4.2/10
9,297
134 user 44 critic

Ishtar (1987)

PG-13 | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 15 May 1987 (USA)
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Two terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime.

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Writer:

1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Lyle Rogers
... Chuck Clarke
... Shirra Assel
... Jim Harrison
... Marty Freed
... Willa
... Carol
... Emir Yousef
Fijad Hageb ... Abdul (as Fuad Hageb)
... Mr. Clarke
Rose Arrick ... Mrs. Clarke
Julie Garfield ... Dorothy
... Siri Darma (as Christine Rose)
Robert V. Girolami ... Bartender (as Bob Girolami)
Abe Kroll ... Mr. Thomopoulos
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Storyline

Two terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime. Written by Stern

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Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

15 May 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Иштар  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,331,817, 17 May 1987, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$14,375,181
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While the credits indicate that a soundtrack was available on CBS Records a soundtrack was never released. According to an interview with Paul Williams a soundtrack was recorded and produced but never released due to the movie's box office failure. See more »

Goofs

By the chandelier when Jim talks to the Emir. See more »

Quotes

Lyle Rogers: A lot of people don't have someone to go out on a ledge for them.
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Connections

Referenced in South Park: Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Music by Harold Arlen
Performed by Frank Sinatra
Courtesy of Capitol Records
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User Reviews

Nothing Great, But Often Very Funny
9 July 2004 | by See all my reviews

If ISHTAR had starred Steve Martin and Chevy Chase, been directed by John Landis and shot for $10 million on a Hollywood sound stage, I think people would have enjoyed it for what it is, a sophomoric, silly road movie.

However, it stars Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman, and was directed by Elaine May, a trio of actors and filmmakers who were known for comedy classics as HEAVEN CAN WAIT, THE HEARTBREAK KID and TOOTSIE. Therefore, people expecting to see the most brilliant American comedy of all time were shocked and appalled when, instead, they got a glorified Cheech and Chong movie.

Is this fair? Yes and no. ISHTAR definitely falls flat at times. There are some curiously lifeless moments and awkward scenes that reek of last minute re-editing. The movie is far from perfect. But it is often very funny, and features two terrific, underrated performances from Beatty and Hoffman.

Watching Beatty play such a well meaning dim-wit is a real treat. And Hoffman is just as good playing an equally dense, overly self-assured jerk. Elaine May and Paul William's intentionally awful songs are hilarious as well. People who criticize the quality of the songs or Beatty and Hoffman's vocal talent are obviously missing the joke, as both are SUPPOSED to be bad.

A pre-obnoxiously conservative Charles Grodin adds plenty of laughs as a CIA agent, while Isabelle Adjani does well in a deceptively complex role, which requires her to play it totally straight while engaged in completely ludicrous scenes with Beatty and Hoffman.

Beatty and Hoffman's interaction while trapped in the desert is classic. One of the movie's funniest moments involves the wind kicking up after they have been told by Adjani that "there is no wind in the desert". Hoffman asks, "Is the wind blowing?" Beatty answers, "This must be one of those once in a lifetime things, like the glaciers melting." If you don't find that funny, you'll hate this movie.

But if dry, silly humor is your cup of tea, and you can view a movie without being overly distracted by it's star power, then you just might enjoy ISHTAR. It doesn't always work, but I found it to be pretty funny, with a fair amount of really great laughs. Considering the barrage of moronic, unfunny Hollywood comedies that have come and gone in it's wake, ISHTAR should be considered a triumph.


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