Edit
Popeye (1980) Poster

(1980)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (3)
Robin Williams's starring film debut.
The many sunken ships in the harbor were actually seaworthy vessels that were rented or bought and then sunk.
The makeup appliances for Robin Williams's fake forearms were not ready when filming began, so in early shots, Popeye wears a long-sleeved raincoat to hide his normal-sized arms.
The movie was criticized for not being very faithful to the original cartoons, but it actually has a lot in common with E.C. Segar's original "Thimble Theater" comic, where Popeye first appeared in.
Most of Robin Williams's muttered Popeye voice was discovered to be inaudible once filming wrapped, and he had to re-dub much of the dialogue.
At Olive and Bluto's engagement party a man can be heard complaining about Olive getting married. This man is Ham Gravy, who was Olive's fiancé in the "Thimble Theater" comics before he was written out and Popeye took his place.
Swee' Pea is played by Wesley Ivan Hurt - Robert Altman's grandson.
The set for the town of Sweet Haven was built at Anchor Bay on the Mediterranean island of Malta. After filming, it became a popular tourist attraction.
Everyone tried to dissuade Robert Altman from working with Harry Nilsson, saying that he would be constantly drunk. Only Robin Williams supported him in this decision. As it turned out, Altman found Nilsson to be delightful to work with.
In a print interview released around the same time as the film, Shelley Duvall admitted that kids used to call her Olive Oyl when she was in grade school.
Many of the citizens of Sweet Haven, especially those who had to do some physical gags, were recruited from European circuses.
An international construction crew of 165 worked seven months to construct the set. Tree trunk logs were driven across the European continent from the Netherlands, and wood shingles were imported all the way from Canada. Eight tons (7,257 kilograms) of nails and 2,000 gallons (7,571 liters) of paint were used to complete the set. When they finished, the fictional village of Sweet Haven consisted of 19 buildings, including a hotel, a schoolhouse, a store, a post office, a church, and a tavern.
Paramount green-lit this film after losing a bidding war with Columbia for the screen rights to the musical Annie (1982). When producer Robert Evans found out that Paramount had lost the bidding for "Annie", he held an executive meeting in which he asked about comic strip characters that they had the rights to, that could also be used in order to create a movie musical, and one attendee recommended Popeye.
Shelley Duvall sang all of her own songs.
The producers wanted the role of Olive Oyl to be played by Gilda Radner. However, Robert Altman held out for Shelley Duvall.
Jules Feiffer's script originally included Popeye's magical pet Eugene the Jeep. Though the Jeep was ultimately left out, Feiffer gave some of its magical characteristics to Swee' Pea, hence the baby's apparent clairvoyance.
Around 1977, Robert Evans had wanted Dustin Hoffman to play Popeye, Lily Tomlin to play Olive Oyl and John Schlesinger to direct.
The film premiered on December 6, 1980, just two days before what would have been "Popeye" creator E.C. Segar's 86th birthday.
Linda Hunt's film debut.
Harry Nilsson took his musicians to the island of Malta where they had a purpose-built studio constructed for them.
Harry Nilsson took a break in the middle of production of his album "Flash Harry" to create the music for this movie. He wrote all of the original songs and co-produced the music with producer Bruce Robb at Cherokee Studios.
Most of the film's budget went towards the Sweethaven set. This explains why the octopus seen at the climax is less than convincing.
Jack Mercer, Popeye's most well-known and prolific voice actor, provides the voice of Popeye in the animated introduction.
During production, Robert Evans was arrested for trying to buy cocaine.
A 200-250 foot breakwater had to be constructed at the mouth of the harbor to prevent the set from getting flooded during high seas.
Robin Williams nicknamed Robert Altman "Stalag Altman".
One of the storefronts in Sweethaven reads "O.G. WATTASNOZZLE", Professor O.G. Wottasnozzle was a character who appeared in the "Thimble Theater" comic "Sappo".
In the 1940s William Hanna and Joseph Barbara were working at MGM, their main goal was to beat Walt Disney with family animation. Four decades later, Hanna-Barbara animated the Paramount opening intro for this film, thus working for a Disney co-produced film.
