Casper (film)

This article is about the film. For the character, see Casper the Friendly Ghost. For the video game, see Casper (video game). For the medical school admissions test, see CASPer. For other uses, see Casper (disambiguation).

Promotional poster
Directed by Brad Silberling
Produced by Colin Wilson
Written by Sherri Stoner
Deanna Oliver
Based on Casper the Friendly Ghost
by Seymour Reit
Joe Oriolo
Music by James Horner
Cinematography Dean Cundey
Edited by Michael Kahn
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • May 26, 1995 (1995-05-26)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55 million[1]
Box office $287.9 million[1]

Casper is a 1995 American fantasy comedy film directed by Brad Silberling, loosely based on the Harvey Comics cartoon character Casper the Friendly Ghost by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo. The film stars Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Idle, and Amy Brenneman. The film also stars the voices of Malachi Pearson as the title character as well as Joe Nipote, Joe Alaskey, and Brad Garrett. The film makes extensive use of computer-generated imagery to create the ghosts, and it is the first feature film to have a fully CGI character in a leading role.[2] It is much darker in tone in comparison to the cartoons, comics, prequels and spin offs.

Casper was released in cinemas on May 26, 1995 by Universal Pictures. It received mixed reviews from critics and earned $287.9 million[1] on a $55 million[1] budget.


Following the death of her father, neurotic and spoiled heiress Carrigan Crittenden discovers he has only left her Whipstaff Manor in Friendship, Maine. Carrigan and her attorney Dibs discover a vast treasure allegedly is in the manor, but they find it is haunted by a friendly ghost named Casper and his obnoxious prankster uncles, the Ghostly Trio, who scare the two off the property. A lonely Casper watches a news report of paranormal therapist James Harvey, and is instantly smitten with his teenage daughter Kat, leading him to inspire Carrigan, so she can summon Dr. Harvey to Whipstaff. Harvey and Kat have an estranged relationship due to the former’s reputation, and searching for the ghost of his late wife Amelia. Moving into Whipstaff, Kat and her father quickly encounter Casper, who tries to befriend them, while his uncles try to scare them out of the house.

After befriending Casper over breakfast, Kat goes to school with Casper sneakily following her. She becomes popular when her class agree to host their Halloween party at Whipstaff upon learning she lives there. Amber, Kat’s classmate who immediately didn't like her, becomes envious of Kat stealing her spotlight since originally the party was going to be at her place and plots with her boyfriend Vic to humiliate Kat during the party. Harvey attempts to have therapy sessions with the Ghostly Trio, who reveal to know Amelia; in exchange for getting Carrigan to leave them alone, they promise to go through the "red tape" involved to get Harvey a meeting with his wife.

Meanwhile, Kat learns Casper has no memory of his life, and unlocks his old bedroom to remind him. Casper comes across a sled, recalling his father bought it for him, only for Casper to have died of pneumonia and became a ghost to keep his father company. A newspaper article reveals that Casper’s father was declared legally insane after he built a machine named the Lazarus, which could bring the dead back to life. Casper and Kat venture down into the manor’s basement, discovering the Lazarus. Carrigan and Dibs sneak in, stealing the formula that powers the Lazarus and plot to use the machine to essentially become immortals and commit crimes. However, the two attempt to kill each other as an experiment; as a result, Carrigan falls off a cliff to her death and rises as a ghost.

Meanwhile, Dr. Harvey becomes dispassionate, encouraging the trio to take him out for a night on the town, and plan on killing him to make him a quartet, but had a change of heart after a drunk Harvey states that he is going to tell Carrigan off so they can stay in their home. Unfortunately, Harvey accidentally falls down a manhole and dies.

Back in the secret laboratory, Carrigan confronts Casper and Kat and launches Dibs out of a window when he tries to double-cross her with his fate is left unknown. Casper tricks her into stating that she has no unfinished business on Earth, causing Carrigan to be involuntarily ejected into the afterlife. The alleged treasure is revealed to be Casper’s prized baseball signed by Duke Snider. After Dr. Harvey has return with Casper's uncles now as a ghost, and completely forgets about his daughter causing Kat to be in despair, Casper sacrifices his last chance to be alive once more to restore her father.

The Halloween party kicks off upstairs, and Amber and Vic’s prank is thwarted by the Ghostly Trio. Casper is visited by Amelia’s ghost, who temporarily transforms him into a human as a reward for his sacrifice until ten o’clock. Casper dances with Kat, while Amelia speaks with Harvey, revealing that she was so content alive that she had no unfinished business, encouraging him to move on. Amelia departs as the clock chimes ten, and Casper transforms back into a ghost and playfully scares off the party guests, leaving him, and the Harveys to dance to the ghost uncles' music.


