Little Nikita

Official Movie Poster
Official Movie Poster

The Movie

“Little Nikita” is a thrilling and suspenseful movie that tells the story of a young high school student named Jeff Grant (played by River Phoenix) who discovers that his parents are actually Russian spies. As he tries to come to terms with this shocking revelation, Jeff finds himself drawn into a dangerous world of espionage and intrigue.

River Phoenix delivers a strong and convincing performance as Jeff, capturing the character’s confusion, fear, and a growing determination to uncover the truth about his parents. He is well-matched by Sidney Poitier, who plays an FBI agent tasked with tracking down the Russian spies.

Little Nikita was released on 18 March 1988. It was directed by Richard Benjamin and produced by Harry Gittes and Art Levinson. The movie had a budget of $15 million, but only generated a box office income of $1.7 million.

The Cast

  • Sidney Poitier as Roy Parmenter
  • River Phoenix as Jeff Grant / Nikita
  • Richard Jenkins as Richard Grant
  • Caroline Kava as Elizabeth Grant
  • Richard Bradford as Konstantin Karpov
  • Loretta Devine as Verna McLaughlin
  • Richard Lynch as Scuba
  • Lucy Deakins as Barbara Kerry


The film is filled with tense moments and unexpected twists, keeping the audience on edge throughout. The pacing is strong, with the story unfolding at a steady and engaging pace. The themes of family, loyalty, and betrayal are explored in a thoughtful and thought-provoking way.

Overall, “Little Nikita” is a well-crafted thriller that features strong performances, a gripping story, and plenty of suspense. It is a must-watch for fans of the genre, and a great showcase for the late River Phoenix’s considerable talent. The film was a failure and received mixed reviews.

Walter Goodman wrote about the directing of the film:

 “it 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.”

The Movie Trailer



Little Nikita – Wikipedia