A Fish Called Wanda
Year:
1988
Country:
USA, UK
Genre:
Crime, Comedy
IMDB rating:
7.6
Director:
Charles Crichton, John Cleese
Jamie Lee Curtis as Wanda Gershwitz
Kevin Kline as Otto
Michael Palin as Ken Pile
Maria Aitken as Wendy
Tom Georgeson as Georges Thomason
Patricia Hayes as Mrs. Coady
Cynthia Cleese as Portia
Mark Elwes as Customer in Jeweler's Shop
Neville Phillips as Manager of Jeweler's Shop
Peter Jonfield as Inspector Marvin
Ken Campbell as Bartlett
Al Ashton as Warder
Storyline: 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.
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Reviews
Fun, fun, fun and ... Great!
A Fish Called Wanda is one of the funniest movies of all time, especially when it have Monty Python's actors (John Cleese and Michael Palin) and attractive Jamie Lee Curtis (very different role for him). But the best is Kevin Kline. And the funniest. See the movie and you know why.

The story begins when a gangster George Thomason (Tom Georgeson) and he's stuttering partner K-K-K-K-Ken Pile (Michael Palin) plan together a jewel robbery. With two Americans Wanda Gershwitz (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Otto West (Kevin Kline) they going to do it, but (of course) some troubles comes too.

One of the funniest moments are Ken's efforts to kill an old lady who saw the robbery. He kills accidentally lady's dogs one by one. "Finally" old lady dies of a heart attack.

And of course the scene when Otto eats Ken's fishes. And when Archie Leach (John Cleese) get naked in an apartment. And the end scene in airport. And many many more.

The screenplay is very very good. Better than good. It's a simple tale of little group of stupids ("Don't call me stupid!") and betrayals.

Brilliant movie.
2015-03-01
It's K-K-K-Ken! C-Come to K-K-Kill me!!!
An absolutely fantastic film that should appeal to anybody. Great, solid acting all round especially by Kline. The comic turns are done to perfection.

The intense cultural divisions between the Brits and the Yanks are played out superbly. It's pretty fast paced, but does not suffer for it as everything is just 'long-enough'. A credit to the direction.

Ken's repeated attempts to kill the old lady by means of a heart attack are some of the funniest in cinema. God help you if you've had some laughter-inducing substance during these scenes. Good comedy is timeless and this a case in point. It has hardly aged.

I'm not too sure about the ending though.

9.5/10

2001-06-25
Wickedly Funny Stuff
Is there anything wrong with this movie? Not that I could see.

This is a gut-busting, rib-cracking, rolling on the floor comedy. An outstanding cast plays every part in this story about the search for diamonds that were stashed after a robbery in London absolutely perfectly. There are four main characters. John Cleese is as close to a straight man as there is, playing the barrister Archie, but perhaps the funniest moment in the whole movie belongs to him as he strips naked while dancing in a friend's condo, only to have complete strangers walk in on him. Jamie Lee Curtis is no horror movie queen here. She is sizzling hot as the sexy and sultry Wanda. Kevin Kline steals the show in an over the top performance as the out of control Otto and Michael Palin is hilarious as the stuttering, animal-loving Ken.

If ever you need a laugh, watch this. It is absolutely superb. A definite 10/10.
2002-07-25
One Of The Funniest Movies Ever Made
this is certainly one heck of a comedy. all of the cast members were funny and gave one of the most hilarious performances that we have ever seen in a comedy in recent years. Kevin Kline made me laugh so hard, i almost hit the floor. He really deserved that Oscar! the film was delicious (and i mean it), funny, smart and charming. some people may complain that the film may be a bit vulgar in its taste but for me, you shouldn't mess with art because this film is a huge piece of art. there were some very funny scenes, especially the love-making scenes Otto and Wanda have. Otto West may be one of the funniest characters that we have seen on film. John Cleese, who played Archie Leach, wrote the film and he deserves kudos because he had a smart sense of humor of writing this film and i praise him for it. i love this film. once again, it is a very delicious movie and if you want to see a good comedy that will tickle your funny bone, this may be it for you. for me, no hesitation. you will be amazed!
2001-12-25
"Don't Call Me Stupid"!
Making a truly great comedy is one of the hardest things to do in all film history.

Really, how many truly "great" comedies have been made in the last 100 years?

Well, "A Fish Called Wanda" qualifies as a comedy legend.

Kevin Kline won an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actor" in 1989 for his role in "Wanda"...something that is virtually unheard of...and for a "foreign" film no less.

This movie is filled with more hysterically funny lines and sight gags than I could possibly count.

If you've read other reviews, they've provided some spoilers.

If YOU haven't seen this movie yet, buy / rent it on DVD or Blu-Ray, or watch it on the 'net.

DO NOT watch the edited version, because you need to hear ALL of the funny dialogue that makes this movie the classic it is.

If you don't have a highly sophisticated funny bone, don't like foul language, making fun of someone with a speech impediment, or "animal cruelty" (done strictly for gut-busting laughs), or have young children you want to share this with, then avoid watching it, because you will NOT enjoy this masterpiece of a comedy.

