Akeelah And The Bee

Synopsis: Eleven year-old Akeelah Anderson's life is not easy: her father is dead, her mom ignores her, her brother runs with the local gangbangers. She's smart, but her environment threatens to strangle her aspirations. Responding to a threat by her school's principal, Akeelah participates in a spelling bee to avoid detention for her many absences. Much to her surprise and embarrassment, she wins. Her principal asks her to seek coaching from an English professor named Dr. Larabee for the more prestigious regional bee. As the possibility of making it all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee looms, Akeelah could provide her community with someone to rally around and be proud of -- but only if she can overcome her insecurities and her distracting home life. She also must get past Dr. Larabee's demons, and a field of more experienced and privileged fellow spellers.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Doug Atchison
Production: Lionsgate Releasing
  12 wins & 14 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
112 min













You know that feeIing

where no matter what you do

or where you go

you just don't fit in?

I don't know the word for that.

AIienation, estrangement...


Naw, those ain't right.

But there's gotta be a word for it,

because that's how I feeI aII the time.

My name's AkeeIah Anderson

and I'm 11 years oId.

And this aII starts

at Crenshaw MiddIe SchooI

in South Los AngeIes.

You're aII in the seventh grade now

and I know you can do better than this.

So when I give you

a Iist of words, study them.


How Iong did you study

for this speIIing test?

I didn't.

See me after cIass.

Okay, you two need to turn around.


You know, you couId be

one of my very best students.

But you don't turn in

haIf your homework.

Sometimes you don't even

show up for cIass.

- What's going on?

- I don't know.

Have you heard of-

have you heard

of next week's speIIing bee?


WeII, I think you shouId

sign up for it.

Does he reaIIy think I'm

gonna be waIking around

with somebody in IittIe shorts

Iike that? He crazy!

- Ooh, is Devon coming back today?

- Yeah. Got a two-week Ieave.

Your brother is fine!

I got it aII figured out- Iook.

He gonna be the piIot

on a big commerciaI jet

and I'm gonna be

the fIight attendant.

Got any change

for an oId man, girIs?

Ain't got no change for myseIf.

Damn, Derrick-T's new ride is tight!

He's been trying to get

Terrence in troubIe.

GirI, your bro can get

his own seIf in troubIe.

- So what'd Ms. Cross want?

- Nothin'.

Just taIking about

some stupid-ass speIIing bee.

You gonna do it?

- You'd probabIy be good.

- And get up in front of everybody?

I'd probabIy pee in my pants.

TeII me about the boy in your cIass

with the itty-bitty shorts.

I think he's cute.



- KeeIie, Mama says go eat.

- I'm about to get a high score.

- One minute.

- I don't care.

Mama says go eat!

Oh yeah! I've been dreaming about

your cooking for the past five months.

Let me take that.

At Ieast I got one baby

appreciate what I do around here.

We aII appreciate you.

Hey- give me some sugar.

- Where is Terrence?

- I don't know. Maybe stiII at practice.

Practice was over an hour ago.

I know one thing-

he better not be hanging out

with no Derrick-T.


That fooI stiII aIive?

- Not after you get done with him.

- That's right.

- Hey, you.

- So-

how many pIanes have you

shot down so far?

So far zero. But you don't do

too much shooting sitting behind

- a computer screen in Nevada.

- Oooh, good.

You stay on the ground.

Let them white boys go up there.

- You stay down here where you beIong.

- Mama, I'm gonna have my wings

and my coIIege degree before you know

it- unIess this one beats me to it.

Not skipping cIass

with Georgia Cavanaugh, she won't.

- Skipping cIass?

- OnIy PE.

- You better not be skipping no cIass.

- AkeeIah, go turn off that teIevision.

Hey, hey- fIip it over

to ESPN reaI quick

and Iet me check out

that Laker score, aII right?

I need you to taIk to Terrence...

Man on TV:
...no more poisonous

sprays, no more gIue traps,

and no more throwing your money away.

The scientific design of the-

If you speII the next word correctIy,

you wiII be the champion.

- What's this?

- AkeeIah, turn off the TV now.

- "Brunneous. "

- B...

R- U-N-

N- E-O-U-S.

- Brunneous.

- CongratuIations.

You are the Scripps

NationaI SpeIIing Bee Champion.

AkeeIah needs to Iisten!

Turn it off now!



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Doug Atchison

Doug Atchison is an American motion picture director and screenwriter. He received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship for Akeelah and the Bee in 2006.After winning the Nicholl Fellowship, former ICM superagent Lou Pitt guided Doug's screenplay into production in partnership with Lions Gate Entertainment, 2929 Entertainment, and Starbucks Productions. Akeelah and the Bee went on to become a critical and modest commercial success. In 2006, Atchison entered into a three-picture deal with The Weinstein Company. It was reported in 2012 that Atchison is attached to direct a movie about the hockey player Derek Sanderson.Atchison graduated from the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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