, doing your best, and having fun no matter what happens conveyed? 

  • How do the characters in Little Giants demonstrate integrity and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 2, 1999
DVD/Streaming release date:March 2, 1999
Cast:Devon Sawa, Ed O'Neill, Rick Moranis
Director:Duwayne Dunham
Studio:Warner Bros.
Topics:Sports and martial arts, Misfits and underdogs
Character strengths:Integrity, Teamwork
Run time:106 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic elements

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
Teen, 16 years old Written bymrnotcreative April 6, 2016

Weird relationships

As the story goes along, we see Shawna Waldron's character, Becky "Icebox" O'Shea, develop feeling for a boy name Junior. When her dad goes to meet him and his parents, he learns that he is the son of his old crush, Patty, and, at the end of the movie, they kiss and in love, but Becky still likes Junior. So the story ends with Becky's father dating her boyfriend's mom. So yeah.
Adult Written byranch girl January 24, 2016

Way more language than it needed...

Wasn't expecting to hear turd, damn, crap, or so many hells and butts in this movie.
What other families should know
Too much swearing