Regardless of my less-than-stellar review, just don't call me stupid!
2016-03-03
Funny, funny, funny!
This 1988-flick comes to its viewers with a lot of exciting, well acted and hilarious play. It definitely is one of the greatest comedies ever made and certainly one of the best casted movies ever. What ever scene you switch to, you see a very well done acting, perfect writing and - as mentioned in the headline - fun, fun, fun!

Director Charles Chrichton has done a tremendous (final) job with this. One of the greatest comedians ever, John Cleese, starring as Archie Leach, has not only done an usual super job by his acting but also by his writing - Cleese as we know him, as we love him. But there's no space for weak play to see throughout the film: Michael Palin as Ken Pile, a stutterer, for whom he used his real life experience since his father was a stutterer as well; Kevin Kline starring as Otto maybe in his best movie he ever played in and not to forget - Jamie-Lee Curtis starring one the most charming and most beautiful woman you can imagine, Wanda Gershwitz. Last but not least we see Tom Georgeson starring Georges Thomason (no joke!), wherein he shouldn't had much of a problem in playing this character in my humble opinion.

As mentioned above, in this movie there's a thick line of pure fun drawn from the very beginning to the very end. Whatever I can describe here, you better watch - and laugh - it yourself. Anyways I would never spoil my readers by making them laugh before they watched the movie. Let me just mention, that one men in Denmark literally died (heart-attack) by laughing too much when watching this movie!

The plot is explained easily: four robbers, Wanda, Otto, Ken and Georges,do what robbers usually do - they rob a bank. The prey, a few quite big diamonds, is stored in a garage but George decides to store them somewhere else after everybody has left the garage. In the same time,Wanda and Otto, who are together, betray George, who thinks, he is together with Wanda on the other hand, by calling the police to a place he should meet up with Wanda. George goes to jail and Wanda and Otto find out, that the prey is gone. So they try their best to get back the diamonds. And that's where Wanda reveals all her weapons as a woman by hitting on George's lawyer, Archie. In plus there's Ken, which will be seduced too by Wanda to give out some useful info to her. Wanda actually keeps a tight rein on all her men around. It might be OK to mention, that she kisses all men at a certain time in the movie. In the end we have a puree of intrigues, lies, seductions, desires and tactics based on... fun!

The writing of John Cleese is outstanding. Every line stands for it's own and obviously it was extra written to complete exactly this scene of the film. Nothing seems insincere or anywhere plastic. Especially since the way of acting of all the actors is perfectly done. This combination is nothing more and nothing less then just super to watch. As a viewer you never feel left alone since the pictures you witness to see are always touching you in a certain way - whatever your age might be, from 8 to 88.

It would be understated to just "highly recommend" this movie. It literally is a must-see - in a way that everybody who claims he even likes movies, has to see this flick! You won't regret any second of it.
2015-01-24
Wonderful farce
It's hard for me to choose my favourite comedy starring John Cleese, as it's a toss-up between this wonderful farce and the lower-budgeted CLOCKWISE. Both are equally good, I think. A FISH CALLED WANDA is just a superb piece of comedy film-making, a film which always makes me wonder why the follow-up (FIERCE CREATURES) was so horrible and why Cleese never really made it in Hollywood.

The madcap plot throws plenty of disparate elements into the mix, involving diamond heists, lawyers, and a loveless marriage, but it's the characters who really make this one shine. Cleese and Curtis hold it all together as the relatively straight protagonists, but it's in the support where things get really interesting. Kevin Kline's Oscar-winning turn as the psychotic Otto is absolutely hilarious, with never a dull moment, and really the lynchpin that makes the whole movie work.

