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Meatballs (1979)

PG | | Comedy | 29 June 1979 (USA)
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Wacky hijinks of counselors and campers at a less-than-average summer camp.

Director:

Ivan Reitman

Writers:

Len Blum, Daniel Goldberg (as Dan Goldberg) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
4,120 ( 411)
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Murray ... Tripper
Harvey Atkin ... Morty
Kate Lynch ... Roxanne
Russ Banham Russ Banham ... Crockett
Kristine DeBell ... A.L.
Sarah Torgov Sarah Torgov ... Candace
Jack Blum ... Spaz
Keith Knight ... Fink
Cindy Girling Cindy Girling ... Wendy
Todd Hoffman Todd Hoffman ... Wheels
Margot Pinvidic Margot Pinvidic ... Jackie
Matt Craven ... Hardware (as Matt Cravenn)
Norma Dell'Agnese ... Brenda
Chris Makepeace ... Rudy
Michael Kirby ... Eddy
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Storyline

Summer Camp highjinks centered around a camp counselor with a wacky sense of humor. He tries to help the campers have a good time. One camper named Rudy poses a particular challenge as he has a self-esteem problem Written by Robert Svacha <chisox@azstarnet.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Summer Camp That Makes You Untrustworthy, Disloyal, Unhelpful, Unfriendly, Discourteous, Unkind, Disobedient, and Very Hilarious. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 June 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Summer Camp See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 1,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$77,170, 1 July 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$43,046,003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Sonolab)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First starring role of actor-comedian Bill Murray. Murray had sole name above the title billing on movie posters. See more »

Goofs

The counselors-in-training escape the basketball game with the Mohawks by bus. Shots from inside the bus show a car behind them just as they're leaving, but it should show the Mohawks chasing Morty on his bike. See more »

Quotes

Larry Finkelstein: [talking about Spaz and Jackie] How did you make out?
Spaz: Well, we just kind of talked.
Larry Finkelstein: You had her in the woods and you just talked? You didn't do anything. YOU DIDN'T DO ANYTHING.
Spaz: I, um, held her hand when we walked home.
Larry Finkelstein: Held her hand? Spaz, you're on your way! Held her hand. In the woods! And it was dark!
Spaz: Yeah.
See more »

Connections

References Shock Waves (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Meatballs
Sung by Rick Dees
Written by Norman Gimbel and Elmer Bernstein
See more »

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User Reviews

 
2 flicks in one
2 July 2007 | by Marc SparksSee all my reviews

I just saw this for the first time in 10 or 15 years...maybe close to 20. In some ways, it was better than I remembered...in other, it was MUCH worse.

First of all, there's the music. It's just plain awful. There are only 5 songs in the movie, most of them used more than once. The opening song is shrieked by a chorus of annoying children, and the disco-y title track is performed by Rick Dees. It doesn't get any worse than that. Even the background music is terrible, with much of it repeating the themes of the other nauseating tunes. We also get some truly lame slapstick, mostly in the opening credits.

On the other hand, Bill Murray is spot on brilliant as usual...you have to wonder if he ad-libbed the whole thing, or if the writers just gave him all the funny lines. Or maybe he's just that great- turning a weak script into comic genius. The best part are his surreal PA announcements. ("Lobsters...get out of here...you're a menace!")

You also get a lot more character development than you have any right to expect in a movie like this. At least half the characters seem like real people...and mostly real people you would like to have around. Even "Spaz" gets to do a more than any other Eddie Deezen-type character ever did, and when he gets the girl, it's plausible. (She's not absurdly hot, but he doesn't automatically pair up with one of the nerd girls- see "Revenge Of The Nerds" for examples of both cinematic phenomenons.)

And when the plot seems clichéd...well, ya gotta wonder if it wasn't a cliché yet when they made this. While it wasn't the first summer camp movie- ya gotta go back at least to "The Parent Trap"- it's certainly the movie that made it it's own genre. In fact, I was surprised that there was no Talent Show scene..."Wet Hot American Summer" spoofed the summer-camp genre so perfectly, I just assumed everything in it came straight out of Meatballs. (I also half-expected Jon Cryer to pull up in a convertible with a chimp, thanks to "Mr. Show's" epic camp-olympiad spoof "Monk Academy")

Anyway, this one seems to be vanishing a little as far as the late-70's/early 80's comedies- it's not a cable staple anymore, and certainly doesn't have the cult following of Caddyshack or Animal House. I was pleased to catch it on Showtime today- and in High Definition at that! Sure, it's pretty awful in spots, but you could do a lot worse in a 70's/80's teen comedy. And again, Murray is a genius.


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