Live-action actors

Voice actors



In the mirror scene, Dr. Harvey was also supposed to transform into Steven Spielberg. According to director Brad Silberling, the cameo was filmed, but was cut for pacing reasons. Spielberg was relieved, feeling that he is not much of an actor himself and was quite nervous in front of the camera.[4]


The soundtrack was composed by award-winning composer James Horner, who had worked on a number of previous movies for Amblin Entertainment, including An American Tail and The Land Before Time.

Soundtrack album by James Horner
Released April 29, 1995 (1995-04-29)
Recorded 1994–1995
Genre Soundtrack
Label MCA
Professional ratings
Review scores
  1. "No Sign of Ghosts"
  2. "Carrigan and Dibbs"
  3. "Strangers in the House"
  4. "First Haunting/The Swordfight"
  5. "March of the Exorcists"
  6. "Lighthouse—Casper & Kat"
  7. "Casper Makes Breakfast"
  8. "Fond Memories"
  9. "'Dying' to Be a Ghost"
  10. "Casper's Lullaby"
  11. "Descent to Lazarus"
  12. "One Last Wish"
  13. "Remember Me This Way" Jordan Hill
  14. "Casper the Friendly Ghost" Little Richard
  15. "The Uncles Swing/End Credits"


Box office

Casper opened at #1 over the Memorial Day weekend, grossing $16,840,385 over its first three days from 2,714 theaters, averaging $6,205 per theater. Over four days it grossed $22,091,975, averaging $8,140 per theater. It stayed at #1 in its second weekend, grossing another $13,409,610, and boosting its 10-day cume to $38,921,225. It played solidly all through the summer, ending up with a final gross of $100,328,194 domestically, and an additional $187,600,000 internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $287,928,194, far exceeding its $55 million budget and becoming a commercial success.[1]

Critical reception

Brad Garrett was praised by critics for his performance.

Casper received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 44%, based on 36 reviews, with the site's critical consensus reading, "A meandering, mindless family movie that frequently resorts to special effects and transparent sappiness."[5] Time Out London described it as "an intimate and likeable film".[6] Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, calling it a "technical achievement, it's impressive, and entertaining. And there is even a little winsome philosophy."[7]

The CGI effects, which were considered cutting edge at the time, and the performances of Pullman and Ricci were praised, especially considering that, in the scenes where the Harveys interact with the ghosts, Pullman and Ricci were actually acting either with nothing or with stand-in maquettes used as animators' references.

Moriarty's performance was criticized, with Variety saying she does "a poor woman's Cruella de Vil".[8] Many reviewers also felt that Idle, being a venerable comedian, was underused in the role of Moriarty's obsequious henchman.


TV series

A cartoon series, The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper, was released in 1996 based on the film. Fatso (Season 1-2), Stinkie, Stretch and Casper were all voiced by the actors from the film, while Dr. Harvey was voiced by Dan Castellaneta.

Cancelled sequel

In the mid-1990s, Simon Wells co-wrote a screenplay for Casper 2, which he was set to direct. Amblin cancelled the sequel because they did not believe there would be enough interest from moviegoers. Wells also credited the uncertainty of actress Christina Ricci returning and Fox's ill-received direct-to-video Casper films as contributing to the cancellation of Casper 2.

Direct-to-video prequels

Two direct-to-video prequels to the movie were released by 20th Century Fox, Casper: A Spirited Beginning was released in 1997, and Casper Meets Wendy was released in 1998.

Video games

There were several video games based on or tied-in with the film released on the major consoles of the time, such as the 3DO, Super NES, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Game Boy Color and original Game Boy. An LCD handheld game was released for Tiger Electronics in 1995.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Casper (1995)". Box Office Mojo. 1995-09-24. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  2. "Visual and Special Effects Film Milestones". AMC Filmsite. Tim Dirks. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  3. Cheng, Cheryl (2015-07-30). "N. Brock Winkless IV, the Puppeteer of Chucky in 'Child's Play,' Dies at 56". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-08-23.
  4. Cindy Pearlman (1995-06-21). "Ghost Busters". Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  6. "Casper Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  7. "Casper :: :: Reviews". 1995-05-26. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  8. Lowry, Brian (1995-05-21). "Variety Reviews - Casper - Film Reviews - - Review by Brian Lowry". Retrieved 2012-11-24.

External links

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