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
TOP British comedy
"A fish called Wanda" is one of the best comedies of all time. I have this feeling...

I remember I saw it for the first time 15 years ago, in an Italian theater -I was in Tuscany on holiday. I remember a hall full of people, everyone laughed so loud that sometimes dialogues were not comprehensible! In the following years I watched it again and again, on TV, on tape and finally on DVD.

This is a low budget film, made in Britain with excellent actors. Dialogues are very well written -actually they're like a character in the movie. You also see that actors are enjoying themselves! It's like an old British comedy -the director was one the biggest Ealing studios comedies director-, with a touch of Monty Python's humour and full of jokes between English and Americans. A jewel!
2004-02-14
One of the best (and most underrated) comedies of all time
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.
2005-03-08
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
An over the top comedy – one of the best ever
Please note that this review definitely has spoilers. "A Fish Called Wanda" is one of the funniest films ever made. If ever there were a perfect match of a perfect cast and perfect plot, this would have to be it, or close to it. The four leads are hilarious in painfully funny (as in gut-splitting) roles. The film would be considerably less with any one of them missing.

Kevin Kline won an Oscar for his best supporting actor role as Otto. It is one of the funniest roles ever concocted, and Kline plays it perfectly. But, very close to him is Michael Palin and his role as Ken Pile. The horror on his face after each mishap in which he "knocks off" one of the lady witness's dogs is too much. John Cleese plays Archie Leach, a hen-pecked husband who married into the upper class of England. He's a barrister who has never known anything exciting in life. His is a different humor, and he is hilarious as the somewhat naïve barrister who's slow to catch on to things. Of course, it is Cleese's comic genius that created the story and screenplay, with some help.

Jamie Lee Curtis, as Wanda Gershwitz, may be the brains behind the whole caper and story as it evolves. She's also little more than an opportunist who will use any guy to get her millions. She's not cold- hearted, but cunning and conniving. She sells out her boyfriend who was the mastermind of the big robbery caper. And, she is aroused by men who speak in foreign tongues. Otto and Archie accommodate her accordingly, in Italian and Russian, respectively. The scenes are terribly funny.

But this film doesn't end with those leads. Some minor characters add considerably to the humor. Maria Aitken's role as Wendy, Archie's wife, is quite funny. Tom Georgeson is very funny as the robbery plotter George Thomason, especially when he realizes that Wanda has sold him out. Geoffrey Palmer is the judge in Thomason's trial. Some of the funniest scenes in the film are between Otto and Ken. These are side-splitting scenes.

Make no mistake about it – this film is adult. But it's not raunchy, vulgar or because of explicit sex scenes. The movie takes on political correctness, and has scenes that may offend some people who take things far too seriously and can't laugh at foibles in areas that are important to them. So, humorless dog and animal lovers probably shouldn't watch this film. That's also part of the reason it's not a good film for children. But when those kids get older and if they become mature, this is one film they should see for its wonderful laughter-inducing humor.
2017-10-30
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
The perfect mix of British and American comedy.
This movie knows to find the perfect balance between British and American comedy.

Both the British and American actors are working excellent together and are a great mix. Both act in their own styles with their own sense of humor. It makes the movie excellent to watch for both the fans of the British humor and the more 'forced' American comedy.

The story is really great, especially for a comedy which often just relies on its jokes and comical situations. Sure, "A Fish Called Wanda" also has got its weak moments, such as the whole side-plot with Ken Pile trying to kill the old lady. Yes, it's funny in a comical way but it doesn't really blend in with the rest of the movie.

Another thing that distinct this movie from other comedies is the wonderful cast. All of us of course already know John Cleese's comical talent but it really is Kevin Kline that steals the show. The best acting performance I have ever seen in a comedy! He really, really deserved his Oscar for this movie.

Hilarious comedy, watchable and recommendable for both the fans of British and American comedies.

9/10

http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/
2005-01-19
A Farcical Comedy
From the brilliant comedic mind of John Cleese comes this hilarious heist caper comedy about jewel thieves entangled in webs of lies, duplicity and jealousy.

