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The Rugrats Movie

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The Rugrats Movie is a 1998 American animated comedy film based on the Nickelodeon animated television series Rugrats. It was directed by Igor Kovalyov and Norton Virgien and was written by David N. Weiss & J. David Stem. The film introduced Tommy Pickles' baby brother Dil Pickles, who appeared on the series the next year. The film features the voices of E. G. Daily, Tara Strong, Christine Cavanaugh, Kath Soucie, Cheryl Chase, Cree Summer, and Charlie Adler, along with guest stars David Spade, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Cho, Busta Rhymes, and Tim Curry. The events of the film take place before the sixth season of Rugrats.
Plans for a Rugrats film adaptation, along with Ren and Stimpy and Doug, began when Nickelodeon made a contract with 20th Century Fox to produce films between 1993 and 1995. However, the contract expired with no films into production. Around the same year when the contract expired, development of the film restarted with Paramount Pictures since Nickelodeon's parent company, Viacom, purchased the studio in 1994 and production had restarted on the television series after a small hiatus.
The Rugrats Movie was released by Paramount Pictures in the United States on November 20, 1998. The film received generally mixed reviews from critics, but was a box office success, grossing $141 million worldwide. It became the first non-Disney animated film to make over $100 million at the domestic box office. The film is followed by two sequels: Rugrats in Paris in 2000 and Rugrats Go Wild in 2003.


Didi Pickles is pregnant with her second baby, which she believes will be a girl while everyone else believes it will be a boy. Didi goes into labor during her baby shower and her friends rush her to the hospital. While this is happening, the kids crawl off and explore a nursery area before being found by the other parents. When the baby is finally born after a montage of past lives, it turns out to be a boy and they name him Dil.
Dil quickly becomes a very spoiled and mean baby, crying non-stop for attention, not listening to his parents, keeping all of the toys for himself, and refusing to share with his older brother Tommy. After a nasty fight between Tommy and Dil over Tommy's teddy bear, their father Stu has a conversation with Tommy about being a big brother and the responsibility he now has as such, assuring him that one day he will be happy to have Dil as his little brother. He also gives Tommy a locket with a picture of Tommy and Dil taped together and a watch inside, which he calls his "responsibility" which Tommy pronounces "sponsitility".
Meanwhile outside of town, a circus train loaded with monkeys stops at a station so the driver and ringmaster can get coffee. While they get coffee, the monkeys hijack the train, and the driver and ringmaster are unsuccessful to stop them. The monkeys accidentally speed up the runaway train causing it to derail and crash into the forest.
When Dil pushes the other babies too far, they decide to take him back to the hospital despite Tommy's disapproval, and end up driving recklessly through the streets in a Reptar Wagon which Stu had built for a contest in Japan. Along the way, Dil secretly steals Angelica's Cynthia doll, which prompts her to take the family dog, Spike and they embark on a quest to find the babies and retrieve Cynthia.
The babies eventually crashed in the woods, where they realize that they are lost. They spot a ranger's cabin where they believe a "lizard" (a mispronunciation of wizard) lives and decide to go there, believing that he can take them home. After an encounter with the gang of runaway circus monkeys, Dil is taken away by them. Tommy vows to find Dil by himself, after Chuckie, Phil and Lil agreed they are better off without him.
Meanwhile, the parents find out that the babies are missing and try to find them. However, it becomes a media sensation with numerous news reporters constantly asking the adults questions and one of them, the arrogant and insensitive Rex Pester, intentionally infuriates Stu's brother Drew into attacking Stu by telling him he lost Angelica.
Tommy eventually finds Dil during a storm, and they are forced to take shelter under a tree. But as Tommy tries to take care of him, Dil selfishly drinks all of the milk and keeps the large blanket for himself, which leads to the blanket tearing in half and Tommy falling into a puddle of mud. Tommy finally snaps and nearly pours banana baby food on Dil for the monkeys to take him away, but Tommy's rage and the storm's lightning and thunder scare Dil so much that he sees the error of his ways. They reconcile and sleep peacefully.
After the storm, the other babies find Tommy and Dil, and after running into Angelica and Spike they make their way to the ranger's cabin. While on a bridge, they are confronted by the monkeys but are then scared off by a huge wolf who's been stalking the babies intent on killing them since they arrived in the woods. Spike intervenes and fights the wolf until they both fall from the bridge. Meanwhile, Stu, who has been looking for the babies via a pterodactyl-like aircraft he made, finally finds them, but crash lands into the ranger's cabin. Believing he is the "lizard," the babies wish for Spike back instead of going home. Stu falls through the bridge and finds Spike, who actually survived the fall by landing on a strut of the bridge.
Soon afterwards, the babies are reunited with their families while the monkeys are reunited with their circus owners. The monkeys attacks Rex, much to the families' amusement. Dil finally learns to share when he drinks half of a bottle of formula and gives the other half to Tommy. The families return home and the babies accept Dil as one of the group after he assists them in getting an ice cream sundae from the top shelf of the refrigerator.



