Review: Harry and the Hendersons

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Harry and the Hendersons opened on June 5, 1987. The Amblin film stars John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon and Don Ameche. The film was directed by William Dear.


The Henderson family is on a camping trip when they cross paths with Bigfoot. The fabled Sasquatch, later named Harry, turns out to be friendly and quickly becomes a member of the Henderson household. The family then must protect Harry from hunters who want to turn him into a trophy.


  • Harry is a convincing creature in the film. His makeup and effects are well done.


  • There are some genuinely funny moments as Harry learns how to become a domesticated animal.


  • Harry and the Hendersons, surprisingly, contains a lot of messages about the way humans treat animals. It’s more thoughtful than a lot of other family films from the era.


  •  At times Harry and the Hendersons becomes an overly sentimental movie and often becomes far too saccharine.


  • The film relies heavily on tropes and script conveniences that are often synonymous with films from the 1980s.


  • Harry and the Hendersons follows a lot of the same story beats as E.T. the Extra Terrestrial – obviously to a much, much less level of success.

 In Closing:

Harry and the Hendersons is a fun 80’s film that has a lot of heart and a strong message about hunting and animal cruelty. It definitely is a relic of the era, and it doesn’t really hold up all that well today. Harry and the Hendersons is worth a watch on a lazy afternoon.

 Rating: C