5.9/10
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172 user 18 critic

Drop Dead Fred (1991)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy | 24 May 1991 (USA)
A young woman finds her already unstable life rocked by the presence of a rambunctious imaginary friend from childhood.

Director:

Ate de Jong (as Ate De Jong)
Reviews
Popularity
2,255 ( 36)

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A young woman who has experienced a series of unfortunate events is reunited with Fred, her imaginary friend from childhood, who promises to make her life better -- though his methods are more violent and abusive than anything.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Phoebe Cates ... Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Cronin
Rik Mayall ... Drop Dead Fred
Marsha Mason ... Polly Cronin
Tim Matheson ... Charles
Carrie Fisher ... Janie
Keith Charles Keith Charles ... Murray
Ashley Peldon ... Young Elizabeth
Daniel Gerroll ... Nigel Cronin
Ron Eldard ... Mickey Bunce
Eleanor Mondale ... Attractive Customer
Bob Reid Bob Reid ... Judge Dubben
Peter Thoemke ... Arsonist
Sjoukje De Jong Douma Sjoukje De Jong Douma ... Grandma Bunce
Paul Holmes Paul Holmes ... Man in Speedboat
Steve Cochran Steve Cochran ... Waiter #1
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Storyline

A young woman who's attempting to find her place in the world battles with her controlling mother and a womanizing husband finds comfort and confusion with the appearance of her childhood friend. It is a zappy movie that emphasizes self-actualization. Written by C. Marshall

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He creates the havoc. She takes the blame. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 May 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Drop Dead Fred See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,788,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$43,878,334
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

PolyGram and Working Title Films did not have US distribution divisions at the time and were both struggling to find a US distributor to sell the film to. They showed a rough cut of Drop Dead Fred to various US distributors including Orion Pictures, Triumph Films, The Samuel Goldwyn Company, Vestron Pictures, TriStar Pictures, MGM/UA, and 20th Century Fox. All of whom turned it down as some of them either didn't like it or made unsatisfactory offers to PolyGram and Working Title. They even brought it to The Geffen Film Company. But they turned it down because they felt the movie was a rip off of Beetlejuice (1988), which Geffen distributed 3 years earlier. PolyGram and Working Title then showed Drop Dead Fred to Miramax Films. Rik Mayall, producer Paul Webster, director Ate De Jong and co-writers/co-executive producers Carlos Davis and Anthony Fingelton had a meeting Miramax co-founder/executive Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein liked the movie and was a fan of Rik Mayall and wanted to distribute it as Miramax had also bought The Tall Guy (1989) from Working Title 2 years earlier. But Mayall, Webster, De Jong, Davis and Fingleton felt that Miramax's offer to PolyGram and Working Title wasn't enough. Finally, Working Title executive Tim Bevan suggested showing the film to New Line Cinema as they had sold both Chicago Joe and the Showgirl (1990) and Fools of Fortune (1990) to them. De Jong, Webster, Davis and Fingleton showed the film to New Line CEO Robert Shaye along with fellow executives Michael DeLuca, Sara Risher and Gerald T. Olson. Shaye, DeLuca and Olson hated the movie with Shaye allegedly calling the movie "horseshit". But Risher was the only one who liked the movie. She felt that the character of Drop Dead Fred was a comedic reversal of Freddy Krueger in their A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) franchise. New Line at that time was also trying to find another "Freddy Krueger" character, as they were ending the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise with Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) the same year. And New Line was also starting to become more commercial with more family friendly films such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Babar: The Movie (1989) and Suburban Commando (1991) and more edgy adult comedies such as House Party (1990) and Pump Up the Volume (1990). For the next few days, Risher kept trying to convince Robert Shaye to buy the rights to the film. Shaye finally agreed, decided to only handle the theatrical and TV rights. Shaye tried selling the video rights to Media Home Entertainment and HBO Video without any success. He finally sold the video rights to LIVE Entertainment who also bought the home video rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) from New Line a year earlier. New Line was also unsure of how to market the film as they didn't know if Drop Dead Fred was a kids movie or a young adult comedy. See more »

Goofs

Fred pulls the downstairs phone cord out of the wall, and this is shown to cut the communication between the parents using the upstairs phone and the police. In fact, old landline phones in a house are wired in parallel: Disconnecting one phone doesn't break the others' circuits. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Polly: And the prince took the beautiful young girl in his arms and said, will you marry me? Yes, she whispered, I will be your princess.
Young Elizabeth: Did they live happily ever after?
Polly: Of course, Elizabeth.
[tucking her in]
Young Elizabeth: How do you know?
Polly: Because she was a good little girl. If she had been naughty, the prince would have run away.
Young Elizabeth: What a pile of shit!
See more »

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User Reviews

An Excellent Film
29 August 1999 | by sparky-76See all my reviews

I'm mystified at why some people consider this film "mediocre". Yes, Fred is an annoying ass, but the story requires him to be this way. I think those who "get" this film understand the complexities of the film's premise, retreat into fantasy isn't healthy but sometimes it's the only refuge a person has, Fred is as destructive as he is supportive but every annoying action requires the Phoebe Cates character to strengthen her own boundaries and sense of purpose.

Okay, I don't want to sound like Doctor Joyce Brothers, just find it ironic that what some people don't like about this film is what distinguishes it from the usual Hollywood bull***t, Fred isn't cute and cuddly, that would have been false, imagine Robin Williams as Fred...that film would be a complete waste of time.


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