7.5/10
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231 user 122 critic

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

R | | Comedy, Crime | 29 July 1988 (USA)
Trailer
1:29 | Trailer
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
3,068 ( 5)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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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, Georges Thomason (Tom Georgeson), his seductive American girlfriend Wanda Gershwitz (Jamie Lee Curtis), and their associate Ken Pile (Sir Michael Palin) are planning their latest crime, a diamond heist that should net them thirteen million pounds sterling. They plan on leaving the country with the goods after the heist. On Wanda's recommendation, they enlist the help of her brother, Otto West (Kevin Kline), 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 Georges 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 ... 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The producers were worried about how this film would perform at the box office, particularly in the U.S. It was a British made, British set comedy made with a veteran British director, written by a British writer, with a British cast known primarily for television work plus two familiar but not A list American actors (who were not particularly known for comedy roles either). Using the budget carefully It took John Cleese and director Charles Crichton four years to get the film made with and persuade MGM to take a chance and distribute it. Fortunately it proved to be a huge sleeper hit and made a tidy profit for those involved. See more »

Goofs

Otto forces Archie into a barrel of sludge at the airport, waist deep. When Archie escapes the barrel, his clothes are dry. See more »

Quotes

Otto: What is this? "Hump a Limey" week?
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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.
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Soundtracks

Deutschlandlied
Written by Joseph Haydn and August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben
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User Reviews

 
One of the best (and most underrated) comedies of all time
8 March 2005 | by CpartakSee all my reviews

Before I review this film, I want to mention that I've seen it about ten times and have yet to stop laughing at any of the jokes. This is one of the best written and acted comedies that I've ever seen. The plot is airtight, and the jokes are perfectly timed and delivered. This is due in large part to the spectacular cast of the film. Jamie Lee Curtis, Johh Cleese, Michael Palin, and my personal favorite Kevin Kline as Otto the moronic ex-CIA agent who's too stupid to realize that he's stupid. The film centers around the four aforementioned actors who are involved in a bank robbery, and the conniving and backstabbing by each that takes place afterwards. A large portion of the comedic material in this film comes from the mixture, or more precisely clash, of British and American cultures. Kevin Kline's portrayal of Otto the red-blooded American with entirely too much ego and confidence is contrasted perfectly by John Cleese's reserved and in Otto's words "sexually repressed" English gentleman who is too scared to go out and live his life. Jamie Lee Curtis is also great as the title character who is determined to back-stab and cross anyone and everyone in order to get what she wants. Finally, there's Michael Palin as Ken the hit-man/animal lover/severe stutterer who must kill a key witness in order to protect his boss. If there are any funnier scenes than the ones where Ken must kill this witness, I haven't seen them. Palin is absolutely brilliant, easily one of the best comedic performances ever. The film is close to 2 hours long, but the plot is so clever and well structured that it's over before you know it. To me, that is one of the trademarks of a great film. You don't want this movie to end, and you're disappointed when it does. Do yourself a favor and watch A Fish Called Wanda and you will wonder why you haven't seen (or in many cases even heard of) this film before.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Italian | Russian | French

Release Date:

29 July 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

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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