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Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)

PG | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 21 May 1982 (USA)
0:31 | Trailer

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





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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 <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>, Ed. by Peter Victor <thevictor99@yahoo.com>

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  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)

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?


The newspaper in the opening scene has a large headline saying "Dodgers Lose Again." But that wouldn't have been a big deal for a Los Angeles paper in the 1940s -- the Dodgers didn't move there from Brooklyn until 1958. See more »


Rigby Reardon: [voice-over] Was she real? There was only one way to find out. But I remembered Marlowe's words.
Rigby Reardon: [a picture frame on the wall reads "Don't Fall in Love with a Client. Marlowe"] What the hell does Marlowe know?
Rigby Reardon: [voice-over] She was real, all right.
Juliet Forrest: What are you doing?
Rigby Reardon: Adjusting your breasts. You fainted and they... shifted all outta whack. There.
Juliet Forrest: Thank you.
Rigby Reardon: You're welcome.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a spelling mistake with the Composer. In the credits at the beginning he is spelled: Miklos Rosza. In the credits after the end he is spelled correct: Miklos Rozsa. See more »


Edited from The Big Sleep (1946) See more »


Dead Men's Bolero
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Lyrics by Steve Goodman
See more »

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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...

67 of 70 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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