6.7/10
29,031
71 user 22 critic

*batteries not included (1987)

Apartment block tenants seek the aid of alien mechanical life-forms to save their building from demolition.

Director:

Matthew Robbins

Writers:

Mick Garris (story by), Brad Bird (screenplay by) | 3 more credits »

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Short Circuit (1986)
Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Number 5 of a group of experimental robots in a lab is electrocuted, suddenly becomes intelligent, and escapes.

Director: John Badham
Stars: Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, Fisher Stevens
Adventure | Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1978, a boy travels 8 years into the future and has an adventure with an intelligent, wisecracking alien ship.

Director: Randal Kleiser
Stars: Joey Cramer, Paul Reubens, Cliff De Young
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Robot Johnny Five comes to the city and gets manipulated by criminals who want him for their own purposes.

Director: Kenneth Johnson
Stars: Fisher Stevens, Michael McKean, Tim Blaney
Comedy | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The Henderson family adopt a friendly Sasquatch but have a hard time trying to keep the legend of 'Bigfoot' a secret.

Director: William Dear
Stars: John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon, Margaret Langrick
Explorers (1985)
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A boy obsessed with 50s sci-fi movies about aliens has a recurring dream about a blueprint of some kind, which he draws for his inventor friend. With the help of a third kid, they follow it and build themselves a spaceship. Now what?

Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, Jason Presson
Adventure | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A troubled boy dives into a wondrous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach
Labyrinth (1986)
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Sixteen-year-old Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is given thirteen hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue her baby brother Toby (Toby Froud) when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie).

Director: Jim Henson
Stars: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud
D.A.R.Y.L. (1985)
Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A seemingly normal young boy turns out to be a top secret, military-created robot with superhuman abilities.

Director: Simon Wincer
Stars: Mary Beth Hurt, Michael McKean, Kathryn Walker
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Three bachelors find themselves forced to take care of a baby left by one of the guys' girlfriends.

Director: Leonard Nimoy
Stars: Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, Ted Danson
Adventure | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A young boy with a distant father enters a world of make-believe and magic through a portal within an antique book.

Director: George Miller
Stars: Jonathan Brandis, Kenny Morrison, Clarissa Burt
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The scientist father of a teenage girl and boy accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to the size of insects. Now the teens must fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them.

Director: Joe Johnston
Stars: Rick Moranis, Matt Frewer, Marcia Strassman
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.

Directors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
Stars: Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hume Cronyn ... Frank Riley
Jessica Tandy ... Faye Riley
Frank McRae ... Harry Noble
Elizabeth Peña ... Marisa Esteval
Michael Carmine ... Carlos
Dennis Boutsikaris ... Mason Baylor
Tom Aldredge ... Sid Hogenson
Jane Hoffman Jane Hoffman ... Muriel Hogenson
John DiSanti ... Gus
John Pankow ... Kovacs
MacIntyre Dixon MacIntyre Dixon ... DeWitt
Michael Greene ... Lacey
Doris Belack ... Mrs. Thompson
Wendy Schaal ... Pamela
José Angel Santana José Angel Santana ... Goon #1 (as José Santana)
Edit

Storyline

A group of tenants in an apartment block are being forced to move out so that it can be demolished. The tenants are reluctant to move, so the developers hire a local gang to 'persuade' them to leave. Fortunately, visiting alien mechanical life-forms come to town. When they befriend the tenants, the aliens use their extraterrestrial abilities to defeat the developers. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Five ordinary people needed a miracle. Then one night, Faye Riley left the window open.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

18 December 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

*batteries not included See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,326,530, 20 December 1987

Gross USA:

$32,945,797

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$65,088,797
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

While they may be virtually unknown to the current generation, what Harry uses to summon the babies is an ultrasonic dog whistle = an instrument with a pitch beyond the range of human hearing. When he blows the whistle while leaving the building one can hear dogs barking in the distance in response to the whistle. See more »

Goofs

When Frank is showing the machine how to cook hamburgers on the grill, the full view shows three raw patties on the back of the griddle. But on the close-up, the machine starts to turn the patties and all patties have been cooked on one side. See more »

Quotes

Frank Riley: [a construction worker is driving a demolition machine towards the cafe] Hey! You ever hear of private property?
Gus: Just coming for a hamburger, Pop.
Frank Riley: Hah! You got alotta nerve. Get your food somewheres else.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, pictures of young Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy are shown. This includes their actual wedding photo, since the actors (who often play a married couple on stage or in the movies) were married for decades. See more »

Alternate Versions

When aired on KTLA in 1991, the following scenes were omitted: When Frank attempts to give Faye her medicine; Before Frank asks for somebody to help them, he breaks a vace and kicks a chair; a scene of Carlos and his gang planning; Frank and Faye are reading the newspaper and while one of the spaceships pours them coffee, Faye asks what ever happened to General Eisehower; Harry searches his room for his whistle; While Marissa, Hector and his friends hold a fiesta in the apartment, Mason sits outside and drinks. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Hunt for Ziro (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Use only as directed...
12 May 2006 | by jimbo700See all my reviews

*batteries not included is a very underrated movie, especially among reviewers on the IMDb. The pros, such as Roger Ebert seem to give it some respect (along with 3 thumbs up). There was nothing sugar coated about the performances of the 5 main characters in *batteries not included. Jessica Tandy gives one of the best performances of her career as Faye Riley who appears to be in the early-to-mid stages of Alzheimer's disease. Hume Cronyn is Faye's husband Frank, owner of a small diner with no customers. Elizabeth Peña is Marisa Esteval, a single soon-to-be mother who clings to her statue of the Virgin Mary for what little hope she has. Dennis Boutsikaris is the cynical artist/painter Mason Baylor, who has a heart as big as his artistic talent, yet no one other than Marisa seems to acknowledge his talent. Finally there's Frank McRae as the former boxer extraordinaire Harry Noble, now living in the basement of the building that houses each character and the Riley's diner. Oh... Harry watches way too much TV... especially the commercials. His only lines (which were few) in this movie were lines from commercials. This movie represents a cross section of people who are on the verge of losing their homes to a real estate developer, who will stop at nothing to get them out of their building. After throwing large sums of money at them (to no avail), the developer hires Carlos (Michael Carmine) to run them out using whatever means are necessary, including force. The characters are developed to the point that you actually care for all 5 of them. Just when it looks hopeless for our friends, small spaceships, compliments of Industrial Light and Magic show up and start fixing everything. And flipping burgers in Riley's Dinner. They also wash dishes, repair broken Virgin Mary statues and stopwatches and they replicate using spare pots and pans and electrical appliances, fused together by at least 1.21 gigawatt's of electricity. Although the aliens are portrayed as mechanical beings with heart, they certainly give hope to the residents, and help bind them together. The visual effects are a treat... especially for those of us who have tired of CGI effects that look more like a cartoon than reality. There's something about filming a real model, built by human hands against a blue screen, then matting it into the film that makes it look more realistic than computer animated visuals. Many have written that this movie tries to suck the viewer in, using emotional techniques, as opposed to making it an intellectual masterpiece. I believe it takes more talent to get the audience to emotionally invest themselves in a movie than to create eye candy. Thanks to great acting, a decent-enough script, good cinematography and an equally emotional score from James Horner, this picture works in every way... even 20 years later. If you haven't seen this movie in 20 years, go ahead and give it a spin. It's as good today as it was in 1987! Prices may vary in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico...


67 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 71 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed