Akeelah and the Bee

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Videos & Photos

  • Trailer 1
  • Trailer 1

Movie Info & Cast


Akeelah Anderson is a precocious 11-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Despite the objections of her mother Tanya, Akeelah enters various spelling contests, for which she is tutored by the forthright Dr. Larabee; her principal Mr. Welch and the proud residents of her neighborhood. Akeelah's aptitude earns her an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee and in turn unites her neighbors who witness the courage and inspiration of one amazing little girl.


  • Keke Palmer
  • Laurence Fishburne
  • Angela Bassett
  • Curtis Armstrong
  • J.R. Villarreal
  • Sean Michael Afable
  • Sahara Ware
  • Lee Thompson Young
  • Julito McCullum
  • Erica Hubbard

Did You Know?


  • Among the spelling words in the film are: prestidigitation, ambidextrous, pterodactyl, pulchritude, pastiche, xanthosis, cabalistic, soliterraneous, grandiloquent, catastasis, endentulous, quinquevir, bioluminescent, objugatory, kookaburra, effervescible, quiddity, pyrophanous, mountebank, numismatics, arboriculture, argillaceous, serpiginous, and logorrhea.
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  • The plaque on the wall in Dr. Larabee's office, which he makes Akeelah read, wrongly attributes the quote to Nelson Mandela's 1994 inaugural speech. This is a common mistake, but Nelson Mandela has never used that quote in any of his published speeches. The quote is from Marianne Williamson an American spiritual activist.
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    • [Javier has just kissed her]
    • Akeelah: Why'd you do that?
    • Javier: I had an impulse. Are you gonna sue me for sexual harassment?
    • [pause, then they both laugh]
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Effectively anchoring the picture is Keke Palmer's lovely lead performance as Akeelah Anderson.

Metacritic review by Michael Rechtshaffen
Michael Rechtshaffen
The Hollywood Reporter

Keke Palmer, a young Chicago actress whose first role was as Queen Latifah's niece in Barbershop 2, becomes an important young star with this movie. It puts her in Dakota Fanning and Thora Cross territory, and there's something about her poise and self-possession that hints she will grow up to be a considerable actress.

Metacritic review by Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

All the gears, in fact, are shamelessly visible, yet they lock smoothly and resonantly into place. If Akeelah and the Bee is a generic, well-oiled commercial contraption, it is the first to credibly dramatize the plight of a truly gifted, poor black child.

Metacritic review by Wesley Morris
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe