Harriet the Spy

Harriet the Spy

Synopsis of Movie

“There are as many ways to live in this world as there are people in this world, and each one deserves a closer look.”

Every future gossip columnist gets her start somewhere. For sixth grader Harriet M. Welsch, it began with a suggestion from nanny Ole Golly: write down everything. Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 novel, Harriet the Spy, chronicled the adventures of an eleven-year-old girl who decided to do just that. The book inspired a generation of would-be spies and writers, with over 2.5 million copies in print. When kid-friendly cable network Nickelodeon expanded into feature films, the company chose Harriet the Spy as its first big-screen production.

Harriet isn’t the most popular girl at her suburban elementary. She’s an outcast, an introvert with a quick mind and a dream of one day becoming a writer. Harriet finds little support from her parents, who seem too busy with their social lives to care about their daughter’s dreams. Ole Golly has more time for the girl, giving words of wisdom and encouragement, as well as the suggestion to keep a detailed diary.

Harriet takes the idea and runs with it, spying on parents, classmates and neighbors, and jotting down their foibles in large print. When word gets out—despite the journal’s being clearly marked “Private”—Harriet earns a new cadre of enemies, including ex-pals Sport and Julie, who plot her downfall in their new “Spy Catchers Club.” Harriet makes an enemies list and plans her revenge, but unless she can learn to play well with others, it’s curtains for this junior Mata Hari.

Nickelodeon chose well. With most children’s films geared toward young boys, Harriet the Spy followed the less-traveled path of A Little Princess and Matilda and found success. Young girls loved the film, inspiring a new generation of would-be spies and writers. Keep your drapes closed.

Movie Release History

1996 - Harriet the Spy

Movie Sub Categories


Movie Studio

Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount, Rastar


Harriet Michelle Trachtenberg
Sport Gregory Smith
Janie Gibbs Vanessa Lee Chester
Ole Golly Rosie O'Donnell
Mrs. Welsch J. Smith-Cameron
Mr. Welsch Robert Joy
Agatha K. Plummer Eartha Kitt
Marion Hawthorne Charlotte Sullivan
Rachel Hennessy Teisha Kim
Beth Ellen Hansen Cecilley Carroll
The Boy with the Purple Socks Dov Tiefenbach
Carrie Andrews Nina Shock
Pinky Whitehead Conor Devitt
Laura Peters Alisha Morrison
Miss Elson Nancy Beatty

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