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A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime  |  5 August 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 104,066 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 186 user | 90 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to doublecross each other for the loot.


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Georgeson ...
Patricia Hayes ...
Portia (as Cynthia Caylor)
Mark Elwes ...
Customer in Jeweler's Shop
Neville Phillips ...
Manager of Jeweler's Shop
Peter Jonfield ...
Ken Campbell ...
Al Ashton ...
Roger Hume ...


In London, George Thomason, his seductive American girlfriend Wanda Gershwitz, and their associate Ken Pile are planning their latest crime, a diamond heist that should net them £13 million. They plan on leaving the country with the goods after the heist. On Wanda's recommendation, they enlist the help of her brother, Otto, a weapons expert, for this heist. In reality, Otto is not Wanda's brother, but her latest lover, a dimwit who gets off on his own body odor, who believes he's an intellectual because he reads Nietzsche, and who does not tolerate being called stupid by anyone. Wanda has one weakness in men which is how Otto was able to get her to be his lover: speaking Italian in seduction. Wanda and Otto plan to double cross George by having him arrested for the heist, while they abscond with the jewels. Wanda further plans to triple cross Otto by eliminating him from the picture after she has the jewels. They are able to get George arrested with him not knowing who tipped the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A New Comedy About Sex, Murder and Seafood. See more »


Comedy | Crime


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | |

Release Date:

5 August 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ein Fisch namens Wanda  »

Box Office


$7,500,000 (estimated)


$63,493,712 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Otto (Kevin Kline), suggests possible snitchers to George, he suggests Kevin Delaney, which are Kline's first and middle names. See more »


Reflected in a mirror in an early scene in George's flat. See more »


Wanda: What have you found out?
Otto: Not a lot.
Wanda: You realise he's in court tomorrow?
Otto: I know. I know that!
Wanda: So nothing, huh?
Otto: Nix! Zip! Diddly! Bupkis!
Otto: Niente!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the closing credits is the word FIN -- which is how French films say THE END, but in English a "fin" is a part of a fish. See more »


Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Can Hype Kill a Good Movie? (2015) See more »


Written by Joseph Haydn and August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Absolutely brilliant comedy
27 April 2005 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

To make a comedy that can be lauded with the comment 'absolutely hilarious' isn't an easy thing to do. It's not so difficult, however, when you are one of the funniest men on god's green earth; and the extremely talented John Cleese has certainly managed to write a fine piece of comedy here. Teaming up with Monty Python buddy Michael Palin and Ealing studios director Charles Crichton, these talented comedians have managed to create a film that is most certainly one of the funniest; laugh per minute and lasting hilarity when it's over, movies ever made. The plot is taken straight from the classic Ealing comedy era (no wonder it works so well) and it follows four crooks that have stolen a bunch of jewels and now decide to double cross one another to take the loot solely for themselves. The plot thickens when the female of the bunch decides that the best way to get the loot would be to get close to a grassed-up co-conspirator's barrister; John Cleese.

Aside from an inch-perfect screenplay, A Fish Called Wanda also benefits from a fine cast of actors to deliver it. John Cleese steals every scene he's in, as you might expect, and he more than justifies his reputation as one of, maybe even the, finest British comedy actor ever. He is joined by a talented pair of Americans; Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis, along with, as mentioned, his fellow Python Michael Palin. Kline is certainly one of the most underrated actors working today, and his comic timing in this movie is right on the money. Makes you wonder how much better he could have been used over the years. "Scream Queen" Jamie Lee Curtis also does well in the title role; and Michael Palin obviously knows his way round a comedy script. The jokes in the film come thick and fast, and I can't think of a single one that didn't work. It's the big gags that are the real stand out of the movie, though, and one in particular that sees Kevin Kline trying to explain to Cleese's wife what he's doing in their home is absolutely priceless. I nearly fell of my chair laughing. This film is a must see.

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