The Parent Trap (1998 film)

The Parent Trap is a 1998 American romantic comedy film co-written and directed by Nancy Meyers, and produced and co-written by Charles Shyer. It is a remake of the 1961 film of the same name and an adaptation of Erich Kästner's 1949 German novel Lottie and Lisa (Das doppelte Lottchen).

The Parent Trap
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNancy Meyers
Screenplay by
Based onLottie and Lisa
by Erich Kästner
Produced byCharles Shyer
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited byStephen A. Rotter
Music byAlan Silvestri
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date
  • July 29, 1998 (1998-07-29) (United States)
Running time
128 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[2][3]
Budget$15 million[4]
Box office$92.1 million[5]

Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson star as a divorced couple who separated shortly after their identical twin daughters' birth; Lindsay Lohan stars (in her film debut) as both twins, Hallie Parker and Annie James, who are fortuitously reunited at summer camp after being separated at birth. David Swift wrote the screenplay for the original 1961 film based on Lottie and Lisa. The story is comparable to that of the 1936 Deanna Durbin film Three Smart Girls.[6] Swift is credited along with Meyers and Shyer as co-writers of the 1998 version.

The Parent Trap was released on July 29, 1998 and was a box-office success, grossing $92.1 million against a $15 million budget. It received positive reviews from critics, with Lohan's performance in particular earning high praise.


In 1986, American winery owner Nicholas Parker and British wedding gown designer Elizabeth James get married over the course of a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Elizabeth 2. Shortly after the birth of their identical twin daughters, Annie and Hallie, they get divorced and each has sole custody of one girl; Nick raises Hallie in Napa Valley, California and Elizabeth raises Annie in London, England.

11 years and 9 months later, in the summer of 1998, Nick and Elizabeth coincidentally send their daughters to the same summer camp in Maine, where they meet and take an immediate dislike to one another. They begin to pull a series of pranks on each other. After one prank goes too far, the two girls are isolated together for the remainder of camp as punishment. During a heart-to-heart, they discover they are twin sisters. Desperate to meet the parent they never knew, they make a plan: switching places to reunite their family, with hopes of getting their parents back together. Hallie imitates Annie's British accent and flies to London to meet their mother, maternal grandfather Charles, and the James' butler Martin. Meanwhile, Annie imitates Hallie's American accent and flies to Napa Valley to meet their father, Hallie's nanny Chessy, and the Parker’s’ dog Sammy.

Annie learns that Nick has a new, young girlfriend, Meredith, a child-hating gold digger, to whom he intends to propose. Hallie sneaks out to call her sister from a phone booth but is discovered by Charles, who persuades her to reveal her identity to Elizabeth. Meanwhile, Chessy grows suspicious of "Hallie's" odd behaviour, and "Hallie" confesses she is really Annie, but Chessy keeps her secret.

Hallie tells Elizabeth that Nick wants to meet her in San Francisco in order to switch the girls back. The two of them, along with Martin, travel to do so, with Elizabeth nervous to meet Nick again. On the same weekend, Annie, Nick, and Meredith travel to the same hotel to discuss wedding plans. Nick sees Elizabeth for the first time in years, and they learn they have been tricked by their daughters into meeting again, as well as Nick discovering he's had Annie in his care since the end of camp. Chessy and Martin meet and grow romantically attracted to each other.

Hallie and Annie recreate the night their parents met by renting out a yacht for an evening, but ultimately fail to rekindle Nick and Elizabeth's relationship. The twins resort to a last-ditch effort by demanding a three-day family camping trip, refusing to reveal which twin is which until after they return. Elizabeth tricks Meredith into taking her place on the camping trip at the last minute, much to the girls' dismay. Over the course of the trip, Hallie and Annie play a number of harmless tricks on Meredith, who becomes enraged and demands Nick chooses between her and them. Nick realizes Meredith's true colors toward his children and chooses the twins over her while breaking off the engagement and wedding. Meredith throws her ring at him in fury.

Back in Napa Valley, Nick shows Elizabeth his wine collection, including the bottle from their wedding. They realize they still have feelings for one another, but decide it is better to go their separate ways. Elizabeth and Annie later board a flight for London. When they arrive home, they find Nick and Hallie waiting for them (having taken a faster flight on the Concorde). Nick expresses his previous mistake of not going after Elizabeth when she left him the first time. They kiss. Hallie and Annie look on, exclaiming, "We actually did it."

Photos during the credits show Nick and Elizabeth getting remarried aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2, with Annie and Hallie as bridesmaids, and Martin proposing to Chessy.

