Richie Rich
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDonald Petrie
Screenplay byTom S. Parker
Jim Jennewein
Story byNeil Tolkin
Based onRichie Rich
by Alfred Harvey
Warren Kremer
Produced byJoel Silver
John Davis
CinematographyDon Burgess
Edited byMalcolm Campbell
Music byAlan Silvestri
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • December 21, 1994 (1994-12-21)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million
Box office$76 million

Richie Rich is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Donald Petrie and based on the comic character of the same name created by Alfred Harvey and Warren Kremer. The film was distributed by Warner Bros. under their Warner Bros. Family Entertainment label. The film stars Macaulay Culkin (in his final film as a child actor until he began work as an adult actor in 2003), John Larroquette, Edward Herrmann, Jonathan Hyde, and Christine Ebersole, while Reggie Jackson, Claudia Schiffer, and Ben Stein appear in cameo roles. Culkin's younger brother, Rory Culkin, played the part of Young Richie Rich. In theaters, the film was shown with a Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoon called Chariots of Fur, and was followed by the 1998 direct-to-video sequel Richie Rich's Christmas Wish.


Richard "Richie" Rich, Jr. is "the world's richest boy", living in Chicago with his billionaire parents Richard Sr. and Regina. Under the care of his loyal butler Herbert Cadbury, scientist Professor Keenbean, and his dog Dollar, Richie enjoys a luxurious but lonely life. At his father's reopening of the local United Tool factory, Richie sees union rep Diane Koscinski's daughter Gloria and her friends playing sandlot ball, and later tries to befriend them.

Lawrence Van Dough, the greedy CFO of Rich Industries, plots with head of security Ferguson to kill the Riches and steal their fortune, believed to be stored in the family's secret vault. As the Riches prepare for a visit to England, Ferguson plants a bomb among their gifts for the Queen's birthday. Cadbury convinces Regina to let Richie stay home instead, and arranges for a day of fun with the sandlot kids, accompanied by Diane. Though initially bribed by Cadbury, the kids decline the money after genuinely having fun with Richie.

Flying the plane themselves, Richard and Regina discover the bomb just before it explodes, crashing the plane into the ocean. Stranded on a life raft, Richie's parents are presumed dead, and Van Dough takes control of Rich Industries. He attempts to close the factory, prompting Richie to assume leadership of the company himself, with Cadbury as his legal guardian and business proxy. Determined to seize the Riches' fortune, Van Dough has Cadbury framed for the bomb and arrested, and subsequently petitions successfully to take over as Richie's legal guardian. He then regains control of Rich Industries removing Richie as the company's leader, evicts the rest of the Rich family servants, and installs his own security team at Rich Manor to keep Richie prisoner.

Overhearing Van Dough's plan to have Cadbury killed in jail, Professor Keenbean warns Richie, who sneaks out and rescues Cadbury. They enlist the help of Gloria and Diane, while Van Dough and Ferguson threaten Keenbean into revealing that the family vault requires a voice-activated code from Richard and Regina. At sea, Richard manages to repair his "Dadlink", a device allowing Richie to track him anywhere in the world. Using Gloria's computer, Richie finds the Dadlink's signal, but Ferguson intercepts the coordinates and captures Richard and Regina.

Richie and Gloria rally the sandlot kids to break into Rich Manor with Cadbury and Diane, using Keenbean's inventions against Van Dough's men. Holding Richard and Regina at gunpoint, Van Dough is led to the vault hidden within "Mount Richmore", their gigantic mountainside family portrait. Inside, he is furious and outraged to discover no money (which is in banks and the stock market), but what the Riches actually value most: treasured family mementos and heirlooms. Richie confronts Van Dough, who shoots him, but the bullets prove harmless thanks to Keenbean's bulletproof spray. Van Dough pursues the Riches down the side of the mountain, until Cadbury disarms Ferguson and the Riches subdue and fire Van Dough.

Days later, Richie plays baseball with Gloria and his new friends for the United Tool team on Rich Manor's yard, coached by Cadbury, who shares a kiss with Diane. Van Dough and Ferguson serve as the manor's gardeners as part of their work release, while Richard and Regina are overjoyed that Richie has finally found what money cannot buy: friends.



Photo of Biltmore Estate
Biltmore Estate, where many of the scenes were filmed.

Though set in Chicago, the house and grounds at which most of Richie Rich is filmed are those of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Some scenes, however, are filmed in Chicago, including a fencing scene filmed at DePaul University's Cortelyou Commons & the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood including the Francisco stop on the CTA Brown line. The roller coaster in the backyard is the former stand-up roller coaster Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America. In contrast to the famous publication and animated series, a few characters are eliminated to accommodate the film: among them are Irona the robot maid.

Data East was one of few regular pinball companies that manufactured custom pinball games e.g. for the film Richie Rich. This pinball machine was based on The Who's Tommy Pinball Wizard machine.[1]


The film has been met with mixed reception. A Los Angeles Times reviewer praised the actors' portrayal of characters in the film.[2] Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars saying he was surprised how much he enjoyed it and said that though it was not the greatest film, he liked that it had style and did not go for cheap payoffs.[3] Richie Rich earned a Razzie Award nomination for Macaulay Culkin as Worst Actor for his performance in the film (also for Getting Even with Dad and The Pagemaster) but lost the award to Kevin Costner for Wyatt Earp.[4]

Richie Rich received a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 4.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "With Macaulay Culkin barely registering any emotion, Richie Rich feels disjointed and free of a sense of fun and wonderment."[5] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100 based on 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[7]

The film grossed $38 million at the box office in the United States and Canada[8] and the same internationally[9] for a worldwide total of $76 million on a $40 million budget.[10][11] It was an even bigger home video success, with $125 million in VHS rentals[12] and, as of April 1997, $44.2 million in retail sales, the studio receiving 75%.[13]

Year-end lists


Richie Rich's Christmas Wish is a 1998 direct-to-video sequel starring David Gallagher in the titular role.


  1. ^ "Internet Pinball Machine Database: Data East 'Richie Rich'". Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  2. ^ Thomas, Kevin (1994-12-21). "MOVIE REVIEW: Culkin's 'Richie Rich': Comedy-Adventure With Heart". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Richie Rich Movie Review & Film Summary (1994) - Roger Ebert". Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Razzie Awards". Internet Movie Database. 1995. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2022-07-27.
  5. ^ "Richie Rich". Rotten Tomatoes. 21 December 1994. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Richie Rich Reviews". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  7. ^ "Home". CinemaScore. Retrieved 2022-09-19.
  8. ^ "Richie Rich | Boxofficemojo".
  9. ^ Klady, Leonard (February 19, 1996). "B.O. with a vengeance: $9.1 billion worldwide". Variety. p. 1.
  10. ^ Natale, Richard (1995-01-03). "New Year Box Office Starts Off With Bang Movies: At $15.5 million, 'Dumb' stole the show during the long holiday weekend. But many other movies filled the seats as well". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  11. ^ "Richie Rich (1994) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  12. ^ Harvey Capitalizes on Ghost, Rich Kid, Billboard
  13. ^ Matzer, Marla (1997-04-16). "Direct-to-Video Family Films Are Hitting Home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  14. ^ P. Means, Sean (January 1, 1995). "'Pulp and Circumstance' After the Rise of Quentin Tarantino, Hollywood Would Never Be the Same". The Salt Lake Tribune (Final ed.). p. E1.