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A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

R | | Comedy, Crime | 5 August 1988 (USA)
TV Program
3:17 | TV Program
In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to doublecross each other for the loot.

Directors:

Charles Crichton, John Cleese (uncredited)

Writers:

John Cleese (story), Charles Crichton (story) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,253 ( 419)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cleese ... Archie Leach
Jamie Lee Curtis ... Wanda Gershwitz
Kevin Kline ... Otto
Michael Palin ... Ken Pile
Maria Aitken ... Wendy
Tom Georgeson Tom Georgeson ... Georges Thomason
Patricia Hayes Patricia Hayes ... Mrs. Coady
Geoffrey Palmer ... Judge
Cynthia Cleese ... Portia (as Cynthia Caylor)
Mark Elwes Mark Elwes ... Customer in Jeweler's Shop
Neville Phillips ... Manager of Jeweler's Shop
Peter Jonfield Peter Jonfield ... Inspector Marvin
Ken Campbell Ken Campbell ... Bartlett
Al Ashton Al Ashton ... Warder
Roger Hume Roger Hume ... Locksmith
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Storyline

In London, George Thomason, his seductive American girlfriend Wanda Gershwitz, and their associate Ken Pile are planning their latest crime, a diamond heist that should net them £13 million. They plan on leaving the country with the goods after the heist. On Wanda's recommendation, they enlist the help of her brother, Otto, a weapons expert, for this heist. In reality, Otto is not Wanda's brother, but her latest lover, a dimwit who gets off on his own body odor, who believes he's an intellectual because he reads Nietzsche, and who does not tolerate being called stupid by anyone. Wanda has one weakness in men which is how Otto was able to get her to be his lover: speaking Italian in seduction. Wanda and Otto plan to double cross George by having him arrested for the heist, while they abscond with the jewels. Wanda further plans to triple cross Otto by eliminating him from the picture after she has the jewels. They are able to get George arrested with him not knowing who tipped the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A tale of murder, lust, greed, revenge, and seafood. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Italian | Russian | French

Release Date:

5 August 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Fish Called Wanda See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$115,418, 17 July 1988

Gross USA:

$62,493,712

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$62,493,712
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kevin Kline won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar without winning any previous awards during the awards season (only received a Bafta nomination), which is a rare feat in terms of Oscar winners. See more »

Goofs

When Wanda pretends to answer the phone, her right arm hangs at her side. In the next shot, her right hand is on her left wrist. See more »

Quotes

Archie: Be a good girl, now, or I'll break your neck, okay?
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the closing credits is the word FIN -- which is how French films say THE END, but in English a "fin" is a part of a fish. See more »

Alternate Versions

The Special Edition DVD has a bunch of deleted scenes including Otto's secret hobby and alternate scenes making the film more darker comedy.
  • There are two alternate endings. Both feature Otto dying and covered in blood in the cement but have different scenes on the plane, both imply that Wanda is going to run off with the money.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 50 Greatest Comedy Films (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Deutschlandlied
Written by Franz Joseph Haydn and August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Absolutely brilliant comedy
27 April 2005 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

To make a comedy that can be lauded with the comment 'absolutely hilarious' isn't an easy thing to do. It's not so difficult, however, when you are one of the funniest men on god's green earth; and the extremely talented John Cleese has certainly managed to write a fine piece of comedy here. Teaming up with Monty Python buddy Michael Palin and Ealing studios director Charles Crichton, these talented comedians have managed to create a film that is most certainly one of the funniest; laugh per minute and lasting hilarity when it's over, movies ever made. The plot is taken straight from the classic Ealing comedy era (no wonder it works so well) and it follows four crooks that have stolen a bunch of jewels and now decide to double cross one another to take the loot solely for themselves. The plot thickens when the female of the bunch decides that the best way to get the loot would be to get close to a grassed-up co-conspirator's barrister; John Cleese.

Aside from an inch-perfect screenplay, A Fish Called Wanda also benefits from a fine cast of actors to deliver it. John Cleese steals every scene he's in, as you might expect, and he more than justifies his reputation as one of, maybe even the, finest British comedy actor ever. He is joined by a talented pair of Americans; Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis, along with, as mentioned, his fellow Python Michael Palin. Kline is certainly one of the most underrated actors working today, and his comic timing in this movie is right on the money. Makes you wonder how much better he could have been used over the years. "Scream Queen" Jamie Lee Curtis also does well in the title role; and Michael Palin obviously knows his way round a comedy script. The jokes in the film come thick and fast, and I can't think of a single one that didn't work. It's the big gags that are the real stand out of the movie, though, and one in particular that sees Kevin Kline trying to explain to Cleese's wife what he's doing in their home is absolutely priceless. I nearly fell of my chair laughing. This film is a must see.


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