Krippendorf’s Tribe

Last Updated on: June 26th, 2024

Krippendorf's Tribe (Touchstone Movie)

“Krippendorf’s Tribe” is a comedy film released by Touchstone Pictures in 1998. The movie stars Richard Dreyfuss as James Krippendorf, a quirky and eccentric anthropologist who is facing academic and financial troubles after the death of his wife. To secure funding for his research, Krippendorf concocts an outrageous scheme – he claims to have discovered an undiscovered New Guinea tribe called the Shelmikedmu and creates fake documentary footage of their supposed customs and rituals.

As the story unfolds, Krippendorf’s ruse becomes increasingly elaborate, and he enlists the help of his children, Shelly (Natasha Lyonne) and Mickey (Gregory Smith), to play members of the fictional tribe. With the assistance of his colleague, Veronica Micelli (Jenna Elfman), he submits the fabricated footage for a grant, hoping to secure the funding he desperately needs.

However, the situation takes a hilarious turn when a TV executive (Lily Tomlin) expresses interest in airing the “documentary” on national television, leading to unexpected fame and popularity for the made-up Shelmikedmu tribe. As the lies pile up, Krippendorf finds himself caught in a web of deception that becomes increasingly difficult to maintain.

Directed by Todd Holland, “Krippendorf’s Tribe” offers a lighthearted and humorous take on the consequences of dishonesty and the lengths people will go to achieve their goals. The film explores themes of family, acceptance, and the importance of honesty in an entertaining and charming way.

With a talented cast that includes Richard Dreyfuss, Jenna Elfman, and Lily Tomlin, “Krippendorf’s Tribe” delivers comedic performances that add to the film’s overall charm. While it may not have been a critical success upon release, the movie has gained a modest following over the years and remains a fun and enjoyable comedy that offers a blend of adventure and humor.

Additional Details


  • Richard Dreyfuss: Professor James Krippendorf
  • Jenna Elfman: Professor Veronica Micelli
  • Natasha Lyonne: Shelly Krippendorf
  • Lily Tomlin: Professor Ruth Allen
  • Barbara Williams: Professor Jennifer Harding Krippendorf
  • Gregory Smith: Michael “Mickey” Krippendorf
  • Carl Michael Lindner: Edmund Krippendorf
  • Stephen Root: Gerald Adams
  • Mila Kunis: Abbey Tournquist
  • David Ogden Stiers: Henry Spivey
  • Doris Belack: President Porter
  • Frances Bay: Edith Proxmire
  • Sandy Martin: Nurse


  • Director: Todd Holland
  • Producers: Larry Brezner, Ross Canter and Whitney Green
  • Screenplay:; Charlie Peters

Movie Trailer:

About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other site isDMR.