Matilda (1996)



Critic Consensus: Danny DeVito-directed version of Matilda is odd, charming, and while the movie diverges from Roald Dahl, it nonetheless captures the book's spirit.

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Based on the book Matilda, by British children's author Roald Dahl, this film moves the setting from the U.K. to the U.S.; otherwise it follows the original closely. Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson) is an extremely curious and intelligent little girl who is very different from her low-brow, mainstream parents (Danny DeVito and real-life wife Rhea Perlman), who quite cruelly ignore her. As she grows older, she begins to discover that she has telekinetic powers. Not until a teacher shows her kindness for the first time does she realize that she can use those powers to do something about her sufferings and help her friends as well. Villains from the awful Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), headmistress of her miserable school Crunchem Hall, to her parents and older brother begin to feel her ire. Look for Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) in a small part as an FBI agent investigating Matilda's shady father. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi
Comedy , Kids & Family , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Rhea Perlman
as Mrs. Wormwood
Mara Wilson
as Matilda Wormwood
Embeth Davidtz
as Miss Honey/Mother
Pam Ferris
as Trunchbull
Danny DeVito
as Mr. Wormwood
Tracey Walter
as FBI Agent
Brian Levinson
as Michael Wormwood
Jean Speegle Howard
as Miss Phelps
Sara Magdalin
as Matilda, 4 years
Paul Reubens
as FBI Agent
Jon Lovitz
as Million $ Sticky Host
Fred Parnes
as Waiter
Fred Scialla
as Stand-In
Kiami Davael
as Lavender
Leor Livneh Hackel
as Julius Rottwinkle
Jacqueline Steiger
as Amanda Thripp
Jimmy Karz
as Bruce Bogtrotter
Michael J. Valentine
as Nigel Hicks
Liam Kearns
as Charles
Mark Watson
as Magnus
Marion Dugan
as Cookie
Nicholas Cox
as Michael, 6 years
J.C. Alexander
as Nearby Boy
Malone Brinton
as Older Boy
Joshua Alvarez
as Child at Assembly
Max E. Blum
as Child at Assembly
Erin M. Gray
as Child at Assembly
Misty L. Oppenheim
as Child at Assembly
Christopher Shepard Hughes
as Child at Assembly
Rachel Snow
as Child at Assembly
Craig Lamar Traylor
as Child in Classroom
Jennifer Key
as Child in Classroom
Marty Bautista
as Child in Classroom
David Anthony Hernandez
as Child in Classroom
Raina Cease
as Child in Classroom
Jonathan Cease
as Child in Classroom
Vinnie Buffolino
as Child in Classroom
Marcella Sassano
as Child in Classroom
Johnny Thomas III
as Child in Classroom
Shannon Hughes
as Child in Classroom
Christel Khalil
as Child in Classroom
Cassie Colaw
as Child in Classroom
Justin Stout
as Child in Classroom
Cindy Tran
as Child in Classroom
Jonathan Feyer
as Child in Classroom
Alissa Graham
as Newborn Matilda
Amanda Graham
as Newborn Matilda
Trevor Gallagher
as Newborn Matilda
Anthony James Gallagher
as Newborn Matilda
Kayla Fredericks
as Matilda, 9 months
Kelsey Fredericks
as Matilda, 9 months
Amanda Fein
as Matilda, Toddler
Caitlin Fein
as Matilda, Toddler
Amanda Summers
as Miss Honey, 2 years
Kristin Summers
as Miss Honey, 2 years
Phoebe Pearl
as Miss Honey, 5 years
Kathy Barbour
as Million $ Sticky Showgirl
Donna Spangler
as Million $ Sticky Showgirl
Marianne Curan
as Million $ Sticky Contestant
Penny Holland
as Million $ Sticky Contestant
Richard E. Coe
as Million $ Sticky Contestant
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News & Interviews for Matilda

Critic Reviews for Matilda

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5)

With her sweet-sad face, Mara Wilson is a perfect Matilda.

December 31, 1999
USA Today
Top Critic

Offbeat fantasy gem, but too dark for young kids.

Full Review… | January 2, 2011
Common Sense Media

Not awful and certainly not great, Matilda is a strange little flick, but that's not to say your 9-year-old daughter won't get a solid kick out of it.

Full Review… | May 21, 2005

DeVito gleefully preserves Dahl's dark comic tone, which should delight both kids and parents.

October 29, 2004
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Slick kids movie that preserves Roald Dahl's gleeful nastiness.

February 27, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

Dark, beautiful adaptation of Roald Dahl story is uncompromising, entertaining and moving.

August 1, 2002
Film Blather

Audience Reviews for Matilda

So touching, suspenseful, extreme, and campy! Mara Wilson had such a deep, sage-like voice, and all the recent 20-year reunion pics of the cast are adorbz.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

Heart-warming movie about a girl with magical powers, a family who doesn't want her and a horrible teacher.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer


A charming and fun children's movie with some nice lead performances. It's nothing that hasn't been done before, but it does everything well enough to get a solid recommendation from me. It's just an entertaining and light-hearted film that will definitely resonate with its target crowd of younger children, but it made me feel like a kid at the same time. The film is smart and doesn't have juvenile humor or a half-baked story. It's actually a very well told story with a good message and is well directed by Danny DeVito. There's plenty of memorable characters played wonderfully by some lesser known actors/actresses. Imaginative and unique, Matilda is a movie that children of all ages will likely enjoy on some level, but also happens to be a worthwhile time for the whole family.

Josh Lewis
Josh Lewis

Super Reviewer

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