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Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)

The adorable little VW helps its owners break up a counterfeiting ring in Mexico.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aunt Louise
Stephen W. Burns ...
Pete (as Stephan W. Burns)
Captain Blythe
Fritz Feld ...
Chief Steward
Armando Moccia
Jose Gonzales-Gonzales ...
Garage Owner (as Jose Gonzalez Gonzalez)
Ruben Moreno ...
Store Owner
Tina Menard ...
Store Owner's Wife
Jorge Moreno ...
Bus Driver


Pete Stancheck inherits from his Uncle Jim Douglas a race car being stored in Puerto Vallarta. With his friend Davy Johns (D.J. to his friends) accompanying him to P.V., Pete is dismayed to learn that the car is an older model Volkswagen Beetle. But when Pete and D.J. see what the car can do and learn that it somewhat has a mind of its own, they decide to enter it into the Brazil Grand Primeo formula one race. En route to Rio de Janeiro, Herbie, the car, gets Pete and D.J. into one predicament after another as it tries to help its new friend, a streetwise orphan named Paco, who Pete and D.J. encountered in P.V. and who stowed away in Herbie's trunk. Because of these predicaments, Pete and D.J. end up requiring a quick influx of cash and slyly enlist the help of wealthy Louise Trent and her bookish niece, anthropology doctoral candidate Melissa, to be their financiers. Pete's role in the scheme is to woo the shy Melissa, about which he feels guilty. But initially unknown to all of them... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Yes, We Have A Bananza! See more »


G | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

25 June 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A kicsi kocsi legújabb kalandjai  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A total of 26 Volkswagen Beetles played the part of Herbie in this film due to the enormous number of stunts. See more »


When the Sun Princess is first seen sailing away to Rio from the pier, the scene is unmistakably a poor trick shot of a painted ship superimposed on top of some smaller ship. See more »


D.J.: Why do keep calling this car Ocho? Ocho means eight. Can't you read the numbers?
Paco: Sure I can read the numbers. Five and three are eight. Anyone knows that.
See more »


Referenced in The Adam and Joe Show: Episode #2.4 (1997) See more »


Look at Me
by Frank De Vol
See more »

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User Reviews

This film really is scrap - 22%
5 April 2012 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

You're not supposed to dislike Herbie films. They're from a more innocent era, a time when cars having a soul didn't seem such a far-fetched idea because of the amount of acid you were dropping. Hating Herbie films is like hating a six-year-old for not being able to do algebra. But I had my fears that Herbie films would run out of gas in subsequent films but this one, this wretchedly boring addition to the series, is running on fumes. Devoid of any of the charm, humour and speed of any of the previous three films, it's a tragic way to close a series that had, at least, been fun up till now.

Herbie's new owner this time is square-jawed American Pete (Stephen W Burns) and his mechanic buddy DJ (Charles Martin Smith) who inherit the car in Mexico. After befriending streetwise pickpocket Paco (Joaquin Garay, III), they decide to head to Rio De Janeiro to participate in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Boarding a cruise-liner to Rio, they meet eccentric Aunt Louise (Cloris Leachman) who intends to match up Pete with her shy and bookish (but incredibly good-looking) niece Melissa (Elyssa Davalos) while keeping her eye firmly on Captain Blythe (Harvey Korman). Amid all this, Paco is being hunted by a couple of villains from Mexico (John Vernon & Alex Rocco) who are after some lost Inca treasure and pretty soon, Herbie decides to intervene in the only way he knows how...

Given that the plot is hopelessly muddled (we don't even find out how they get on in Brazil by the time the film ends!), "Herbie Goes Bananas" is a prime example of what happens when a film has only a couple of decent ideas behind it but runs out of steam very quickly and struggles to fill out its running time. Very little ever seems to happen and when it does, it's so mind-numbingly dull that it never recovers your full attention. Herbie himself lacks the personality of previous movies, being little more than a car that does tricks such as the scarcely-believable matador scene. Combine that with possibly the most annoying kid I think I've ever seen in a film (and I'm included Shortround from "Temple Of Doom") and it's no wonder you're not interested. Throughout most of the film, Herbie's called Ocho and one of the characters is so stupid, he can't work out why. For a film principally about a car with a mind of its own, it's ironic that there is no drive in the movie at all - nothing feels exciting, dynamic or amusing which is something the three earlier films managed at some point. Even the actors looks bored although Korman hams it up somewhat as the caricature naval officer.

In truth, there was no reason to make this movie other than for Disney to flog a dead horse even more and wring the last few dollars out of a dying franchise. Even the weakest sequel up to this point - "Herbie Rides Again" - had one or two moments that were worth watching but this has none. But what could they have done that hadn't been done before? The only thing that's different in this movie is the location, offering the film-makers a whole bunch of dodgy accents and racial stereotypes to plunder in the search for some family-friendly laughs. Alas, they have come back empty-handed. This is the film that ushered Herbie into the pits for the last time (although Disney still put out a couple of half-hearted sequels later and even a TV show) and frankly, this film is very much like its star - out of date, rusty all over and in serious need of scrapping.

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