  • E. G. Daily as Tommy Pickles
  • Tara Strong as Dil Pickles
  • Christine Cavanaugh as Chuckie Finster
  • Kath Soucie as Phil, Lil, and Betty DeVille
  • Cheryl Chase as Angelica Pickles
  • Cree Summer as Susie Carmichael


  • Jack Riley as Stu Pickles
  • Joe Alaskey as Grandpa Lou Pickles
  • Melanie Chartoff as Didi Pickles and Grandma Minka
  • Michael Bell as Drew Pickles, Chas Finster and Grandpa Boris
  • Tress MacNeille as Charlotte Pickles
  • Phil Proctor as Howard DeVille


  • David Spade as Ranger Frank
  • Whoopi Goldberg as Ranger Margaret
  • Tim Curry as Rex Pester
  • Hattie Winston as Dr. Lucy Carmichael
  • Andrea Martin as Aunt Miriam
  • Busta Rhymes as Reptar Wagon
  • Roger Clinton, Jr. as Air Crewman
  • Margaret Cho as Lt. Klavin
  • Edie McClurg as Nurse
  • Charlie Adler as United Express Driver
  • Gregg Berger as Circus Television Announcer
  • Tony Jay as Dr. Lipschitz

Baby singers

  • Lenny Kravitz
  • Iggy Pop
  • Lisa Loeb
  • Gordon Gano
  • B-Real
  • Patti Smith
  • Jakob Dylan
  • Phife Dawg
  • Beck
  • Lou Rawls
  • Dawn Robinson
  • Laurie Anderson
  • Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of The B-52's without member Keith Strickland


Talks about making Rugrats into a feature film existed since the beginning of the series. The first attempt was in 1993, when Nickelodeon made a two-year contract deal with 20th Century Fox to produce new material, but an unnamed Nickelodeon executive did not rule out the possibility to make films based on their existing properties, one of those that was proposed was Rugrats, alongside Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show,,1837600&hl=en However, in 1994, Nickelodeon's parent company Viacom acquired Paramount Pictures, and Paramount would distribute the movies instead. As a result, the contract from Fox expired, with no movies produced (although Doug would eventually get a theatrical film from Disney in March 1999). Production on the movie started a year later in 1995.
Two months before the release of the movie, an episode prequel titled "The Family Tree" was aired as the final episode of the fifth season. Both the film's beginning and ending parody Paramount and Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones film series. This later inspired the second segment of the episode "A Tale of Two Puppies / Okey-Dokey Jones and the Ring of the Sunbeams", that aired during the show's eighth season on June 1, 2002.
This film was the first Rugrats media to use digital ink and paint, rather than the traditional cel animation used in the show.
Two songs were cut from the film during production. The first revolves around Stu and Didi in a nightmare sequence where Dr. Lipschitz criticizes their parenting through a song. The second depicts the Rugrats pushing the Reptar Wagon through the woods, debating what to do about Dil in an army chant style song. These two scenes were cut from the theatrical, VHS, DVD, and Laserdisc releases. However, these scenes are shown on CBS and Nickelodeon television airings of the film. These scenes were also present in the print novelization.
The film was released in theaters with a CatDog short titled "Fetch", in which Cat wins a radio contest, and attempts to answer the phone as Dog chases down his tennis ball. This short was later broadcast in CatDog Episode 21. However, the VHS, DVD and Laserdisc release contains a different CatDog short from Episode 28 titled "Winslow's Home Videos", in which Winslow shows clips of some of his favorite home videos featuring CatDog's wacky antics.


Home video

The Rugrats Movie was released on VHS and DVD on March 30, 1999 by Paramount Home Entertainment, which was reprinted many times. Paramount also released the film on Laserdisc. On March 15, 2011, the film was re-released in a three-disc trilogy DVD set alongside its sequels, in honor of Rugrats' 20th anniversary. In addition, it was re-released in some movie sets by Paramount, in 2016 with all the non-sequel Nickelodeon-animated movies up to Barnyard, as well as a separate 2-disc set with Hey Arnold!: The Movie. As of 2020, no Blu-ray release has been announced.


{{Infobox album
name = The Rugrats Movie: Music From the Motion Picture
type = soundtrack
artist = Various Artists
cover =
alt =
released = November 3, 1998
recorded = 1998
venue =
studio =
genre = R&B, hip hop, pop
length = 41:51
label = Interscope, Nickelodeon
producer =
chronology = Rugrats soundtrack
prev_title =
prev_year =
next_title = Rugrats in Paris: Music From the Motion Picture
next_year = 2000
misc =
{{Album ratings
rev1 = Allmusic
rev1Score = link
rev2 = Entertainment Weekly
rev2Score = C link
The Rugrats Movie: Music From the Motion Picture was released on November 3, 1998. The enhanced soundtrack contained thirteen tracks, bonus CD-ROM demos and commercials.'s Richard Gehr praised the CD for "bridging demographics as nimbly as the original show itself did" and for songs "fans of all ages will love".
Entertainment Weekly s David Browne rated the Music From the Motion Picture with a C.
Browne noted that, while the soundtrack is enjoyable for children and does "make concessions" for parents, adults may dislike the amount of rap. Allmusic's William Ruhlmann reviewed the soundtrack positively, saying "the result" of the singers and songs "is a romp in keeping with the tone of the show and the film".
The Rugrats Movie: Music from the Motion Picture spent twenty six weeks on Billboard 200, peaking at #19.
One song written for the film's soundtrack that was ultimately removed was "(Safe in This) Sky Life", a new track by English rock musician David Bowie; the song marked a reunion with longtime collaborator Tony Visconti, who would go on to produce all of Bowie's material from 2002 up until his death in 2016. The track would later be re-recorded as a B-side for Bowie's 2002 single "Everyone Says 'Hi'", under the shortened title of "Safe"."The Complete David Bowie" by Nicholas Pegg, (p.151)
In honor of its twentieth anniversary, the film's soundtrack was released on vinyl on November 30, 2018.

