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Johnny Dangerously (1984)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  21 December 1984 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 10,389 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 18 critic

Set in the 1930's, an honest, goodhearted man is forced to turn to a life of crime to finance his neurotic mother's skyrocketing medical bills.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Kelly / Johnny Dangerously
Richard Dimitri ...
Desk Sergeant


Set in the 1930's, an honest, goodhearted man is forced to turn to a life of crime to finance his neurotic mother's skyrocketing medical bills. Written by Craig Clarke <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


WANTED * MICHAEL KEATON * for being wacky, outrageous & rude in the 'new' hit comedy See more »


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Johnny G. - Gangster wider Willen  »

Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This gangster comedy was released during a cycle of Hollywood movies during the 1980s that sent up gangster films. These pictures included Prizzi's Honor (1985), Wise Guys (1986), Harlem Nights (1989) City Heat (1984), Johnny Dangerously (1984), Little Miss Marker (1980) and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982). See more »


When assistant D.A. Tommy Kelly goes to the D.A.'s mansion to tell him he has enough evidence to convict Johnny Dangerously, he says he has, among other things, recordings, and he holds up a reel of audio tape. This scene is set in the 1930s, but magnetic tape wasn't invented until the late 1940s. See more »


Ma Kelly: Bless the saints, it's an ashtray! I've been thinking of taking up smoking. This clinches it!
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the opening credits, you see "1935" on the screen. A car in the near lane of the street drives behind it. Then, another car (in the far lane) runs into the number sitting on the road, and smashes it to pieces. See more »


Spoofs Scarface (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

"Crime doesn't pay… Well it pays a little"
24 June 2010 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

Two people at the beginning of their film careers; director Amy Heckerling (who two years earlier directed the Cameron Crow penned "Fast Times at Ridgemont High") and Michael Keaton (in only his second leading role, after "Mr Mom" and a support role in his breakthrough film "Nightshift") come together with "Johnny Dangerously" to bring us a flighty, colourful and madcap send-up of gangster films of the 1930s. Johnny Kelly as a kid turned to crime (despite it would break his mother's heart if she knew), but in the order to pay for her medical bills he didn't see any other way since they were quite poor. So the years have past and he has become attached to it and a big player in the mob, where he would be known as Johnny Dangerously. The spoof might be hit and miss, but it always remains agreeably light-weight and Keaton just had a knack for comic timing. The wilily unrestrained material (stormed up by four writers -- well there you go) creates one gag after another, either visually, verbally or simply combining the two in a very cartoon-like manner. It really does have that old-fashion screwball mentality, but still some wit behind it and the conviction for fast moving, running gags. The silly dialogues are amusingly snappy (especially the lines from Dimitri; murdering the English language "This is fargan war!"), irony laced but with a dry sense. So many cracker lines fill the feature. Heckerling zesty direction goes hand-in-hand with the cheerful style and it's perfectly apt with the golden age period with its set designs, locations and costume work. Weird Al Yankovic chips in with the spiritedly illustrative title song, and the music score is a flavoursome effort of the era. Charmingly vibrant performances lend well with the likes of Peter Boyle, Griffin Dunne, Joe Piscopo, Danny Deviot (who's good fun), Maureen Stapleton (she's absolutely great!), Dom Deluise, Richard Dimitri and the sprightly redheaded siren Marilu Henner. Dom DeLuise and Ray Walston turn up in small comic cameos too. Pleasurably over-the-top entertainment.

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