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Top Secret! (1984)

PG | | Comedy, Music | 8 June 1984 (USA)
Parody of WWII spy movies in which an American rock and roll singer becomes involved in a Resistance plot to rescue a scientist imprisoned in East Germany.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Val Kilmer ... Nick Rivers
Lucy Gutteridge ... Hillary Flammond
Peter Cushing ... Bookstore Proprietor
Jeremy Kemp ... General Streck
Christopher Villiers ... Nigel
Warren Clarke ... Colonel von Horst
Michael Gough ... Dr. Paul Flammond
Harry Ditson ... Du Quois
Jim Carter ... Déjà Vu
Eddie Tagoe ... Chocolate Mousse
Nancy Abrahams Nancy Abrahams ... Pregnant Woman
Omar Sharif ... Agent Cedric
Tristram Jellinek Tristram Jellinek ... Major Crumpler
Billy J. Mitchell ... Martin
Major Wiley Major Wiley ... Porter
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Storyline

This time Zucker and Abrahams are spoofing, most notably, Elvis films and WWII spy movies. Val Kilmer stars as Nick Rivers, a handsome American 50s-style rock and roll singer. While performing in East Germany, he falls in love with a beautiful heroine and becomes involved with the French Resistance. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Movie? What movie? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | German | Yiddish

Release Date:

8 June 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Top Secret See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,406,205, 24 June 1984, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$20,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kingsmere Properties See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is Val Kilmer's first feature film. Also features Michael Gough, who later played Alfred Pennyworth in the Batman movies. See more »

Goofs

When Nick enters Dr. Flammond's cell and Dr. Flammond is seen emptying spoonfuls of dirt from under his cot, you can clearly see him scoop dirt from a different pile underneath the cot rather than the tunnel he was nearly completing. See more »

Quotes

Latrine, Resistance Member: [throws dead carrier pigeon on table]
Latrine, Resistance Member: We have a traitor in our midst.
Deja Vu: Well done, Latrine. I see that you have taken care of him appropriately.
Du Quois: [looks at Deja Vu] Not the bird, you fool! This is a carrier pigeon on its way to the German Headquarters.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Foreez A Jolly Good Fellow See more »

Alternate Versions

Alternate scenes different from release version:
  • Instead of refering to a pinup calendar, Professor Flammond explains the complexity of his work.
  • The line "if they find you here your life will be worth less than a truckload of dead rats at a tampon factory" is replaced with "if they find you here your life will be worth less than a beaker of butadiene in a colloid solution!"
See more »

Connections

References Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

THEME FROM JAWS
By John Williams
See more »

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User Reviews

 
an overlooked gem
11 April 2005 | by the-jerkSee all my reviews

Maybe some people just don't get it. This was made by the team of Zucker-Abraham-Zucker, responsible for "Airplane", "The Kentucky Fried Movie", and the "Naked Gun" series, so who cares if it doesn't accurately reflect society? It's not meant to be a satire, folks, it's a very broad parody!

I recently watched this again, and I caught something I had never caught before. In the dinner scene at the "Hotel Gay Schluffen", Nick Rivers (played by Val Kilmer, and this may be the best thing he's ever done), American rock star, is told that he needs a jacket to eat in the dining room, but the restaurant will provide one. In the next scene we can see him in the background having a jacket tailor-made! The reason it's hard to catch is that there's exposition going on in the foreground (a ZAZ trademark). It's funny, but the amazing thing is that I've seen this movie many times over a period of something like 20 years, and I'd never noticed that before.

I believe that this is one of the marks of a great spoof, that you can watch it many times and still pick up jokes you've never noticed before. Like ZAZ's other masterworks, this one is packed with hilarious one-liners and sight gags. Watch for the scene in the Swedish bookshop that's filmed backwards, the way the verses to the East German National Anthem keep getting longer and longer when translated into English, and the scene where an unfortunate agent is crushed inside a car (and what happens with him afterwards!). And this doesn't even scratch the surface. If "Top Secret!" isn't ZAZ's funniest movie it's only because it has such strong competition. The men were comedic geniuses when they were together.

Val Kilmer was hilarious as Nick Rivers, and the movie has a strong supporting cast, including Lucy Gutteridge as Nick's love interest Hillary (I wonder how Ms. Clinton would feel if she knew her name means "She whose bosoms defy gravity"?), Christopher Villiers as Nigel, her ex-boyfriend (they spent some time stranded on a deserted island together), and Jeremy Kemp as the evil General Streck. Also look out for Peter Cushing, Omar Sharif, and Ian McNiece (hilarious as a spy whose cover is selling souvenirs, novelties, and party tricks). And watch out for the French resistance (who knows what they're doing in East Germany?), each one of whose names is a pun on a French word or phrase (Chocolate Mousse, Deja Vu, etc.)

The plot? Does it matter? Something about the East Germans planning to take over the world while everybody's paying attention to an international cultural show they're putting on (Nick is the American representative), and the spies who are trying to stop it. But that's not the point, the point is the comedy, and I could go on and on about the many hilarious jokes but I'm not going to; let me just say without ruining anything that the funniest scenes in the movie involve a cow.

It's usually overlooked, curiously enough, when talking about the great comedies, but there's no doubt about it, "Top Secret!" IS one of the great comedies of our time.


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