Spy Kids

This article is about the first film of the franchise. For the franchise, see Spy Kids (franchise).
Spy Kids

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Produced by
Written by Robert Rodriguez
Music by
Cinematography Guillermo Navarro
Edited by Robert Rodriguez
Distributed by Dimension Films[1]
Release dates
  • March 30, 2001 (2001-03-30)
Running time
88 minutes[2]
Country United States
  • English
  • Spanish
Budget $35 million[3]
Box office $147.9 million[3]

Spy Kids (stylized as SPY kids) is a 2001 American spy adventure comedy film written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, produced by Elizabeth Avellan and Rodriguez, and starring Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alan Cumming, Teri Hatcher, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Robert Patrick, Tony Shalhoub, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, and Mike Judge.

The first installment in the Spy Kids film series, the film was theatrically released in the United States on March 30, 2001 by Dimension Films.[1] It was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $147 million worldwide.[3] Three sequels were released: The Island of Lost Dreams in 2002, Game Over in 2003, and All the Time in the World in 2011.

The film was nominated for Best Fantasy Film at 28th Saturn Awards, but lost to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.


Ingrid and Gregorio Cortez are rival spies who fall in love. They retire and have two children, 12-year-old Carmen and 9-year-old Juni. They work for the Organization of Super Spies (OSS) doing desk work. The children have no idea of their parents' previous career. Ingrid and Gregorio are called back into the field when agents go missing. The children are left in the care of Uncle Felix Gumm. Gregorio suspects that a kids' TV show star Fegan Floop has kidnapped the agents, and mutated them into his "Fooglies," creatures on his show.

They are captured by Floop's "Thumb-Thumb" robots whose arms, legs, and head are made of thumbs, and taken to Floop's castle. Felix is alerted to the parents' capture, activates the fail-safe, tells the children the truth, and that he is not their uncle. The house is assaulted by Thumb-Thumbs, and the children escape alone on a submarine that's set to auto-pilot to a safe house. At the safe house, Carmen unlocks the door using her full name, and the children learn of their parents' past as they decide to rescue them.

Inside of Floop's castle, he introduces his latest creation to Mr. Lisp, small robots in the shape of children. He wishes to replace the world leaders' children with these super-strong robots to control the world. The androids are "dumb", and cannot function outside of their inherent programming. Lisp is furious, demanding usable androids to sell to his clients. Floop along with his second-in-command Alexander Minion interrogate Gregorio and Ingrid. Floop demands the 'Third Brain', but Ingrid has no idea what he's talking about. Gregorio claims that he destroyed the brain years ago. Thinking the brain must be with the children, Floop sends his minions after them. Gregorio reveals to Ingrid the truth about the Third Brain. It was the codename of a project back when he worked in the science division of OSS. It was to house the skills of all of the world's best super spies. The project was deemed too dangerous, was scrapped and the materials to be destroyed, but Gregorio couldn't destroy the brain.

Back at the safe house, the kids are visited by Ms. Gradenko. Gradenko says she works for OSS, and is there to help the children. Gradenko wants the Third Brain, but Carmen does not know anything. Gradenko orders the house dismantled, and Juni sees Thumb-Thumbs outside destroying the submarine. Gradenko's intentions revealed, Juni accidentally exposes the Third Brain, and a chase ensues with Carmen and some henchmen with jet packs. Carmen eventually gets the brain, and she and Juni escape the Thumbs. Minion reveals that he actually made robots of the children, and Floop sends them to get the Brain.

Carmen realized too late that the bracelet Gradenko gave her was a tracking device, and she and Juni are attacked by their robot counterparts. Although he tries, Juni cannot destroy the Brain, and the androids got it as they fly away. With the Third Brain, Floop can achieve his goal, but he wishes to continue his children's show. Minion has different plans, and takes over, locking Floop into his "virtual room." The kids receive reluctant help from Gregorio's brother Isador "Machete" Cortez when they come to his spy shop, steal some of his gear, and take his spy plane to fly to Floop's castle. Juni crashes the plane into the water, and the two swim into the castle. Minion takes Ingrid and Gregorio to the "Fooglilizer." Gregorio reveals that Minion used to work for the OSS, however Minion was thrown out thanks to Gregorio turning him in, when discovering Minion's intent to input his own ideas concerning the Third Brain.

Juni rescues Floop, and the three of them head to the control room. Floop theorizes he can reprogram the androids. They trap Minion on the Fooglilizer and, confronting Lisp and Gradenko, the family are beset by 500 robots. Machete busts through the window, and joins the family to fight. Floop resets the androids. With the children on their side, the family heads home.

With advice from Juni, Floop introduces the android children on his show. The family's breakfast is interrupted by Devlin who has a mission for Carmen and Juni, Carmen accepts on one condition, that they work as a family.



Spy Kids: Music from the Dimension Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released April 10, 2001 (2001-04-10)
Genre Soundtrack, rock, pop
Length 31:03
Label Hollywood Records
Robert Rodriguez film soundtrack chronology
The Faculty
Spy Kids
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Professional ratings
Review scores
Music from the Movies

The film score is written by John Debney and Danny Elfman, with contributions from a variety of others, including director Robert Rodriguez and Marcel Rodriguez. Among Elfman's contributions is "Floop's Song (Cruel World)", which is performed by Cumming. Los Lobos covers the Tito Puente song, "Oye Como Va" (adapted as "Oye Como Spy" by David Garza and Robert Rodriguez). The song was nominated for "Outstanding Song in a Motion Picture Soundtrack" at the 2002 ALMA Awards. The closing theme, "Spy Kids (Save the World)", is performed by the Los Angeles indie pop band, Fonda.[4]

The score won an award at the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards.