The movie won Worst Picture at the Hastings Bad Cinema Society's 3rd Stinkers Bad Movie Awards in 1980.
The name of character "Nana Oyl" is a play on the 1920s-30s comment "Aw, banana oil" which was used to express disbelief. Much like today's "Yeah, right".
This was not only the first joint production between Paramount and the Walt Disney Company, it was also the first time Disney had co-produced a film with another major studio. In the following years, most Disney/Paramount joint productions would involve Disney's Touchstone and Miramax brands rather than the flagship Walt Disney Pictures label.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
A joint production between Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions, the former released the film in the USA, and the latter had overseas distribution.
This was Robin Williams's only comic book movie.
This film ended Paramount's involvement in the "Popeye" franchise, having released the 1933-57 animated cartoons, and outsourced production on some of the 1960s TV cartoons from King Features. In 2012, Paramount licensed US/Canadian home video rights to much of its catalog to Warner Bros., and this film was among the titles that were licensed to them. Warner Bros. has owned the Fleischer/Famous "Popeye" cartoons outright since 1996.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Mike Nichols, Arthur Penn, and Hal Ashby were each originally slated to direct this movie.
8 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
This can be considered the first ever live-action adaptation of a cartoon series, preceding Masters of the Universe (1987) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990).
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Nearly every time someone tells Olive Oyl that they owe her an apology she says "what?!"
5 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Robin Williams was considered for the role of Jack Nicholson's role The Shining (1980), also starring Shelley Duvall.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Released the same month as another film adaptation of an American comic strip icon, "Flash Gordon" (which had premiered December 5, 1980). Ironically, both films were poorly received in the U.S. at the time, although later considered cult classics.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Dustin Hoffman was originally set to play the title role opposite Lily Tomlin as Olive Oyl.
3 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Paul L. Smith and Linda Hunt later starred in "Dune".
3 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Popeye's arrival in Sweethaven and Popeye getting into a fight with the gang at the burger bar, when the gang insults him is a nod to the western genre.
3 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Popeye was filmed in Malta. Two years earlier, actor Paul Smith (Bluto) had played the lead antagonist in Midnight Express, also filmed in Malta.
2 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Fans of The Andy Griffith Show, might recognize Doug Dillard who plays Clem the Banjo Player. He was in a band called The Dillards who all played the Darlins in The Andy Griffith Show.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
After so many other directors had said no, Robert Altman said he wanted to make the film, loved the script, and wouldn't change a word. "I laughed when Evans reported this to me," Feiffer wrote in his memoir. "I was a friend of Altman's and a fan. As a fan I knew what was coming. ... Altman didn't didn't believe in scripts except as a necessary evil to get films financed. He didn't much believe in words, he didn't care if you heard the dialogue or not. And he didn't believe in story. But I could imagine no one better to give credibility to Segar's outlandish creations on-screen."
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
This is the first film released by Disney in which the word 'shit' is used (during Popeye's big fight with Bluto). Disney didn't start Touchstone Pictures until later that decade.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Screenwriter Jules Feiffer asserts that while Dustin Hoffman was attached to the project, he tried to get Robert Evans to fire Feiffer, but even though he was good friends with the actor, the producer refused. "This is not done in Hollywood," Feiffer writes, knowing the project would lose its financing as soon as Hoffman stepped away.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Other directors considered for the project, according to Feiffer, were Louis Malle and Jerry Lewis.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

While it may seem odd to most fans that the movie's portrayal of Popeye does not like spinach, this was a theme used in the original comic strip by E.C. Segar. Popeye originally boosted his strength by rubbing the hairs on the head of a magical Whiffle Hen called Bernice when he first began appearing in Segar's "Thimble Theatre" in 1929. The consumption of spinach to explain Popeye's strength was introduced in the early 1930s, and was only infrequently referenced until it became a staple of the 1930s animated shorts from Paramount Studios and Fleischer Studios.
During filming the scene at the end where Pappy throws Popeye the can of spinach, Ray Walston hit Robin Williams in the head so hard that he required several stitches in his scalp and got filming delayed for several weeks.
In nearly every scene Bear-the Hobo can be seen in the background.
8 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page