Big is a 1988 American fantasy comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" and is then aged to adulthood overnight. The film also stars Elizabeth Perkins, John Heard, and Robert Loggia and was written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg.
Big was the latest, and most successful, of a series of age-changing comedies produced in the late 1980s, the others being: Like Father Like Son (1987), 18 Again! (1988), Vice Versa (1988), and the Italian film Da grande (1987).
Josh Baskin is a 12-year-old boy living in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, who, after being told he is too short for a carnival ride while attempting to impress an older girl, puts a coin into an unusual antique arcade fortune teller machine called Zoltar Speaks, and makes a wish to be "big." After Josh discovers the machine is unplugged, it dispenses a card stating "Your wish has been granted."
The next morning, Josh has been transformed into a 30-year-old man, and when he goes back to the plaza with the fortune teller machine, he finds that the carnival, with the machine, has moved on. Fleeing from his mother, who thinks he is a stranger who kidnapped her son, Josh then finds his best friend, Billy Kopecki, at school, and convinces him of his identity by singing a song that only the two of them know. With Billy's help, he learns that it will take a couple of months to find the Zoltar Speaks machine, so Josh rents a flophouse room in New York City and obtains a job as a data entry clerk at MacMillan Toy Company. Josh runs into the company's owner, Mr. MacMillan, at FAO Schwarz, and impresses him with his insight into current toys and his happy-go-lucky, childlike enthusiasm. The two play a duet on a foot-operated electronic keyboard, performing "Heart and Soul" and "Chopsticks." This earns Josh a promotion to a dream job: getting paid to test toys. With his promotion, Josh's larger salary enables him to move into a spacious apartment, which he and Billy fill with toys, a vending machine, and a pinball machine. Josh soon attracts the attention of Susan Lawrence, a fellow McMillan executive. A romance begins to develop, to the annoyance of Susan's competitive boyfriend, Paul Davenport. Josh becomes increasingly entwined in his "adult" life by spending time with Susan, mingling with her friends and moving in with her. His ideas become valuable assets to MacMillan Toys; however, after celebrating Josh's 13th birthday with him, Billy notices a change in Josh and feels annoyed and neglected, suspecting that Josh has forgotten who he really is. MacMillan asks Josh to come up with proposals for a new line of toys. Josh is intimidated by the need to formulate the business aspects of the proposal, but Susan says she will handle the business end while Josh comes up with ideas. Nonetheless, Josh feels overly pressured. When he expresses doubts to Susan and attempts to explain that he is really a child, she interprets this as fear of commitment on his part, and dismisses his explanation. Longing to return to the life of a child, Josh learns from Billy that the Zoltar Speaks machine is now at Sea Point Park. In the middle of presenting their proposal to MacMillan and other executives, Josh leaves. Susan also leaves and encounters Billy, who tells her where Josh went. At the park, Josh finds the machine and makes a wish to become "a kid again." He is then confronted by Susan, who, seeing the machine and the fortune it gave Josh, realizes he was telling the truth. Susan becomes despondent at realizing their relationship is over. Josh tells Susan she was the one thing about his adult life he wishes would not end and suggests she use the machine to turn herself into a little girl. She declines, indicating that being a child once was enough, and takes Josh home. After sharing an emotional goodbye, Josh, now 13, reverts to his child form and reunites with his family. The movie ends with him and Billy hanging out.
- Tom Hanks as Joshua "Josh" Baskin
- David Moscow as Young Josh
- Elizabeth Perkins as Susan Lawrence
- Robert Loggia as MacMillan
- John Heard as Paul Davenport
- Jared Rushton as Billy Kopecki
- Jon Lovitz as Scotty Brennen
- Mercedes Ruehl as Mrs. Baskin
- Josh Clark as Mr. Baskin
- Kimberlee M. Davis as Cynthia Benson
- Oliver Block as Freddie Benson
- Debra Jo Rupp as Miss Patterson
- Frances Fisher as Mrs. Kopecki (only in 2007 "Extended Cut" DVD version)