  1. "Cortez Family" (Gavin Greenaway, Heitor Teixeira Pereira, Harry Gregson-Williams) – 1:39
  2. "My Parents Are Spies" (Danny Elfman) – 2:09
  3. "Spy Wedding" (Los Lobos, Robert Rodriguez) – 2:11
  4. "Spy Kids Demonstration" (John Debney, R. Rodriguez, Marcel Rodriguez) – 1:06
  5. "Parents on Mission" (Debney, Elfman, Greenaway, Pereira) – 1:17
  6. "Kids Escape House" (Greenaway, Pereira) – 3:14
  7. "Pod Chase" (Debney, Elfman, Gregson-Williams) – 1:38
  8. "The Safehouse" (Debney, Elfman) – 0:47
  9. "The Third Brain" (Debney, R. Rodriguez, M. Rodriguez) – 1:00
  10. "Buddy Pack Escape" (Elfman) – 1:39
  11. "Oye Como Spy" (Davíd Garza, Tito Puente, R. Rodriguez) – 2:59
    • Performed by Los Lobos
  12. "Floop's Song (Cruel World)" (Elfman) – 0:59
    • Performed by Alan Cumming
  13. "Spy Go Round" (Greenaway, Pereira, M. Rodriguez) – 2:11
  14. "Minion" (Chris Boardman, Greenaway, Pereira, R. Rodriguez) – 1:03
  15. "Sneaking Around Machetes" (Elfman) – 0:35
  16. "The Spy Plane" (Debney, Elfman) – 1:29
  17. "Floop's Castle" (Boardman) – 1:29
  18. "Final Family Theme" (Gregson-Williams) – 1:44
  19. "Spy Kids (Save the World)" Emily Cook, David Klotz, Dave Newton – 2:20
    • Performed by Fonda


Box office

Spy Kids opened theatrically in 3,104 venues on March 30, 2001, earning $26,546,881 in its first weekend and ranking first in the North American box office.[5] It held the number one spot for three weeks before being toppled by the second weekend earnings of Bridget Jones's Diary.[6] The film ultimately grossed $112,719,001 in the United States and Canada, and $35,215,179 overseas for a worldwide total of $147,934,180.[3]

Critical response

The film received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 93% "Certified Fresh" approval score based on 126 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2 out of 10. The site's critical consensus reads: "A kinetic and fun movie that's sure to thrill children of all ages."[7] Metacritic reports a 71 out of 100 score based on 27 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars and called it "a treasure". He wrote, "Movies like "Spy Kids" are so rare. Families are often reduced to attending scatological dumber-and-dumbest movies like "See Spot Run"--movies that teach vulgarity as a value. "Spy Kids" is an intelligent, upbeat, happy movie that is not about the comedy of embarrassment, that does not have anybody rolling around in dog poop, that would rather find out what it can accomplish than what it can get away with."[9] Mick LaSalle of San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "It's entertaining and inoffensive, a rare combination in kids' films, which are usually neither."[10] Lael Loewenstein of Variety observed, "A full-blown fantasy-action adventure that also strenuously underscores the importance of family, "Spy Kids" is determined to take no prisoners in the under-12 demographic, a goal it sometimes dazzlingly achieves. Robert Rodriguez's film, in which two kids become real spies to save the world from a mad genius, fulfills kids' empowerment fantasies and features enough techno-wizardry and cool f/x to satisfy those weaned on videogames."[11]

Extended version

A special edition with a deleted scene was released to theaters on August 8, 2001. It also was released with Kellogg's products. There were plans to release the special edition to DVD but it never materialized, despite the fact that a director's commentary and interviews were already recorded for it.[12] However, that version is available on the film's Blu-ray rerelease, which was released on August 2, 2011 to coincide with the fourth film.


Award Result Category Recipient
ALMA Award Won Outstanding Director in a Motion Picture Robert Rodriguez
Nominated Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Antonio Banderas
Outstanding Motion Picture Spy Kids
Outstanding Screenplay (Original or Adapted) Robert Rodriguez
Outstanding Song in a Motion Picture Soundtrack Los Lobos
For the song "Oye Como Spy"
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Won Top Box Office Films John Debney
Saturn Award Nominated Best Fantasy Film Spy Kids
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Nominated Best Family Film - Live Action Spy Kids
Kid's Choice Awards, USA Nominated Favorite Male Action Hero Antonio Banderas
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Nominated Best Family Film Spy Kids
Young Artist Awards Nominated Best Family Feature Film - Comedy Spy Kids
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress Alexa Vega



  1. 1 2 American Film Institute. American Film Institute http://www.afi.com/members//catalog/DetailView.aspx?s=&Movie=62213. Retrieved 1 December 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. "SPY KIDS (U)". British Board of Film Classification. March 28, 2001. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Spy Kids (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  4. "Spy Kids OST". Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  5. "Weekend Box Office Results for March 30-April 1, 2001". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  6. "Weekend Box Office Results for April 20-22, 2001". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. April 23, 2001. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  7. "Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  8. "Spy Kids Reviews - Metacritic". Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  9. "Review by Roger Ebert". Chicago Sun-Times. March 30, 2001. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  10. Lasalle, Mick (March 30, 2001). "THE 'KIDS' ARE ALL RIGHT / Rodriguez makes delightful, imaginative action film a family affair". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  11. "Review (Variety)". Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  12. "Interview with Robert Rodriguez from LatinoReview". Retrieved 4 October 2014.

External links

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