Track listing

Video games

A side-scrolling video game titled The Rugrats Movie was released for Game Boy and Game Boy Color in 1998 and 1999 respectively. It was developed by Software Creations and released by THQ. Brøderbund also developed and published a computer game based on the film, titled The Rugrats Movie: Activity Challenge. It was released in September 1998, as part of the film's marketing campaign.


Several books were released by Simon & Schuster's Simon Spotlight branch and Nickelodeon inspired by The Rugrats Movie. Tommy's New Playmate and The Rugrats Versus the Monkeys were also released on October 1, 1998, authored by Luke David and illustrated by John Kurtz and Sandrina Kurtz.
The Rugrats Movie Storybook, released on the same date and using the same illustrators and publishers, was written by Sarah Wilson. The same date saw the release of The Rugrats Movie: Hang On To Your Diapies, Babies, We're Going In!: Trivia from the Hit Movie!, a trivia book written by Kitty Richards.
A novelization of the film written by Cathy East Dubowski was published on October 1, 1998, by Tandem Library. The following month, a 144-page guidebook, The Making of The Rugrats Movie: Behind the Scenes at Klasky Csupo, was released on November 1, 1998, by MSG. In May 1999, Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation released a book titled The Rugrats Movie.


Box office

The film was released on November 20, 1998, and made $27.3 million in its opening weekend, from 2,782 theaters, averaging about $9,821 per venue and ranking number one that weekend, beating out Enemy of the State. In total, The Rugrats Movie made $140.9 million; $100.5 million from the domestic market and $40.4 million from its foreign release.
The film was released in the United Kingdom on March 26, 1999, and topped the country's box office for the next three weekends, before being dethroned by The Faculty.

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, The Rugrats Movie holds an approval rating of 59% based on 51 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Charming characters; loads of fun for kids and adults." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert gave the film two stars out of four. Ebert wrote that the film's target audience was primarily younger children, and that, while he as an adult disliked it, he "might have" liked it if he were younger and would recommend it for children. The New York Times s Anita Gates reviewed The Rugrats Movie positively, calling it a "delight". Neil Jeffries of Empire gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "Fun for kids, but, despite some adult references, appeal for the over 10s is limited."
Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly graded the film with a B. Schwarzbaum praised the movie for its appeal to both adult and child audiences, "juxtaposing the blithely self-absorbed parallel universes of small, diapered children and their large, Dockered parents". However, other Entertainment Weekly reviewer Ty Burr gave The Rugrats Movie a B−, criticizing that the film's issues sprung from it being "bigger" than the original series, thus it having more cultural references, out-of-place CGI scenes, and "going into scary territory". Despite these faults, Burr did praise the "escaped circus monkeys" for being "scary in a good way", as well as a joke that was accessible to younger audiences.
Rugrats co-creator Paul Germain (who was showrunner for the first three seasons before leaving to work for Disney) did not like the film's story. Germain felt that the writers of the movie did not understand what the series was about, and thought that moments such as Stu giving a watch to Tommy did not work as the babies and adults were not supposed to communicate. In addition, he felt that by giving Tommy a baby brother, Tommy was no longer the baby, thus the story of the series was changed from what it was supposed to be.


Two sequels have been released: Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, which was released on November 17, 2000, and Rugrats Go Wild, which was released on June 13, 2003.

External links

Category:1998 films
Category:1998 animated films
Category:1990s adventure comedy films
Category:1990s American animated films
Category:American adventure comedy films
Category:American children's animated adventure films
Category:American children's animated comedy films
Category:American children's animated musical films
Category:American films
Category:American musical comedy films
Category:Animated films based on animated series
Category:English-language films
Category:Films scored by Mark Mothersbaugh
Category:Films about missing people
Category:Klasky Csupo animated films
Category:Nickelodeon animated films
Category:Nickelodeon Movies films
Category:Paramount Pictures animated films
Category:Paramount Pictures films
Category:Rugrats and All Grown Up!
Category:Rugrats (film series)
Category:Films set in forests
Category:Films with screenplays by David N. Weiss
Category:1998 directorial debut films
Category:1998 comedy films

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