Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Mystery  |  21 May 1982 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 16,148 users  
Reviews: 103 user | 28 critic

Film noir parody with a detective uncovering a sinister plot. Characters from real noirs appear as scenes from various films are intercut.


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Steve Martin comedy about brain transplantation.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Kathleen Turner, David Warner
All of Me (1984)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A dying millionnaire has her soul transferred into a younger, willing woman. But something goes wrong, and she finds herself in her lawyer's body - together with the lawyer.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Victoria Tennant
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A writer for a greeting card company learns the true meaning of loneliness when he comes home to find his girlfriend in bed with another man.

Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Steve Martin, Charles Grodin, Judith Ivey
The Jerk (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Catlin Adams
Roxanne (1987)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Based on the play "Cyrano de Bergerac", large nosed C.D. Bales falls for the beautiful Roxanne while she falls for his personality but another man's looks.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, Rick Rossovich
L.A. Story (1991)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a "wacky weatherman" tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early-90s Los Angeles.

Director: Mick Jackson
Stars: Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Richard E. Grant
My Blue Heaven I (1990)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An all too uptight FBI agent must protect a larger than life mobster with a heart of gold, currently under witness protection in the suburbs.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Joan Cusack
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

During the Great Depression, a sheet music salesman seeks to escape his dreary life through popular music and a love affair with an innocent school teacher.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Jessica Harper
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two con men try to settle their rivalry by betting on who can swindle a young American heiress out of $50,000 first.

Director: Frank Oz
Stars: Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Three unemployed actors accept an invitation to a Mexican village to replay their bandit fighter roles, unaware that it is the real thing.

Director: John Landis
Stars: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short
Bowfinger (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

When a desperate movie producer fails to get a major star for his bargain basement film, he decides to shoot the film secretly around him.

Director: Frank Oz
Stars: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

Joe Mulholland, Head of Production at a Hollywood studio, makes a rather fool-hardy promise to a dying friend. He undertakes to make a major movie using the title - if not the content - of ... See full summary »

Director: William Asher
Stars: Walter Matthau, Charles Grodin, Vincent Gardenia


Cast overview, first billed only:
The Exterminator (archive footage)
Field Marshall VonKluck
Leona Hastings-Forrest (archive footage)
Kitty Collins (archive footage)
Swede Anderson (archive footage)
Phillip Marlowe (archive footage)
'Handsome' (in 'Suspicion') (archive footage)
F.X. Huberman (archive footage)
Monica Stillpond (archive footage)
Doris Davermont (archive footage)
Jimmi-Sue Altfeld (archive footage)
Altfeld (archive footage)


Juliet Forrest is convinced that the reported death of her father in a mountain car crash was no accident. Her father was a prominent cheese scientist working on a secret recipe. To prove it was murder, she enlists the services of private eye Rigby Reardon. He finds a slip of paper containing a list of people who are "The Friends and Enemies of Carlotta." Searching for answers, Rigby encounters assorted low-lifes: dangerous men and women who were the hallmarks of the classic detective movies of the 40's and 50's. Filming in black and white allows scenes from old movies to be cut into this film. It is through this process that Rigby's assistant is none other than Philip Marlowe himself. Written by Tony Fontana <>, Ed. by Peter Victor <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Laugh... or I'll blow your lips off!


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 May 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Men Wear No Plaid  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,289,601 (USA) (21 May 1982)


$16,959,911 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Actress Rachel Ward was cast in the lead female role of Juliet Forrest in this 1980s film noir detective spoof of old 1940s b&w movies having recently starred in a movie related to this genre, the Burt Reynolds urban cop thriller Sharky's Machine (1981), where Ward had played a "femme fatale". After Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), Ward would soon be cast in Against All Odds (1984), a 1980s remake of the classic "film noir" picture Out of the Past (1947). See more »


When Rigby is sitting in a chair with a drink while talking with Huberman (Ingrid Bergman)the film was reversed during editing resulting in Rigby appearing as a mirror image. Specifically, holding the glass in his right hand with his breast pocket and pocket square appearing on the right hand side of his suit, instead of the correct, left side. Between cuts, the image reverts to normal. See more »


Captain Carlos Rodriguez: Where are you staying?
Rigby Reardon: Hotel Guano.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the Cast there comes the dedication: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid was Edith Head's final film. To her, and to all the brilliant technical and creative people who worked on the films of the 1940's and 1950's, this motion picture is affectionately dedicated. See more »


Referenced in Watching the Detectives (2007) See more »


Dead Men's Bolero
Music by Miklós Rózsa (as Miklos Rozsa)
Lyrics by Steve Goodman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

As strong as a cup of my famous java...
16 September 2003 | by (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

I first saw this in the theater with my dad, at the age of 13, when it was first released - he was a huge fan of classic movies and usually suffered through the stuff he took me to. Not this one - we were both in hysterics, and I'd have to say I owe my huge love of classic Hollywood (and global) cinema to this film. CITIZEN KANE it may not be but no matter - I dug the humor and the atmosphere at the time, and even then was aware of how much work this must have been.

I still watch this one on occasion, and it is the rare comedy that has held up very well with the passage of time - critics at the time seemed to write it off as a stunt, but I've noted that at least a little reevaluation of DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID has occurred over the years. The performances - as both a spoof and a love-letter to film noir - are top notch, with Steve Martin at his best here. The dialog gets deep into Raymond Chandler/Dashiell Hammett hard-boiled private-eye stylishness, serving up gumshoe-with-dame clichés just juiced up enough to give Steve something to run with, while still offering an a solid story. The finale is magnificent, Martin and Carl Reiner jousting their way through an avalanche of every two-bit dime-store whodunnit game-over cliché to ever grace the big screen, cheap alibis falling like drunken angels across the naked city as the big heat descends... Or - ahem -something like that...

66 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
100 things I learned from dead man don't wear plaid alexweiss3
why Terre Haute, Indiana? Ajaya
Guest Actors + Films List lvanwin
Does this movie count in that 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' game junderbr
cleaning woman? lvanwin
The first bit and the end bit sianybo
Discuss Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: