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Top Secret! (1984)

PG | | Comedy | 8 June 1984 (USA)
Parody of WWII spy movies in which an American rock and roll singer becomes involved in a Resistance plot to rescue a scientist imprisoned in East Germany.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Nigel
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Harry Ditson ...
Du Quois
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Déjà Vu
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Chocolate Mousse
Nancy Abrahams ...
Pregnant Woman
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Tristram Jellinek ...
Billy J. Mitchell ...
Major Wiley ...
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Storyline

This time Zucker and Abrahams are spoofing, most notably, Elvis films and WWII spy movies. Val Kilmer stars as Nick Rivers, a handsome American 50s-style rock and roll singer. While performing in East Germany, he falls in love with a beautiful heroine and becomes involved with the French Resistance. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Shhh! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

8 June 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Top Secret  »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$20,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The idea of skeet surfing came out of the Zucker brothers trying to outdo each other at press junkets. They would specifically concoct outlandish stories to amuse themselves and bewilder journalists. See more »

Goofs

The darts thrown at the airplane target change positions from the first scene to when Hilary and Nick arrive and Hilary hugs her father. See more »

Quotes

[Introducing his men]
Du Quois: This is Chevalier, Montage, Detente, Avant Garde, and Deja Vu.
Deja Vu: Haven't we met before monsieur ?
Nick Rivers: I don't think so.
Du Quois: Over there, Croissant, Souffle, Escargot, and Chocolate Mousse.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This Space For Rent [ this is in the middle of an otherwise blank screen ] See more »

Connections

Spoofs The Sound of Music (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

SKEET SURFING
Parody medley based on "SURFIN' USA"
By Brian Wilson and Chuck Berry
Parody medley based on "FUN FUN FUN"
By Brian Wilson and Mike Love
Parody medley based on "LITTLE HONDA"
By Brian Wilson and Mike Love
Parody medley based on "CALIFORNIA GIRLS"
By Brian Wilson
Parody medley based on "HAWAII"
By Brian Wilson
Produced by Mike Moran
Performed by Val Kilmer
See more »

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User Reviews

 
an overlooked gem
11 April 2005 | by (Newark, DE) – See all my reviews

Maybe some people just don't get it. This was made by the team of Zucker-Abraham-Zucker, responsible for "Airplane", "The Kentucky Fried Movie", and the "Naked Gun" series, so who cares if it doesn't accurately reflect society? It's not meant to be a satire, folks, it's a very broad parody!

I recently watched this again, and I caught something I had never caught before. In the dinner scene at the "Hotel Gay Schluffen", Nick Rivers (played by Val Kilmer, and this may be the best thing he's ever done), American rock star, is told that he needs a jacket to eat in the dining room, but the restaurant will provide one. In the next scene we can see him in the background having a jacket tailor-made! The reason it's hard to catch is that there's exposition going on in the foreground (a ZAZ trademark). It's funny, but the amazing thing is that I've seen this movie many times over a period of something like 20 years, and I'd never noticed that before.

I believe that this is one of the marks of a great spoof, that you can watch it many times and still pick up jokes you've never noticed before. Like ZAZ's other masterworks, this one is packed with hilarious one-liners and sight gags. Watch for the scene in the Swedish bookshop that's filmed backwards, the way the verses to the East German National Anthem keep getting longer and longer when translated into English, and the scene where an unfortunate agent is crushed inside a car (and what happens with him afterwards!). And this doesn't even scratch the surface. If "Top Secret!" isn't ZAZ's funniest movie it's only because it has such strong competition. The men were comedic geniuses when they were together.

Val Kilmer was hilarious as Nick Rivers, and the movie has a strong supporting cast, including Lucy Gutteridge as Nick's love interest Hillary (I wonder how Ms. Clinton would feel if she knew her name means "She whose bosoms defy gravity"?), Christopher Villiers as Nigel, her ex-boyfriend (they spent some time stranded on a deserted island together), and Jeremy Kemp as the evil General Streck. Also look out for Peter Cushing, Omar Sharif, and Ian McNiece (hilarious as a spy whose cover is selling souvenirs, novelties, and party tricks). And watch out for the French resistance (who knows what they're doing in East Germany?), each one of whose names is a pun on a French word or phrase (Chocolate Mousse, Deja Vu, etc.)

The plot? Does it matter? Something about the East Germans planning to take over the world while everybody's paying attention to an international cultural show they're putting on (Nick is the American representative), and the spies who are trying to stop it. But that's not the point, the point is the comedy, and I could go on and on about the many hilarious jokes but I'm not going to; let me just say without ruining anything that the funniest scenes in the movie involve a cow.

It's usually overlooked, curiously enough, when talking about the great comedies, but there's no doubt about it, "Top Secret!" IS one of the great comedies of our time.


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