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Up in Smoke (1978)

R  |   |  Comedy, Music  |  15 September 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 27,351 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 34 critic

Two stoners unknowingly smuggle a van - made entirely of marijuana - from Mexico to L.A., with incompetent Sgt. Stedenko on their trail.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arnold Stoner
Mrs. Tempest Stoner
Harold Fong ...
Richard Novo ...
Jane Moder ...
Jail Bait
Pam Bille ...
Jail Bait
Marian Beeler ...
Judge Gladys Dykes
Donald Hotton ...
John Ian Jacobs ...
Prosecuting Attorney (as Jon Ian Jacobs)
Christopher Joy ...
Curtis (as Christipher Joy)
Ray Vitte ...
The Band: Bass - James
Michael Caldwell ...
The Band: Guitar - Duane


Cheech and Chong meet up by chance on the highway somewhere in California. They go in search of some dope and are accidentally deported to Mexico where in their desperation to get home they agree to drive a van back to the States so they can get back in time for a gig they are due to play. Unaware of the properties from which the van is constructed they make their way back having aquired a couple of female hitch-hikers whilst all the time avoiding the cops whom they are not even aware are following them. Written by Garry 'Gadget' Myles <garry.myles@mercury.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1970s | van | mexico | marijuana | dope | See All (89) »


Don't miss the only film where the heroes get wiped out in the first five minutes! See more »


Comedy | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

15 September 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cheech and Chong's Greatest Hits  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


An early lineup for the legendary LA punk band The Germs had auditioned for a part in the "Battle of the Bands" sequence for this film, along with a few other bands of the time. However, Darby Crash and the rest of The Germs instigated a food fight at the Roxy during their audition gig (in front of a live audience) and they were told that they would not be in the film. The other bands which auditioned were given time in the movie. The song The Germs played at the audition, "Sex Boy" (with sounds of the resulting riot) can be heard on the CD "Germs(MIA)". See more »


During the "rocking van" scene outside the Roxy, the close-up shots show the van rocking from side to side, while a shot in between them from further away shows it rocking from front to back. See more »


Curtis: This shit is so bad, it'll put a hump on a camel's back.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are in the style of spray-painted graffiti, super-imposed over Pedro's low-rider. See more »


Referenced in Warehouse 13: Personal Effects (2012) See more »


Lost Due to Incompetence (Theme for a Big Green Van)
New Music by Danny Kortchmar
[song title uncredited]
See more »

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User Reviews

The Show
6 February 2006 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

The counterculture was long dead and ripe for retrospective satire. Into the opportunity stepped two pro comics who after trying other things, built these characters. When comics work up a world for years and then brings it to a movie, it bodes well. Mike Myers would follow almost precisely this formula later with "Wayne's World."

The jokes are still pretty funny, many of them. Not the stuff with the flumoxxed cops or the folks who inadvertently get stoned (and get the munchies). But the bits of comic timing associated with the guys as if they were on stage.

Two bits to watch out for. One is two incidental women. The first has a scene only a minute long. A girl comes in, mistakes scouring powder for coke, snuffs it up and has the most comic facial expressions I have even seen on film. This is one of those priceless moments in film. I hope IMDb at some point figures out some means to vote on particular scenes. This girl would in life become an addict and a bag lady.

The second girl has a bigger role: Zane Buzby is one of the hippie stoner cheesecake babes that join the trip. She's got a less flashy role, but in ad libs created most of the situations in which she appears. She would go on to become one of TeeVee's most attuned comedy directors.

So you can see this as two stage personalities that are good, with these two women, who are also as good, surrounded by some disposable situations and jokes.

But there is another something interesting. The end of this comic show is a comic show within, the guys as a rock band in possibly the best Cheech and Chong sequence of all their movies. Everything from about 20 minutes into the film to this is a journey to this show, I suspect that "The Muppet Movie" of the following year was influenced by this.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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