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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)
Leona Hastings-Forrest (archive footage)
Sam Hastings (in 'Lost Weekend') (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 USA:

$4,289,601, 23 May 1982, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Rigby Reardon (the character played by Steve Martin) finds the "Top Secret" Nazi packet labeled "Final Instructions", the date on the packet is 14 August 1946. Steve Martin's actual birth date is 14 August 1945. See more »


In the scene with the pigeons after Juliet leaves, Rigby says "after a half bottle of bourbon..." and Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey is pictured. Jack Daniel's is not bourbon - it never has been and never will be. See more »


Field Marshall Von Kluck: [to his Nazi minions] Cowards! Fools! I'll do it myself!
[He runs over to throw the lever that will launch the cheese mold bombs on America]
Rigby Reardon: Sorry, pal, you're through!
[He fires his gun and shoots Von Kluck in the arm]
Field Marshall Von Kluck: Not quite!
[He throws one of the five levers and runs to the map of the United States which is spread out on the table. Reardon throws an object at the lever and reverses it, as Von Kluck collapses over the map, part of which is beginning to dissolve]
Field Marshall Von Kluck: At least ve got Terre Haute, ...
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 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...

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