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Director: Doug Atchison     Starring: Angela Bassett Laurence Fishburne
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Akeelah and the Bee
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Learn more about Akeelah and the Bee:

Format: DVD
Sku: 202703386
UPC: 031398195962
UPC 14: 00031398195962
Category Keywords: Children  Theatrical Release
Rating: Game Rating Code
See more in Family & Kids
Akeelah anderson is an 11 year old girl from south L.A. With a gift for words. Despite the objections of her mother, akeelah enters various spelling contests. She is tutored by her principal and local residents. When she qualifies for the national spelling bee, the neighborhood is united by the little girl.

"Two thumbs way up.  Ebert & Roeper
"A sweet-natured, immensely likable family film  Jim Ridley, Dallas Observer
"...this feel-gooder revels in its hip-to-be-square hyperliteracy...  Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly

Editor's Note
Following in the fine tradition of inspiring inner-city underdog tales like STAND AND DELIVER, and TAKE THE LEAD, Doug Atchison's AKEELAH AND THE BEE is a story of overcoming odds that never descends into empty formula. The narrative centers around the character of Akeelah (Keke Palmer, in a star-making performance), a charming yet insecure 11 year old girl from Los Angeles' gang-ridden South Central district. Upon flipping channels after school one day, she lands on ESPN's coverage of the National Spelling Bee. Having recently become aware of her innate talent in this area, Akeelah cannot help but fantasize about the prospect of being a star of the bee circuit. The tragic problem -- intelligence of this kind is not valued in her community, where skills of athleticism and rapping are coveted far more than school smarts. Though Akeelah attempts to hide her academic acuity behind a rebellious attitude, she cannot resist the temptation to enter her school's spelling bee, at which her stellar performance attracts the attention of her idealistic principal, who pairs her with a mentor, a former professor named Joshua Larabee (the always riveting Laurence Fishburne, who re-embodies the wise iconoclast character he played so well in the chess movie SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER). Meanwhile, Akeelah's strong, practical mother, (played by Angela Bassett, who worked with Fishburne on the Tina Turner biopic WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?) while always supportive of her talented daughter, does not necessarily see the point of spending such time and energy on what will likely amount to a fleeting hobby.

Perhaps taking its cue from the surprising popularity of Jeffrey Blitz's quirky documentary SPELLBOUND (2002), which explored spelling prodigies from diverse classes, races, and geographic locations, this drama makes what could be a narrow niche into a universal tale of triumph over adversity.


Video Features DVD, Widescreen, English, Subtitled, Spanish, Dolby Digital (5.1)

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Lions Gate
Video Release Date Release Date: 1/5/2010
Video Play Time Running Time: 112 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 2006
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 19596
Video UPC UPC: 00031398195962
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: English
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: English [CC], English
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Widescreen  1.85:1

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Angela Bassett
Video Cast Info Curtis Armstrong
Video Cast Info Keke Palmer
Video Cast Info Laurence Fishburne
Video Cast Info Aaron Zigman - Original Music By
Video Cast Info David Mullen - Cinematographer
Video Cast Info Doug Atchison - Director
Video Cast Info Doug Atchison - Writer
Video Cast Info Glenn Farr - Editor
Video Cast Info Laurence Fishburne - Producer
Video Cast Info Mark Cuban - Executive Producer

Professional Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
"[T]his feel-gooder revels in its hip-to-be-square hyperliteracy, and neatly exceeds its own PSA-ness..." -- Grade: B 04/28/2006 p.118

New York Times
"[A]n underdog story that manages to inspire without being sappy." 04/28/2006 p.E20

USA Today
"Palmer is a natural....There's nothing cynical about Akeelah's story of courage and determination." 04/28/2006 p.8E

Total Film
3 stars out of 5 -- "You'll have a lump in your throat during this heart-tugger..." 08/01/2006 p.32

Sight and Sound
"AKEELAH AND THE BEE is most successful in the way it generates tension during the spelling-bee scenes." 09/01/2006 p.44

Variety 9 of 10
That seemingly inexhaustible new movie subgenre, the spelling bee drama, receives its most conventionally uplifting treatment yet in "Akeelah and the Bee." Framed around the relationship between an underdog word whiz and her tough-lovin' coach, this earnest weepie plays like "The Karate Kid" with a pro-literacy agenda, pushing all the right emotional buttons yet hitting quite a few wrong ones in the process. Overly calculated yet undeniably potent crowd-pleasing elements...Well-lensed in and around Los Angeles by M. David Mullen, with some occasional if conspicuous handheld camerawork...Aaron Zigman's musical score offers conventional but relatively discreet support. - Justin Chang 8 of 10
Spelling is hot. In the popular imagination, at least, if not necessarily in reality, kids who can master the intricacies of the English language are superstars. The 2002 documentary Spellbound followed teenagers on the way to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., and it was a box-office hit and an Academy Award Nominee. In 2005, The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee racked up six Tony nominations, including Best Musical, winning another two awards. Last fall, David Siegel and Scott McGehee brought Myla Goldberg's bestselling Bee Season to the big screen. Akeelah and the Bee, an engaging story of a little girl who learns to dream big, is the latest drama hoping to spell its way to success. - Pam Grady

Product Attributes

Product attributeActor:   Fishburne,Laurence
Product attributeLabel:   Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Product attributeMusic Format:   DVD
Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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