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Little Sweetheart (1989)

A criminal couple, hiding out in a remote property become the unwitting victims of a plot to blackmail them by the most unlikely of conspirators.


Anthony Simmons


Arthur Wise (novel), Anthony Simmons (screenplay)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
John Hurt ... Robert Burger
Karen Young ... Dorothea
Cassie Barasch Cassie Barasch ... Thelma
Ellie Raab Ellie Raab ... Elizabeth
Barbara Bosson ... Mrs. Davies
John McMartin ... Uncle David
James Waterston ... Richard
Guy Boyd ... The Sheriff
Jack Gilpin ... Mr. Harrison
Ann McDonough Ann McDonough ... Mrs. Harrison
Claude Brooks Claude Brooks ... Little Billy
Rose Parrah Rose Parrah ... Marissa
Gary Basaraba ... Barkeeper
Gene Densmore Gene Densmore ... Mr. Manny Drug Store Owner
Jessica Saunders Jessica Saunders ... Woman in Bar


Having embezzled a small fortune and attempting to lay low, Robert Burger (Sir John Hurt) and his mistress Dorothea (Karen Young) choose a remote rental property which in unobtrusive. But they soon make the grave mistake of befriending two nine-year-old girls, Thelma (Cassie Barasch) and Elizabeth (Ellie Raab), who live close by. Behind her seemingly cute and innocent façade, Thelma is a scheming, precocious brat who intrudes upon the couple's life and photographs the pair and ultimately discovers their dark little secret. With Elizabeth's help, they proceed to blackmail the bemused, unsuspecting twosome. But events eventually begin to unravel leading the pseudo-angelic brat to resort to twisted and evil crimes, meaning the lives of those associated with her gradually descend in to Hell. Written by Robert McElwaine

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She's spying on two strangers, she's about to murder her best friend and she's only nine years old!




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

19 October 1989 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

Poison Candy See more »

Filming Locations:

Eastpoint, Florida, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


The church, in which Robert (Sir John Hurt) hides near the end, is Trinity Episcopal Church, 79 6th Street, Apalachicola, Florida, located at the corner of 6th Street and Avenue D. This is discernible by its unique altar area with the three stained-glass windows, and criss-cross wooden pattern. See more »


Robert Burger: Thelma. Dotty said it all. It's so simple.
See more »


Features Dizzy Pilots (1943) See more »


Too Rich
Performed by Raf Ravenscroft & Julian Lippman
See more »

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User Reviews

Very well done killer kid thriller
11 May 2009 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Little Sweetheart is a thriller with a lot of problems. While the basic idea for the plot is good; the execution is rather uneven and many of the plot details don't hold up to close scrutiny in some cases; and outright don't follow any sort of logic in others. However, for me the film gets round all of its problems simply by being very entertaining for the entire duration. The idea of a child being immoral enough to commit murder purposely has surfaced occasionally in films ever since it was done brilliantly in 1956 with The Bad Seed; and generally it at least provides an interesting film. That is certainly the case here. This film focuses on a nine year old girl named Thelma. She is introduced to another girl her age, Elizabeth, when her parents move to the town Thelma lives in. Shortly thereafter, a couple turns up and Thelma takes an interest in them. The male half of the couple at first sees the girls as being rather cute and harmless; but this changes when the girls realise they can play the couple to their advantage.

Cassie Barasch takes the lead role and fully convinces with it. She always seems at home with the role and it's very easy to take her seriously as the young kid with an agenda. She is joined by Ellie Raab; who puts in a similarly effective portrayal, but the standout has to be John Hurt; who as usual delivers the standout performance. The film is always driven by the story rather than just the premise, and the drama is very character lead. Writer-director Anthony Simmons skilfully keeps the film interesting by constantly introducing new twists and ideas and never leaving the film long enough for it to get stale. Of course, the plot is rather unlikely (this is even acknowledged at one point in the film) but that never gets in the way too much and even the less likely elements of it never really throw a spanner into the works. The film flows well throughout, and boils down to a well orchestrated and suitable conclusion. This film is not an easy one to find; but its well worth seeking out if you enjoy entertaining thrillers.

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