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Top Secret! (1984)

PG | | Comedy, Music | 8 June 1984 (USA)
Trailer
1:12 | Trailer
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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4,457 ( 486)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Val Kilmer ... Nick Rivers
Lucy Gutteridge ... Hillary Flammond
Peter Cushing ... Bookstore Proprietor
Jeremy Kemp ... General Streck
Christopher Villiers ... Nigel
Warren Clarke ... Colonel von Horst
Michael Gough ... Dr. Paul Flammond
Harry Ditson ... Du Quois
Jim Carter ... Déjà Vu
Eddie Tagoe ... Chocolate Mousse
Nancy Abrahams Nancy Abrahams ... Pregnant Woman
Omar Sharif ... Agent Cedric
Tristram Jellinek Tristram Jellinek ... Major Crumpler
Billy J. Mitchell ... Martin
Major Wiley Major Wiley ... Porter
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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 | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Nick finishes singing Tutti Frutti (a Little Richard song) in the restaurant, a musician wearing a head band can be seen smashing his guitar. This is a reference to Jimi Hendrix, who also played guitar for Little Richard. See more »

Goofs

Nick puts the 20th tally on the jail cell wall representing his 20th minute in jail. In the next shot the wall doesn't show any tally marks. See more »

Quotes

[a wounded Latrine stumbles into the Resistance hideout]
Nigel: What did you find out, Latrine?
Du Quois: Where are the others?
Latrine, Resistance Member: Oh, we never had a chance. It was a slaughter.
Deja Vu: We must put a stop to these afternoon football games.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Halfway into the credits, Val Kilmer & the background singers literally stand up into the frame to continue singing the song playing to the credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

Alternate scenes different from release version:
  • Instead of refering to a pinup calendar, Professor Flammond explains the complexity of his work.
  • The line "if they find you here your life will be worth less than a truckload of dead rats at a tampon factory" is replaced with "if they find you here your life will be worth less than a beaker of butadiene in a colloid solution!"
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Connections

References Mad Max (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Are You Lonesome Tonight?
Parody based on "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" by Roy Turk and Lou Handman
Arranged by Maurice Jarre (uncredited)
Produced by Mike Moran
Performed by Val Kilmer
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User Reviews

 
an overlooked gem
11 April 2005 | by the-jerkSee 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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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | German | Yiddish

Release Date:

8 June 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Top Secret! See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,406,205, 24 June 1984

Gross USA:

$20,458,340

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,458,340
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kingsmere Properties See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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