Little Nikita (1988)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Little Nikita Videos

Little Nikita Photos

Movie Info

In this espionage story, River Phoenix stars as Jeff Grant, a seemingly normal California teen who learns that his parents are Soviet "sleeper" operatives who've spent the last two decades in the United States waiting to return to duty.
PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Watch it now


Lucy Deakins
as Barbara Kerry
River Phoenix
as Jeff Grant
Sidney Poitier
as Roy Parmenter
Richard Bradford
as Konstantin Karpov
Jacob Vargas
as Miguel
Richard Jenkins
as Richard Grant
Newell Alexander
as Drill Sergeant
Loretta Devine
as Verna McLaughlin
Robert F. Hill
as Prince Desire, in Ballet
Caroline Kava
as Elizabeth Grant
Jerry Hardin
as Brewer
Ronald Guttman
as Spassky
Julio Medina
as Soccer Announcer
Lou Hancock
as Nursery Customer
Michael Owen
as The Fairy Carabosse, in Ballet
Martine Van Hamel
as Princess Aurora, in Ballet
Robert Hill
as Prince Desire, in Ballet
Christine Dunham
as The Lilac Fairy, in Ballet
Arlin Miller
as TV Announcer
Robb Madrid
as Sgt. Leathers
Richard Holden
as Young Russian Diplomat
Jim Parrott
as U.S. Border Patrolman
Lisa McCullough
as Water Skier
Jonathan McMurtry
as Tour Boat Guide
Rick L. Nahera
as Trolley Passenger
Ingrid Rhoades
as Corp. Hogan
Charles T. Salter Jr.
as Trolley Conductor
John Spafford
as Trainer No.2
Tasha Stewart
as Dolphin Trainer
Kim Strange
as DMV Clerk
Biff Wiff
as Bucky
Tom Zak
as Brett
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Little Nikita

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (5)

Never really materializes as a taut espionage thriller and winds up as an unsatisfying execution of a clever premise ...

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

This lacklustre espionage thriller is bogged down with the sort of clichés you'd expect from the height of the Cold War.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Richard Benjamin's strategy in directing ''Little Nikita'' seems to have been to paper over the holes in the plot with routine moves from spy shows past, in hopes of making the improbable passable.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

It turns all of the characters into chess pieces, whose relationships depend on the plot, not on human chemistry. Since the plot is absurdly illogical, you're not left with much.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

"Little Nikita" would be nothing without River Phoenix's hair. It's the most engaging, the most watchable thing in the film.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Not a shade on "Running on Empty", but a nicely performed encore

September 19, 2002

Audience Reviews for Little Nikita

Dull, dull, super dull spy thriller for kids. There's no real danger or tension in this film. Could've been a cool film but it was executed just so poorly. River Phoenix though is still top of the class.

Robert Iwataki
Robert Iwataki

Ever have one of those days when you find out that your loving and caring parents are actually KGB spies? Weak cold war dramatics elevated by strong performances from Sidney Poitier and River Phoenix. Otherwise, it's completely forgettable.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Finds out his parents are spies. Great plot.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

Little Nikita Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Little Nikita on our Movie forum!

News & Features