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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 C.I.A., the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime.

Director:

Elaine May

Writer:

Elaine May
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Warren Beatty ... Lyle Rogers
Dustin Hoffman ... Chuck Clarke
Isabelle Adjani ... Shirra Assel
Charles Grodin ... Jim Harrison
Jack Weston ... Marty Freed
Tess Harper ... Willa
Carol Kane ... Carol
Aharon Ipalé ... Emir Yousef
Fijad Hageb Fijad Hageb ... Abdul (as Fuad Hageb)
David Margulies ... Mr. Clarke
Rose Arrick Rose Arrick ... Mrs. Clarke
Julie Garfield Julie Garfield ... Dorothy
Cristine Rose ... Siri Darma (as Christine Rose)
Robert V. Girolami Robert V. Girolami ... Bartender (as Bob Girolami)
Abe Kroll 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Иштар See more »

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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:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

After a month-long break, the New York City scenes were shot in early 1986 at Kaufman Astoria Studios and various locations. Due to union work rules, Vittorio Storaro's Italian crew had to be doubled by a local standby crew, who were not needed much, but drew full pay for the entire shoot. It was also necessary to stop production for several days so Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman could rehearse their songs. See more »

Goofs

When Marty Freed is sitting with Chuck and Lyle, after he first hears their act, he puts his hand up to his mouth ("Let me tell you what I told Tony Bennett..."). In the next shot, the hand is on the table. See more »

Quotes

CIA Agent: Jim, I don't know what you had in mind here, but this mission is no longer covert. We are now overtly firing on two Americans and God knows who else. And they are armed to the teeth!
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Alternate Versions

UK cinema and video versions were cut by 8 secs by the BBFC to remove uses of the word 'fuck' in order for the film to receive a PG rating. The cuts were restored in 2004 to the 15-rated DVD release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Naked Movie (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Little Darlin'
Lyrics and Music by Maurice Williams
Produced by Michael James Jackson
Performed by Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman
See more »

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User Reviews

Call me crazy, but...
13 October 1998 | by ChakaManSee all my reviews

"Ishtar was great," I think defiantly every time by some off chance someone I come in contact with who has actually seen it cites it was the worst movie ever. I suppose it's part of cinematic pop culture to hold that opinion as a safeguard against being called a fool.

The most charming quality of Ishtar is its consistently dry, tongue-and-cheek disposition. It offers brilliant insight to the types of people in the world that, despite the fact that to everyone else their talent is cheesy at best, continue to try and try. Rogers and Clarke are the "Every Men" for that entire segment of the population with their songwriting musical act.

Their third-rate, leisure-suit-wearing manager does his job by getting them a few gigs; the biggest gig of all is in Ishtar, a politically unstable Middle Eastern country. Which, of course, is unbeknownst to Rogers and Clarke, who are just reveling in their love of playing music. Their naivete (and sometimes outright stupidity) is a character unto itself, and plays brilliantly throughout the ridiculous adventure that they experience.

I've seen Hoffman and Beatty in interviews joking about how they knew the movie was so bad that, instead of quitting, they simply got into the spirit by over-acting at parts. But, whether they know it or not, they were very REAL people, and THAT was the best part of all.


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