A Fish Called Wanda

July 15th, 1988


A Fish Called Wanda

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Still of John Cleese in A Fish Called WandaStill of Michael Palin in A Fish Called WandaStill of John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis in A Fish Called WandaStill of John Cleese in A Fish Called WandaStill of Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin and Tom Georgeson in A Fish Called WandaStill of Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda

In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to doublecross each other for the loot.

Release Year: 1988

Rating: 7.7/10 (62,852 voted)

Critic's Score: 80/100

Director: Charles Crichton

Stars: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline

Sexy American diamonds lover Wanda and her boyfriend Otto are in England to plot alongside George and Ken the robbery of a diamond collection. Wanda and Otto want the stolen diamonds for themselves, and inform the police about George not knowing that he has already moved the diamonds to another secret place. Wanda thinks the best way to find out is by getting close to George's lawyer - Archie Leach.

Writers: John Cleese, Charles Crichton

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

Taglines: A tale of murder, lust, greed, revenge, and seafood.

Release Date: 15 July 1988

Filming Locations: Bermondsey, London, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $7,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $115,418 (USA) (17 July 1988) (3 Screens)

Gross: $63,493,712 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The poem Archie Leach recites in Russian for Wanda Gershwitz is Molitva (1839) by Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841).

Errors in geography: The garage with the safe is in an archway under a very wide railway viaduct. But dialogue between Wanda and Ken places it in Fulham, which has no such viaduct.

[Ken drives at Otto with a steamroller. Otto laughs, until he realizes his feet are trapped in cement, and his gun is empty]
Otto: Ken! Ken! Wait, wait, Ken! Kenny! I... may I call you Kenny?
Ken: Remember Wanda!
Otto: I got the deal of a lifetime! Fifty-fifty, you and me, what do you say! Okay, okay, okay, sixty-forty! That's my final offer!
Otto: Wait, I got an idea! You take it all! Yeah, here's my boarding pass, Ken!
Ken: I'm gonna, I'm gonna k-ka, kill you!
Otto: Okay, fine, Ken! Come at me, give me your best shot! Go on, Ken! You don't have the guts, admit it!
[the steamroller bears down on him]
Otto: Okay, you have the guts, good... wait!

User Review

One of the best (and most underrated) comedies of all time

Rating: 10/10

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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