Cast and charactersEdit

  • Lindsay Lohan as Hallie Parker and Annie James, eleven-year-old twin sisters who were separated after birth. Following their parents' divorce, they were raised separately with no knowledge of each other's existence — until they meet at summer camp by chance. Erin Mackey was Lohan's acting double for the scenes where the twins appear together.
  • Dennis Quaid as Nicholas "Nick" Parker, Annie and Hallie's father, a wealthy American vineyard owner.
  • Natasha Richardson as Elizabeth "Liz" James, Annie and Hallie's mother, a famous British wedding gown designer.
  • Elaine Hendrix as Meredith Blake, a 26-year-old child-hating publicist who is planning to marry Nick for his money.
  • Lisa Ann Walter as Chessy, Nick's housekeeper and Hallie's nanny. She has long considered herself rather awkward and thus not overly desirable to eligible bachelors, but then she meets Martin, and the two are mutually smitten. She also discovers that "Hallie" is actually Annie after noticing her strange behavior.
  • Simon Kunz as Martin, the James family's butler, who falls in love with Chessy.
  • Polly Holliday as Marva Kulp Sr., the owner and director of Camp Walden.
  • Maggie Wheeler as Marva Kulp Jr., Marva Sr.'s daughter and assistant.
  • Ronnie Stevens as Charles James, Elizabeth's wealthy father and Annie and Hallie's maternal grandfather. After he catches Hallie on the phone with Annie, she tells him about switching places.
  • Joanna Barnes as Vicki Blake, Meredith's mother.
  • J. Patrick McCormack as Les Blake, Meredith's father.

Kat Graham played Jackie, a friend of Annie at Camp Walden. Vendela Kirsebom appears as a model during a photoshoot sequence at Elizabeth James' studio. Meyers and Shyer's daughters Hallie Meyers-Shyer and Annie Meyers-Shyer make appearances in the film, credited as Lindsay and Towel Girl, respectively. Lohan's brother Michael (credited as Lost Boy At Camp) plays a boy at Camp Walden who did not realize he was going to an all-girls camp. Lohan's mother, Dina, and other siblings Aliana and Cody, all appear in uncredited cameos at the airport in London. The films cinematographer Dean Cundey appears in an uncredited cameo as the captain of the Queen Elizabeth 2, who marries Nick and Elizabeth at the beginning of the film. Jeannette Charles portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in a deleted scene in which she and Hallie meet.



More than 1,500 young actresses submitted audition tapes for the dual roles of Hallie and Annie.[7] Director Nancy Meyers was looking for "a little Diane Keaton" to play the parts.[8] Before Lohan was cast in the roles, actresses Scarlett Johansson, Mara Wilson, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Jena Malone all either auditioned or were considered for the roles, with Malone turning the roles down multiple times.[9]


Principal photography started on July 15, 1997, in London, United Kingdom, and continued in Napa Valley AVA, San Francisco, Lake Arrowhead, and Los Angeles, California to December 17, 1997.[10] Camp Walden was filmed on location at Camp Seely in Crestline, California.[11] Parker Knoll, the vineyard and residence of the Parker family in the film, was shot on location in Rutherford, California at Staglin Family Vineyard.[12] The exterior of the fictional Stafford Hotel was shot at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California, while the interior and pool scenes were shot at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey, California.[13]

Connections to the 1961 filmEdit

There are several connections between this film and the original 1961 version:

  • The characters Marva Kulp Sr. and Marva Kulp Jr. are named after Nancy Kulp, the actress who played a camp counselor in the 1961 film, Miss Grunecker.
  • Both versions of the film feature product placement by Nabisco. In 1998 film, Oreos are featured, while in the 1961 film, Fig Newtons are featured.
  • During the poolside scene where Annie and Meredith meet for the first time, Meredith speaks on the phone with someone named Reverend Mosby, who was a character in the 1961 film played by Leo G. Carroll.
  • Joanna Barnes appears in both films, playing Vicky Robinson in the 1961 film, and Vicki Blake in the 1998 version.
  • The Stafford Hotel is named after a boy in the 1961 film that accepts the boy's camp invitation to the dance at the beginning of film.
  • Right before Hallie meets Meredith for the first time, she can be heard singing a few bars of "Let's Get Together", a song from the 1961 version originally sung by Hayley Mills.
  • There are bunk houses named Arapahoe in both films.


The song used in the opening sequence in which glimpses of Nick and Elizabeth's first wedding are seen is Nat King Cole's "L-O-V-E". The song used in the end credits, in which photos of Nick and Elizabeth's second wedding are seen, is his daughter Natalie Cole's "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)".

The instrumental music featured prominently in the hotel scene where the girls and their parents cross paths serendipitously is "In the Mood", which was previously made famous by the Glenn Miller band. The song "Let's Get Together" is also quoted over the Walt Disney Pictures logo, and at the end of Alan Silvestri's closing credits suite.