Then there's the stammering Michael Palin, almost as good, as the animal-loving and bumbling criminal who soon finds himself completely out of his depth. His torture sequence is the stuff of genius and the presence of both Palin and Cleeve give this whole movie a MONTY PYTHON feel (even though it has nothing to do with MONTY PYTHON other than the presence of the two stars). An inspired sense of lunacy and energy combine to make A FISH CALLED WANDA an all-out classic.
2014-02-08
unforgettable, hilarious!
John Cleese is a genius, both as an actor and most of all as a writer. This script contains the bestest jokes I've heard. Simply fantastic, this film is a gift for comedy fans everywhere. The laughs are not only plentiful, but consistently terrific. The characters are unforgettable. It would be impossibly to sum up the best parts of the movie. It's a non-stop marathon of laughs that generate believably from the characters' personalities. There are also some great old-fashioned slapstick/farce scenes. It has every kind of comedy you can think of, Cleese is what I like to call a humor expert. You're cheating yourself in every way if you haven't seen this masterpiece. An astonishing, pure comedy.
2001-10-01
What is this? "Hump a Limey" week?
Starting out with only a rudimentary idea of the story, and Chrichton's request that he wanted "... to see someone steamrolled", the final result was a film that somehow struck a humorous chord all over the world. The film just somehow "worked", and it's been a cherished classic ever sense. What makes the film truly funny all actors, including in the small cameos, created memorable characters because they had wonderfully constructed and written script to work with. John Cleese deserves the first mention for his excellent triple work as the co-writer of the Oscar nominated script/co-director and the star in the role of Archie Leach, the well-mannered English gentleman whose marriage seems to be in crisis, the defender of George, the leader of the diamonds thieves who keeps the "key" to the coveted loot to himself. Cleese's partner Python - Michael Palin is excellent as shy, stuttering hit-man Ken who is secretly in love with Wanda, tenderly loves animals but is ready to help an inconvenient witness to "meet with an accident, even if it is a very old lady with a weak heart. Loud, pushy and sexually liberated Americans are represented in the film by Wanda (always charming and illuminating the screen Jamie Lee Curtis) and her lover Otto, the former CIA operative, the expert in all kinds of weapons (Kevin Kline in the Oscar winning performance) whom she introduces ad her brother. Wanda is as seductive and sexy as she is clever, unscrupulous, conniving and backstabbing. What she wants she sure will get. She is much cleverer than all men around her combined together but seems that in the end she might find the right man. And finally, Otto, "the ape who reads philosophy but does not understand it... the man so stupid that calling him stupid is insult to stupid people" who does not realize how vulgar and intellectually challenged he is. In the movie where there is no bad or boring performance at all, Kline is outstanding. A talented film and stage actor who has performed in many Shakespeare's plays, he would never have the role as brilliant and funny as Otto.

Surprisingly, "A Fish Called Wanda" has stood up well over time. It is still one of the films that I continue to return to for dependable belly laughs. The change of genre in the story is what is definitely surprising as it started as a heist movie and later turns out to be more that what it appears to be as it becomes more complex afterwards as we get to see the goofiness of the characters afterwards. It is definitely a vintage classic comedy.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10.
2016-05-08
the funniest work of Kline's career; a big bang of ultra hilarity and over-the-top jokes of visual and wit variety
A Fish Called Wanda comes from director Charles Crichton, though much of what makes the film a success is that he just doesn't get in the way of what these actors can do and, more importantly, the material. It's John Cleese as writer and him and Michael Palin as co-stars, so immediately (and especially for me as I saw it as part of a retrospective involving the group) Monty Python comes to mind. It is and it isn't like Python, as this time it does tell really a full-on story without it being too sketchy- 'too' being a loose word here, most particular exceptions being Palin's scenes after the old lady- and it's all really about the wacky surprises and behavior of these characters. It's also the Oscar winning performance of Kevin Kline's career, and possibly still one of the very best that he's ever pulled off. It's shameless at being stupid, which his Otto as a running gag replies "don't call me stupid", and also at trying to seem intelligent in his dastardly gangster ways, while supplanting himself with Nietzsche and jealousy around his tease/seeming-to-others sibling Wanda played by Jamie Lee Curtis. It's fearless comedy at it's best, and it's quite possible out of all the good things going for A Fish Called Wanda he's overall the funniest, almost without trying (just seeing his face as he pops up during the rendezvous Curtis and Cleese have is worth the price to check it out).

But aside from him the picture works as being a rip-roaring comedy, so to speak, as the comedy ranges from more exaggerated forms of comedy around for ages (i.e. there's someone in the house that shouldn't be, hides, wackiness), to being more explicit (Cleese's Arch strips down for his beau, only to have the people who once had real estate dealings with him see him right then and there), to being almost sadistic (dead dogs the biggest). But there's also room for stuttering, here in the form of Palin's Ken, who is 2nd only to Kline in the big laughs department, as he ultimately ends up missing the dogs he wipes out more than the old lady does herself. His may be a kind of running gag that could wear out its welcome, and in maybe one or two scenes the laughs aren't totally mined, but he also provides some of the funniest scenes, like with Kline, I may have ever seen, like when Arch comes in to ask Ken where the jewels are, and the stutter goes on and on and on (or, for that matter, when he gets 'cured').

It also helps that Curtis and Cleese's characters, while often seeming like the 'straight' characters in the film, are also extremely gifted at doing their forms of comedy, and Cleese ends up pulling some unexpected comedic bits the likes of which match up to those of his Python days. His character at first seems fairly bland, an attorney defending a jewel thief (I forget the actor's name), who gets taken in romantically by a 'law student', Wanda, whom he doesn't want to get involved with as she is, of course, a witness for the defense in the case. But in the midst of playing him up to get info, it becomes for both actors something to keep up with Kline's own comedy stylings, his facial expressions and manner of speaking (not just the Italian, of course a highlight). He puts up a well-measured performance alongside all the others, and altogether the main four actors pull off something of an amazing feat; it has the pure irreverence of Python, the go-for-broke silliness done with a slightly more dirty and almost obscene beat, while even having a conventional side to it too with the heist plot. And it makes for a great time if you happen to get to see it in a packed audience.
2006-10-03
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