128 user 73 critic

Fletch (1985)

PG | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 31 May 1985 (USA)
Irwin M. "Fletch" Fletcher is a newspaper reporter being offered a large sum to off a cancerous millionaire, but is on the run, risking his job and finding clues when it's clear the man is healthy.


Michael Ritchie


Gregory McDonald (novel), Andrew Bergman (screenplay)
2,455 ( 2,518)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Chevy Chase ... Fletch
Joe Don Baker ... Chief Karlin
Dana Wheeler-Nicholson ... Gail Stanwyk
Richard Libertini ... Walker
Tim Matheson ... Alan Stanwyk
M. Emmet Walsh ... Dr. Dolan
George Wendt ... Fat Sam
Kenneth Mars ... Stanton Boyd
Geena Davis ... Larry
Bill Henderson ... Speaker
William Traylor William Traylor ... Mr. Underhill
George Wyner ... Gillet
Tony Longo ... Detective #1
Larry Flash Jenkins ... Gummy
Ralph Seymour ... Creasy


Irwin "Fletch" Fletcher, Los Angeles journalist, really lives for his profession. As Jane Doe, he publishes articles that have caused several heads to roll in the past. Now, Fletch is at it again: In disguise as a bum, he lives at the beach, researching drugs and their dealing. One day, Fletch is addressed by Alan Stanwyk, a rich man, who asks him, the bum, a favour. For the sum of $50,000, Fletch should kill poor cancer-ridden Mr. Stanwyk with a gun, so that his wife will get the insurance money. What the guy didn't think of was Fletch's real profession. Returning into normal life, Fletch instantly takes up research not only to find out that Mr. Stanwyk is healthy as life itself but he also runs into certain connections between drug dealing at the beach, Alan Stanwyk, his private jet, the police and a very expensive piece of Land in Utah. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Meet the only guy who changes his identity more often than his underwear. See more »


Comedy | Crime | Mystery


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


In his 1989 autobiography "It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here...", Charles Grodin mentions he was considered for the lead in this film. See more »


During the car chase with Fletch and the police, the motorcycle cop is flipped when Fletch jumps an embankment. When we see the cop flipped, his helmet is falling away from his head (unstrapped), but when see him hit the grass, his helmet is firmly secured on his head. This whole scene has apparently been fixed/re-edited in the 'Jane Doe Edition' of the movie as now the helmet stays on the cops' head securely during the whole scene. See more »


[Fletch is being interrogated by Chief Karlin and is giving him attitude]
Chief Karlin: So, what's your name?
Fletch: Fletch.
Chief Karlin: Full name?
Fletch: Fletch F. Fletch.
Chief Karlin: I see, And what do you do for a living, Mr. Fletch?
Fletch: I'm a shepherd.
Chief Karlin: [to the arresting officers] Officers, could you excuse us for a few moments?
Fletch: Yeah, why don't you guys go down to the gym and pump each other.
Chief Karlin: Why are you doing this, Mr. Fletch?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The German DVD version (which has a "12" rating) omits Fletch's line "Yeah, go down to the gym and pump each other" - after Karlin asks the arresting officers, "Why don't you two leave us alone?", there is a cut and the two just leave the room. See more »


Referenced in A Wish for Giants (2018) See more »


Is It Over
Performed by Kim Wilde
Produced by Ricki Wilde and Marty Wilde
See more »

User Reviews

Charge it to the Underhills.
25 March 2008 | by bergma15@msu.eduSee all my reviews

This is beyond a doubt my favorite Chevy Chase movie. I know some people out there don't really care for Chevy's work, but this movie is not Chevy Chase acting like Clark Griswald. In this movie, Chevy plays a newspaper reporter who is investigating some pretty big crimes. What really makes the film good is that Chevy is funny, but smart at the same time.

The film starts off with Irwin M. "Fletch" Fletcher (Chevy Chase) investigating drug trafficking on the beach in LA. He is picked up by a yuppie called Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson). Stanwyk tells Fletch, who Stanwyk thinks is a junkie named Ted Nugent, that he has bone cancer and wants Fletch to kill him so his wife can collect an insurance policy. Through the rest of the movie, Fletch has to find out whether Stanwyk is serious and why the chief of police (Joe Don Baker) wants him to stop his investigation on the drug trafficking.

The reason I like this movie so much is that it is one of the 1980s movies where an actor who was previously only known for comedy is now playing a more serious character. To a large extent, Fletch is to Chevy Chase what Axel Foley is to Eddie Murphy. Like Axel Foley, Fletch is a really funny character, but also shows intelligence and resourcefulness in difficult situations.

Through the movie, Fletch uses a string of aliases and disguises that provide comic relief to a film that could have been a pretty gripping drama. My favorites are Gordon Liddy the airplane mechanic, Mr. Poon from the SEC, and John Cocktoston the tennis player attempting to woo Mrs. Stanwyk (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) while charging expensive lunches to Mr. and Mrs. Underhill at the exclusive club. Also look out for Gilette (George Wyner), the attorney for the former Mrs. Fletcher who provides the straight man for some pretty funny jokes. Oh, and some unknown actress named Geena Davis playing Larry, one of Fletch's allies against his boss Frank (Richard Libertini) at the newspaper. I would go into more, but there's too much in this movie to shake a stick at.

If you want to see a funny movie with a serious plot, watch Fletch.

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Release Date:

31 May 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fletch See more »


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,022,970, 2 June 1985

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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