When Hallie shows up at Annie's poker game at Camp Walden, the music used is "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

The tune playing as Hallie and Annie are making their way up to the Isolation Cabin is the main theme from "The Great Escape" by Elmer Bernstein.

The song coming from the radio in Meredith's car as she pulls up to the Parker's home is "Parents Just Don't Understand" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

The background song heard in the campfire scene is "How Bizarre" by the music group OMC.

The song playing as Annie, Elizabeth, and Martin say goodbye to Hallie, Nick and Chessy toward the end of the film is "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye", performed by Ray Charles & Betty Carter.


The Parent Trap
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedJuly 28, 1998
The Parent Trap (Original Soundtrack)
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording artistLength
1."L-O-V-E"Bert Kaempfert; Milt GablerNat King Cole2:32
2."Do You Believe in Magic"John SebastianThe Lovin' Spoonful2:05
3."There She Goes"Lee MaversThe La's2:43
4."Top of the World"Fred Busby; John BettisShonen Knife3:56
5."Here Comes the Sun"George HarrisonBob Khaleel3:08
6."(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons"Deek Watson; William BestLinda Ronstadt3:44
7."Soulful Strut"Eugene Record; Sonny SandersYoung-Holt Unlimited3:00
8."Never Let You Go"Christian Berman; Frank Berman; Gabriel Gilbert; Jeff Coplan; Matthias Hass; Nick Laird-ClowesJakaranda3:07
9."Bad to the Bone"George ThorogoodGeorge Thorogood & The Destroyers4:49
10."The Happy Club"Bob Geldof; Karl WallingerBob Geldof4:05
11."Suite from The Parent Trap"Alan Silvestri 7:13
12."This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)"Chuck Jackson; Marvin YancyNatalie Cole2:49
13."Dream Come True[1]"Milton DavisTa-Gana3:50
14."Groovin'[2]"Eddie Brigati; Felix CavalierePato Banton & The Reggae Revolution3:50
15."Let's Get Together[3]"Richard M. Sherman; Robert B. ShermanNobody's Angel3:08
Total length:54:08

Film scoreEdit

The Parent Trap
Film score by
ReleasedSeptember 1, 1998
Alan Silvestri chronology
The Odd Couple II
''The Parent Trap
Practical Magic

All tracks are written by Alan Silvestri.

The Parent Trap (Original Score)
1."The Disney Logo"0:16
2."Suite from The Parent Trap"7:12
3."Annie and Martin"1:00
4."Shake Hands, Girls"0:34
5."Like Twins"3:39
7."Hallie Meets Mom"3:43
8."Annie Meets Dad"2:11
9."Vineyard Suite"1:38
10."I Am Annie"1:17
11."Dad's Getting Married"1:01
12."Hallie Breaks the News"1:49
13."You'll Kill in It"0:53
14."Table for Two"1:51
15."She's Gone"2:05
16."Where Dreams Have No End"2:18
17."We Actually Did It"1:38
Total length:39:46


1.^ Not featured in the motion picture.


Box officeEdit

The film premiered in Los Angeles on July 20, 1998.[14] In its opening weekend, the film grossed $11,148,497 in 2,247 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #2 at the box office, behind Saving Private Ryan. By the end of its run, The Parent Trap grossed $66,308,518 domestically and $25,800,000 internationally, totaling $92,108,518 worldwide.[5] The film was released in the United Kingdom on December 11, 1998, and opened on #3, behind Rush Hour and The Mask of Zorro.[15]

Critical responseEdit

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 86% approval rating with an average rating of 6.8/10 based on 51 reviews. The website's consensus states: "Writer-director Nancy Meyers takes the winning formula of the 1961 original and gives it an amiable modern spin, while young star Lindsay Lohan shines in her breakout role."[16] Metacritic gave the film a score of 64/100, based on reviews from 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[17]

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert each gave the film three stars.[18] Critic Kenneth Turan called Lohan "the soul of this film as much as Hayley Mills was of the original", going on to say that "she is more adept than her predecessor at creating two distinct personalities".[19] Lohan won a Young Artist Award for best performance in a feature film.[20][21]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
1999 Artios Awards Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy[22] Ilene Starger Nominated
1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Female Newcomer[23] Lindsay Lohan Nominated
1998 International Film Music Critics Association Best Original Score for a Comedy Film[24] Alan Silvestri Nominated
1999 Online Film & Television Association Best Breakthrough Performance: Female[25] Lindsay Lohan Won
Best Youth Performance[25] Lindsay Lohan Nominated
Best Family Actress[25] Lindsay Lohan Nominated
1999 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress[26] Lindsay Lohan Won
Best Family Feature - Comedy[26] The Parent Trap Nominated
1998 YoungStar Awards Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film[27] Lindsay Lohan Nominated

Home mediaEdit

The Parent Trap was originally released on video in the United States on December 8, 1998.[28] A 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray was released as a Disney Movie Club Exclusive on April 24, 2018.[29] The film was also available as a launch title on Disney+.[30]


  • On February 21, 2018, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that remakes of several films are in development as exclusive content for The Walt Disney Company's streaming service Disney+ with one of those projects named in the announcement as The Parent Trap.[31]
  • Malayalam TV series Kasthooriman Season 2 is a loose adaptation of the movie.