Boasting an excellent cast including Cleese himself as a lawyer charged with defending the heist's mastermind, Jamie Lee Curtis as the titular Wanda (displaying a fabulous mix of sexuality and controlled comedic wit), Michael Palin as the stuttering and put-upon Ken, the most impressionable gang member and rounding out the talent is the Academy Award winning performance of Kevin Kline as the brainless, hilariously egotistical and extremely jealous Otto. The cast plays beautifully off each other as they insult, compliment and weasel their ways into our funny bones.

The script is side-splitting and full of memorable exchanges and one-liners (most of the memorable quips coming from Kline himself, but also from Curtis, Cleese and Palin). The humor is crisp and sharp, hitting a few missteps in the middle but quickly regains its footing. Slapstick comedy heightens the hilarity and will have you laughing so hard.
2016-08-28
One of the best "Post-PYTHON" comedies ever done...
Great comedies are difficult to write, and nearly impossible to pull off. All the right elements have to come together, and when they do, it must be a scenario that will keep people laughing time and again. Most comedies can never stand up to that kind of a test upon repeated viewings.

Happily, though, "A FISH CALLED WANDA" is one of those rare and brilliant exceptions. Post-Python affairs have been wildly hit and miss at best, with everything from TIME BANDITS to ERIK THE VIKING coming from Terry Gilliam (who does better at offbeat dramas) and the remaining former members of the immortal troupe.

With "WANDA," Cleese and company managed to get everything right. The casting, script and droll direction by vet Charles Crichton all mesh perfectly, and at the heart of the film is an absolute jewel of a comedic performance by Kevin Kline. The Academy even got it right for once by handing him the Best Supporting Actor award that year. Now if only the picture had won...

The best situation comedies come from the most deceptively simple plots, and this one keeps it basic...at first. American criminals Wanda (Curtis) and Otto (Kline) join forces with George (Georgeson) and Ken (Palin) to pull off a daring jewel heist. All goes well, until the double and triple crosses start flying, and an English barrister (Cleese) suddenly becomes an important factor in deciding who will end up with the loot and the booty (meaning Wanda's!)

Jamie Lee Curtis' va-va-va-VOOM performance is tempered by her smart-as-a whip rendering of Wanda, proving that she's smarter than almost all of her male counterparts. There are brains beyond the breasts, and she's not above using either, or even both at the same time! This was one of the big roles that helped her break out of scream-queen hell, (and she hammered the point home again in TRUE LIES.)

John Cleese did the smartest thing of all by writing a sharply drawn character for himself as the hapless barrister Archie Leech. Rather than simply fall back on a Pythonesque caricature of a well-bred English stick-in-the-mud, he shows us the heart and desires behind the facade, which makes him funnier and definitely more interesting.

His compatriot Michael Palin has always been a whiz at conjuring up more from less, and though Ken gets about a fourth less screen time as his comrades, his stutter and his stamina make him memorably funny indeed.

And then there's Kevin. Wacky, slapstick performances are extremely difficult to portray as natural, and as a result only very few comedians can pull it off, let alone actors. But Kline is that rare commodity: an actor capable of doing physical comedy, and not once do you catch his Otto trying to "be funny." As infuriating, egotistical, bigoted, petulant, childish and clueless as he is, he can't help but be hilarious in every frame. Tom Green, take notes. You don't actually have to go out and annoy people in real life to be funny.

This is an essential addition to the comedy section of your home VHS or DVD library. In fact, just pretend that FIERCE CREATURES doesn't exist.
2000-11-25
Perfect comedy.
This is one of the funniest films I have ever seen. The film is so well put together that time flew on by and I was sitting there wanting more. This movie is perfectly cast and well directed. There is no real style to the direction, but when you have a script like this all you need to do is point the camera and let it rip. I would like to point out that if you haven't seen this movie yet, check it out for Kevin Kline's performance alone. It is one of the best comedic performances you will ever witness. Great movie.
1998-12-06
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