On July 20, 2020, Katie Couric moderated a virtual cast reunion through her Instagram account for the film's 22nd anniversary.[32] Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Elaine Hendrix, Lisa Ann Walter, Simon Kunz, Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer all participated in the video chat.[33] A charity fundraising effort during the COVID-19 pandemic, the reunion special helped raise money for chef José Andrés' non-profit organization World Central Kitchen.[34][35] Quaid then released an extended version of the reunion on his podcast The Dennissance on the following day.[36]


  1. ^ "The Parent Trap: 128 minutes (Starz 01/2010 Schedule, Page 4)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 26, 2015. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "The Parent Trap". AFI Catalog. American Film Institute. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ "The Parent Trap (1998)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  4. ^ Knott, Matthew Hammett (May 29, 2014). "Heroines of Cinema: These 10 Female Filmmakers Prove Why Hollywood Studios Should Change Their Tune | IndieWire". IndieWire. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "The Parent Trap (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  6. ^ Kawano, Kelley (June 26, 2012). "Let's Get Together: An In-Depth Look at the Ongoing Appeal of Hayley Mills' 'The Parent Trap'". Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Brown, Lauren (2004). Lindsay Lohan: The "It" Girl Next Door. Simon and Schuster. p. 15. ISBN 9780689878886.
  8. ^ "Lindsay Lohan, Rehab and Oscar". Newsweek. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  9. ^ "20 Things You Never Knew About The Parent Trap". E Online. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  10. ^ "The Parent Trap - Production Notes - About the locations". Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  11. ^ "Parent Trap, The (film, 1998)". D23. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  12. ^ "Staglin Family Vineyard - The Napa Wine Project". The Napa Wine Project. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  13. ^ "Luxurious, Wonderfully Dated Hotels From TV and Movies". Curbed. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  14. ^ "Young Lindsay Lohan: Looking Back at 'The Parent Trap' Premiere". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  15. ^ "Weekend box office 11th December 1998 - 13th December 1998". Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  16. ^ "The Parent Trap (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  17. ^ "The Parent Trap (1998) Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  18. ^ Siskel, Gene (July 31, 1998). "Parent Trap Repeat a Worthy Trip". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
       Ebert, Roger (July 29, 1998). "The Parent Trap". Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  19. ^ "Kenneth Turan: The Parent Trap". Los Angeles Times. July 29, 1998. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Alt URL
  20. ^ "Celebrity Central: Lindsay Lohan". Archived from the original on January 31, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  21. ^ "Lindsay Lohan: Biography: Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 31, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  22. ^ "1999 Artios Awards". Casting Society of America. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  23. ^ "Lindsay Lohan - Awards, Honors". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  24. ^ IFMCA. "1998 FMCJ Awards". IFMCA. IFMCA. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  25. ^ a b c "3rd Annual Film Awards (1998)". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  26. ^ a b "20th Annual Awards". The Young Artist Foundation. Archived from the original on October 21, 2015.
  27. ^ "Nominations for the 3rd Annual Hollywood Reporter YoungStar Awards". Gale Group. Business Wire. September 17, 1998. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014.
  28. ^ "PARENT TRAP, THE (1998) - Misc Notes -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  29. ^ "The Parent Trap Blu-ray Release Date April 24, 2018 (Disney Movie Club Exclusive)". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  30. ^ Disney+ [@disneyplus] (October 14, 2019). "The Parent Trap (1998)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  31. ^ "Disney Planning Another 'Muppets' Reboot for Its Streaming Service (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. February 21, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  32. ^ "Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid and other stars from 'The Parent Trap' are reuniting for the film's 22nd anniversary". CNN. July 19, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  33. ^ "Katie Couric Reunites Lindsay Lohan and 'Parent Trap' Cast for Film's Anniversary". The Hollywood Reporter. July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  34. ^ "Lindsay Lohan and Parent Trap Cast Remember Late Natasha Richardson as 'So Giving' During Reunion". People. July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  35. ^ "The 'Parent Trap' cast reunion praises Lindsay Lohan's starmaking role". Los Angeles Times. July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  36. ^ "Dennis Quaid on Instagram: "Can't believe we actually pulled it off, but here it is folks - the Parent Trap Reunion you've all been waiting for. Listen to the FULL reunion right now on the season two premiere of my podcast The Dennissance on all other streaming platforms."". Instagram. July 21, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.

External linksEdit